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Inbound Success Podcast

What do the most successful inbound marketers do to get great results?

You’ve heard the stories about companies using inbound marketing to dramatically increase sales, grow their business, and transform their customer relationships, but not everyone who practices inbound marketing knocks it out of the park.

If you want to know what goes into building a world class inbound marketing campaign that gets real, measurable results, check out the Inbound Success podcast. Every week, host Kathleen Booth interviews marketing folks who are rolling up their sleeves, doing the work, and getting the kinds of results we all hope to achieve.

The goal is to “peel back the onion” and learn what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do to really move the needle with your inbound marketing efforts. This isn’t just about big picture strategy – it’s about getting actionable tips and insights that you can use immediately in your own marketing.

Mar 23, 2020

What is buyer intent data and how are marketers using content-level buyer intent data to get incredible inbound marketing results?

This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Chief Revenue Officer Ed Marsh breaks down the topic of buyer intent data, and specifically talks about how contact-level buyer intent data works, and how marketers can use it to get better marketing and sales results.

Highlights from my conversation with Ed include:

  • Ed defines intent data as "the collection of signals that indicate that somebody may be in market ready to buy your product or service."
  • While it is a relatively new term, we all have intent data available to us.
  • There are three kinds of intent data. First party data is what we have through the analytics software we use (ex. HubSpot). Second party comes from companies that sell data they gather through their own platforms. Third party data is collected from throughout the internet.
  • Most intent data providers give you company-level data. provides contact-level data which specifies exactly which individuals are taking high intent actions and what their contact information is.
  • Company-level data can be used by sales teams to determine which accounts to target, whereas contact-level data can be used to create highly targeted marketing campaigns.
  • With Google banning third party cookies, many intent data providers (particularly those who offer second-party data, will no longer be able to offer their data.
  • One way to use intent data is in paid ad campaigns, and specifically for the creation of custom audiences.
  • Another way is to trigger targeted email marketing drip campaigns or sales outreach sequences.
  • Regardless of how you're using the data, the key is to have a way to unify all of that information and clean it up so it can be used correctly in your campaigns. That is where having some sort of customer data platform (CDP) can be useful.
  • Ed says that the best way to get started with intent data is to focus on existing customers (for upsells and cross sells) and then on opportunities already in the pipeline, to see if you can close them faster. 

Resources from this episode:

Listen to the podcast to learn more about contact-level buyer intent data and how you can begin to use it now to get better marketing and sales results.


Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast.

I'm your host, Kathleen Booth, and this week my guest is Ed Marsh who is the chief revenue officer of Welcome, Ed.

Ed Marsh (Guest): Thank you very much, Kathleen. Great to be back with you.

Kathleen: You’re one of the very, very few people who has been on this podcast twice.

Ed: Well, it's a pleasure and an honor.

Kathleen: It's less than five. I don't know the exact number, but it's definitely less than five. It's a small and exclusive club.

Ed: As successful as your podcast has been, you're north of 100 episodes now, right?

Kathleen: Oh yeah, it's like ... I think I'm around 130+ episodes.

Ed: That's really neat.

Kathleen: I have surprised myself. Yeah, it's great. I feel like now I'm one of those people who's competitive enough with my own self that now I can't stop.

Ed: Both ...

Kathleen: It's great. No, I'm excited to have to back, and you are back here really representing a completely different company,, which I don't think existed. Either that or it was like the kernel of a company when we first spoke, the first time I interviewed you.

Ed: Right.

About Ed Marsh and

Kathleen: Let's start with kind of a re-introduction to my audience.

For those who either didn't hear you the first time around or heard you the first time around but aren't familiar with what you're working on now, could you talk a little bit about who you are, what you do, and what is?

Ed: Sure, absolutely.

We know each other, obviously, from the HubSpot community, the Inbound community, and have been kind of colleagues as agencies in that world for a number of years.

