Marketing is a complex process. Deciding who to market to and which marketing approach to use (horizontal*, vertical* or lateral*) are key when creating your marketing strategy and marketing mix.
You can afford to do horizontal-based marketing when your product has a broader application and it’s less dependent on the needs of certain industries.
The single defining characteristic of the product in a vertical approach is its fit within a well-defined segment.
Lateral marketing lets marketers launch a new product that finds a much wider audience.
For horizontal approach you often have products/services that tend to be less of a fit but also less expensive than specialised, vertical solutions. Products marketed using lateral-based approach are usually willing to bear high prices.
Vertical marketing works better in new markets, while lateral marketing is best suited for fragmented market. Vendors in a horizontal market sell their products or services to customers in many different industries.
B2B marketers targeting a particular vertical should refer to industry-relevant magazines, white papers, webinars and other targeted pieces of content enable them to educate their target audience and establish their positioning as thought leader and an expert in the field.
In horizontal marketing the buyers occupy a niche in it and you would need to fine-tune your messaging depending of who you target (eg job title, level, geography, company size).
A smaller population might be interested in your products in vertical markets, but will be easier to develop a brand recognition for your product(s).
With a horizontal market, the sky’s the limit on how many products and services you can sell to different segments.
The effective use of lateral marketing creates new customers with the real impression that their needs are totally satisfied.
For a horizontal-based marketing you might put out a more overarching campaign that sells brand strength and wide-reaching benefits. For a vertical you will need to communicate that you have the specialised knowledge and expertise necessary to be a desirable solution.
Vertical-based marketing offers a huge opportunity for growth, but it tends to have additional risks since they aren’t as diversified; if the niche market starts plummeting, the business will experience greater losses.
Horizontal markets are those that focus on a broad range of customers and products that spread across industries.
Lateral marketing creates markets from scratch, is riskier, requires greater resources, anticipates high volume, and may redefine mission and business focus.
Using different marketing approaches will reach a wider range of customers, generate more profits as well as enable business to innovate to grow and prosper.
*Vertical marketing is a term used to define a company’s approach towards targeting that focuses on specific niche or industry. The entire business can be part of the vertical market, or just an individual department.