As marketers, we often rack our brains over how to create high-value, relevant content — and struggle to engage customers and convert our target audiences.

Our goal is to bring in a flood of qualified leads. However, what often comes back is a handful of great prospects amid a mess of nowhere-near-ready-to-buy prospects.

The problem with amazing content is that everyone wants it, not just in-market prospects.

So how can we differentiate between curious content junkies and serious prospects?

Weeding Out Content Junkies

Driven through “the age of data” and consolidation of B2B behavior, we have access to a tremendous amount of content consumption or intent data.

It is this data that will aid in not only understanding broader content consumption trends, but in helping to weed out the curious content junkies from “real” leads.

Getting a better view of these lucrative leads starts with the availability of at-scale company-level intent data. Infusing this data through the marketing technology stack allows us to understand where there is demand and to engage it.

Derived from intent data, “surge” data indicates when content on a range of B2B topics is being consumed more aggressively above historical norms for a range of companies.

What is unique about surge data is that it can help us understand when topics relevant to our products or services are being consumed at an increased velocity. Matching this data against a pool of leads is the key to identifying the curious content junkies from in-market leads.

VMTurbo, a provider of a cloud and virtualization control platform for enterprise businesses, experienced this.

The company's marketing director, Chris Graham said, “We've seen first hand that responders coming from companies exhibiting a relevant research surge are 120 percent more likely to net opportunities through our inside sales team.”

Now What?

This information can be used in a couple of ways, but the most obvious of these is lead routing. At a basic level, surge data can help to determine which leads are currently in-market and which are the content junkies or unqualified leads.

Integrating this data with other marketing software tools (for example predictive lead scoring, persona management platforms, etc.) can also help to understand which leads match your ideal customer profile.

Once you’ve identified the leads that are coming in as a result of real research initiatives, those leads can be routed to sales or scored higher.

Surge data can also be used more proactively in advance of a campaign to find out which companies are in buying mode, and for which of your products or services.

While there will still likely be some content junkies in the mix, the vast majority of the leads driven by this content will tend to be higher quality and ensure that your budget is being used more efficiently.

Once you’ve identified companies that are surging on topics related to your product or services, this intelligence can be used to fuel:

  • Account-based ad targeting
  • Social activity
  • Site personalization
  • Inside sales
  • Customized content creation and targeted syndication

Additionally, surge data can be used to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, helping to strategically plan lead-generation efforts and develop multi-touch, closed-loop processes for following up with surging leads.

Using intent and surge data, will help you can gain a leg-up on your competition and make sure that your high-quality content is returning active leads.

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Title image "Modern times" (CC BY 2.0) by mortsan