In the context that we originally spoke, I was really working in that agency role but not as an agency consulting for middle market industrial manufacturers. But of course in the context of all of this inbound marketing work, inbound has evolved. It's not a binary world where outbound is evil like they used to say.

No, the marketing takes all of these pieces. It takes inbound, it takes outbound, it takes paid, it takes great sales enablement, it takes all this stuff rolled together.

And one of the pieces that I began to roll into it several years ago was intent data, and it was very immature at the time. It's evolved quite a bit, but it's really through the realization that marketing needs to be approached holistically for most businesses in this hyper-competitive, hyper-content saturated world that we're in, every company needs every tool, and they need to use it really effectively and intelligently both strategically and tactically.

So against that background, I began working with a classmate of mine, actually from our mutual alma mater from Johns Hopkins that had worked on substantially developing and improving an algorithm for a very different approach to intent data than much of what was out there.

Through that work I then began selling it and experimenting with it, and it's been substantially refined over the last several years.

That algorithm is at the core of the business, and we've also incorporated some other elements like platform CDP in order to help companies fully exploit their full data stack and other stuff.

That's kind of how I got to where I am today and why we're talking in this role.

What is buyer intent data?

Kathleen: That's so cool. I suspect that while most listeners of the podcast are pretty advanced, intent data's still a pretty new topic. I don't want to assume anything, and therefore can you just start by two to three sentences, I know this is going to be tough, can you explain what intent data is? Not necessarily what you guys do but what intent data is.

Ed: Sure. So what's really interesting about intent data is that most companies already have it and they don't realize it. Because there's this new term that we've put on it. Intent data is the collection of signals that indicate that somebody may be in market ready to buy your product or service.

So that could be visiting with you at an event or a trade show. It could be agreeing to have a meeting with you. In the common lexicon or parlance, it often is online activities like engaging with content, engaging with a competitor, social follows, and stuff like that.

How is different

Kathleen: Great. And there are a whole host of companies that have sprung up really in the last, I would say, two years that are calling themselves intent data companies.

You mentioned that your algorithm and your approach is a little bit different. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Ed: Sure. There's a broad spectrum of companies that say intent data, some of which are really static databases. Some are visitor identification.

So if an unknown visitor comes to your site, you can use reverse IP lookup to figure out what the company is.

Some are selling account level data that's sourced through different means including DSP or bid stream data from programmatic advertising. Some through publishing co-ops.

There's first party data which is what companies have themselves that you collect through HubSpot.

Second party data is like TechTarget sell which is based on their own publishing platform.

And third party data, which is collected, supposedly or theoretically, everywhere else on the internet, although it's often from a small collection of sites.

Kathleen: Now, I have a lot of questions. So in your case, what makes special, different, unique?

Ed: So intent data is contact level intent data which is quite unique.

There's a lot of companies out there that sell account level data. In other words, we can't tell you who the person is. We just can tell you there's been a bunch of people from IBM that are taking such-and-such a kind of action.

There are companies that take account level data and then append to it their best guess of who the contacts might be based on who you tell them you'd love to talk to.

You know, if you want to sell to CMOs and they see somebody that meets your ideal customer profile from a firmographic perspective taking action, then guess what? They're going to append the CMO's name, and you're going to get all excited, and you're going to think, "This is exactly what I want."

What we do is we actually tell you who the person was that was taking action, and we give you their contact details, and we give you contextual information around the action they took.

So not just engagement with some kind of an opaque topic, the taxonomy of which is completely mysterious, but rather we say, "They took action with an article online that had, at its core, this key term that we know is important to you."

And because of that, then you can gauge where people are in the buying journey, the problem they're trying to solve, the outcome they're trying to achieve that competitors are talking to.

You pair that with the information embedded in the job title like seniority and function with the firmographic details, and suddenly you have this really rich understanding of what's going on for the individual. And then of course when there's multiple people from the same company for the account and for that 10.2 person buying team that challenger talks about.

