MarTech360 Interview With Jennifer Ross, Chief Marketing Officer at Intentsify

“As a marketer, you must gather and share market and buyer insights that present opportunities for the business, and socialize how buyer and customer needs are changing.”

Jennifer, can you tell us about your professional background and your current role at Intentsify?

I am a career-long marketer with over 30 years of experience in B2B marketing, which probably qualifies me for a blackbelt in transformation and change management! I began my career in marketing when the landscape was dominated by traditional methods such as cold calling, direct mail, and in-person meetings. I experienced the seismic shift of the digital age, with the advent of the internet and email marketing in the 1990s. By the early 2000s, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) gained prominence, enabling businesses to reach a global audience more effectively. Social media emerged as a powerful tool for engagement and networking in the late 2000s, while data analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) systems became essential for personalized marketing strategies. Now, in 2023, B2B marketing is characterized by AI-driven automation, and account-based marketing (ABM). It’s kept things exciting to say the least.

For a decade, I led the B2B Marketing Executive service at Forrester Research (previously SiriusDecisions), a global research and advisory firm that empowers the world’s leading marketing, product, and sales leaders to align with one another, execute with precision, and accelerate growth. My team and I acted as trusted personal advisors to leading global CMOs, providing actionable intelligence, transformative frameworks, and expert industry guidance. In turn, we equipped executives to modernize and elevate sales, marketing, and product performance, and deliver exceptional audience-centric go-to-market strategies. It provided me with a unique preview across hundreds of B2B organizations that provided me with many valuable insights about the innermost workings of the revenue generating functions in these organizations.

Currently, I am the CMO at Intentsify, the leading provider of B2B precision buyer intent data where I lead a team of extraordinary talented marketers who not only market our solutions, they also  serve as best-practice examples of how our customers can leverage buyer intent intelligence to fuel growth in their own organizations. Working for a company that sells a solution to B2B marketers gives us the opportunity to have direct influence and impact on our product vision and roadmap.

What does Intentsify do, and how does it differentiate itself from other companies in the same space?

Intentsify transforms the way B2B go-to-market (GTM) teams identify, prioritize, and engage target audiences to efficiently scale revenue.

Intentsify’s Intelligence Activation Platform combines the latest AI technologies with next-generation intent-derivation methods to deliver Precision Intent: the first and only intent data solution using natural language processing (NLP) to calibrate intent models precisely to your unique business offerings, messaging, and use cases, taking buyer intent beyond legacy keyword and topic methodologies.

Precision intent is the first and only intent data solution that provides signal visibility at the URL level, giving confidence in the validity of the data. It doesn’t just identify that there is intent, it reveals the source. Other intent data offerings on the market today lack visibility into the exact URLs being consumed and only leverage a limited number of intent sources, covering only a small fraction of all the research that companies perform during their path to purchase. Ultimately, the absence of these capabilities can skew intent-driven insights.

Intentsify enables customers to use buyer intent intelligence to inform digital programs that are more effective and efficient. A common use case for our clients is to integrate their intent-fueled content syndication and display programs into a holistic, synchronized program that is continuously optimized by performance data and changes in buyers’ research activities – enabling marketers to deliver the right messages to the right buyers at the right time.

 What are the key strategies and approaches you have found to be effective in driving growth and results in marketing over the years?

One of the key strategies that is enabling us to improve performance and drive growth is the implementation of the Forrester Revenue Waterfall. The B2B Revenue Waterfall orients our revenue driving functions around opportunities with associated buying groups, rather than leads and individuals. It has enabled us to get deeper insights into the buying group instead of focusing on potentially disconnected individual leads. The B2B Revenue Waterfall monitors each distinct stage within the opportunity process so we can more easily see the bottlenecks in the end-to-end revenue management process and address them quickly.

Fueling the Revenue Waterfall is our own precision buyer intent intelligence, which is what I would highlight as another key strategy.  We aren’t just relying on individual engagement levels, we’re factoring in intent intelligence at the account level. That intelligence informs next actions at every stage so we can meet our buyers where they are in their decision making process to deliver the right content at the right time. We’re fueling our entire GTM process with intent intelligence and that is really enabling us to maximize our investments and create efficiencies, which is so essential in this economic environment.

Also Read: MarTech360 Interview With Tom Cheli, Chief Executive Officer at Frequence

What are the key advantages of utilizing next generation precision intent data in comparison to older forms of intent data, and how does it enable faster ROI?

