Intent-Based Marketing 101: Laying a Robust Foundation of Good Data

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Intent-based marketing can help you read your leads’ minds, but you need the right data to do it properly.

header illustration showing a monitor with data-related icons and a coin jar in front of it with money dropping in

This is the first in our series on intent-based marketing. Find part two here, and check back later this week for part three.


In 8th grade, I was home sick with mono for about two months. During my daylong marathon TV sessions, I saw an unusual number of commercials advertising local job fairs—far more than I had ever seen when watching at night.

This is because the target audience for those job fairs—people struggling to find employment and perhaps unaware of how to start their search—were most likely the folks watching TV at home during the day.

Welcome to the world of intent-based marketing, where you focus your messages for your target audience based on where they are in the sales funnel. You’re marketing toward the likelihood of a conversion.

Sending the right message at the right time is crucial for successful conversion. Intent-based marketing helps target customers at the right point in the funnel, but many businesses fail to properly utilize it, suffering poor conversion and wasted resources as a result.

This series is your step-by-step guide on how to approach this lead- and resource-saving endeavor. And the key to starting off on the right foot? Collecting the right data.

Defining intent-based marketing and all the data it requires

Intent-based marketing hinges on understanding your leads, their customer journey, and the value of each of touch point.

The goal is crafting your content and overall marketing strategy to have the biggest impact at each touch point. You accomplish this by focusing on your leads’ stage in the sales funnel.

Part of the process is targeting your leads’ identities: who they are, their role within their company, their industry, etc.

Let’s talk about the data you need to collect to gain the necessary insights into your leads.

The 4 types of data you should be collecting

There are four primary types of data that are vital to the success of your intent-based marketing strategy:

  1. Topical: The particular subject of interest that brings leads to your product.
  2. Contextual: This gives you an understanding of both who the person looking at your content is (e.g., job, industry) and the reason behind their search (e.g., research for an article or into your product).
  3. Surge: Shows interest spikes in your content from multiple members of the software buying team at the same company.
  4. Intent: Covers both the more surface level “Why are you visiting through this channel?” questions and deeper behavioral data, as well as broader online activity.

Though you can break each of these data types down even further, you run the risk of becoming too granular at a certain point and focusing on niche trends, rather than broader, actionable ones.

How to start collecting this data

There are a litany of ways to go about collecting this data, ranging from simply asking your users to tracking visitor IP addresses.

The easiest way to do it, though, is by investing in a combination of various data-oriented software options:

Through these investments, you’ll build a strong stack capable of not only collecting the data from your leads, but also storing and analyzing it.

Your homework to get started

Before the next part of this series, I’m going to assign you some reading homework.

There’s a world of literature on intent-based marketing, and Capterra has a library of it all. Keep learning with the below articles, and come back on Wednesday for your data collection guide.

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

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About the Author

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Adam Rosenthal

Adam Rosenthal is a Senior Specialist Analyst covering Vendor Marketing. He received his Masters from the University of Chicago and worked on several TV shows you might have heard of.

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