Kathleen: Yeah, you're hitting on something that I think is really interesting. Because I started really looking at intent data probably a year and a half ago, and that's the kind of cool thing about the podcast is I get to talk to a lot of different people, I learn about a lot of different vendors, and specifically marketing technology vendors.

Now I'm in a role as VP of marketing at Attila Security where I'm looking at, "What should my tech stack be?"

And I've done this in a couple of different places now, looked at, reviewed intent data vendors. And I would say my perception, coming at this as an outsider, is that the big names that you hear most often are the ones that supply the account level data, as you described. I'm not going to name names, but that's basically what it is. Company x, lots of activity, they're looking at things. But you don't really know who in company x it is, and they market it as an account based marketing tool.

So you're already doing account based marketing, you're already targeting companies. We are going to tell you which companies are showing the most interest. Which I can see the value of, but I'm actually really interested in this contact level stuff.

Because yes, I think ABM has a lot of value, and it's something that I'm going to be working on, but I just can't help but think nothing beats knowing who the exact person is. You know, because at the end of the day that's the person who's either going to champion you or make the decision to buy.

So, it's interesting to me that more companies haven't gone contact level data, and I'm curious if you can comment onto why that is.

Why most intent data providers don't offer content-level buyer intent data

Ed: Yeah, so there's a bunch of different reasons. Some of the big name companies started out unable to deliver contact level data and explained that as a technical impossibility or an illegality. And so there's some perception in the market that that's the case, neither of which are correct.

A lot of the large name data is now sold just as an embed in other software, like with ABM software and/or with a contact database. And so it's just really easy for somebody to pay an extra 30 or 40 or 60 grand a year and get the data that just kind of flows. Of course-

Kathleen: It's a lot of money, too, like, some of those add ons that you're talking about.

Ed: Right. I think the other issue with intent data, of course if we have contact level intent data, it's easy to look, just on a pivot table for instance, at how many contacts from the same company are taking action.

So you still get the account level insight, but it's a twofer. Not only are you getting that, but you're also getting the contact level insight.

I think that one of the places that some companies have struggled with it is to just say, "Okay, I want to take this list of contacts, and I want to start blasting emails at them using, you know, SalesLoft or Outreach sequences”. And that's not all that effective.

The companies that are really effective with it are the ones that take a more thoughtful approach whether it's in marketing, in sales, or both.

So when you look at account level data, the reason that often succeeds with a sales team is because the sales team says, "Wow, there's something happening. I got to figure it out," and they start working contacts until they figure out where it is.

And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether they created the project through their diligence or uncovered it, nevertheless it's associated with intent data.

On the other hand, marketing departments can take that contact level intent data, create custom audiences with it, for instance, and then do really remarkably focused and tailored paid ads to very specific audiences, again drawing on all of the contextual detail of stage and buying, journey, problem to be solved, etc. with a really tight sort of a messaging matrix.

So to answer your question, from a marketing perspective, contact level data can mean more work. It's not as easy as just having Triblio tell you, "Okay, focus on these accounts."

I mean, it takes additional work, particularly if you're going to use it for other use cases like event marketing in addition to demand gen. Market research is a great application for it.

So you know, I think part of its awareness. Part of it is the initial perception that there was some impediment to using it, and part of it is the fact that there's more work to make it effective.

How will Google's ban of third party cookies impact intent data?

Kathleen: Now, I'm going to ask what might be a dumb question, but I've been reading in the news lately about how Google is going to ban and/or phase out the ability for people to use third party cookies. And I'm still trying to wrap my head around what that means.

But it seems to me, this is where it might be a dumb question, that it's going to affect some of these intent data providers, particularly the ones that are looking at leveraging data coming in through ad platforms. Is that correct?

Ed: Yeah, I think it's not a dumb question at all, and it's very perceptive of you. That's precisely correct.

If you look at one of the very common methods of collection of intent data, it's based on programmatic advertising platforms. It's bid stream data, it's collected through a DSP, and what's interest is that-

Kathleen: What's a DSP?

Ed: Honestly, I don't even know what the acronym stands for. I'm going to embarrass myself.

