What are NAICS codes and why are they so important?

In a previous blog we went over targeting our list – remember the laser beam? Well this is very much an integral part of it.

A couple of disclaimers though. Firstly NAICS codes only relate to businesses which means that if you’re developing your list for mailings to go out to consumers/homeowners you won’t be using them as part of your selection criteria.

Secondly it might be that your selects are more based geographically which means you might be sending out your postcards to certain zip codes not industry codes.

But it’s not all bad. At the very least, I would suggest that you find out what your NAICS code is and, even if you won’t be using it to mail to, you could still run a list to find out who your competitors are. That way you can see what they’re up to – you don’t think they might be doing the same?

So what is NAICS? Here’s some Q & A’s

Q. What does NAICS stand for?

A.The North American Industry Classification System

Q. I’ve also heard about SIC Codes what are these?

A. Standard Industrial Classification. These are codes which is a system for classifying industries by a four-digit codethat corresponds to a defined industry type. Established in the United States in 1937, it is used by government agencies to classify industry areas.

Q.What is the difference between SIC and NAICS codes?

A.The SIC groups all forms of industry and services into ten broad divisions (01 to 91). NAICS classifies all economic activity into twenty industry sectors: five goods-producing sectors and fifteen services sectors; and it uses a six-digit code. The (SIC) are four-digit codes that categorize the industries that companies belong to based on their business activities. Standard Industrial Classification codes were mostly replaced by the six-digit (NAICS).

Q. Which code is better to use?

A. NAICS – many resources use NAICS codes. The SIC code is still used by some federal departments and state and local governments, as well as credit reporting companies. However, SIC codes were not able to keep up with current industries, and as a result of the development of the North American Industry Classification System, more than 350 new industries were recognized.

I would recommend using the NAICS codes as they drill down deeper so you can get a tighter bead on your target list.

  1. So what do I do?

The best source I have found and one of the ones we use is: https://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/downloadables/downloadables.html

It’s basically a tiered list and you can drill down from 2 to 6 digits. The guideline is that the more digits you access, the narrower the industry type.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you’re looking to mail out to Plumbers

Enter the type of business you’re targeting.

You then get a search result listing of Plumber related codes.

Click on the one that you’re interested in and

You can also start at the top with a two-digit classification and work your way down. Just click on the Reference File for 2017 and it will bring up all the 2 digit classification codes.

The best advice I can give is to play with the links and NAICS codes to isolate the classification you want .

Remember the narrower the NAICS code covers, the more focused you can be. The big benefit is by selecting the exact codes you’re looking for, you’re not wasting money on sending to industries that may not be interested in your services.

You can do this as many times as you want if you want more than one classification.

I know it sounds tedious but if you know the trades you want to mail to then why wouldn’t you spend some time being able to focus on them (laser beam??) All you’re trying to do is to provide one very important criterion for your list.

If you recall from an early blog the list is by far the most important component versus Calls To Action and Design.

When we are developing a profile with our clients, we spend a great deal of time refining the list of NAICS codes.

If you have any questions always feel free to email us at info @ArizonaSalesandMmarketing.com