Vertical marketing defined. Choose your audience wisely.

What exactly is vertical marketing? Some of you may never have heard the term before –or may understand it to be different than I do. This is how I define it and what I base my recommended marketing strategies on. Vertical marketing is a philosophy whereby you identify the core group of decision-makers or purchasers relevant to your business –then concentrate and focus your marketing effort on that group. That effort may include any number of marketing techniques from direct mail, email blasts, event promotion, print advertising, online marketing, trade show participation, editorial submission or mobile device marketing.

Vertical marketers look at how a customer defines value to themselves –not necessarily how a company defines its own value. This is vital for any enterprise to recognize. If for instance you have a product or service that has a high price point, but the audience you’re targeting defines “low-cost” as a primary value, you may be wasting critical marketing dollars trying to win their business. Better to concentrate your efforts on a group more aligned with your core competencies. Look at trying to determine 5 customer defined values that align with your value propositions. Choose ones where you differ from you competition and where you are strongest. Narrow your audience as much as possible. Split into different market segments if necessary. Keep reducing until you reach a manageable number that meets with a manageable budget.

Once your audience and plan have been solidified, everyone involved in the communication process should be made aware and have an understanding of the marketing goals –and that includes backroom sales, storefront personnel or anyone answering the phone or responding to an email. Short training sessions or internal memos may be required to ensure a solid message platform. A fractured message is a weak marketing approach.

Regardless of your technique, the key to a successful vertical marketing approach is discipline and focus. Stay on-track with your defined audience. Hit them hard, and hit them often. Give yourself parameters to work within. By setting boundaries, and defining markets and goals, vertical marketing is a trackable and accountable marketing approach.

It is through this concentrated, narrowly channeled audience focus, that vertical marketing allows individual market segments –those in which your company is strongest and offers the greatest chance of success– to be attacked and help your profit margin. As a result of this discipline, greater fiscal control and lower expenditures are realized during the course of a vertical marketing program.

About Ray Bauer

I am an independent designer and marketer operating my own enterprise, rBAUERdesign, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I have an understanding of, and dedication to, the design and marketing process of firms in need of communication solutions. I bring my design, layout, creative and art direction experience and knowledge as well as applied and tested marketing applications from the advertising agencies and marketing firms I've worked at for over 25 years to every job I touch.
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