Kathleen: No, I mean I have no idea either. I was like, "Oh my god, am I just the only one who doesn't know?"

Ed: What's interesting is that many of these providers have actually, going to set up a DSP without the intention of brokering and placing ads. But so they have the insight into what's happening into the market.

Kathleen: Interesting.

Ed: Who has space available, what kinds of topics, and who wants to put ads onto those pages. So it gives them some insight they've been able to build their intent data collection on, but that's predicated, to a large extent, on third party cookies, which of course Apple and Firefox did away with a while ago, but Google has announced a couple weeks ago they'll do on Chrome as well.

Kathleen: Ah oh, by the way, I'm going to confess I did just Google DSP. It's a demand side platform.

Ed: There you go.

Kathleen: "Buyers of digital advertising use to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts." I had to look that one up, so you learn something new every day.

Ed: Perfect. There are some alternative methods that companies in that space use.

They try to call it fingerprinting and some other things, but they're just not effective.

And so you're absolutely right. Although the sunset deadline I think is two years off, there are, in this crazy intent industry, there are companies demanding three year contracts right now including some that are selling DSPs.

So how'd you like to be a company that signed a three year contact for that about a month ago?

Kathleen: Yeah, and your provider's going to basically become obsolete, or they're going to have to figure out a different way to do it.

So okay. Well, thank you for clarifying that. I didn't want to take us on too much of a tangent, but it's been on my mind. Understanding third party cookies is ... it's complicated.

Ed: It is, for sure.

Kathleen: So I probably need to do a whole separate episode just on that so that people can understand it, including myself.

But in the meantime, so we're talking about contact level intent data, which in your case is not going to be affected if I understand correctly by Google's ban of third party cookies.

Ed: That's correct.

How are marketers using content-level buyer intent data?

Kathleen: So now I'd like to shift gears and really talk about, "What does this look like in action?" Like, how are marketers using this information to improve their inbound marketing results? Do you have some examples you can talk us through?

Ed: Sure, absolutely. I think that there's really three phases.

One is building a full data stack. The second is doing proper analysis and segmentation, and then the third is doing orchestration.

And if you look at kind of the maturity of the market right now, there's very few that are at the orchestration stage. There's not all that many that are doing the analysis and segmentation correctly, just because the limits of the existing martech stack that they have.

But let's kind of, if you're up for it, let's work through those three kind of quickly.

Kathleen: Let's do it.

Ed: Chunk each one out.

All right, so first you've got to have ... I shouldn't say it that way. It is beneficial, and as the process matures more companies will have a full data stack. So that means first party data, not just what you're observing of known users on your site, you know people that convert forms and come back and look at the pages, but anonymous first party data, who from companies is visiting your site that you don't know who they are, and then first party data from elsewhere in the organization.

For instance, information on in-app usage and transactional information. There's all kinds of first party data that companies just partition.

They think, "Well, that's customer service," or, "That's operations," or whatever but really is important to understand that entire customer life cycle.

I think it's also important for companies to think of intent data across the customer life cycle, not just as a prospecting and demand gen sort of tool. Because it's got use cases across.

But also in that full data stack, you might want some second party data from a couple publishers that are particularly strong in your industry that own those relationships. They have opted in readers and subscribers that have some really important insights into what's happening on their platform in that space and that subject domain that's important to you.

And then third party data. And typically a couple sources of third party data.

A great example in the martech space is G2 Crowd which doesn't give you a lot of signal but certainly gives you some important signal.

You mesh that with something like our data, and now you've got a really interesting perspective.

Those then, you've got to roll them up, properly unify them, cleanse them, and then you start to enrich it. And you enrich perhaps the technographic information or firmographic information.

Or you understand about parent companies, and child companies, and how all of that's fitting together, you do some validation: validate email addresses, validate physical addresses because there's more marketing being done B to B with direct mail again, now.

So all of this stuff has to kind of be rolled up into a very accurate, single customer view.

