Many security companies have discovered the wisdom of the vertical marketing of products and services. Vertical marketing is good for the purveyor and it is good for the customer for a number of reasons. Some companies’ products and services naturally fall into the vertical marketing framework such as those companies that cater exclusively to the healthcare industry, the food processing industry and the education industry. On the other hand those of us that provide security products and services often do so to a wide and varied spectrum of industries.
Companies and institutions have a right and the expectation that security vendors will make the effort to understand the nuances of their particular industry. Several months back I was privileged to attend the ASIS International’s Program for Security Executives at the Wharton School. This program was easily one the most profound learning experiences of have ever had. Among other things this program increased our sensitivity to the points of view emanating from the C-Suites of corporations and institutions. Whether you are an in-house security manager or a security vendor of various products and services, the better you understand the C-Suite of the industry you are serving the more successful you will be. If we as security providers do not make the effort to understand the viewpoint form the other side of the desk, we will deservedly come up short.
You will note that a number of the members represented on this website adhere to the principal and goal of servicing vertical markets. My 30+ year business career continually teaches me of the benefits of pursuing vertical targeted markets. We have members who target the healthcare industry, security for churches, protective gear for security personnel, shopping malls and many more.
What are the benefits of pursuing vertical marketing strategies?
First and foremast, prospective customers appreciate that their vendors have made the effort to understand the intricacies of their particular business as opposed to vice versa. For example if your company provides video surveillance systems and you try to apply the same standards to your hospital prospects that you apply to your retail prospects, you’re in big trouble. Remember buying decisions are made on the basis of need. If you do not truly understand the real needs of your prospective customer, your chances for success are slim to none.
Take the time to learn the vertical markets you wish to pursue. Engage in conversations with industry specific security managers and ask questions and do more listening that talking. Most security directors do not appreciate being badgered at local ASIS meetings, but most do not mind responding to questions like: Tell me something about your business? How did you come to get into that industry? What are your biggest challenges?
Remember, security is a situational discipline. This means those who purvey security products and services, not only need to understand the vertical market they are calling on, but they must make the effort to understand what differentiates the business they calling on from other entities in the same general industrial category. No two shopping malls have the same needs. No two hospitals have the same security needs. No two manufacturing plants have the same set needs. In fact, given these examples, it is likely that the collective differences within a targeted vertical and greater than the collective similarities.
If you are interested in opening up new vertical markets, start out by attending industry specific trade association meetings and even consider joining some. Read industry specific trade journals. Keep your eye open of industry specific news stories. Find experts on this website and contact them for advice.
The message is clear: Jack of all trades, master of none, need not apply!
Let us hear your comments regarding vertical marketing. If you are on the receiving of security marketeers, do you favor giving time to those vendors who have taken the time and effort to understand your industry and the unique security challenges therein?