6 Tips to Balance Vertical & Horizontal Marketing

Heading into 2019, you may be asking yourself, “where should I spend my marketing dollars to get the best ROI?” In marketing, it’s important to understand what efforts are going to have the most impact for your company short term, but also how those short-term gains can help you achieve long-term success. So, should you be spending your efforts on reaching a wide swath of media and analysts across the breadth of the industry or laser focus on one or more verticals?

The answer is actually both, and unfortunately, it’s also a classic chicken and egg situation in terms of which to tackle first. Many companies are formed because they see a specific need in a particular market and know they can help solve it. That need may be vertical (the automotive industry really needs THIS), or it may be horizontal (IT departments and CIOs would really benefit from THIS). Either way, where you started is not necessarily where you’ll end up.

However, it does mean you need to focus a little harder on making sure you’re reaching out to the right Influencers in every market. Unless you have a huge marketing budget and can afford to respond to every potential opportunity, you’re going to have to say no to some things. And that’s OK.

Here are six ways you can use horizontal and vertical marketing effectively, and in tandem to market your IoT company:

  1. Pick a focus area—one or two verticals or one or two themes within the broader market—and stick with it for a few months. Plan out your themes quarter by quarter and you’ll get stronger results than if you tackle things as one-off projects.
  2. Use industry events as a guide, but don’t let them drive your initiatives. Your overall marketing initiatives should instead drive what you’ll be talking about at the show. If you find yourself saying “We need a theme for MWC,” think about that a little deeper. How can you flip the equation?
  3. Treat your approach to each market differently. Don’t just mix some vertical terms into your website and solution briefs, and expect that strategy to deliver results. Put in the time to develop vertical-specific materials that tells companies that you know their market and understand their needs.
  4. Have the key ingredients for success for any vertical or horizontal market you tackle. These include:
    * A landing page on your website where you can direct potential customers from that vertical segment.
    * A video that succinctly explains your role in the industry to your potential customers.
    * A customer case study with a named or unnamed client.
    * One or more white papers that tackle key issues in the vertical which you are targeting.
  5. Don’t forget the value that contributed articles can have for Thought Leadership both in horizontal publications and vertical ones. Get creative about how you can repurpose your general content for vertical-focused publications and get more bang for your buck.
  6. Use your blog to help strike a balance between topics that impact both your general audience and specific vertical markets.

Your marketing dollars are limited, spend them wisely by establishing a strategy that adequately covers your needs for both vertical and horizontal marketing.

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