That's one of the places that current marketing technology tends to fall a little bit short. Although there's great synchronization in many cases, there's not a lot of great unification of the data, and so that becomes a barrier sometimes for companies.

They've got a great stack with Salesforce and Marketo and Drift and all these important pieces that fit together, but they're just not quite able to get it all rolled up into one very accurate, properly enriched, properly unified view.

So then that sometimes is a barrier to the second step which is the analysis and segmentation.

So think about it, for instance, if you had ... You talk a lot about ABM so you probably know Kerry Cunningham from Sirius and now Forrester that talks about second lead disease. You know, Kerry makes the point that we all get really excited about the first lead from a new logo, and that's great.

The second lead from that same logo comes in, and people say, "Oh, that's cool. That's interesting, but we already have one. We're already working it."

His point is that second one is the one that ought to get people excited because now you know that there's something more going on. It's not just some person, a crackpot, doing research on their own, but there's some sort of organizational activity.

Kathleen: Right. There's water cooler talk happening at that company.

Ed: Exactly. So let's extend that. Let's say that you have one or two people that convert on your site, known people in your first party data.

Let's say that one of them has a demo, you know gets the freemium version of it and uses a lot of it, and one of them gets the freemium version and doesn't use it much.

Let's say that there's two or three people from the same company that hit your site a number of times but don't identify themselves.

So you know there's additional activity in the company.

Now, let's say in third party data you see some of those same people plus other members that you know would be part of that buying team, in other words the right roles and functions are in place so you know there's a project, and you see them engaging with competitors, engaging with industry news. You can see where each of them is in the buying journey.

And so now you've got a really interesting understanding of what's happening across that whole company. You've kind of validated the fact there is a project. You understand the roles that you see engaged. You understand the roles that aren't engaged or that you don't see and what your sales people need to focus, etc.

But if you think about it, if you try to do that in a lot of the marketing automation software, you can't do it. I mean, even stepping from the contact level to the account level in many cases is a little bit tricky. It's not really a relational database the way you need it to be with most of the marketing automation platforms in order to do that sort of thing.

There's two pieces. One is the technology piece, and the other is kind of the intellectual rigor and curiosity that's necessary to go through and say, "Let's build scenarios that really would tell us it's likely, it's sure," however you want to chunk them — MQL, SQL, whatever the case may be, and that's that analysis and segmentation then that gets really, really interesting and where companies, I think, in general are not yet hitting that point.

They're kind of taking the list and saying, "Let's see who's on our target account list, and let's follow up with them," as opposed to using that list as a way to inform the target account vessel.

Then the third piece, once you've done that, if you've got it all properly segmented, including micro segmentation so that the messaging is appropriate for the function, the seniority, the stage in the buying journey, competitors they've talked to, pages they've been on your site, all of that kind of stuff. Then you want to orchestrate, and you want to pull in your entire martech stack.

So you want to automatically launch sequences from Outreach if that's what you're doing. You want to automatically add people to the right custom audience for a social advertising. You want to automatically add people to the right segment and address so when they come, they have exactly the right customized chatbot experience when they come.

And you want all this stuff to happen automatically and at scale. And then further, you also want the automation to push the dots close enough together for the sales team.

You want to suggest to the BDR, "Here's what we've observed. Here's what we infer from that. Therefore here's the template we think you should use and the enablement content we think you should use."

You want to let the sales person or the AE know if they're in the midst of an opportunity and you see engagement with a competitor, then you want to make sure that they're clear not only that it happened but give them some context of the role and whether that person is also part of their deal or a new person. Just help them understand how to react to it.

Because there's so much information flowing at people, it's really important to give them that context so they can seize it and action it.

So I've been rambling, but I think those are kind of the three key areas to fully put intent data to work.

Who is having success using intent data?

Kathleen: It's incredibly clear to me that this holds amazing potential for marketers from so many different standpoints, and you covered a lot of them. You know, in terms of ad targeting, in terms of key account selection, helping your sales team, your BDR, your SDR, etc. do their job better, but it also sounds really complicated.

