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3 tips for using intent data for ABM

In B2B marketing, using intent data for ABM is good in theory, but there are some key practices you need to take into account. Kavita Singh spoke with Propolis Hive Expert for Data Strategy, Insight and Intelligence, Tony Lamb

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and partner at Data Protection Network Associates, Julia Porter

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about some top tips.


Find a supplier you can trust

Researching your intent data platforms is absolutely critical. When they state they’re GDPR compliant, make sure you ask how they’ve ensured this.

Julia says: “If I were a marketer, I would be carefully looking at the contracts of all these individual partners and ask how rigorous they are at managing all these databases and how transparent they can be to the individual around consent to make sure they are following best practice.”

Any  supplier contract should have some kind of questionnaire with the provider, asking  what data they’ve been collecting, how they’re processing that data, how securely that data is being managed, and if they’ve done any sub-processing of that data. In return, they should be able to provide reassurance back to the supplier about those questions.

Julia says that questions also start to arise around international data transfer, as well questions such as:

  • Where is that data being kept?
  • Is it being kept in Europe?
  • Is it being kept in the US?

In addition, the conversation can bring up questions on managing your suppliers, such as:

  • Are you managing clients effectively?
  • What are your data sources?
  • Is data collected at corporate contact level?
  • If you collect at contact level, do you use consent?
  • If you use legitimate interest, do you use sole traders?
  • How is consent evidenced?


Ensure you’re open and transparent

Julia says: “The world is a bit complicated, particularly around digital data. Lots of different parties are involved and not everyone understands. Not everyone is going to understand what is happening to their data. But, having said all that, you can’t just leave it.”

While it may not be simple to comprehend, you need to understand where that data has come from and what they’re going to do with it.

Tony explains: “A lot of B2B data isn’t personal data. So, if you’re part of a limiting company and not a sole trader or partnership, you’re being communicated within that function of that business. That’s not considered personal data; it’s corporate data. Your challenge with B2B data is then: can you identify which bits are personal data and which bits aren’t?”

If you’re doing an ABM marketing campaign, you have to know whether you’re using first-party data or not. If you see leads floating around, and you end up using that data, you need to understand where it’s coming from.

Julia adds: “You need to know how it’s being collected, otherwise you’re not marketing in an ethical way either.”

This is why marketers need to stay up to date as possible on privacy regulations. With GDPR and CCPA, it changed the way marketers utilise third-party cookies as they now require a blatant acceptance of tracking cookies, which ultimately makes it difficult to track buyers and collect contact information.

Currently, with the death of cookies on the horizon, Julia explains: “Fundamentally, everyone is drifting towards a GDPR regime. If you look around the world, they’re all making them stricter, not relaxing them. And, in any event, GDPR is not a stick to beat you with – it’s about protecting human individual rights.”

Be sure to stay as up-to-date as possible with regulations and a question Julia challenges marketers to ask themselves when they get overwhelmed is: “Am I doing the right thing?”

Oftentimes, that’ll guide you into the right direction.


Allow it to drive content decisions

Tony says: “If you’re interested in off-road vehicles or something like that, you’ll show them pictures of off-road vehicles rather than sports cars. It’s the same with intent data. If you have an understanding of what your audience is looking for, you’ll then personalise the content a lot more using IP addresses and preferences.”

With intent data and content, it gives you that real-time information so, if you’re using your own data and you can recognise your own customer, you can obviously start customising things that are relevant to them. In addition, marketers can adjust content and the ABM campaign messaging when looking into where their buyers lie in the buying process.

Tony explains: “This type of personalisation has an impact on responsive sales because you’re going to be seeing things that appeal to you and you’re more likely to go further in the process. That might be the difference between a 3% response rate to a campaign to a 5%. But that is quite significant in itself.”

However, the whole point of combining ABM and intent data is to get that extra bit of personalisation so be sure to personalise with purpose. Make sure the personalisation goes beyond just using a name or knowing the company they work for. Find out what content might be timely or relevant for your audience.

He concludes: “The fact that someone has remembered my name, if that’s where your focus is, you’re missing the point. It should be about what content and messages are relevant to you. In the last 12 months, a lot of organisations have had to learn the hard way or they’ve become a lot more sensitive to the requirements of that with Covid-19. Literally, the market you were talking to might be going bust, so you have to think carefully about the communications you’re sending out.”


Propolis: Data Strategy Intelligence and Insight

Want to know more about data strategy in B2B marketing? Check out Propolis to find out research, first and third party data, analytics, AI and marketing insights.


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