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How to Use Professions-Based Marketing to Acquire New Customers

As the year draws to a close, marketers are searching for fresh ways to find and retain new customers in 2022. Targeting a consumer community based on the identity its members share is a tried-and-true acquisition strategy that generates returns: think military discounts for Veterans Day, or back-to-school deals for college students. But what about engaging prospects based on their profession or industry? 

Research shows that people see  their career as central to their identity, shaping everything from what they value, to how they spend, to where they shop. Brands can use profession-based marketing—engaging buyers with a personalized offer based on the career or industry they work in—to win loyal customers. 

Profession-based marketing offers tremendous potential to generate new business, foster customer loyalty, and make consumers feel valued for their professional contributions. While many companies already provide offers to consumer communities like teachers, there are hundreds of other professions you can target.

SheerID hosted a webinar exploring how brands can leverage this new strategy to grow their customer base. Register to watch the full session, or read on to learn more about key tips, takeaways, and top lines.

The Benefits of Marketing to Industries and Professions

Launching a profession-based identity marketing program is an effective way to convert your ideal professional customers into brand influencers. Giving an exclusive offer to a group of customers who clearly align with your brand demonstrates how much you value them. It also compels customers to share those offers with their colleagues and industry peers. In fact, research shows that more than 9 in 10 teachers, military, nurses and first responders say they would share personalized offers with others in their profession.  

Activating this kind of viral marketing within professional networks reduces the cost of acquiring new customers. And when you use SheerID’s Verification Platform to verify  eligibility for your professions-based offer, you collect valuable zero-party data that helps you better understand your customer base. Knowing someone’s profession is a valuable insight you can use to more deeply nurture customer loyalty by delivering exactly what they want.

Using SheerID to digitally verify membership in professional communities also prevents discount abuse, which not only secures your profit margins, but also allows your brand to offer high-value deals that are specific, targeted, and compelling.

Key Professional Communities You Can Target

Once you’ve decided to launch a professions-based marketing campaign, you may wonder which professional communities you should target. With more than 350 million workers employed or professionally licensed across the U.S., Canada and European countries, marketing professionals have no shortage of industries to consider

No matter which fields you ultimately choose, it’s crucial to get familiar with your professional community’s profile—their demographic information, median income, and even family structures—to understand what they need and are inclined to purchase. We’ll explore a few examples here, and you can read SheerID’s professions-based marketing ebook for an exhaustive dive.

Personal Care Specialists

There are more than 1 million personal care specialists, and their median household income is nearly $70,000. Almost 9 in 10 personal care specialists are women, and more than 1 in 3 have a child at home.

When it comes to spending preferences, personal care specialists are 39% more likely to purchase health and beauty products than the average consumer. They’re also 19% more likely to buy children’s clothing and 10% more likely to buy children’s toys.

Marketers who want to engage this group can  leverage this information to create relevant offers for them. 

Pro tip: social media is a powerful tool to amplify your campaign for this group. Research shows that personal care specialists are 38% more likely to purchase a product that’s been used or recommended by friends, so referrals—whether digital or through word of mouth—can be highly effective.

Real Estate Professionals

Nearly 900,000 people work in the real estate industry and their median household income exceeds $121,000. The gender split of real estate professionals breaks down to nearly 50/50, and almost 8 in 10 own a home.

What do they like to buy? Real estate professionals are 22% more likely than average to purchase athletic shoes and personal computers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, real estate professionals are also more inclined to spend on home remodeling and low-ticket home-furnishing: by 29% and 22%, respectively. 

Pro tip: when you win real estate professionals they can become brand ambassadors to their industry peers and their clients. If you run a parallel campaign with an exclusive offer for new movers, you can leverage this connection between realtors and home buyers and attract even more customers.

Construction Workers

The US has more than 7 million construction workers and almost 96% are men. Their median household income is roughly $80,000, and they are 55% more likely than average consumers to buy men’s health and beauty products.

Construction workers are price-sensitive, but almost half will switch brands if they spot a better offer. Giving them a generous deal is a great way to capture their business, earn their trust, and incentivize them to stay with your brand.

Pro tip: Many construction workers also work part-time as first responders, a professional community that has more than 2.5 million members. Extending your offer to include first responders will maximize your reach into this audience.

Design Your Offers Strategically

There are two approaches you can take to design offers for professionals:  inclusive or exclusive. Inclusive offers are designed for anybody who works in a broad industry—what we call “industry workers.” Exclusive offers target a particular subset within that industry, known as “professionals.”

Take the fitness industry, for example. An inclusive campaign offering discounts for athletic apparel might target everybody in the fitness industry, from workers at a gym to physiotherapists. An exclusive offer, on the other hands, might focus solely on personal trainers. 

How should you determine your approach? According to Chris Oliveira, SheerID’s product marketing manager, a key question to ask  is: “Do I want to recognize an entire industry or turn key members into brand influencers?” 

When designing an offer to recognize or thank industry workers for their contributions, go inclusive. If you’re trying to convert a customer into a brand ambassador, take an exclusive approach.

Best Practices for Professions-Based Marketing

Hone Your Offer

When designing the personalized offers that you’ll tailor toward industry workers and professionals, remember to get creative. Discounts are just the start, and you can offer evergreen discounts on complete categories, or focus on limited time pulse offers. 

VIP treatment also makes a great offer. You can provide gift cards, partnerships, member only events and unique product bundles, among others. And as you package your campaigns, remember to personalize the imagery and messaging.

Bundle Your Programs

You can also maximize engagement by combining offers for multiple groups with overlapping interests, needs or qualities, and wrapping this into the messaging. For example, you might personalize an offer for nurses, teachers, the military, first responders, transportation workers, and food service workers under the single theme, “Everyday Heroes.”

Broaden Your Engagement

Don’t just show up on game day! Highlight programs and other ways you support the community you’re targeting. And recognize the contributions of professionals throughout the year. For example, giving teachers a special offer during Teacher Appreciation Week in May and again during the back-to-school season demonstrates your genuine interest in that group and can give you revenue spikes all year. 

Think beyond the basics, too, and get as specific as possible. For example, instead of just offering a discount on Labor Day, run a special campaign  for “National Hair Stylist Appreciation Day” or “Customer Service Week.”

Want to Learn More About Professions Verification?

Read our Profession’s ebook to explore how you can create gated, personalized offers for hundreds of professional communities. Or book a meeting to learn how SheerID enables you to deliver secure offers to professions and industries through professions verification.