May 11, 2021

What is a Vertical Marketing Strategy?

On the scale of personalized marketing where general marketing is one and ABM is ten, vertical marketing strategies are a seven. They’re much more specific than marketing to the masses, but not quite as tailored as ABM strategies.

Instead of focusing your marketing efforts on target accounts, you research a target vertical and center your marketing strategy around attracting and closing those types of companies.

What is a Vertical Marketing Strategy?

A vertical marketing strategy is focusing your content creation and distribution efforts on your business’s highest-fit type of buyers in order to attract them into your marketing-sales funnel and convert them into customers.

Instead of keeping your strategy broad through a horizontal marketing strategy, vertical marketing strategies target a qualified niche audience

But what is a vertical?

Industry is the broad category such as healthcare, software, retail or hospitality. Verticals add another level of specificity to the industry category to indicate more about what the companies do, who they serve and what their maturity is. (Vertical markets can be pretty similar to ideal customer profiles.) For example, within the software industry, one vertical you could target is enterprise martech. 

Refining your definition of the type of companies you’d like to solve pain points for will help you hone in on those verticals. You might have a solution that’s applicable for every company in a given industry, but the vertical you’re going after is the group that hasn’t the greatest need for it, and thus will be the easiest to sell to.

For example, if an accounting software used a horizontal marketing strategy, their target buyer might be in-house accountants. However, with a vertical marketing strategy, they might target accountants at mid-size manufacturing companies located in the United States because their software has special features that help with the financial aspects of manufacturing supply chains.

Download our Go-to-Market Strategy Checklist to make sure you don't miss a step  as you bring your product to market.

How to Identify Target Verticals

Defining the criteria for the verticals you should target requires research into your customer base and your total addressable market

If you have an established customer base already, you can hone in on what verticals to target by analyzing your customer data.

  • What types of companies buy from you?
  • What are commonalities do they have in terms of industry, revenue and company size?
  • Which of those types of companies are the easiest to sell to?
  • Which of those types of companies are the easiest to service?

However, if you’re a newer company, you can’t necessarily construct that definition from analyzing who you’re already helping because you might not have enough historical data. Instead, you’ll need to do market research about who has the problems your offering solves for.

This research should not only help you define the verticals you want to target, it should also provide you with the information you need to effectively create and distribute content to them.

  • What topics are they searching for?
  • What kind of messaging will resonate with them?
  • What channels are they active on?
  • What formats of content do they prefer?

The Takeaway

No matter how big or small you are, there will be some limitations to the resources you can devote to marketing and sales. A vertical marketing strategy can help you prioritize where to focus your efforts in order to have the greatest impact.

Additionally, by honing in your marketing strategy on a single vertical, you can get a better understanding of the needs of those types of companies so you can more effectively create content that’ll resonate with them.

For more reading on how to define your target market, explore our hand-picked resources below!



Guido Bartolacci

Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.


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