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Using intent data for the competitive professional

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

It’s easy to keep up with alerts and notifications on what competitors are publishing, announcing, and promoting. It's so easy that we often dismiss emails that inundate our inbox. But how often have you created a SWOT analysis based on an activity stream of indicators, only to have later had that impression shattered by actual, factual insights? It happens since marketing and its associated presentation material is often aspirational, yet not always factual.

Understanding Intent Data

Imagine if you could observe not only the user generated content being created but also the announcements and claims being made. Take it a step further and imagine knowing the actual person the engagement was created for. With contact-level intent data, you can.

Understanding the "what," "how," and "why" of intent data

You probably have a few questions. Here's three questions that we get all the time:

  1. What's intent data?

  2. What information do we get, and how do you do that?

  3. Is it legal?

The answers to those questions are simple:

1. There’s plenty of buzz surrounding intent data, and many accompanying definitions you’ll see describe it as being just online information. It’s more than that. Intent data is the collection of behavioral signals which help to interpret a B2B buyer's purchase intent . These "smoke signals" include activities ranging from social shares to event attendance to to direct mail engagement.

2. At, we provide aggregated intent information from unstructured activity and information around the entire internet. You’ll receive the contact details and context of any user taken action - which is indicative of intent. This can take place anywhere on the internet. We do this in a very different way than simply collecting data. We observe individual's "likes," "shares," "comments," and "engagement" with content and competitors' content. Then we use complex algorithms to filter the signals that are important to you and identify the actual person who took the action. We provide their name, contact details, and job title. We also provide firmographic information including industry, size, location, company name, and company URL. Most importantly, we describe the type of action they’ve taken and provide detail on the focus of their activity. This information can be provided through either downloaded .csv file or CRM and marketing automation integrations with leading software providers.

3. All the information is publicly sourced, observable, and GDPR compliant.

Key highlights - context & contacts

Two key details are important in understanding and visualizing how intent data can boost competitive marketing: 1) the richness of the contact, and 2) contact-level detail.

We can tell you who has engaged with a competitor (the company, brands, and senior execs) and who has taken action with content that is focused on specific topics. For example, if a user, through social media, has either "liked," "shared," "commented," or "engaged" with an article about a competitor or by a competitor regarding a brand, trademark, claim, or problem, you’ll know exactly what the search term was. Often times, we can also identify what the actual piece of content was. We’ll also track announcements and changes for adding additional offices, hiring for certain roles, leadership changes, recent funding, and new product announcements. We’ll identify the people who are engaging with and likely to attend competitor’s events, or even engaging with competitor/key topic related hashtags.

Other intent data solutions observe account-level engagement, but not down to the contact-level. They don’t know the actual contact or user that’s taking the action (observing some anonymous account level activity through a publishing network info share or reverse IP lookup). This means that you can’t gauge the value of engagement by job level. There’s no way to know if their message is engaging and resonating with entry level people, the C-suite, or somewhere in between.

Applying it to competitive marketing

You’re probably wondering ways that you , the competitive marketer, can use these insights. Here's a few:

  • Gauge the success of competitive positioning by observing engagement with content focused on differentiating capabilities

  • Observe which announcements get more or less engagement by certain job functions, company types, industries, and geographies

  • Monitor a consolidated stream for firmographic buzz and social listening.

  • Track what job functions and organizational level is most engaged with specific competitors and brands - and compare that to their stated market focus

  • Measure your own success against actual observations of specific competitive performance

Other use cases

One of the compelling aspects of contact-level intent data is the applicability across marketing functions. The same data which provides rich, nuanced competitive marketing insights can also be used by marketing colleagues for:

  • Event marketing

  • Demand generation

  • Account-based marketing

  • Creation of custom audiences for targeted social ads

  • Sales applications include target account sales, customer churn reduction, customer cross-sell and up-sell insights, and complex/strategic selling insights.

In a world of finite resources, marketing budgets never grow as fast as the expanded range of software and tools demands. Therefore, the rich information and actionable insights that intent data provides across marketing and sales through collaboration and alignment can often help to justify budgeting for this powerful resource.


Register Now to watch Ed's webcast "Leveraging Intent Data Across the Customer Lifecycle - Competitive, Growth and Success Marketing" -Thursday June 20th @ 2PM EDT, 11AM PDT

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