Have you ever thought about taking your product or service to a specific sector? Has your one-size-fits all approach been slowing your business growth? It is easy to be general in your strategy. Very easy. Being specific and niche is difficult, and yet it will produce for you the realest of rewards. Enter: vertical marketing.
Vertical marketing is a highly targeted and specialized approach to marketing that can provide for you an enviable mixture of both short and long term success. It refers to the marketing of a companies goods or services to a specific industry or sector. It allows you to target and sell to your desired demographic with tailored ads and research-driven content strategies. It will also, when utilised properly, provide you with a unique insight into the buying and/or browsing habits of your ideal customer. Which in turn, will give you the information you need to create a product or service that they will WANT. Vertical marketing is nothing new and has actually been around for a very long time. If you haven’t heard of it by now then reading this blog could be one of the most important and rewarding things you do all day.
A vertical marketing campaign is something that all B2B and B2C businesses should at the very least consider - it could save your business! It has been unbelievably effective for a large number of companies, especially Segway! (But more on that later). The opposite of vertical marketing is, you guessed it, horizontal marketing! A horizontal marketing campaign is essentially a campaign that targets all audiences using all of the tried and tested marketing strategies, but, they are employed with little to no research. By research I mean that no audiences have been outlined, key demographics have been ignored, buyer personas have not been created and all of the fine print has been overlooked. If you have been running horizontal marketing campaigns, and seeing little to no success, then you need to get your vertical marketing campaign started sooner rather than later! Almost all industries are now saturated, and because of this, there is no viability to marketing horizontally. Unless your Uber...
Real success is achieved when your product or service is altered (oftentimes in very small ways - as Segway did! It’s coming, I promise!) to tailor specifically to the aforementioned industry or sector. This is an extremely important marketing tactic that is becoming more and more relevant as the saturation of certain market-spheres grows and grows with each and every passing moment. Vertical marketing can propel you to the top of a new pile. It allows you to become a market leader in a market that you create for yourself!
Though, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. If you really commit to vertical marketing then your product need not necessarily change massively, but the way your market said product does need to change. You need to go back to the drawing board. Ask yourself, what new market can I tap into? What minute change can I make to my product to make it appeal to a new audience? Once you have completed this research and given yourself and your company a new direction, it is time to start marketing! Make sure you aren’t doing anything that you have done before. Write blogs in a new way with a new angle, market yourself on social media using new tactics, visuals and text. Each and every one of your marketing tactics will need to be new and interesting, with a design and a strategy that is, in every single way, geared towards your new target market. Make sure that you have a strong, active and niche market targeted. Research your new audience and know it better than your old audience, and be certain and dedicated to your new buyer persona, it is beyond important to not deviate from a vertical marketing campaign once it has been started.
Vineet Jain, the current managing Director of India’s largest media group, Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd, had this to say about vertical marketing. “When attacking a vertical, I believe the most important success factor is to make sure all aspects of the business are aligned in a unified effort. From product marketing to sales development, engineering to business development, everyone should be on the same page and have a collective voice across the business”. This means that your company, your team, your marketing, your sales and your vision is the same across the board. With a vertical marketing campaign you align all aspects of your company with a shared goal!
An amazing example of a successful vertical marketing campaign is Segway. They had designed, built and managed to produce an amazing product; it was even dubbed a revolutionary innovation by some. Though from the get-go they had issues with their marketing. Their price point was too high, and they had opted for a strict horizontal marketing strategy. They tried to market their superb product to everyone, without getting specific and without researching WHY everyone would want a Segway - let alone how the general population would be able to afford one. So what did they do? They started again and then they got specific. They realised that their product would be perfect for one industry above all others, and that industry was law enforcement. Then they got even more specific! They pinpointed the city of Chicago, in USA, as they had noted mobility and crime rate as a targetable issue. To target this market they changed up every aspect of their marketing strategy and made two tiny changes to their product. What were these changes? They painted black and white stripes onto their Segways and changed its name from the “i180” to the “police model i180”. They also made sure to advertise the Segway’s ability to have sirens mounted on the guard rail, as well as the pouch having the ability to store emergency equipment. In the five years that followed, the Chicago Police Department's spent around £600,000 on Segways. All from a horizontal campaign, turned on its head and vertical-ised! Segway didn’t just stop there, they continued and evolved their vertical marketing strategies so that now, a wide and varied range of niche markets own and use Segways for an incredibly varied range of tasks.
So, it goes to show that a vertical marketing campaign can not only save a company or a specific product but it can also generate a level of success that you would have never even dared to anticipate! Stop wasting time with horizontal marketing campaigns, get vertical, and get to achieving!