Realizing New Opportunities in the Customer Journey with Intent Marketing

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Intent marketing allows you to deepen your understanding of your own customers and to recognize the intention behind a search query more quickly.

In the past, target group targeting was based on the results of demographic research. Customers were grouped according to factors such as age, ethnic origin, gender or income to determine who might be interested in which products. “Women between 21 and 45” as the main target group for baby products was a rather general and imprecise assumption, but before the Internet age, marketing experts could only rely on demographic targeting.

1. People’s intentions instead of “target groups’’

Today we know that customers cannot be defined by age or gender alone. In fact, marketers who rely solely on demographic audiences risk losing more than 70% of potential buyers, according to estimates. It is therefore important to determine a customer’s online and offline behavior and thus understand their way of thinking in real time.

Knowing what customers think helps create a more personalized customer experience, maximize profitability and increase conversion rates. The successively changing behaviour of customers on the Internet is playing into the hands of marketing professionals. More and more people are not searching online with a single keyword, but are typing a series of words or entire sentences or questions into the search engine. Especially when consumers use language assistants, they ask questions in whole sentences. In doing so, customers express their true intention, i.e. their “intent” and thus their intention to inform, act or purchase, much more obviously and frequently than in the past. This change means that Intent Marketing is also becoming increasingly important. Companies are therefore well advised to adapt themselves and their marketing strategies to these new circumstances.

2. Previous customer action as a basis

Intent marketing refers to any type of commercial interaction based on a customer’s original action such as an online search, clicking on an ad, or downloading content. In contrast to traditional demographic marketing, which makes general assumptions about customers, intent marketing can be used to determine the needs of customers based on their actions.

This involves understanding the original motive of each customer and orienting oneself to their intention. In other words, customers should be offered exactly what they want or need at a particular time.

3. Potential for marketing

These developments open up endless possibilities for marketing managers. After all, more than ever before, customers are looking online for products or services from companies. In doing so, they are asking dialogue-oriented questions that cover several words. Such questions from consumers are easier to convert into customers because they reflect the intention to act to a high degree. At the same time, long questions from customers indicate a precise search intention and consequently a high willingness to buy.

In fact, the longer the query, the higher the probability that a customer will click on your site.

Why? A customer searching for a keyword like “bank”, for example, can have a variety of intentions. For instance, he might want to find out how a bank is structured or which banks are located near him. However, a search query such as “How do I find a good bank in London” indicates that the customer is already much deeper in the buying process or “purchase funnel”. This person is probably more willing to take a certain action, namely to look for a new bank in London.

Customers signal their intent more often and in increasing detail. The task of marketing professionals is to pick up customers at key moments — both on your website and when searching on third-party platforms such as Google Maps.

If you want to determine customer intent, the first step is to analyze customer behavior over a certain period of time and then determine trends. This includes recurring search queries or interaction-enhancing website content that leads to conversion — such as a purchase, an appointment booking, a newsletter subscription or a job application. Marketing staff can then target potential customers who will take these actions. In this way, search data trends can be used to determine customer intent and gradually make their own marketing more effective.

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