So is there anybody out there that you've seen in the wild who's really doing this well? Like, who's really using this information well and getting results with it?

Ed: There are some companies that are doing it, and it's places where they've had one person that kind of really seized it, applied creative energy to it, saw the opportunity, and grew with it.

I understand absolutely your point about it sounding complicated.

On the other hand, if we were to talk about doing digital marketing really well, that's really complicated too. And so there's always layers. I mean, you can start easy and then gradually progress into it as the organizational maturity and resources satisfy that.

Kathleen: Yeah. Have you seen any success stories like where somebody's really been able to point to intent data and say, "That was the thing that helped me double my results or land that key customer"?

Ed: Yeah, so we're not at liberty to discuss any of our client data and success stories because of nondisclosures.

There's a lady named Amanda Bone who spoke at the B2B Marketing Exchange in Boston actually in conjunction with TechTarget talking about what they've done with a very robust intent data program, and I think the story that she told really illustrates the way you have to move into it progressively, you have to be very clear that you've got these cascading goals that you want to achieve.

You're not going to try to do everything immediately, but also she understood the importance of having some platform that would help to integrate the data from different sources so that it wasn't just, you know, I got to look here, and then look there, and then look there, and hope that I remember it but rather pulled it together into some sort of a single view that made it actionable both for marketing and for sales.

Unifying your intent data for use in marketing campaigns

Kathleen: And what kinds of platforms do that?

Ed: A couple of the intent data companies have very limited platforms that they may integrate anonymous first party data. In other words put some sort of an IP address lookup tool on your site in conjunction with third party data and provide a roll up of that, but the right answer I believe, and the direction that we're headed with clients, is to use a full blown CDP, to have the full capability of unification and the full capability of orchestration.

Getting started with contact-level buyer intent data

Kathleen: And so if you were somebody listening and you're thinking, "This sounds really cool. I would love to dip my toe in the water," but they're maybe intimidated by the full blown picture of, "Here's what it takes to really knock it out of the park," how would you suggest a marketer get started with this?

What are some smaller things they could do to maybe have some initial wins and demonstrate success to, of course, as every marketer needs to think about like get that organizational buy in.

Ed: Sure, absolutely. One of the really cool things about intent data is if marketers use it well, they can foster the alignment that seems so elusive between departments.

So I look for quick wins with your partners on the success team, and that means feeding them signal from current customers and providing some training so that they understand how to interpret that signal.

But if you see a current customer that's taking action with competitors or researching stuff, it's also a good upsell cross sell opportunity.

So turn reduction, upsell, cross sell. So you can win with a success team pretty easily that way.

With the sales team, I would discourage you from trying to start pushing them a bunch of new leads.

I would focus on pending opportunities and target accounts and push them that signal.

Now, you're going to have to provide a little bit more coaching and training in that case. And so you might want to phase it in gradually because nothing would be worse than a clumsy salesperson calling up and saying, "I thought you said you were going to buy from us. Why are you talking to the competitor?" That's not the way to use the data. So you want to make sure you train to avoid that.

In terms of the marketing function itself, two easy places to start.

If you're running pay ads, then develop some parallel paid ad programs with custom audiences, very tailored messaging. That's a relatively easy lift if you already have a paid ads program in place.

If you're not doing any paid ads then that's going to feel like a project. So that's a judgment call.

The second is to monitor events. If you're in an industry where a competitor of yours sponsors an event, what a fabulous opportunity to understand who the people are engaging with that event and target them with outbound sales.

If you have industry wide events then do the same sort of a thing, but it's not specifically for targeting customers. It's obviously to create a base of leads for paid ads, for salespeople outreach, and maybe even in some cases if you're going to have a salesperson at an event and you're not investing a ton of money in exhibiting there. Use that to help them schedule appointments before they go.

So those are a couple easy marketing use cases as well as a couple easy ways to incorporate it with sales, and success, and build alignment and buy in.

