What is Buying intent: definition, data and interpretation

buyer intent

Buying intent, also known as buyer and purchasing intent, is the probability, the degree of willingness and inclination of consumers to buy a product or service within a certain period of time. 

To evaluate buying intent, marketers use predictive modeling to help identify the likelihood of future results based on previously obtained data. In general, the modeling uses an essential set of variables that include factors like demographics, activity on the website, former purchases, reaction to marketing messages, etc.

“Successful marketers must use messaging that speaks to the consumers as individuals, addressing their immediate personal circumstances and shopping intent.”

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Intent marketing is becoming a fundamental strategy for any brand to engage buyers in the most productive way. Research from Millward Brown, released in December 2015, showed that as many as 70% of potential mobile purchasers could be missed if companies failed to identify their intent

In contrast to personalization, which is based purely on profile, intent marketing is the method of distinguishing and then targeting exact signals of interest in a service or product. 

Intent assessment

Assessing buying intent requires collecting data from various sources to know which factors have the maximum impact. This data is then used to drive marketing strategies and also to improve messaging across various communication and marketing channels.

An important goal of estimating purchase intent is to gain insight into how practical an offline or online marketing campaign is and whether the money invested in marketing activities has a fair return on investment (ROI). The ultimate intention of analyzing buying intent is to present the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Intent predisposition analysis can also reveal when a consumer has a strong inclination to buy from a specific vendor, with practical applications varying from lead generation and nurturing campaigns to account-based marketing (ABM) and programmatic advertising. When applied effectively, purchase intent evaluation can increase conversion rates, boost sales agility and create more powerful synergies between marketing and sales.

What is Buyer Intent data?

Intent data relates to the browsing activity of a person or a company rep whose interests can be obtained via caches or a recent online footprint. Buyer intent data includes online research of actual buyers’ journeys and defines a purchase intent signal from the noise of normal activity. As a result, it creates the most precise way to predict who’s in the market for your product. Companies apply intent data to enhance the performance of account-based marketing, demand generation programs, targeted advertising, content marketing and more.

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How it works

The potential purchaser could be looking for a product or a service suitable for their company usage. For this, they can go online, as well as even just explore some basic information on items of private interest. While the person is browsing, they see a series of re-targeted ads that appear in the browser window. These are indicative suggestions or related products that the person can click on when exploring the topic.

Marketers try to identify what is being researched by individuals, at which location, and when the query rises above the usual noise and shows the intent to purchase. It is researched through:

✔ Tracking of millions of daily network interactions
✔ NLP-indexing keywords for every page and mapping to product categories
✔ Prognosticating buying intent through machine learning of buyer journeys

How can buyer activity be interpreted?

Awareness / perception

Marketers perform quantitative analysis of target buyer awareness, comprehension, and perception relative to competitors on key choice criteria. Otherwise, these companies will be flying blind as they allocate their marketing investments and measure the impact of various programs.

Direct estimation of awareness and perception is provided through questionnaires of relevant prospects. The results guide product positioning, market segmentation, content agendas, and marketing campaign strategy. After this, an automated mechanism is implemented to track the consideration index as a KPI to continually assess marketing performance.

Buyer journeys

Marketing analysts provide clarity of the buyer journeys by tracking the on-site activity and across the web. They start with the business’s wins and losses and look back over the annual buyer behavior index to determine the individual buyer journeys. It is possible to define the levels of active inquiry ahead of sales opportunity creation, win-rate variations based on delays in getting involved and more. Based on this study, they then calibrate intent signal limits to maximize win-rates.

Buyer pressures and performance

Marketers need reliable assets that align with the demands of today’s buyers, highlight achievable business results, and implement best methods on how to move forward. The best solution is to optimize your marketing by focusing particularly on buyer pain points and pressures and the best techniques to achieve results.

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Scientific background behind buying intent

To better understand the scientific principles behind buyer intent, we need to take a closer look into human behavior.

In scientific research, attitudes behavior hypothesis is the hypothesis that attitudes determine human behavior. Due to the speculations about the nature of the relationship between attitudes and behavior, the expressed intention of consumers to buy is often used as an indicator for the purpose of behavior prediction

The attitude measurement research proves that the purchase decision process should be viewed sequentially and is more likely to lead to purchasing behavior than basic attitudes.

The degree of purchasing probability is also measured by interviews. For example, a consumer is asked whether he intends to buy a particular product. The prerequisite for this procedure is the determination of an assumed purchase situation. However, this can often be unexpected and changeable

Although the purchase intent indicator we’ve mentioned before already includes more influencing factors than the attitude indicator, it still depends on the purpose and the circumstances of a forecast whether one uses consumer attitudes or purchase intentions to predict behavior

If the action situation is difficult to anticipate or if the action situation changes frequently, the behavior can be better explained and predicted with the help of attitudes. It is different if the consumer can foresee what awaits them in the purchase situation. If the behavior has limited cognitive control, such as impulsive choices, then both the purchase intent and the attitude have little explanatory power for the behavior.

Development and future of intent marketing

Data is the lifeblood of all modern marketing endeavors and strategies, so segmentation assets such as demographics alone will no longer meet the needs as they used to. Monitoring buyer intent data with buyer signals will help marketers be more productive and achieve better results in the new decade. 

And while analyzing intent data may be complicated, it pays off when implemented, helping to generate individualized marketing strategies and grow revenue, therefore being the future of B2B and B2C marketing efforts.

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