Publisher vs. Data-Driven Models: Choosing Your Intent-Based Approach to Demand Generation

For B2B marketing teams who are frustrated with dwindling results from traditional demand generation tactics, intent monitoring offers a beacon of hope. Instead of cranking out targeted content and hoping that the right leads will take the bait, they can focus their efforts on prospects who have already “raised their hands” to indicate an interest in their solutions. What a discovery!

Marketers’ interest in intent data is starting to show up in their strategies … and their budgets. In a recent study by SiriusDecisions, 33 percent of respondents stated that they plan to increase their investment in intent monitoring solutions over the next 12 months.

Because intent marketing is still a relatively new field, sorting through the available options can be confusing. Some providers, for example, follow a publisher model, while others compile intent data from numerous sources (data-driven model). How do you decide which is right for your organization? It starts with understanding how each option works.

Publisher and Data-Driven Models Defined

Most intent data providers follow one of two models.

Under the publisher model, the provider owns a proprietary content site and feeds customers data on the users who engage with its content. By tracking visitors’ IP addresses through cookies, it can identify the organization the person works for; if the visitor downloads a content asset, they can provide even more information, such as names, email addresses, job titles, etc.

Under the data-driven model, the provider works with a network of partner publishers. Each partner is carefully selected based on the quality of its content, the size of its audience, and the profiles of its visitors. The data provider compiles intent data from each partner and delivers leads to customers based on their specific criteria.

Pros and Cons

Each approach to intent-based demand generation offers its own set of advantages and challenges. The publisher model, for example, offers the advantages of being able to see your content posted on their site; plus, since their audiences are fairly stable, you won’t have to constantly revisit your approach to messaging.

That same audience stability is also one of the downsides of the publisher model: your messaging will reach the same people over and over again, with little or no opportunity to broaden your scope. Also, because of the costs involved in maintaining their sites, publisher-model providers also tend to have a much higher cost-per-lead (CPL).

Challenges around the data-driven model tend to revolve around the complexity of the approach. Customers may be puzzled by the inner workings of the partner relationship and may wonder exactly where their leads are coming from. That’s why working with the right data-driven partner is so critical: a partner who utilizes only the most respected sources and who can improve business results to its customers is invaluable.

On the plus side, the data-driven model offers the opportunity to cast a much wider net and reach a far larger audience. Because they are not limited to a single site, data-driven providers offer a scalable model — plus, you can target new audiences quarter by quarter, see what works best for you, and adjust your strategy accordingly. And, because they’re not saddled with the costs of maintaining a proprietary site, data-driven providers are able to offer a much lower CPL.

Finding the Right Fit

As with all B2B marketing decisions, choosing the right intent data parter is a matter of finding the right fit. While reviewing your options, find out whether the provider follows the publisher model or the data-driven model, and ask questions that are specific to the way your sales and marketing teams work with leads. By educating yourself on the inner workings of intent-data demand generation and getting the right answers, you can be confident that the provider you choose will fill your funnel with top-quality leads, both now and well into the future.

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