Companies are increasingly focusing on narrow niche vertical targets, and many organizations are launching products into unfamiliar verticals. This is especially common in the healthcare and life sciences verticals where companies that traditionally sold into government, manufacturing or financial sectors now seek to penetrate the lucrative and growing healthcare spaces.
With niche verticals come niche language, which can be tough to learn. Whether you are a software company entering a new biotechnology space or a marketing agency bringing on a new vertical client, here’s some advice for coming up to speed quickly.
1. Seek out industry and trade groups
It is very easy to find a few industry thought leaders on LinkedIn. Click on a LinkedIn profile and scroll to the bottom to view the industry groups to which she belongs. LinkedIn groups are especially helpful because you can immediately see the size of each. Once you’ve identified the groups, visit their websites and start reading.
2. Search and bookmark online acronym directories
Healthcare, life sciences, technology and governmental sectors use many acronyms which can be confusing to newbies. In this case, online search is your friend.
Consider the example of learning healthcare IT terms. A search for “health IT directories” yields this great database from AnswersMedia which leads to a plethora of articles within the publication’s site on healthcare technology topics.
3. Search for industry publications and blogs
A simple online search for “[industry name] publications” should yield many results, even in super niche industries. There’s pretty much a publication for every profitable market. We once created an ad for Edible Oils Magazine. If there’s a publication for that super-specialized industry, there’s more than likely one for yours!
4. Pronounce industry-terms correctly
Nothing can nix your credibility in a new field more than pronouncing complex words incorrectly. Emma Saying has your back in most cases. Type a search for “how to pronounce [word}” into your search engine, and a YouTube video will be available that has the correct pronunciation. Check out the result for how to pronounce “propionate.”
5. Attend an industry conference
I attended my first BIO conference a few weeks ago, and I was struck by how different the tenor, tempo and discussions were from the massive health IT conference, HIMSS. Simply walking the floor and stopping by some booths can give you a feel for the industry’s pulse and jargon. Pick up available literature as well for reference.
6. Look for industry analysts reports that cover the space
While the reports can be pricey, the analyst firms typically make executive summaries and abstracts available free of charge. After reviewing these, you can decide if the report is worth the price. If you are a student or medical clinician, steep discounts are usually available.
7. Take a continuing education class
Some legal and process fields may be too sophisticated to learn through online research. In these cases, look to community college and industry-training sites for online classes, webinars and certifications.
Learning a new industry thoroughly, like learning to speak a language, can take time. Luckily, numerous online resources are available that can at least keep you from making embarrassing mistakes in the early stages of entering a new market.
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