Good Intentions: Why Some B2B Marketers Use Intent Data, And Why Some Don't

B2B intent data can be used for everything from emails marketing to programmatic advertising. But many marketers are not yet availing themselves of it, according to The B2B Marketer’s State of Intent Data, a study from Intentsify, conducted by Ascend2.

Of the marketers polled, 46% are executing and measuring an intent data strategy. Another 13% are using intent data, but not as part of a well-defined strategy. 

In contrast, 23% are developing a strategy but are not yet using it, and 8% are looking into it. Also, 5% have no plans to use intent data in the future, while 5% plan to use it. 

Of those who use intent data, 70% rate their digital marketing strategy as very successful versus 33% of non-users. But there are challenges:

  • Creating a strategy for the use of intent data — 43%
  • Measuring impact of intent data — 37%
  • Converting data to insights efficiently — 32%
  • Verifying validity of intent signal/insights — 28%
  • Acting on intent signal/insights — 28%
  • Identifying keywords/topics that signal intent — 26% 



Moreover, sales/business development teams about use of intent data are: 

  • Inefficient hands-off process/workflow — 50% 
  • Issues with data relevancy — 48%
  • Lack of message alignment with marketing — 40%
  • Leads not qualified — 39% 
  • Lack of knowledge on how to use data — 29% 
  • Inaccurate or inadequate account data—27%
  • Lack of definition on account scoring — 13%

One problem for B2B companies is that “each intent feed provides only a piece of a confusing picture, preventing the full, accurate view B2B marketers need to identify the right account, decisioning makers, and messaging. 

In addition, acting on intent signals is tedious. Marketers can’t “easily aggregate multiple feeds, draw decisive conclusions or distribute insights to all the teams responsible for acting on them.” 

But 97% overall feel that intent data is effective at supporting its most important uses, 94% for helping them solve critical B2B challenges, and 93% for assisting them in achieving goals linked to the key metrics.  

That said, 47% are very satisfied with their intent solution, and 47% are somewhat satisfied. Only 6% say they are unsatisfied.

The most effective uses of intent data are:

  • Digital advertising — 64%
  • Customer account expansion — 44%
  • Account identification — 44% 
  • Lead generation — 42% 
  • Account prioritization or scoring — 40%
  • Message selection or optimization — 24%
  • Identifying at-risk customers — 12%

But many users are realizing in pretty much the expected time frame, or less. For instance, 24% expected this to take less than a month, and 23% report that they achieved it. Another 23% anticipated between three and six months, and 26% pulled it off within that period. 

However, 42% forecast between one month and three months, and 35% pulled it off within that period. 

Why are some B2B brands still not using intent data? Their reasons are:

  • Unfamiliar with intent data — 27%
  • Not currently a top priority — 27%
  • Don’t have a need for intent data — 20%
  • Lack of required skill set/knowledge — 20%
  • Associated costs — 13% 
  • Lack of sales team buy-in — 7%
  • Lack of executive buy-in — 7%
  • Lack of strategy required to guide use of intent data — 7%

On the positive side, none of the respondents cited prior dissatisfaction with intent data as a reason. 

Ascend2 surveyed a panel of 289 marketing professionals working in B2B. 

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