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Tech Industry

Recession demands vertical industry approach

For IT vendors, industry marketing is no longer a "nice to have," says analyst Jon Oltsik. It's a must have.

It seems like the headlines are more and more depressing each day. Layoffs, stock market drops, budget deficits, etc. Heck, even my friends in the ever-optimistic Silicon Valley are bummed out.

Yeah, it's looks pretty gloomy, but it's important to remember that the economy isn't binary-- different industries are feeling the pain in different ways. ESG Research recently compared internal data on 2009 IT budget changes by industry with external data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary from February 2009. This comparison uncovers some interesting trends:

  1. Three industry sectors will experience employment and IT budget growth in 2009: health care, federal government, and state and local government.

  2. Two industry sectors will cut employment but increase IT budgets in 2009: financial services (mid-sized firms) and communications/media.

  3. All other industries covered in this exercise will decrease employment and IT budgets in 2009. These include: retail, professional services, financial services (large firms), transportation and logistics, and manufacturing.

How does this data affect the technology industry? Industry leaders like Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Oracle that have long embraced a vertical industry sales and marketing strategy are best positioned to anticipate market opportunities and move resources around to capitalize on this. The bulk of vendors who take a horizontal approach must learn how to customize solutions and adapt sales/marketing toward vertical industries. In my mind, industry marketing is no longer a "nice to have." It is a "gotta have."