Intent-based Marketing in the Retail Industry

  • January 27, 2020
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Intent-based marketing is an approach where marketers study customer expectations or “intent” and then target them with personalized marketing campaigns. When a brand perfectly understands its consumers’ intent and markets contextually-relevant messages to them, their opinion about that particular brand becomes highly positive. 


In the retail industry, it’s very critical for marketers to know their customers well. Customers really appreciate it when brands pay attention to their digital activity. Failure to understand their intent can result in losing them to their competitors. Therefore, marketing in the digital retail space requires a lot more thought for crafting the ideal customer journey.  


The Significance of Tracking User Intent


intent-based marketing: tracking user intent


Consumers have drastically evolved from offline face-to-face interactions to full-fledged online interactions. As the internet provides them various channels to interact with their brands, it’s difficult for marketers to understand what each consumer wants. 


Users nowadays, get irked, when a brand sends them different marketing messages on various channels. It creates a mindset within the user that the brand doesn’t care much about him/her. They are put off immediately and switch to a brand that cares for their consumers. This is especially the case in e-commerce and retail. A Walker study revealed that for better customer experiences, 86% of buyers are ready to pay more by 2020.


Consumers want retail brands to understand them thoroughly. They want them to discern their interests and send ads that are highly relevant to them. For example, a person who has a history of buying Gillette razors from a retail brand gets delighted when he receives an ad that offers a flat 20% discount on his next purchase. 


Thus, keeping track of a user’s digital activity can aid marketers in designing their respective journeys right from the pre-purchase stage to the post-purchase.stage.


Using a Customer Data Platform for Intent-based Marketing


intent-based marketing: cdp in retail


A Customer Data Platform (CDP) can easily gather and resolve user data from different data sources and help in generating a 360-degree or single customer view. The major advantage of this view is that it assists marketers in adequately tracking a user’s digital footprint across various mediums such as website, mobile app, social media, etc. 


The CDP adds each and every digital interaction of users to the unified view, thus providing marketers with rich information about every user. This enables marketers to know and understand every user’s intent with respect to what he/she is looking for or is expecting to get from the brand. With this kind of data made available by the CDP, marketers can tailor hyper-personalized messages that are contextually-relevant to each user.


However, a challenge arises here. It’s impossible for marketers to orchestrate personalization when the daily user interaction is in millions. This is where AI comes to play. A CDP driven by AI has the capability to deliver personalization to each individual user on their preferred channels and on their preferred times of engagement. 


Hence, investing in an AI-powered CDP is a must for marketers to win the digital race.


Intent-based Marketing Scenarios for Retail


intent-based marketing: retail marketing scenarios


We have now seen the importance of user intent and how a CDP can easily help marketers in tracking it. Let’s check out two intent-based marketing scenarios for the retail industry.


Scenario 1: Leveraging In-Store User Intent

George is looking to buy a sofa set. He visits a furniture retail store and looks at their collection. He likes a particular set but decides to make the purchase later. The salesperson in the store takes down his email address and phone number. The next day George checks out another store but isn’t satisfied with their sofa collection. Later, he receives an SMS notification from the first store with an exciting offer. George heads over to the store and completes the purchase.


In the above use case, the first retail store perfectly understood George’s intent. They served him a customized message that would resonate well with him.


Scenario 2: Website User Intent

Rachel is a user who visits the website of a retail fashion store. She logs in to the site and browses through some dresses. She shortlists a few dresses and drops off the site. The next day, she gets an onsite notification that reveals that the prices of the shortlisted dresses have dropped. If she uses a particular promotional code, she will get a flat 10% discount if the purchase is made within the next two hours. Rachel doesn’t waste any time and goes ahead and buys the dresses.


In this example, the retail fashion brand understood Rachel’s intent of buying the dresses. The brand then reaches out to her with a personalized message along with an additional offer. Rachel’s customer experience changes from “interested” to “delighted”. 



The two scenarios mentioned in the article highlight how marketers can utilize intent-based marketing to increase customer engagement as well as elicit digital conversions. The right martech tool such as an AI-driven CDP can assist them in successfully understanding customer intent and thereby, orchestrate hyper-personalized campaigns for every individual user.


By Bijoy K.B | Senior Associate Marketing at Lemnisk



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