Our CEO, Paula Tompkins, writes in her March 3, CMSWire.com column, about how the best return on data comes from leveraging intent data.  She also talks about  how to bridge the people and data silos. Below is an excerpt of her article.

Following the Intent Data Breadcrumbs

By Paula Tompkins

With small data here, big data there, and lots of data everywhere, many marketers feel like Old MacDonald on a free-range farm. Small data. Big data. Demographic data. Behavioral data. Transactional data. The industry noise about data can feel overwhelming. Where do you start and how can you use data effectively?

Marketers Aren’t Pyschic

We know customers want personal and relevant messages — a message sent at the right time in the right way. As digital experts, we are good at targeting the message, but the one thing we are not is psychic. That is why intent data is so valuable. Intent data informs the timing of the message, which is the most important element of any campaign.

Intent data comes in many forms. We can understand prospects’ goals by evaluating their search terms, the Web pages they visit, and the information they request or download. Like breadcrumbs on a trail, each little action consumers take tells the story of what they plan to do. In addition, thanks to the pervasiveness of smartphones, we know far more about customer preferences and intent-rich moments than we ever have.

How are some companies using intent data?

Today, 28 percent of consumers lease their vehicles. It has been a long-term practice for call centers to try to determine customer intent at least 90 days before the lease ends. The calls cost over $15 per outreach and have extremely low response rates. Customers just do not want to talk to a call center!

On the other hand, for one company we were able to get 34,000 online declarations of intent from consumers. This means we were able to inform dealers and the brands about the customer’s buying intent. This allows them to trigger an informed lead that can be worked to drive repeat purchase.

Another example of the power of intent data is when customers request payoff information on their retail contract for their current vehicle. This action is a reliable sign that customers intend to defect and/or sell their vehicle and buy a new one. It is the optimum time for the lender to offer a great loyalty offer to retain the customer.

Don’t Be Left on the Farm

The ability to integrate data into a relevant, personal experience has historically been problematic. Both legacy systems and the way companies compartmentalize their customer sales and services areas have created giant silos of data. The challenges with leveraging intent data are no different.

Read the rest of the story, Following the Intent Data Breadcrumbs, at CMSWire.com.

Read more tips on intent data, The Road to Profitability is Paved With Good Intentions.