Market Recovery: Why Vertical Marketing Segments May Not Matter

September 9, 2020

I was recently asked if there was any information on how certain categories of business… say financial … might be generating more business for i-SIGMA members than another during the shutdown.

The answer was no, since the questioner was really interested in knowing if there were surveys or studies on the matter. On the other hand, most service providers have the best empirical evidence at their fingertips: their service schedules.

But the question did get me thinking whether knowing the answer really mattered.

A very well-regarded privacy expert once told me that any organization with employees or customers is subject to legal requirements to protect personal information. He also said any business with competitors has a legal reason to protect its customer lists, suppliers, correspondence, and pricing (i.e., they lose the right to defend trade information if they cannot show they are protecting it).

In one respect, the previous paragraph describes the secure data destruction industry’s (both shredders’ and ITADs’) vertical market… and it just so happens that it also describes every organization.

The heightened attention on secure information destruction and the corresponding explosive industry growth are not because banks and hospitals suddenly realized their data protection obligations. They had done so long ago. The growth in secure data destruction over the past fifteen years is due to the fact that all possible markets were waking up to their obligations (or rather the consequences).

I am not saying that all businesses that should securely dispose of hard copy and IT assets were already doing so. What I am saying is they are all potential clients. As this dark cloud passes in the coming months, as these businesses return to work, and as the march to stronger data protection regulations resumes, so will that market.

Does vertical marketing have a place in our industry? Sure. Cracking the code on any vertical market is extremely valuable. Providing service to 8 out of 12 hospitals makes getting those other 4 hospitals much easier. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that our success as an industry has been largely because the mass market woke up to our value.

By: Bob Johnson, i-SIGMA CEO