As you look toward 2021 and the development of your next marketing strategy, you may want to consider vertical marketing. In its simplest form, vertical marketing is dedicating and tailoring your marketing efforts to a particular vertical industry, such as education, construction or government, to strategically appeal to that industry, rather than marketing to a wider, horizontal audience with a less specific appeal.

Vertical marketing allows for more effective sales messaging that addresses the needs and nuances of that vertical. You are the expert and demonstrate you have industry knowledge. It is also easier to network, reach decision makers and build relationships that lead to referrals. A specialized focus allows you to identify trends in unmet needs and develop services to solve market challenges in a way that would be impossible if you only “generalized” in that vertical. 

Vertical marketing is not easy. Like anything worthwhile, it takes effort to penetrate a new vertical. First, you must take time to understand the industry, its needs, terminology and key decision makers' roles — you need to do everything you can to know the market in the area you serve. To do this, read industry publications, including the comments section. Join industry forums on social media and publish information that would appeal to the specific vertical. Make yourself increasingly visible by offering helpful advice. On social media, you can search local businesses in that vertical, and follow who they follow. Join and attend the local chamber of commerce and vertical-specific associations. 

As you increase your visibility and reach, you will want to create some segment-specific materials to aid in your prospecting. This can include call lists, call scripts, industry-specific datasheets, sell sheets and training slide decks for your internal sales team. Ebooks, blog posts and slideshows are also helpful tools in generating awareness and engaging your prospects.

When all aspects of your marketing is aligned, you become the recognized industry expert and can scale exponentially. By becoming a clear leader in a particular vertical market, you can set a standard of performance that will be difficult to beat. 

However, with great reward comes great responsibility. Once you have secured yourself as a clear leader, it is crucial for you to stay personally connected to the people, news and developments within that vertical. Stay innovative, and continue to raise that bar!