One of my lifelong hobbies is fishing. Back when I was a kid, I rabidly consumed every piece of knowledge and lore I could find on the art and science of how to catch fish. I literally dreamt of being on the water with a fish on the line, leaping away from the net. Don’t laugh, but “Nightcrawler Secrets” was my favorite book for several of my teen years. Probably worried my parents some but I turned out okay (hmmm, I’ve left myself open for comment here) …and a few years later, I decided that I would go into marketing. Why, you ask? Well, turns out that fishing and marketing line up pretty much the same. Wait…what? Yup…the three most essential elements of success in fishing have one-to-one equivalents in marketing.
Here they are:
1. Fish where the fish are
2. Be on the water when the fish are actively feeding
3. Know what they are feeding on and give it to them
These three somewhat simple steps are completely analogous to what it takes to gain a competitive advantage in today’s digital marketplace:
1. Know who and where your targeted customers are
2. Make sure you are on their radar when they are actively in-market
3. Provide them relevant information on what they are shopping for
To keep reeling out my fishing line here - the most powerful lore (or knowledge) in my current marketing tackle box is something called Intent Marketing. Simply put, Intent Marketing studies where the fish (aka customers) are, what they have been nibbling on and what they’re hungry for. Knowledge this powerful lands the biggest fish with the least amount of effort and translates to improved efficiency, effectiveness and ROI…and a tasty fish dinner or two. You will win more business faster with reduced marketing spending.
For those not familiar, Intent Marketing is a fairly new option that integrates big data, analytics, digital media and marketing automation to uncover when customers are actively in-market, identifies what they are shopping for and also what stage they are at in the proverbial sales funnel. Once we know these data points, we’re able to serve up stage-relevant content via ads, emails, events, blog posts and white papers to help inform their decision and guide them to your product or service.
The raw data that drives Intent Marketing comes from the digital ad networks, publisher data, other third party data and your own customer data – like a big bait bucket full of squirming data worms. Over a billion of these records a day are then cross-referenced against dozens or even hundreds of search terms and keywords to identify activity, interest and intent. These records are then resolved down to Zip 9 (geo-pinpointing), ISP, IP and also where these customers go for information.
This very powerful, culled knowledge is then loaded it into marketing automation platforms (such as Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot) and DSPs (acronym for demand-side platform, a system that allows buyers of digital advertising inventory to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface). This provides the ability to serve up and track multiple pieces of content and thousands of contacts in a very effective and efficient manner.
Another fishing gem works here too “the early bird catches the worm.” A very recent Forrester Research study concluded that in B2B, the first vendor to engage a client has an 87% chance of winning the business. Smart marketers who implement the new Intent Marketing platform will not only “catch the worm”, they will have the highest likelihood of catching the biggest fish in the pond with the least amount of time or effort.
To stretch the fishing analogy to its final breaking point – in sum, showing up early and knowing ahead of time all about your target (fish or sales) allows you to prepare the best bait, line and rods/reels. You’ll catch more fish and enjoy life more.
Once a fisherman, always a fisherman, I say.