Thinking Outside the Box to Identify Niche B2B Vertical Markets
Your pipeline can suffer if your company isn't doing enough to scout new markets. Even if you’re currently enjoying a season of high growth and opportunities, your company’s fortunes can take a sharp turn if your anchor loses funding, goes out of business, or needs to scale back its budgets.
Your sales and marketing teams need to have a queue of ideas and actionable plans at the ready, so you can continue to drive business even during dry spells.
Some companies get caught in a groove, repeatedly pitching their products and services to the same types of business. But you can break into entirely new verticals by exploring new leads, demonstrating values, and basically thinking outside of the box.
In psychology, there’s a concept known as “functional fixedness,” which refers to the human tendency to believe that a tool works only in a certain way. Believing that your products and services can serve just the needs of a few small markets is a limited perspective.
Start branching out by conducting research on prospective customers at other locations, demonstrating the value of your products and services in new markets, and listening to audience feedback.
One of the first things you can do to identify new opportunities is to start creating detailed business profiles of the clients you work with from here on out. Play close attention to the details and ask meaningful questions.
If possible, visit your business clients on site to see how your products and services can streamline their processes. Interview them about what their precise needs are and propose solutions to problems they might not have identified yet.
Take thorough notes regarding every follow-up phone call and briefing. Creating profiles of your clients based on all the above information can help you identify needs that have not been immediately apparent.
Once you have these business client profiles written down, start analyzing them for trends. Do the majority of your clients share similar needs that your business can meet?
Are any of these overarching issues shared by other markets outside your current client pool? If so, then start contacting companies within those new markets.
Start small and attend a few conferences in this particular industry. For example, if you’re exploring mobile casino markets, then it’s vital for your company to make an appearance at the annual ICE Totally Gaming event, which focuses on international casino regulations, cybersecurity, and customer retention.
This can be an excellent way to learn more about a new industry's needs. Contact the individuals who work with professional guilds and student organizations within this industry. Before you know it, your company will have a wealth of leads in a new vertical.
Once you've identified new potential industries, go to work marketing to them. Begin to tailor your ad campaigns and ad content toward these new business demographics.
When your company is first breaking into a new vertical, you’ll need to offer a strong value proposition. Sometimes new audiences may find it difficult to connect your products and services with their needs.
You'll need to think outside of your own box, break out of functional fixedness, and find a creative way to address these hurdles. Some businesses will offer introductory specials or free trails to open up initial relationships.
Listen to your audiences
You don’t always have to rely on marketing analytics or campaign testing to pinpoint the needs of a new vertical. Sometimes you just need to start listening to what your current clients are saying.
Create an incentive program for referrals, so your loyal, existing clients can become brand promoters and bring in new traffic. These clients will often send businesses your way if they believe your B2B services are a good fit. If they introduce you to new market verticals along the way, then that’s all the better for your company.
Another way to listen to your audience for expansion ideas is to deploy customer satisfaction surveys. Pay close attention when your clients mention missed opportunities, needs, or praise.
This is a way to discover whether you’re leaving a potential vertical out of your marketing and product development plans.
Once you uncover leads in new vertical markets and attract business with your value proposition, get your relationship-building cycles started again. In the mobile casino example used earlier, you might be able to uncover needs -- such as increased network security or hardware performance -- that are unique to this vertical.
Increasing your reach as a company can feel like a major gamble. Strengthen your company’s bonds within the new vertical by creating detailed company profiles and getting a clear picture of the needs, wants, and opportunities within these markets.
Branching out to discover new vertical markets can improve your bottom line, ensure revenue stability, and increase brand recognition across industries.