Capitalizing On Consumer Intent
But how do these efforts connect to each other?
How could they when each marketing channel differs in terms of content, creative, targeting and measurement?
Marketing executives face many challenges today, but none may be as vexing as the need to get a true integrated picture of marketing impact -- a new way to reconcile the organizational, strategic and tactical gaps that exist between marketing channels. Factors exacerbating these challenges include device proliferation, media fragmentation, and pressure to shift budgets online -- an especially frustrating medium. Each channel can provide robust analytics yet each remains siloed from the others.
Forrester recently christened this 21st-century marketing "metamorphosis" the "Era of Agile Commerce." To succeed, Forrester says companies must "transform how they market, transact, serve and organize around changing customer experiences."
How? The solution is to focus on the common thread that weaves through the consumer experience, connects marketing channels, and yields new insight and opportunities for today's marketers: consumer intent.
The concept of capitalizing on consumer intent is not new. For years, marketers have targeted buyers at various stages of the purchase process. What is new is that technology and consumer behavior have evolved to the point that marketers can understand consumer intent and follow the media path used to make a transaction. In other words, marketers now have visibility into how consumer intent swirls around the "landscape" of all of their marketing and sales efforts.
The journey to purchase involves more than acting on intent, though. Marketers know their budgets have always focused on developing latent intent through brand awareness. Activating intent -- in the form of product research and peer reviews -- is a key step that marketers had little access to - until now.
Consumers and marketers now meet on Facebook and other social-media outlets. As potential buyers show brand allegiances, interests, preferences, and "likes," marketers can again match products and services to the latent and developing intent expressed through these social actions.
Additionally, mobile technology now gives marketers a better opportunity to get in front of consumers during the final "fulfilling intent" step, via mobile search and check-ins on social applications.
The "intent data" gathered from these different stages of intent -- latent, activation, active, fulfillment -- can be used to create anonymous, actionable target-audience segments across channels. Consider the unique insights that can be gained from aligning marketing channels through consumer intent. Marketers can use intent data from search advertising to power display ad retargeting (with great results). But they could also be using this data to improve content, creative and targeting in social, email and mobile channels to get the right message in front of the right consumers at the right time.
Aligning marketing efforts to consumer intent not only improves targeting ability, it also enables marketers to understand what other purchases consumers might be planning. Retailers like Amazon.com use this type of data for product suggestions on-site and in email. Now, other marketers can use this targeting information for display ad retargeting or on social networks. Consumer intent is finally connecting these disparate channels.
Once marketing executives recognize and understand the relationships between consumer intent and their marketing channels, they can use intent to bridge the organizational, strategic and tactical gaps between channels, creating more effective and engaging brand and product experiences.