According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, intention means:
“what one intends to do or bring about.”
A little redundant, isn’t it? It does say something about “bringing about, but we can find something better. Let’s look for a clearer definition within the same dictionary:
“the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose”
That’s more like it. Not only does it not use the searched word to describe the word itself, but it also clarifies that there always needs to be a “thing” which we strive to get too. But just before we get to the point of this article, we want to give you what is, in our opinion, the best definition this dictionary (and all dictionaries) have to offer:
“a determination to act in a certain way: resolve”
So, with all of that said, let’s get to the point:
Why are we talking about Intention?
In our company as a whole, we believe that the only way to really be great at something (a discipline, a new skill, you name it), is to look at it from multiple perspectives. To look at what other industries do well, their core abilities, and find ways to implement them in ours to create something meaningful.
The point is we wanted to start this year with an open mind, to leave our comfort zone a little, and talk about how other companies approach their marketing.
And today we’ll talk about an interesting one: Intent Marketing.
What is Intent Marketing?
If you look on the internet long enough, you’ll find that there are about 20 different terms to describe the same thing, especially in the world of marketing. And yet, there are still a lot of them which genuinely bring something refreshing to the table.
Long story short, Intent Marketing is all about offering products and services to an audience based on previous consuming practices, which as the title suggests, reveals the “intent” of the audience’s consuming habits.
It’s the logical equivalent of saying that if someone tends to buy 3 apples a week, it’s more than likely that their intent will be to do the same thing next week.
It isn’t exactly rocket science, sure, any marketer worth their name knows as much as this. But what makes this type of marketing so fascinating is not what they set out to do, but how they achieve it.
So without further ado, we want to share some of the things that make intent marketing so interesting – and how implementing them to your growth marketing strategies may improve them in ways you never expected.
Insight 1: Data is the foundation, not a tool.
Here’s a trick question: How can you pinpoint something as ambiguous as “consumer intent”?
The answer most people may give is by using educated guesses. Just like the example above about the 3 apples a week, if a pattern is discovered you can later use that inference to sell apples directly to that person. But an inference, as good as it may be, isn’t enough when you consider the fact that there are so, so many factors to consider. Just to name a few:
The time of the day
The store in which they buy
Which days do they buy
What kind of apple do they buy
Are the apples for them, or for someone else?
Just because someone tends to do a certain activity or buy something repeatedly doesn’t mean you can market that individual like the rest. Or in pretentious terms, correlation of facts doesn’t mean a correlation of causality.
This is why the question was tricky – and why Intent Marketing is different from the pack. They aren’t just looking for patterns, they are looking for causality. Data that informs the true meaning behind said patterns. In other words, context.
Returning to Growth Marketing, there is a reason why tools like A/B testing are so fundamental to us: in the short and long term, they reveal unique patterns and data about your target market which, in turn, can help you create better content for the future. But growing your brand in this way doesn’t mean you’ll learn anything significant in the process.
So the next time you gather data about your target (responsibly and unobtrusively, of course), ask yourself the next questions:
- What does this data say about the audience?
- What other data do I have to support this statement?
- What do I have to gather?
- What other tool or social media channel can inform me about my target audience?
Insight 2: Intention equals object-oriented goals.
Let’s say you’re hungry; it’s the middle of the day, you just got out of the office and your stomach can´t stop complaining. What’s the first thing you’ll do? If your answer was “go eat something”, you are correct, but as you may have guessed that’s not the point. The question now is… where will you eat?
You can go home and make something yourself. Or order something from home. Or go to the restaurant across the office. Or buy something at a convenience store because you had a very long day and doing all the previous options seems too much of a chore
As we established before, an intention in and of itself isn’t enough to create a solid marketing strategy, and even the data within itself isn’t enough yet.
And yes, the obvious answer again seems to be “well, just create a strategy around your services that targets for the intent to be solved” But here is the catch, and what makes Intent Marketing so special again: they don’t look to solve just for the intent, but sometimes they intend to solve more for their context.
Maybe the clearest example in the world is good old Coca-Cola. Everyone now and then may want a coke, but when you go to the store you don’t find just one presentation. There is the canned one, the larger canned one, the larger bottled version, the even larger bottled version, and the list goes on and on. The product is the same, but the reason they use so many presentations is that they understand that the situations aren’t always the same; sometimes they just want a small drink for their meal, or a bigger one to bring to a party.
When you are making a campaign or any given piece of advertisement, look to expand your view to target as many particular necessities as possible.
Remember: intent-oriented is also context-oriented.
Insight 3: To solve for intent is, in practice, the goal of all marketing
There is a very good quote that sums up most of what we’ve talked about:
“Don’t push people to where you want to be; meet them where they are”.
Meghan Keaney Anderson
Good marketing, independently of all the fancy terms and methodologies around it, is about solving needs. Those needs vary a lot depending on the time, place, identity, and more of any given person. Any intent is just as relevant as the reasons for that intent.
And yet, it seems that the number of needs and situations in our world makes the solving part seem very daunting. Even impossible. But just like any profession, growth is always a process.
Good marketing isn’t about offering a single, one-size-fits-all solution for every possible need. Good marketing, as well as Intent and Growth marketing, is about meeting people halfway and finding ways to deliver the solution as efficiently as possible.
In Nomad Digital, our approach to Growth Marketing is based on the idea that with enough talent, research and creativity, your brand will always be halfway for your customers to meet. After all, the only way to achieve growth that matters is together.
Contact us, and start growing your brand now.