The end of third-party cookies will push many vendors to either invest in new products and methods of data collection or ultimately fall by the wayside.
MEDIA 7: As a recognized industry leader with more than two decades of experience in the B2B marketing and tech space, where do you see the industry going?
MARC LAPLANTE: Well, of course, I’m going to say that I see the industry driven by data. Over the past several years, the number of tech products featuring data-driven components has risen dramatically. This is especially true regarding intent data as more and more tech providers are touting intent-driven capabilities among their products and solutions. However, most of these products are based on a singular intent data set, which is very limiting. Not all intent data sets are equal, and more importantly, no one intent feed can provide all the market intelligence B2B organizations needs to fuel their strategies. I believe that the next phase of MarTech and sales tech will see products that synthesize numerous data sets with AI and can be customized and automatically activated according to the specific needs of each B2B organization.
M7: You co-founded the pioneering company in the predictive analytics space which was also the first vendor that enabled organizations to see intent signals across thousands of different publishers. What inspired you to co-found Prelytix, now MRP Prelytix?
ML: The inspiration for Prelytix really goes back to our publishing roots. My partner, Mike Kelly, and I were tech publishers in our past lives. We started to see our customers looking for ways to capture additional buyer intelligence on customers and prospects beyond historical lead generation. Those clients wanted to understand where an organization was in their buyer’s journey, and they valued any signal that could help predict that. We knew right then and there that the industry was moving to a more data-focused approach and decided to launch Prelytix to accommodate that need.
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In B2B marketing and sales, intent data is typically understood as a tool to identify or prioritize which accounts we should target for advertising, lead generation, and sales follow-up.
M7: With Intentsify, you have developed a new category of intent-driven technology with Intentsify’s Intent Activation™ software and solutions. How does it make intent data more actionable and impactful for B2B marketing and sales teams?
ML: When we co-founded Intentsify, we knew that we had to make intent data easier to use. At Prelytix, we had witnessed (almost universally) how our clients struggled to manage multiple data vendors and try to activate the output via a separate ABM platform or a variety of disconnected point solutions. Intentsify’s platform certainly provides several unique, proprietary intent data products. Yet more importantly, it’s also agnostic to other intent data feeds. The platform will ingest any current intent data sets you subscribe to, layer them on top of Intentsify’s data, and then synthesize all available intent signals into a more holistic, accurate view of the market. The combined intelligence is more powerful—not to mention more efficient—than anything else you can find in the market today. And users can easily activate it via Intentsify’s demand media services, ensuring our customers’ intent-driven strategies actually get executed according to the most timely and relevant intelligence.
M7: According to you, what are some of the best ways to leverage intent data to drive more revenue?
ML: Firstly, it’s important to note that not all intent data is created equally. But all intent data is valuable, and it’s all complimentary. More data is always better, as long as you can make sense of it and easily act on it. If you have a vendor telling you not to look at additional sources because you have everything you need in one product, you should seriously think about walking away from that vendor. Actually - strike that - if the data works for you and you have the budget, just disregard their advice, take their data, and layer it atop other intent feeds. (I recommend using Intentsify’s platform for this, of course.)
The key is to understand which data sources best cover your market’s online research behaviors, and support the use cases for which you plan to use them. Using multiple data sources not only means more accurate intelligence (because you can corroborate intent signals against each source, eliminating the outliers), but it also opens the door to additional use cases, because certain intent sources are stronger for certain use cases. For example, intent signals from product review sites are particularly useful for bottom-funnel (late buying-stage) use cases, because they highlight accounts that are already researching specific products, features, and brands. But it may not be the best data set to drive wider brand awareness campaigns, like programmatic advertising, because it’s limited to the review site’s visitation volume, which is typically low compared to other intent sources.
Obviously, the more use cases supported by intent, the more opportunity to drive revenue, while saving your company time, budget, and resources, and there’s no shortage of use cases. In B2B marketing and sales, intent data is typically understood as a tool to identify or prioritize which accounts we should target for advertising, lead generation, and sales follow-up. These are undoubtedly powerful use cases. But they represent only part of the intent data’s value. You should also use intent data to convert those accounts down the funnel into customers and revenue. Intent data, if granular enough, will highlight your target accounts’ problems, interests, research into competitors, geographic location, and buying stage. This allows marketing teams to select the right mix of messages, content, and channels to use for each account. It allows sales teams to select the right talk tracks, demo versions, and collateral to use among leads. And it even arms the customer success team with the intelligence needed to identify when current customer accounts are a churn risk or upsell opportunity. Again, the more use cases driven by intent, the more revenue your business will generate.
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Not all intent data sets are equal, and more importantly, no one intent feed can provide all the market intelligence B2B organizations needs to fuel their strategies.
M7: What is your take on the end of third-party cookies? How do you see it affecting the intent data space?
ML: I believe that the death of third-party cookies will ultimately increase the quality of available intent data. We’re starting to see new ways to identify individuals and companies that are much more accurate and reliable than third-party cookies. Intentsify is making major investments in those types of technologies, and we’re already seeing the gains in accuracy for our customers. The end of third-party cookies will push many vendors to either invest in new products and methods of data collection or ultimately fall by the wayside.
M7: As the co-founder of two successful and leading companies in the industry, what is your advice to budding entrepreneurs of today?
ML: My advice is to build something that brings value to your customers and listen to their feedback as much as you can. There’s nothing wrong with innovative and flashy, but if the customer has no need for something you’ve built, it won’t succeed. It’s absolutely imperative that you understand your market, and that starts with listening to your customers and prospects—and that never ends. Don’t fall in love with what you’ve built, stay in love with your customers. Moreover, hire smart people and listen to them. My partner Eric Belcher said it the best, “We hire colleagues at Intentsify, not employees.” Work with people not over them. We’ve been lucky enough to hire a lot of very smart people over the years that have contributed to the success of our businesses.