What's Better: Intent Data Topics or Key terms?

May 23, 2019 | Author Ed Marsh

What's better - Wild Turkey or a milkshake?

They're completely different.

Why Intent Data Topics are Better

Intent data topics have two advantages:

  1. They make set-up much easier and faster. Click a button with the name of your topic, and Voila. You're set-up.
  2. They can also feed more signals. Some companies have huge demand generation engines built around automated workflows and processes. Feeding the beast requires a huge volume of inputs (intent data leads) and companies assume that statistically it will result in more outputs (sales calls.) So the possibility of a higher volume signals is appealing. Topics like "demand generation" can incorporate a number of directly related signal sources (e.g. "#SMM" and "@MattGratt" a lead scoring expert) and thousands of tenuously related ones (e.g. "trade shows" or "" the billboard company.) Without insight into the topic taxonomy, however, you can only guess. Collectively they can generate large numbers of leads.

Why Key Terms Deliver Better Intent Data

Most marketers and sales leaders are less concerned with abstract volume and prefer to balance quality. Rather than just pour extraneous signal into a nurturing engine, like gasoline into a Hummer, they look for leads which can be qualified and engaged.

That takes insight and context. Typical examples of questions include:

  • where are they in their buying journey?
  • what problem are they trying to solve?
  • which competitor they're engaging with?
  • what event you'll likely be able to connect with them at?

An opaque topic doesn't provide the granular insight necessary to personalize the marketing and sales outreach. 

And personalization is key.

If you use intent data for marketing, ask yourself whether, without detail, you could tailor your email, social and phone script messaging to the specific problem you know your prospect is wrestling with? Or adapt your approach appropriately to their stage in the buying journey? Or have your event marketing team engage with them to connect at the event you're investing in...that they're also attending?

If you use intent data for sales, would you be able to effectively up-sell or cross-sell if you didn't know what specific solutions they were exploring? 

Professional, personalized execution requires granular insight. And contact level intent data is critical too.

Intent Data: Build it Your Way

Here's the rub. Building this will take substantially more work than simply clicking on three topic titles. You'll probably invest three to six hours between the up front process of building your custom algorithm and the follow up process of gradually tweaking it.

We're all frantically busy and a half a day isn't an insignificant amount of time.'re spending part of your demand generation budget on it, presumably expecting actionable information. Isn't it worth a bit of work to ensure that what you get is actually actionable?




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