B2B content syndication vendor NetLine launched INTENTIVE, their buyer-level intent platform at last week’s Forrester event in Austin. INTENTIVE offers “real-time insights into truly ‘who’ is actively expressing intent within a B2B account.”
INTENTIVE is similar to TechTarget’s Priority Engine but broader in focus. Whereas Priority Engine’s intent data is focused on enterprise and health tech, INTENTIVE supports a wider range of 247 industries, including pharma, aviation, manufacturing, and enterprise technology, etc.
“By design, TechTarget is highly focused on supporting the needs of B2B marketers and is targeting technology decision makers. They expanded to healthcare, but that’s about it,” noted Chief Strategy Officer David Fortino to GZ Consulting. “We view our platform as persona-agnostic and diversified” due to the broader scope and depth and breadth of NetLine’s audiences which now also includes Informa media properties and events.
Fortino described TechTarget Priority Engine as a “phenomenal product” but geared toward a more select audience of technology buyers. As such, Priority Engine is “Apple-esque,” while INTENTIVE is the “Android alternative in the marketplace.”
NetLine’s intent data is all “first-party-sourced data” and not cookie-based. Furthermore, it is transparent and includes professional bios, job types, job levels, locations, and engagement activity.
By surfacing individual activity data, NetLine is going beyond “black box metrics.”
Fortino also emphasized that INTENTIVE is both persona and industry-diversified, so not limited to IT Buyers.
INTENTIVE’s buyer-level intent activity spans 11,000 topics. Intent data is captured from millions of first-party content registrations, 285 distinct event activity types, and 329,000 keywords.
“With nearly 15k+ pieces of content on the platform, a given customer’s assets usually account for 0.03% of all content. For years, our clients gladly worked with us to source first-party leads that specifically engaged with their own content,” NetLine Content Marketing Manager Jonathan Steiert. “The reality, however, is that 99% of their ICP were engaging with content on our platform—they just weren’t engaging with their content. They were missing nearly all of their buyer’s journey.”
NetLine was acquired by Informa in late 2021, so it benefits from Informa’s content and event registration data across 100 million event activities. Event Intent is gathered from over 500 annual B2B events hosted by Informa.
“We were acquired not because of what we were doing at the time but based on the vision of filling out a buyer-level intent platform on top of all of the various content consumption signals that we’re processing every single day of the year,” explained Fortino. “By being part of Informa, we were able to aggregate not only all of the content consumption and buyer behaviors occurring through all of the NetLine powered content experiences, but also all of the Informa properties and all of the Informa offline events.”
When Informa met with NetLine before acquiring it, “Informa was sitting on a massive amount of event-specific intent data that was looking for a mechanism and impetus to action that data into a subscription-oriented product.”
Fortino sees two high-level categories of intent vendors (he omits second-party review sites): Vendors such as Bombora that provide third-party intent based on page views and firms with a broad set of B2B content that drive buyer-level intent. Firms such as TechTarget and Foundry provide “some transparency into what individuals are doing on the sites that they own and operate.” The transparency gives users “a bit more granularity into downloading a white paper, webinar, and so on.”
Fortino argues that NetLine’s advantage is the scope of activity generated across Informa, NetLine, Industry Dive (34 B2B publications and newsletters), and events. Activities go beyond page views.
“There’s everything from…submitting a demo request to expressing an interest in learning more about a given topic, to taking a course and being certified, to the most extreme: going to an event and sitting in countless sessions and being scanned each time you’re going into one of those sessions. All of these 285 things are visualized inside the product as well. So, you can know that this person downloaded a toolkit that helps them predictably model X or they’ve registered for this event.”
Thus, NetLine is marrying online, offline, and customer-content-based intent data.
The signal intensity of some activities is much greater than that of others. “While pageviews can be brief, attending a conference is a very robust form of intent…Compare that to a group of people, let’s say it’s a CEO, a CTO, a director of DevOps, are flying to Vegas for four days to attend the Black Hat conference,” argued Fortino. “They’re sitting in six and a half hours of material each day for three days about malware [and] other enterprise security topics.” The difference in signal intensity is “night and day,” continued Fortino. “Those three people spent maybe 30 grand for three days going to that event.”
Furthermore, “We are looking at the seniority of the person taking those activities. We’re looking at the types of activities that they are actually doing,” including how those activities map to buyer journey stages.
