How Intent Data Activates the Marketing Cloud

Why now? In a word — Digital.

Brian Giese, True Influence Founder & CEO

Why is the digital marketplace ascending and demanding the attention of more B2B sellers? Clearly, with COVID, anything digital is popular and necessary. The crisis has accelerated digital transformation, forcing everyone into more digital marketing. As a result, B2B marketers are having to learn a lot of lessons very fast, while their revenue objectives haven’t gone away. This has pushed faster adoption of digital technology for digital marketing and demand generation. 

So naturally, as the digital space is growing, so is interest in running martech from the cloud, instead of cobbling together point solutions for different channels like display and content syndication. That time has passed. We’re entering the era of the marketing cloud: an integrated suite of solutions available as web-based services delivered via software-as-a-service. 

Making data easier to use

Even as B2B marketers have access to more data, they still struggle even more to integrate and optimize it. The technology to do so has been there, but marketers haven’t had exposure to the best practices and examples they need to understand what the next level looks like. Digital campaigns have largely concentrated on email and website conversions, but that’s changing fast, as B2B marketers gain experience — and success — with digital marketing like programmatic ads and content syndication. 

Marketing and sales environments have gotten far more complex, and the volume of data now available to us is astronomical. It’s all part of the changing business climate, but the right marketing cloud tames the data firehose. 

An intent-based marketing cloud makes buyer behavior data actionable for a wider range of programs and users. It solves the challenge of ingesting and normalizing data from multiple sources and simplifies coordinating channels for true integrated marketing. When that happens, marketers and sellers can get deep into what relevant messaging, content and experience should look like. 

Plan | Execute | Measure: Marketing automation as it was meant to be

For some, the dream has been “marketing automation for the internet.” That is, sales and marketing operations from the cloud. It makes total sense. Imagine sales and marketing ops combined in the cloud and accessed via the internet leaving no reason to maintain an assortment of site-based point solutions and plugins. 

Instead, the ideal marketing cloud uses automation (and other capabilities) to coordinate multiple channels simultaneously for more impactful campaigns. (We already do this with the True Influence marketing cloud.) When all channels and campaigns fire on the same information, it makes a difference in how well it works and how the market sees your brand. 

“Marketing automation for the internet” involves far more than what we typically associate with marketing automation. It isn’t just a tool to track what happens on your website after an email send. There’s much greater potential. 

Putting data to work 

Once B2B marketers feel ready to navigate the data tsunami, their next priority is making the information actionable. This requires capabilities that an intent-based marketing cloud delivers:

  • Managing and integrating intent data across channels and campaigns
  • Normalization and cleansing of data from multiple sources
  • Data that is accurate, current and actionable
  • Better activation and monitoring of contact-level data

Make it rain: Intent and the marketing cloud 

Because intent touches everything, it’s the foundation for all solutions within an intent-based marketing cloud:

  • Campaign insights and analytics
  • Content syndication
  • Programmatic advertising
  • All stages of demand generation

Wherever your customers and prospects are in the buyer’s journey, an intent-based Marketing Cloud gives a current, comprehensive view of your demand generation and ROI. Raw data feeds provide intent data signals that customers are interested and ready to buy.

Who benefits from an intent-based marketing cloud?

B2B sales and marketing organizations, as well as data teams benefit from the intent-driven marketing cloud. By integrating campaigns in one place, results are easily measured, lowering marketing operations costs and time demands. B2B marketers and sales can identify what works and what doesn’t to better optimize the revenue funnel for efficiency and ROI.  

Once integrated with CRM, the marketing cloud dynamically updates changes and assignments in the coverage map. Sales knows which accounts to prioritize based on prospects’ interaction with relevant topics. Data professionals gain access to high-quality data for programs and analysis, plus that data is easier to move and maneuver.

Strategic and practical views for B2B revenue teams

Imagine monitoring the results of your B2B demand generation and sales efforts with an integrated marketing platform that lets you: 

  • See a complete picture of what’s working and what’s not
  • Optimize your funnel for maximum ROI
  • Stop guessing who’s going to buy and when
  • Ensure accuracy of contact records
  • Integrate intent data with CRM and MAP

Intent marketing cloud for ABM and buying group engagement 

But what about account-based marketing in this discussion? Serious B2B sellers can’t ignore ABM, but it’s not the end game; it’s a piece of the marketing cloud, not a category in itself. Consider this, what the intent-driven marketing cloud platform provides is really demand orchestration — which is a different way of thinking about ABM. ABM and marketing automation are on converging paths that lead to the marketing cloud. As a journey or demand orchestration platform, an intent marketing cloud simplifies, wit one place to go to coordinate and manage.

Buying group selling is another area where intent and digital tools make the difference. B2B revenue teams get the total buying group picture, instead of chasing single, isolated leads from individuals.

Better tools, better teams

The shift to a marketing cloud platform isn’t just about improving technology; it’s also about helping people who need these integrated capabilities to do their jobs. The right combination of cloud technologies can transform the capabilities of marketing, sales and operations teams. These tools change the nature of work and help you get in-market faster. Teams spend less time on tedious, non-revenue work, so leaders can make the best use of their groups’ skill sets. 

An integrated marketing cloud or platform serves up a consistent cross-channel experience that can drastically affect campaign results, saving time and increasing revenue.With an intent marketing cloud, sellers can overcome the traditional obstacles to data-driven customer experiences. 

And if you’re interested in how the True Influence Marketing Cloud does what we’ve been talking about here, I recommend this piece: “How to use a marketing cloud to activate intent data.

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