Marketing is essential for any managed service provider (MSP). Your organisation contains the expertise and talent that potential customers are looking for. However, if they do not know about your business or its services, you may find yourself growing at a snail’s pace.
From social media campaigns to content incorporating search engine optimisation (SEO), MSP marketing is comprised of different practices. But there are two schools of thought you may not have heard of – vertical and horizontal marketing – that can solidify your services and enhance your B2B marketing strategy.
The two approaches can be confusing. However, once you have a firm grasp of what each is and does, you can approach your sales and marketing strategy differently and promote growth.
What is vertical marketing?
Vertical marketing focuses on attracting qualified leads and converting them into real-world customers. Whether you are a B2B company in the information technology (IT) space or a niche market segment, you can focus on advertising your business to an existing customer base who actively wants your product.
Another way of thinking about vertical marketing is likening it to a customer’s profile. This is an in-depth outline of your business’s ideal customer. It covers their problems, the industry they work in, and their wants and interests. A vertical marketing strategy uses that profile as the foundation of a business’s marketing campaign.
Targeting a particular demographic can help you find new clients with a set of needs you are readily equipped to handle. For example, say you worked full-time in the legal field before starting an MSP. You understand the IT needs of lawyers and can build your marketing strategy around their pain points and purchasing decisions.
There are many MSP businesses on the market, and you need to stand out. By narrowing your target audience, you can attract clients who will be interested in your services and generate more business.
What is horizontal marketing?
Horizontal marketing takes a broad approach to advertising. Instead of identifying and targeting a niche audience, horizontal marketing allows you and your sales team to cast a far-reaching net. It is often built on partnerships between two or more seemingly different companies who capitalise on a commonality they share.
These characteristics could be anything, from the audience to the market that the enterprises work in. To give you an example of horizontal marketing, imagine your business joining forces with a marketing company.
You may not have the resources or skills to advertise your business to your desired audience. Meanwhile, the marketing company has the expertise to develop a comprehensive advertising strategy for you, but they will need your guidance in learning about your industry and market.
On your end, you will gain access to advertising professionals who work alongside you and your decision makers to make more informed, cost-effective choices regarding your business’s marketing and sales process. The other organisation will gain more experience in both parties’ industries and can use that knowledge to reinvigorate other projects in the form of shorter response times, more effective calls to action, and more.
It is effectively a win-win situation that grows your MSP’s network and defines its place in the market.
From content marketing to lead generation tactics, your MSP’s marketing strategy is a puzzle with various pieces.
Vertical and horizontal marketing should not be mistaken for a specific form of advertising or marketing automation tool. They are two different ways a company can approach its marketing efforts. They offer you a clear perspective that can be used to define your business’s objectives and the audience you want to reach.
Whether you want your MSP to cater to a specific demographic or your services are best suited to any sized business and industry, vertical and horizontal marketing can help your MSP grow in different ways.
How can vertical marketing grow your MSP?
A vertical marketing strategy allows your business to:
- Assess the market and locate your target clients.
- Tailor your advertisements to emphasise the products and services that are most relevant to your audience.
- Grow your knowledge of your niche audience to stay ahead of the curve and develop more thorough marketing plans and services for future use.
- Save time and resources as every action you take will not be based on guesswork.
- Develop your brand and establish yourself as a go-to service provider for your niche customer and possible related areas.
Organisations that adopt a vertical marketing strategy can reach out to their target audience with greater ease and customise their marketing materials to inform potential clients that the exact solutions they have been waiting for are close at hand.
How can horizontal marketing boost your MSP’s visibility?
A horizontal marketing strategy can also be an effective way to advertise your MSP’s website and services. The more people who know about your company, the more relevant you are to the public.
Enterprises that use a horizontal marketing strategy can:
- Present their products and services to a larger audience through print advertising, search engines, etc.
- Acquire more resources (experience, money, etc.) to deliver better-developed marketing plans.
- Save time in developing those marketing plans.
- Tap into spaces they may not have considered and look for new business opportunities.
- Demonstrate their versatility and willingness to branch out.
While horizontal marketing may seem like a more risky strategy, it can also be a way for your MSP to burst out of its shell, expand its network, and rocket to new levels.
Stimulate your MSP’s growth
An effective marketing campaign leverages research, data, and empathy to show a business in an engaging light. As an MSP, your enterprise can support an array of companies and industries that rely on today’s technology and tomorrow’s software.
Based in Melbourne, the IT marketing strategy consultants at LeftLeads have the latest industry knowledge and expertise to successfully guide your MSP on its journey from great to phenomenal.
Talk to the team today to see how your IT-based, B2B business can leverage horizontal or vertical marketing to improve your digital marketing strategy and showcase your managed IT support services.