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Why do you welcome some ads more than others? Odds are become some are just more meaningful and relevant.

And providing that kind of relevant marketing hinges on understanding the customer’s intent. What does the customer want now? What does the customer plans to do — now or in the future?

In a world spinning from the weight of ever increasing volumes and varieties of data, some data simply has greater potential for marketers: specifically, intent data, which allows marketers to better understand customers’ motivation and behavior.

By analyzing criteria like search terms, sites visited and information downloaded, marketers gain the ability to send more specific and strategic messages.

Growing Interest

Just yesterday, True Influence, a data-driven marketing company, announced a partnership with Bombora, a B2B data provider. The goal is to collectively make intent data more accessible to marketers.

The thinking is that Bombora’s intent data will enhance the ability of True Influence’s InsightBASE platform "to monitor and curate online behaviors to power the most efficient and effective B2B marketing campaigns."

According to Shepherd Smith, VP of marketing at True Influence, the company is determined to do a couple of things. For one, it wants to make it easier to understand and use the data — easy enough that even people without a technical background can do it.

Founded in 2008, Vienna, Va.-based True Influence uses data and technology to help marketers connect to their customers, especially with marketing campaigns and data insights. Its customers include IBM, Microsoft and Cisco.

About 50 employees work in the US, with some operations based out of India, and staff as well in California's Silicon Valley.

Bombora, based in New York City, collects intent data from a cooperative of premium B2B media companies. Members contribute information on their audience, and Bombora offers back data on what companies are in the market for what products.

Three to four years ago, no one really used the term intent data. However, the information existed in different forms, Smith said.

“We’ve been in the business of distributing white papers. When intent data started becoming available, we focused on that … We realized it could become a product. It was only missing a user interface.”

Capitalizing on a Platform

True Influence's InsightBASE platform, launched Jan. 21, combines intent signals and contact data to tell marketers who and when to target with their messages. Users can log in and monitor keywords and companies, as well as filter a lot of other search criteria.

InsightBASE is subscription-based, and pricing tiers depend on the number of companies monitored.

Joining forces with Bombora expands True Influence’s InsightBASE platform to look at the online behaviors and data most useful in B2B marketing campaigns, where timing often makes the difference, the companies told CMSWire.

Whereas before this information existed as a raw feed of data and organizations needed data scientists to synthesize it, now there is a user interface with the platform, Smith said. “We sat down [with] what we were doing internally … and asked, ‘How do we productize that?’”

True Influence sources from about 30 data partners tracking almost 30 billion intent signals, and Bombora is one of its top suppliers.

As part of the partnership, True Influence joined Bombora’s co-op of premium B2B publishers to contribute research to its dataset. The dataset currently looks at 9.3 billion monthly interactions on 2,500 topics across 1.2 million companies.

Smith claims True Influence maintains "the single largest source of intent data."

Data and analytics around intent data will probably take shape next, and the True Influence platform is prepared to adapt their tool to how marketers make use of it, Smith said.

Beyond Intent Data

Using intent data is one of many new tools the marketer’s always-growing toolbox. So before consider how it leverages or supplements other approaches in reaching customers.

Ten-year-old Demandbase, with headquarters in San Francisco and New York City, has been approaching B2B with account-based marketing for several years — and intent data, or sometimes called behavioral data, only makes up one layer of looking at customers, it contends.

Demandbase CEO Chris Golec said a lot of B2B marketing fails by targeting the wrong companies, which means wasted time and resources. “80 percent of leads don’t get followed up on ... If you’re a B2B, you got to make sure the other B is one you want to sell to," Golec said.

“Intent data is awesome as long as it’s layered on top of account data … You need the combination of the two.”

Think about volume versus quality, he said.

Title image "intent" (CC BY 2.0) by Christopher.Michel