Almost Timely News, 29 May 2022: Marketing Intent, Server-Side Tagging

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Almost Timely News, 29 May 2022: Marketing Intent, Server-Side Tagging

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What’s On My Mind: Marketing Intent

Here’s a question for you: what’s the intent of your marketing?

When we talk about things like SEO, we talk about search intent – what is the intent of the searcher? What information are they trying to find for which our content would be a good fit?

This is fairly straightforward, right? We understand generally where in the buying cycle a potential customer is based on their intent, on what needs they need to fulfill. We know the difference between someone searching for “coffee shop” and “coffee shop near me”.

That brings me back to the original question: what’s the intent of your marketing content when you’re making it?

Intent is everything. We as ordinary people are generally pretty good about detecting intent. We know, we feel when someone’s a little suspicious, when someone is behaving in a way that is more self serving than not. To be sure, things like bias can cloud our awareness but generally, you’re decent at knowing if someone rubs you the wrong way, aren’t you?

Have you ever been to a social function and talked to someone and something just felt off? Or that person made you uncomfortable even if you weren’t sure why? Maybe it was the words they were using or where their eyes were looking or the distance they maintained (or didn’t) between you? And later on you found out their intent wasn’t great, was too self centered?

That same intent, that same feeling can come through in any form of communication. Of course, in person where you have verbal and non verbal language, you have a lot more data to perceive, but even in regular written copy, there’s enough to start sensing intent – and when what’s being said doesn’t match the intent of the sender.

Consider the average sales message. So many sales messages come across and shady and disconcerting because we perceive that the salesperson on the other end is trying to mask their intent – but their intent is clear. “Hey Chris, just touching base…” and “Hey Chris, wanted to see if there was any interest in…”

We know what the actual intent is, right? It really should say, “Hey Chris, I’d like to sell you something…” but it doesn’t. And so we learn very quickly to distrust any of this kind of content, any of this kind of outreach. We know it’s a trap.

Every quarter or so when I send out my blatant sales pitch email to you, I get a ton of feedback from you. Lots of it is people thanking me for being honest with you, that the email is a sales pitch. There’s no guessing intent – my intent is clear and upfront, I want to sell you something. In turn, that means you don’t have to waste time or mental energy trying to figure out if it’s a sales pitch or not – and you can focus on whether or not you need what’s being pitched.

So how do you improve your marketing intent? How do you make your marketing better? The short answer is, where and when practical, separate out marketing and sales content. Sales content is and should be about selling. Buy this thing, enroll in this, request a demo, etc. There’s no ambiguity about it. Marketing content should be more about building awareness, engagement, and brand affinity – and that means less selling and a lot more helping, educating, and entertaining.

What about the inevitable protestations of stakeholders saying that marketing isn’t doing enough to promote sales? When you do incorporate sales content, be clear about it. Be obvious about it. Again, don’t make your audience think. In this newsletter, you’ll see things that are clearly and obviously advertisements, or things I want to promote. You don’t have to guess – I tell you quite boldly that I’m trying to sell you something. When you have to provide sales support in your marketing messaging, do the same. Make it clear to everyone what’s going on.

Treat sales content and marketing content like soda and beer. Each has its place. Each has its purpose. Each is good on its own. Don’t mix them together, because then no one is happy.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Search Console course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend reading and watching the piece on server-side tagging. It’s an essential concept to understand in modern marketing.

Skill Up With Classes

These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.



Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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Thank You Notes

These are the places you’ve had or mentioned me – on your podcast, on your blog, in your newsletter. Thank you!

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

If you’d like to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has set up a special portal, United24, to help make contributing easy.

Donate today to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund »

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

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Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • Social Media, June 2022, Montenegro
  • MarTech Conference, June 2022, virtual
  • MAICON, August 2022, Cleveland, OH – use code PENN150 for $150 off any conference ticket
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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