Many of our clients have indicated that vertical industries are an important target audience and most provide technology solutions specific to these industries. Still, we often see vertical industries (the most common being financial, government, healthcare and manufacturing) as a secondary or tertiary target audience in a broader marketing program. Why don’t more vendors create marketing programs that target vertical industries? Don’t they have the content assets specific to the industry(s)? No additional budget to target this audience? Or do they simply not know how to go about creating or implementing such a program? The answer is likely a combination of these issues. I am surprised however at the number of clients who have solutions for vertical industries yet little to no content created beyond data sheets or brochures.
I have had the opportunity to work with several clients on successful vertical marketing programs. The most important element is to have a well thought out content strategy that addresses the needs in the industry by guiding people through different phases of the buying cycle. An integrated approach works best, a mixture of white papers, case studies, demos/trials, analyst papers, webcasts, data sheets, etc. This variety provides useful information to the user whether he/she is in the early stages of research, consideration or product trial. Reviewing your competitors’ content can also help with determining any content gaps that need to be filled.
The same rules apply with marketing programs that target a broader audience. Seems like common marketing sense, right? Then why aren’t more vendors implementing vertical programs? My educated guess is that they do not have the bandwidth to create the specific content required. The content that targets the broader initiative is top priority. My suggestion is to create the vertical content simultaneously with the broader content. This way both sets of content will have format alignment while addressing different audiences. And, paying writers and/or analysts for one big job will be more efficient than several one-offs down the road. Once the right content is created, targeted promotion to select the industry should provide great results.