This article was written by Dennis Syracuse and appeared on B2B Marketing

Dennis Syracuse, CMO of Madison Logic, explains how intent data can improve persona targeting

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful,” said Mae West, the blondest bombshell of her day. But today’s B2B marketer, who has access to more data that at any time in history, faces a pretty big challenge. With all due respect to Ms. West, too much data can be entirely overwhelming.

A study conducted by research and analytics company Ensighten demonstrated that 62 percent or marketers feel that they are overwhelmed by the data they have, while a whopping 85 percent said they are unable to fully apply that data to their marketing programs.

At the same time, prospects are increasingly expecting marketers to provide them with content that is relevant to their unique needs, information that is actually helpful in making a buying decision wherever they are in the buyer’s journey. So what’s a B2B marketer to do?

Data Filters: Persona Targeting

Data filters help B2B marketers narrow their focus, allowing them to define their target audience, and pinpoint exactly who they imagine is their ideal audience. Once marketers define a set of personas that define their audience segments based on industry, title and job function, they can then create content appropriate for these segments.

Personas are not created in a data vacuum. Savvy marketers inform their creation with deep research into the nature of their prospects and the challenges they face. However, with buying teams larger than ever (5.4 people and up), and buying cycles ever-lengthening, persona marketing has become exponentially difficult. How many personas need to be created? How often do these individuals move in-and-out of the research phase? Just who exactly is doing the research?

In the end, personas are merely your best guess. With all this data available, shouldn’t we be able to do better?

Data Filters: Intent Targeting

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating that you throw away your personas. Defining your ideal accounts and the prospects at those accounts has always been essential to B2B marketing. Personas are no longer the end; they are instead the beginning of a marketing program.

Once you’ve built your personas, named your accounts, defined the job titles and functions you want to target, the next step is to build an account based marketing campaign around that data. Most ABM providers can build a campaign using this data, but even then you’re targeting you best guesses whether they’re in-market or not.

Layering intent data on persona targeting is essential. Intent data is key to narrowing your marketing targets. It is the “aim” in “ready, Aim, fire.” In the simplest terms, intent data demonstrates when a prospect or account is exhibiting the most propensity to purchase. Once these prospects are identified, an account-based marketing campaign can surround them with targeted advertising and content appropriate to their place in the buying cycle.

Intent cuts down on waste, allowing you to identify and target exactly the prospects that are currently in market. In other words, you no longer have to guess.

You now have the ability to target your prospects with the most relevant message. In my next blog post, I’ll show you how you can use intent to proactively create hyper-relevant content.