Initial IBA International research conducted with key B2B marketing decision-makers worldwide reveals over half of all surveyed businesses are actively exploring how to break into new markets this year.

The research report will be available next month – you can register here to be one of the first to receive it. It details budget changes, re-assessments of the deployment of PR Agencies, deterrents to entering new markets and much more.

The COVID pandemic has forced many businesses to pause and re-evaluate their operations, markets and brand presence as trade and growth took a nose-dive during 2020. Indeed, the IMF and World Bank have respectively forecast 4.9 and 5.2% contractions in global GDP.

While some business leaders have opted to cut back and consolidate, others have opted for a more ambitious strategy of identifying new areas to target with existing products and services. Although this new growth area is typically a new geography, our research shows that new industries hold equally rich opportunities and can be untapped sources of revenue.

Establishing a new industry presence need not cost the earth

No matter the industry of your choice, there will always be well-established, better resourced competitors eating up a large slice of market share. Your product may be a market leader, but if no-one is aware it exists and no journalists want to write about it, this is of little importance. Success in a new industry requires the establishment and consolidation of a footprint for your brand in the shortest possible timeframe.

Our research indicates that many companies see the opportunities but feel unable to take advantage at a time of squeezed marketing budgets. The good news is that it doesn’t require a six or seven figure media blitz – especially in the B2B space. A campaign that identifies hot topics, communicates relevant insights and positions your brand as an authoritative leader in a target industry can be achieved with as little as £2,000 per month, securing maximum mileage from relevant content.

Stop and review first – extract value from existing assets

Identify and assemble existing assets before ploughing ahead with net-new content creation. Performing a content audit will help evaluate which topics and aspects of brand messaging have already been extensively covered but just need a bit of a revamp to make them market ready, and those which require additional focus.

For example, are there assets sat gathering dust on a company website that relate to the new target industry? Are there high-level items of content that could be repurposed to drill down into a specific industry issue?

Forming this content up into an asset library will help eliminate silos between individual departments, regional offices and even language barriers. This content will always be on hand for future rapid contribution to feature articles, developing industry stories and journalist requests.

Take horizontal insights to the verticals

You need to target the right media. Horizontal content on high-level issues can be easily refreshed into a vertical piece with the addition of industry-specific stats or research, or including a news ‘hook’ relating to that particular field.

Using this ‘verticalization’ technique is one of the most powerful aspects of any industry expansion campaign. Hot topics, particularly in the enterprise technology sphere, often straddle multiple industries.

Take technology such as the Internet of Things, or AI – these innovations are proving themselves as valuable in healthcare as they are in hospitality or manufacturing. Or cybersecurity solutions that are valuable to every business, but especially important in industries that store sensitive data or must satisfy particular data protection rules. Healthcare and education organizations are already well aware of the ransomware threat, but what of those in the leisure industry suddenly finding themselves under attack, such as the casino breached through an insecure IoT fish tank?

Divide and conquer – varied content is key

Yet verticalization is not the be-all and end-all of establishing your brand in a new industry. Dedicated, industry-specific content – bylined by relevant SMEs within your company – has an equally strong role to play.

This does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming endeavor that only achieves one goal or a single media clipping. Assets such as white papers or case studies can be broken down and repurposed into content formats such as thought leadership articles for media placement, blogs for website ‘fodder’, or executive comments and feature contributions. These can all be further amplified through regular social media promotions.

Where next? Target the vertical trades

Every industry has a handful of leading publications that are regarded as ‘go-to’ sources for information, news and insights about industry hot topics and developments. Identify top-tier publications and influencers that are likely to be of high interest to prospective customers in your target industry. Build a content relationship with these journalists and influencers by contributing relevant thought leadership, news and industry insight on a regular basis.

These outlets will be the platform on which you can demonstrate brand credibility and, in turn, build up an industry-leading position of expertise. Show off your successful brand stretch through authoritative thought leadership articles, news of industry momentum through partnerships, customer win and product updates, and contribute to features written by opinion-leading journalists.

Time to broaden your horizons

At IBA, we have extensive experience in helping our client base move into and establish themselves in new target industries, with individual clients spanning industries as diverse as food & beverage, retail and manufacturing for a single product portfolio.

We’ve worked closely with clients throughout the pandemic and other disruptions in the preceding decades to help them identify and seize vertical market opportunities with a fully integrated PR campaign. If this sounds like the kind of push your business needs to escape the COVID slump, why not get in touch with our team today to discuss your requirements?

Simon Woolley is an Account Manager at IBA International.

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