Bredin Report: Q&A: Why Industry Marketing to SMBs Works

In a Bredin Fastcast, our CEO Stu Richards talked with Vertical IQ’s vice president of strategic partnerships Paul Hock about the benefits of industry marketing to small and midsized businesses (SMBs). VerticalIQ delivers cloud-based, focused intelligence on 540+ unique industries to businesses of all sizes.

Paul Hock Vice President of Strategic PartnershipsHock offered insight on the power of having an in-depth understanding of your SMB prospects and customers.

STU RICHARDS: Why does marketing to SMBs by industry work so well?

PAUL HOCK: Industry-based insights let you be more strategic about who you should — and should not — go after from a marketing and sales standpoint. They also help you build better relationships by giving you the information you need to show businesses that you understand their unique challenges.

RICHARDS: How granular should you get when looking at industry classifications? For example, should you look at two- or six-digit federal North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes?

HOCK: Two-digit NAICS codes provide a broader level profile for industries such as manufacturing. At Vertical IQ, we spend a lot of time defining our profiles at the six-digit level to delve into more industries. This helps us find emerging industries. For example, we recently met with someone in gummy vitamin manufacturing — their business doesn’t fit into a current NAICS category, but it was new and growing.

RICHARDS: How many industries should a company focus on?

HOCK: Different organizations can manage targeting different numbers of industries. It’s more about targeting the right audiences. See which industries have high growth potential for your business and approach it that way.

RICHARDS: Is it important to customize your product or service to appeal to different industries?

HOCK: Moving away from a product/service focus to one that emphasizes the needs and challenges of your target fuels productive conversations with prospects and customers. What are their profit drivers? How has their business performed in the last year? What are their risks? If you understand the needs of their industry, you can present yourself as a strategic advisor. At the end of the day, people want solutions for their problems. Tailor what you offer to be that solution and you’ll have a strong value proposition.

RICHARDS: Is industry research part of creating those conversations?

HOCK: Yes. LinkedIn’s 2022 Global State of Sales report shows that 76% of top performers “always” do research before reaching out to prospects, compared to just 47% of other sellers. Research gives you insight to ask potential customers questions that are meaningful during the sales and marketing process. C-level executives at small businesses don’t have the time to tell you want keeps them up at night. They want to work with strategic partners who know the trends of their industry and can offer advice to keep their businesses on the right path.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use third-party research to learn which industries hold the most potential for your business.
  • Identify what aspects of your product or service are most important to each industry.
  • Identify what media in each industry your high-potential target uses and what type of messaging resonates with their needs.
  • Create case studies to showcase the benefits for each industry.
  • Equip your sales team with materials to help them articulate those benefits, including sales claim research.
  • Learn about tactics from industries outside of your own to adopt innovative tactics to engage your target.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content and social posts to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

Related Articles:

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.