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Marketing to Intent

The biggest problem with marketing today: marketers (or even worse advertisers) who cram their message down consumers’ throats. Marketers are creating messages in a vacuum, in conference rooms with white boards, without listening to their customers. Marketers are creating content to broadcast, rather than to engage, entice, or educate.

Take your standard marketing funnel for example…

Most marketers focus on the bottom of the funnel (Action) so they can maximize their ROI/ROAS. Most advertisers focus on the top of the funnel (Awareness) to be seen and maximize Share of Voice.

But guess what, they’re both wrong! Funnels don’t buy things, people do.

Some people are casually looking for something, some want to do some hardcore research, some are trying wanting to buy something but have to make the business case to do so, and some people want to be guided through the purchase process.

This is where marketing to people’s intent is key. Listen to your potential customers, even if they aren’t talking:

  1. Measure and monitor the bounce rates of a landing page. If it’s high, you aren’t giving the audience you’ve attracted what they want.
  2. Measure and monitor the time on site of your visitors. If they leave the site quickly, you aren’t giving the audience you’ve attracted what they want.
  3. Look at HOW you’re attracting an audience: paid and organic search could show strong intent, but not if they’re using keywords like “what is cloud computing”. These people are looking for information and want to be educated, so give them what they want!
  4. Display ads are trickier since there is such a thing as accidental clicks (which is why mobile display has a much higher CTR than desktop). Are the visitors going to multiple pages in the website? If they are you’ve either (1) given them what they wanted and they’re looking for more [which means you’ve done a poor job of laying out a customer journey], (2) they REALLY want your thing but can’t find what they want, or (3) they’re doing some research on you before they engage with you.

Google is road showing some statistics based on a Millward Brown study showing that buyers are typically 75-80% finished with their buyers journey before actually engaging with a company, and that 94% of that completed journey is achieved through digital platforms (meaning print is dead, but obviously Google has a financial incentive attached to this opinion). If these statistics are even CLOSE to being true then it is up to marketers to attempt to capture as much of that journey as possible.

Some people are looking for specific products: so show them specific products! Some people are looking for solutions to pain points: so show them how you can manage their pain and solve their problems! Some people want to educate themselves: so teach them something!

When marketers start thinking about their potential customers, and how they can be helpful to those potential customers, marketing as a whole will start getting better. And when marketing starts getting better, the bottom line will too.

Aaron is a Marine Corps Veteran who started doing small business marketing in 2000, internet marketing in 2001, and social media marketing in 2006. He has started multiple businesses (both successfully and unsuccessfully), raised venture capital and partnered with billionaire investors, grown thriving digital marketing agency and consulting businesses, and has worked in startups, small businesses, and Fortune 100 enterprises.

In terms of education, Aaron has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Arts & Sciences from Texas State University, an MBA with a focus on Marketing from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, and teaches classes in SEM and SEO as an Adjunct Professor for Loyola University of New Orleans.

Aaron has decades of experience developing marketing strategy, executing a wide range of digital marketing tactics, developing marketing content and ad copy, and hiring, training, and leading marketing, sales, and business operations teams.

As a Digital Marketing Strategist, Entrepreneur, and Consultant Aaron provides high level strategy, direction, planning, tactical execution, financial modeling, market demand analysis, and competitor analysis for business-to-business and retail businesses of all sizes and stages.

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