Kathleen: Yeah, it's interesting that you mentioned events because I've thought about that. Even if you are exhibiting, if you're going to spend the money to have a booth at an event, most events these days don't give out their attendee lists.

Ed: Right.

Kathleen: And so, you know, marketers are left kind of scrambling with, "Well, how are we going to drive people to the booth?" Because you can send out a big blast, but you don't know that the people getting it are actually planning on attending, but if you can use intent data to narrow down your marketings to people who are going to be going to the event, then you can use a combination of advertising.

You could ... there's all kinds of things you can do to really get in front of them before that event.

Ed: Absolutely. For sure. And that investment is huge. That's where a lot of companies' marketing investment is going, but there's applications for the intent data before the event, during, and after.

And of course there's also applications for event organizers for companies th

at are organizing their own event and then opening it up to kind of parallel players. That intent data gives you ability as an event organizer to monetize for your other exhibitors. Because you can then say, "Hey, look. You're in such a such a space. We will, as part of the event package if you buy this add on, we will provide informational people that we see engaging that we believe are going to be attending the event that are particularly interested in what you're doing."

So there's additional value as an organizer to monetize when you're exhibiting.

Is buyer intent data GDPR compliant?

Kathleen: Now, I'm sure that there are some marketers who are listening, and one of the questions that they'll have is, "What implications does GDPR have for all of this?" Because we're talking about contact level data, both data that you might be harvesting as the marketer using intent data, but you also just mentioned like event organizers sharing that data with others.

So can you just talk about that for a moment?

Ed: Show me two attorneys that will give you the same answer about any GDPR topic.

I mean, we can certainly talk about it. There is no definitive answer. Every company has to have its own philosophy.

I can tell you that we have clients in the EU that run our data the way we normally provide it.

We also have clients in the EU and in the US that request that we mask certain fields in the data. So they get the job title, for instance, from which they can discern a lot of information, but they don't get the name and email address, and they still get most of the value out of it.

So those are things that each company has to decide.

The bottom line, we believe based on our understanding, is the data is entirely GDPR compliant as it. And because of how we harvest, what we're doing is we're watching people take action publicly online. So it's very much akin if you saw somebody comment on a blog post, on an article on Forbes or on a conversation on LinkedIn and you're a salesperson in the EU, there's nothing that prohibits you from figuring out who that person is, and reaching out, and contacting them saying, "It looks to me like this is of interest to you."

So I mean, that's the closest analogy to commonly accepted sales practice that describes the data and why it's acceptable.

Kathleen: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. You're right, it's a total gray area, but I appreciate you trying to clarify that.

Kathleen's two questions

Kathleen: So shifting gears, I have two questions I ask all of my guests. You've been down this road before, but we're going to do it again because some time has passed. So we'll see if your answers have changed.

Who do you think, either company or individual, is really kind of setting the example for what it means to do great inbound marketing these days?

Ed: And I can guarantee you my answer isn't changed because I don't remember what my answers were. So I would say to that, a company called Mosquito Squad. I don't know if you've ever heard of them.

Kathleen: Oh, yeah.

Ed: Where I live in New England, the mosquitoes are horrible in the summer, and I get tired of ... Basically, you can't go outside for part of the year.

So I got really fed up in hunting around, and they popped up, kind of typical inbound playbook, but then they have so fully integrated a helpful, and informative, and consultative approach throughout the process that made it easy to understand why to use them or what was involved and we ought to select them.

Then it made it really easy to understand once we did what the process was going to be.

Then they're really good about letting you know, "Okay, we're going to be there in 20 minutes. Okay, we're done. Here's what we did. Here's the invoice."

I mean, it's so well integrated that not only did it make it easy to find them and learn about the service, but it makes working with them really easy too.

Kathleen: Yeah, you're right about those mosquitoes in New England because I grew up in New Hampshire, and my mother used to go out to do yard work, and she literally would wear a hat that had a net that came down and like tucked into her shirt. It'd be like 90 degrees, and she'd be in long sleeves and long pants, and the pants would be tucked into her socks. It was just crazy.

