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How SIC Codes Can Grow Your Mailing List

Posted by Steven Sheck, President, Infinite Media

March 21, 2016

Business mailing list growth is on everyone’s…list. One of the best ways to grow a list of business contacts is through the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes that identifies every business by industry category. The SIC Code system was created back in 1937 as a way of standardizing how disparate government agencies could refer to businesses for purposes of gaining a clearer picture of the economy. Today, there are over 1,000 code designations for everything from heavy manufacturing to maid service. Even with the advent of the NAICS Code in 1997, the granularity offered by SIC Codes is far greater. The value of this becomes clear when businesses need to grow their customer lists.

A vertical approach can be taken, finding other businesses that share the SIC Code of customers. This can be quite straightforward. Consider a manufacturer of printing inks that has a customer list composed primarily of book publishers. Drilling down into Major Group 27: Printing, Publishing, And Allied Industries, allows targeting businesses across a range of printed media and products, from newspapers to business forms, and of course more book publishers.

A horizontal approach can be used to tease out common characteristics of current customers among businesses in different classifications. An example might be outreach to office managers. Whereas a mailer might have a customer base established among dental practices, Major Group 80: Health Services opens up an opportunity to hone an offer to reach not only more dental office managers, but those occupying the same role for general practitioners, and a wide array of specialists. In the era of specialty medicine this is a great way grow a mailing list with recipients that will find the offer relevant.

In either case, detailed selects are available to further fine tune the records. This data can be harvested and organized on a way that is simple to use. Selects such as business size, years in business, number of employees, location and more can focus the list on exactly the sort of business profile a mailer is seeking.

As with any mailing list data, freshness and accuracy are crucial. Here’s where another unique attribute of SIC Codes come into play. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires businesses to choose which SIC Code they will operate under upon formation. So not only does the SIC Code system provide accurate data as a function of compliance, it can be a great source of new business records. As stated on the SEC website, “The Standard Industrial Classification Codes that appear in a company’s disseminated EDGAR filings indicate the company’s type of business. These codes are also used in the Division of Corporation Finance as a basis for assigning review responsibility for the company’s filings.”

Your mailing list broker can provide access to the complete SIC Code directory and the counts each classification can yield. The SIC Code system is therefore a standing library of businesses that can be valuable to virtually any direct mailer that needs to develop and grow a stronger, broader mailing list for any sort of offer.

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