Intentsify differentiates with a vision centered on predictive intent that rivals the pure data provider business model. It goes beyond keywords and topics to use the latest in AI Large Language Modeling to develop highly customized scoring models for each customer solution. It’s the only solution that can provide intent intelligence at a product/solution level, enabling customers to act with efficiency and precision. By leveraging these insights, marketers can develop highly personalized and effective campaigns that target accounts that are ready to buy with messages and content that best resonate (from social media to content to media spend)—ultimately accelerating engagement and increasing ROI.

How does Intentsify’s Content Syndication Program help bridge the gap between identifying key accounts and engaging decision makers, and what is the primary goal in the context of demand generation?

Knowing which accounting to prioritize is a great first step, but connecting and resonating with key decision makers at those accounts is what matters most for businesses looking to convert buyer intelligence into meaningful engagements. Our solutions help bridge this gap by:

  1. Generating intent qualified leads: Businesses are able to acquire contact information from decision makers at in-market target accounts who have requested to download their branded content.
  2. Maximizing media spend: There is no reason to burn through the budget purchasing incomplete, inaccurate, or duplicate leads. Every Intentsify-generated lead goes through a rigorous, multi-step process to ensure it’s valid and original and it aligns with all campaign parameters.
  3. Ensuring relevant engagements: Leveraging intent signals to select the right content and follow-up messages, not only creates a more meaningful buyer experience, it also accelerates pipeline and revenue creation.

Intentsify’s intent-driven Content Syndication Programs enables businesses to develop a unique targeting strategy based on specific needs. This is done by providing account-targeting criteria, including target account lists (TAL), persona characteristics, and lead-qualifying questions. Intentsify’s platform algorithm then scores and ranks all targeted accounts, ensuring the content syndication program only generates leads from accounts showing the highest level of relevant research activities.

Just because a target account is researching topics relevant to a business’ products and services doesn’t mean all their offices are in market to buy. Intentsify’s solutions ensure leads only come from specific locations showing strong intent signals. Businesses are able to understand how accounts are progressing through their buyer’s journey by accessing up-to-date intent signals after leads have been delivered. Then, they are able to determine which nurture paths and follow-up messaging to use with each lead and target account.

With the right buyer-intelligence and the resources to act upon them, businesses can drive and nurture leads through the marketing funnel, ultimately leading to conversions and revenue.

What advice would you give to other marketers who are looking to make a significant impact in their organizations and drive growth through their marketing efforts?

It might sound cliche, but it is truly essential to put the customer at the center of everything you do. Aligning the revenue engine on a shared view of the customer and maintaining a focus on delivering greater value to customers is the key to improving performance and growth.

As a marketer, you must gather and share market and buyer insights that present opportunities for the business, and socialize how buyer and customer needs are changing. The CMO and the marketing function can help lead the organization in response to changing market and buyer dynamics that can accelerate growth.

What is the biggest problem you or your team is solving this year?

The greatest opportunity my team has in the second half of this year and in 2024 is to apply  the insights from the revenue waterfall we implemented in the first half of 2023 to our go-to-market strategies. We will be monitoring account intent scores from our own data along with individual engagement scores to test multiple approaches for increasing engagement and conversions. As part of the approach, we are moving our BDR engine from sales into marketing, so we must ensure a seamless transition.

Like other organizations, we’re also being asked to do more with fewer resources. We are currently implementing some agile methodologies to our marketing efforts to improve operational efficiencies.

Is there anything that you’re currently reading, or any favorite books that you’d recommend?

Lately, I have been educating myself on Generative AI. Not only because what we do at Intentsify is based on the latest in Large Language Modeling, but also because I believe marketing will play a key role in helping organizations with the transformation that advancements in AI will require. My latest kindle download is “Impromptu: Amplifying Our Humanity Through AI” by Reid Hoffman with GPT-4. He offers readers a travelog of the future – exploring how AI, and especially Large Language Models like GPT-4, can elevate humanity across key areas like education, business, and creativity.

Thanks, Jennifer!

Jennifer Ross is CMO of Intentsify, a B2B technology company that delivers next generation precision buyer intent data. Jennifer empowers marketing, sales, and customer success leaders with accurate and predictive customer and market insights that accelerate alignment and revenue growth with powerful integrated technology, data, and programs that activate dynamic, future-proof go-to-market (GTM) strategies. A leader in the space, Intensify is the only company in the market to offer precision intent, the intent data solution that uses the latest Artificial Intelligence technologies to calibrate intent models precisely to a business’s unique and evolving needs.

Delivering and activating proprietary, next-generation precision intent data, Intentsify’s Intelligence Activation Platform identifies companies exhibiting research behaviors directly related to your business solutions, pinpoints where they are in the buying process, surfaces the issues they care about most, and enables you to engage identified companies, quickly and effectively.

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