Ed: Right.

Kathleen: So second question, getting off the mosquito topic, things change so quickly. This is a great example of that. Intent data, DSPs, most marketers really have trouble keeping up with all of it.

So how do you personally keep up with everything that's changing in the world of digital marketing?

Ed: Well, what I do specifically is not focus on inbound and digital marketing.

I try to watch business more broadly. With general business resources, about trends in the economy, I mean there's certainly some kind of advertising and marketing related blogs that I follow and newsletters that I get from Ad Age through some others.

I use a lot of Google Alerts around very specific kinds of terms because that way I'm not limited in hearing from the sources that I know about, but I'm discovering new sources as information becomes, and different perspectives become, available.

I think like most people, this is a pitch for yours, podcasts are a great way to just kind of parachute in, get some ideas, see where there's an interesting episode, listen to it. You can do it while you're doing other things. So those are a great tool.

Then the other thing that I do is follow a couple people, not so much because I'm so excited about the ideas they talk about but because I really love watching the way they create content and practice their craft.

So I learn from seeing how folks balance all the media, and produce a lot of content, and build social following, and I just appreciate the way they do it whether or not I agree with the message that they're espousing.

Kathleen: Can you name some names?

Ed: Well, having said that I may not agree with the message they're espousing I got to be careful, but I mean there's some prominent marketers in the Boston area that have very large followings, that have a loudly proclaimed opinion about a lot of different things, that I think sometimes it's a little bit superficial or vapid, but they do create a lot of great content across a lot of channels.

Kathleen: All right. With that caveat, come on I'm going to keep plugging. Who you got? Who you got?

Ed: I think Dave Gerhardt is really interesting to watch.

Kathleen: Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, you agree or disagree with anything he says, it's you can't disagree with the fact that he has successfully built a tremendous audience.

Ed: Right.

Kathleen: There's no two ways about it.

Ed: Right.

Kathleen: He actually gets mentioned a lot as a response to that first question I asked you.

Yeah. Cool. Well, that's all interesting, and any particular podcasts that you are really a fan of?

Ed: More general business ones. I love Business Wars.

I like listening to The Knowledge Project from Shane Parrish.

I like listening to some of the same ones that other people talk about, Joe Rogan where you get interesting perspectives from people of in depth interviews, history things. You know, Bonsai and all kinds of stuff. There's a lot of great podcasts out there.

Kathleen: Yeah. I always love hearing what other people are listening to because there are so many out there, and I wish I had 48 hours in every day to listen to podcasts. It's a great way to learn.

Ed: Like the numbers, if you compare the number of blogs to the number of podcasts, I don't remember what the numbers are, but there's like 3% the number of podcasts. So people that say that podcasting is already over the hill, I don't think that's the case.

Kathleen: No. Well, it better not be. Because I'm on episode 130+ and I plan to keep going, so.

Ed: You've got many more to go. Perfect.

How to connect with Ed

Kathleen: But then again, maybe that makes me an OG. I have no idea.

This has been fun, Ed. I appreciate it, and if somebody is listening and they want to reach out to you and ask a question about intent data, or they want to learn more about, what's the best way for them to do that?

Ed: They can email me at, or they can go to the website

You know what to do next...

Kathleen: Awesome. All right, I'll put those links in the show notes.

And if you are listening and you have not yet taken a moment and gone to Apple Podcasts and left the podcast a review, I'm going to ask you to do that today. It's how we get found by new people. We're 130+ episodes in as we talked about, and I would really appreciate it.

So if you're a regular listener in particular, take a minute and leave a review, and if you know somebody else who's doing kick ass inbound marketing work, tweet me @workmommywork because I'm always looking for new inbound marketers to interview.

Kathleen: That's it for this week. Thank you so much, Ed. This has been a lot of fun having you back for a second time.

Ed: Well thank you very much, Kathleen. I enjoyed it as well.