Conversely, if the user is anonymous, “we’re actually disinterested in scoring that information and playing up the value of that information,” argued Fortino. Pageview-based intent is interesting but not actionable for sales reps. “If you’re telling me someone at SAP is trending for these three topics, I don’t even know where to begin.”
INTENTIVE’s real-time dashboard consolidates activity at both the buyer and account-level. Additional insights include buyer trends and confirmed projects, “a buyer-first view of professionals who have confirmed they have an active pain point, identified challenges, and shared their timeline to invest.”
Other features include customizable email notifications, a native Salesforce app, and real-time buyer and account scores.
“Prior to today, there has been significant buzz about intent,” argued NetLine CEO Robert Alvin. “But the majority of existing intent-based products relied solely upon company IP recognition and webpage visits which doesn’t tell you “Who” is intending to do what. With INTENTIVE, NetLine has changed the meaning and raised the bar when it comes to intent. Marketers now have access to deeper buyer-level insights allowing them to accelerate the sales process from their marketing endeavors.”
Furthermore, Alvin noted that buyer-level insights eliminate hours of guesswork and accelerate prospecting, messaging, and understanding a prospect’s timeline.
Most intent solutions deliver account-level intent but lack buyer-level insights. They identify accounts (or accounts and locations), but do not usually indicate the individual behind the activity. Furthermore, other intent solutions capture their intent from one primary touch point – Pageviews.
“The basis for 99.9% of all intent data on the market comes directly from pageviews. Sans INTENTIVE, these solutions curate these data sets based upon this behavior, which lasts seconds, if not milliseconds, long,” expounded Steiert. “These pageviews are then referenced against historical baselines at the IP address and company domain. Effectively, every single existing intent vendor (thanks in large part to Bombora’s mostly commodified status sets) offers the same level of insights as their competitors.”
However, NetLine offers a broader array of buying activity that includes analyst reports, demo requests, disclosed areas of interest, event attendance, and confirmed projects.
“The age-old questions for anyone in sales are: 1. Who do I call next? and 2. What should we talk about?”, said Heinz Marketing President Matt Heinz. “Buyer-level intent data answers both of those questions.”
The baseline INTENTIVE license includes three explorers, corresponding to three targeted intent categories with up to 25 topics per explorer. Explorers can have multiple audiences for segmentation (e.g., size, industry, geography) and email notification.
Keywords are tied to topics, but free-form keyword selects won’t be available until the V2 release.
The Explorer Dashboard displays buyer and account trendlines, accounts with buyer activity, and buyer-confirmed projects. The dashboard is displayed immediately after defining an explorer and uniquely loads historical intent data for immediate review and actioning.
Fortino noted that other intent platforms typically take 45-60 days to curate data for optimal use.
Confirmed Projects were initially sold as NetLine Intent Discovery, but that product was transitioned to a core feature within INTENTIVE.
NetLine collects first-party project data as readers register for and consume content. NetLine “intercepts those users, asks them a very short survey about their pain points, their urgency to address those pain points, challenges that they have, and most importantly, the timeline to invest in correcting those things.”
The Account Activity dashboard is filterable by function, level, and firmographics. Users may drill down to any account to see who is displaying intent and the nature of their activity. Saved filters can be set as daily email alerts.
Users can drill down from Accounts to Buyers or the reverse.
While buyer-level intelligence is provided, NetLine does not display PII beyond customer content interactions. Fortino noted that sales teams already have other vendors for contact data (e.g., ZoomInfo, Dun & Bradstreet, Clearbit), but they are not providing buyer-level intent.
“This just comes back to permission data use. I know a lot of vendors love to throw in this idea of recommended contacts where they’re really just using ZoomInfo data,” explained Fortino. “We may do that, but honestly, it’s a bit disinteresting again because it’s just commoditized data sets that everyone has access to.”
Fortino’s near-term focus is building connectors with other platforms. At launch, Salesforce is natively supported, but others will soon follow.
There is currently a waitlist for INTENTIVE access. NetLine is offering a 14-day free trial.
Pricing is similar to existing account-level intent providers but obviously delivers buyer-level insights. The license includes three explorers, unlimited seats, and the Salesforce app.
Fortino argued that the unlimited seats are a “strong differentiator when you’re evaluating existing solutions,” particularly at enterprise accounts with many users.
- GZ Consulting