Finding the right B2B clients may be a difficult task, especially if your products or services are not for everyone.
Industry-based targeting using SIC and NAICS codes may be one of the most reliable ways to target potential business clients in the right sector.
Find out what those codes are, why are they good for targeting (and marketing), and how to get data about your potential clients based on SIC or NAICS code.
What is a SIC code?
SIC code is a code system created in the United States in 1937 for classifying industries. Later, other countries including the UK started using it. Since 1997, the SIC code was replaced by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
SIC classification system still works in the UK and still allows accurately classify business activity using the 4-digit numbers. Among over 600 categories, it classifies such activities as growing tobacco, freshwater fishing, mining of hard coal from deep coal mines (underground mining), computer consultancy activities, private security activities, activities of political organizations, and many others.
What you can see on their website might be different or unclear, but what the company declared as their business activity to the state authorities is more likely to be correct and up-to-date.
Gethrough offers you email lists to reach companies based on SIC-codes
What is a NAICS code?
NAICS code was introduced in 1997 in replacement of the SIC system to help standardize industries in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The statistical agencies of Mexico and Canada helped in developing this new industry classification system.
The NAICS code can be up to 6 digits long, and now includes much more activities, subindustries, and subsectors. The new system allows a much more detailed description of the company’s activities, divided into 20 main sectors like Retail Trade, Information, Construction, Utilities, and others.
The latest NAICS 2017 includes a total of 1057 industries including Poultry Hatcheries, Cable and Other Subscription Programming, Frozen Cakes, Pies, and Other Pastries Manufacturing, RV (Recreational Vehicle) Parks and Campgrounds, Administration of Housing Programs, Urban Planning, and Community Development.
Thanks to using a unified system, if you target companies in North America based on a particular industry, you can pick several relevant NAICS codes and reach companies in Canada, Mexico, and the US having that particular code. There are small differences sometimes (check Mexican SCIAN 2018 codes for that), but in most cases the codes are international.
Submit a form on any page and request your custom NAICS-based companies list from Gethrough
Why you should target companies based on NAICS/SIC code?
In order not to lose time and money on reaching people or businesses that would never need your services, it is necessary to target the most relevant audience. NAICS and SIC code help with that, providing relevant information. Here are the main benefits of such standardized industry codes:
- Precise targeting. NAICS codes include over 1000 industries. Not many people could separate companies into so many industries if analyzing them manually. It allows very precise targeting of the company that works in a particular field. A company can also have multiple NAICS/SIC codes, thus being active in various industries.
- Better classification. A combination of NAICS codes can sometimes tell you more about the business than a description on their website homepage or about page. From the standardized industry classification, you can find out if they produce these particular goods, import or resell them, and what exact products they work with, as well as processes they are engaged with.
- Reach beyond the cover. A company might have a website with information about its products and services. However, part of the services it provides may not be included on the website, some products might be only available on-site, and the about page hasn’t been updated for years. Current NAICS codes show even the secondary company industries that are not as obvious.
- Reliability. NAICS and SIC codes are a reliable way to determine the company activities, as the company owner(s) is obliged by law to update the current company activities. Moreover, it is possible to pick multiple codes.
Pro tip: make sure, the company you reach doesn’t have the NAICS code related to the service you’re willing to provide them. Avoid the confusion of offering services to a company providing the same services.
Check our article on finding the contact information of top-level managers
Of course, there are also some disadvantages of SIC or NAICS codes:
- Human mistakes. NAICS and SIC codes are picked by owners at the moment of creating a company, and (hopefully) updated once the company starts engaging in a new industry or stops working in a particular field. The company owner might confuse the code at first, forget to remove an already irrelevant one. Although this is less likely in the case of an official government system, human mistakes may always happen.
- No relevant code. The NAICS code system is updated every several years, but a new company might be creating a new industry, providing services for older industries, or offering an innovative way of recreation. Such a company owner might not find a relevant NAICS code for his activity and pick the closest one, which may be far away from the actual activity.
- Outdated information. While it is more likely that the company owner adds a code related to a new activity he is taking up, many people forget to remove the
Pro tip: When reaching companies based on SIC or NAICS codes, try to target larger companies, as they are more likely to still be in business, and have correct NAICS codes.
With the help of Gethrough, you can reach Fortune 500 companies
How to find out the company’s NAICS code?
NAICS codes are not public and cannot be freely accessed, but you can request such codes of particular companies on the official NAICS.com website for a fee.
Some businesses are also obliged by the IRS to show the Principal Business Code (PBC) which is based on the NAICS codes in their tax declarations. However, finding such codes in each company’s tax returns may be a very inefficient activity.
Pro tip: While the NAICS is a good way to identify the company industries in the US, Canada, and Mexico, it may still be not correct. To make sure you target the right companies and their employees, make sure to collect enough information to learn if the people you reach are actually your target audience.
In case if you have a list of companies and/or people in a particular position, you can order data appending to collect more information on the people you are going to target to have all the necessary knowledge not to lose a lead.
How to use NAICS/SIC codes for marketing?
Apart from convenient classification, the NAICS, and SIC codes allow providing many uses for marketing specialists like segmentation, market analysis, big data analysis based on industry.
Here are some of the most common uses:
- Target companies in a particular industry. A very precise industry-based customer targeting is the first marketing use of NAICS and SIC codes you might be thinking of. This is also one of the most popular uses of such codes and databases, including them.
- Reach out to particular specialists working in a particular industry. Whatever your product or service is, you still contact people to offer them. You might have a list of HRs working in various companies. To reach those working for IT companies in a specific market, you need to check the NAICS codes of the companies that employ them.
- Find new markets. If you have a list of companies that are your current clients or you target them first, check the most common SIC codes for these companies. There might be some relevant activities that you haven’t thought of. If the code is relevant, you can also target companies having it.
- Find the most profitable industries. Another way to optimize your marketing efforts using company lists with NAICS codes is calculating the average income from companies in a particular industry and then targeting the most profitable industries. This could be a good way, especially if you have a large database of clients/companies.
You can simply describe your needs and contact Gethrough to receive mailing lists of companies based on particular NAICS or SIC codes, including detailed information about the company and its employees.
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