Keeping track of all the most important clients around the world is the single most valuable thing we do to help our photographers. And since there are millions of companies in the world, we divide them into smaller, more manageable categories so we can conduct our research efficiently and we can concentrate on clients that commercial photographers care about most.
We promote our member photographers to these vertical lists, and we also sell our Vertical Lists to photographers so they can target the clients that are most important to them.
Years ago, when we first started collecting client information, we simply assigned them Specialty keywords identifying the kind of photography they used. But as we gained experience, we realized that it would be useful to divide clients by Type: Publications, Agencies, and Brands (we currently track 3137 publications, 5629 agencies, and 11,795 brands). That allowed us to research those companies more effectively because we find them using different sources and we have different criteria for evaluating them. And when we add people to each of those companies, the company type helps inform our choices around job titles and messaging.
Next, we divided those types into sub-types that we call Industries. Since publications and agencies are particularly important to photographers, we devised our own custom list of industries. However, because there are so many brands, and since every company has a LinkedIn profile, we simply assign the industry that shows up on LinkedIn to each of the brands we track (LinkedIn provides over 150 Industry tags that companies can use to identify themselves).
While those LinkedIn industries have given us a framework to do a lot of valuable research over the years, since LinkedIn’s list of industries is geared towards a general audience and because companies often make arbitrary choices from that menu, those industries don’t always yield the exact client lists our photographers need (without a lot of additional curation). That brings us to Verticals. Verticals (short for vertical markets) are a more photographer-specific version of our Industry tag. The reason this is so useful is that if a photographer finds success with any one client, it’s likely that they’ll match up well with other clients in that same vertical market.
For example, one of our photographers, Teri Campbell is a highly skilled and experienced food photographer in Cincinnati. One of the verticals he targets is QSRs, which stands for Quick Service Restaurants (fast-food chains to you and me). Since QSR isn’t a LinkedIn Industry, we have to find lists of QSRs in restaurant industry publications or on Wikipedia.
Since we’re now in the process of updating all of our companies with this new tag, we’d love to hear from you. What vertical markets do you care about?
Sharing your priorities with us will help us target the right clients that we promote Wonderful Machine to in general, and it will also help us provide cost-effective lists that you can buy. Here’s our current list of vertical markets that we’re working on. Please email me with your suggestions for additional Verticals that you think we should be covering.
Furniture Brand & Retailers
Pet Product Brand
Shipping & Logistics
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