Horizontal Marketing: Breaking Barriers For Business Growth

Businesses across several industries struggle to keep their earnings at pre-crisis levels while the economy is still recovering from the mortgage crisis. ?

Companies need to develop new and unique strategies to deal with this difficult external business climate if they want to sustain brand recognition and remain competitive. Industrial marketing is also a type of marketing strategy that brands use for product marketing.

A horizontal marketing approach is one such answer, and Kotler and Armstrong have examined it in great detail.

Using a combination of financial, production, and marketing resources, this strategy produces results that are more substantial than any one notion could provide on its own.?

What is Horizontal Marketing

In order to take advantage of new opportunities, a horizontal marketing strategy may incorporate collaborations between two or more firms in order to reach a large audience?

This can involve contracts between businesses in many sectors, such a supermarkets and a bank installing ATMs in the grocery. The creation of new goods, mergers, and acquisitions can all be components of a horizontal expansion strategy.

The primary horizontal marketing technique is often collaboration, and businesses operating in this market have a difficult time locating partners that have similar target audiences. ?

Companies may provide their clients with cutting-edge services and solutions by collaborating with firms from various sectors.

As an example, an athletics company can team up with a technology company to develop performance-monitoring systems for players. Brands are also using interactive marketing as a marketing strategy to promote their products better.

What to know about Horizontal Marketing

Knowing your target market is crucial for developing a successful advertising approach. With horizontal marketing techniques, the emphasis is on larger audiences as opposed to focusing on more specialized niches. ?

This strategy is better suited for businesses that offer goods or services that are in high demand worldwide. Companies may spend more time contacting as many individuals with the help of horizontal marketing platforms and less time individually tailoring each message.


Recently, Google and Johnson & Johnson teamed up to develop inexpensive, effective surgical robots. Using universal needs like the need for a higher quality of life, horizontal marketing seeks to connect with a broader spectrum of consumers.

Types of Horizontal Marketing

Two or more Manufacturers:

When businesses from the same sector or with complementary goods collaborate to develop a shared good or service that is marketed jointly, this is known as horizontal marketing between two or more producers. ?

This enables businesses to make use of one another’s advantages and appeal to a larger market.

For instance, a tire maker and a vehicle manufacturer may work together to develop a particular tire that is specially made for the car model and then promote it to their respective clientele.

Two or more Wholesalers:

When wholesalers from the same industry or from other industries work together to build a larger and more robust distribution network, this is known as horizontal marketing, which involves two or more wholesalers. ?

By working together, they may make use of one another’s assets and skills, cut expenses, and expand their market share. When wholesalers are selling to the same consumer base and dealing with similar items, horizontal marketing is extremely helpful.

For instance, two food wholesalers could work together to increase the range of products they provide and the number of distribution channels they use to reach clients.

Two or more Retailers:

A horizontal marketing strategy involves two or more merchants working together to provide their common consumer base with complementary goods or services. ?

For instance, a sports goods retailer and a nutrition retailer may collaborate to sell fitness packages that include exercise gear and nutritional supplements.

Another illustration would be two clothing retailers working together to provide clients with a whole outfit or style bundle. These merchants may raise their sales and expand their consumer base by banding together.

How to develop a Horizontal Marketing strategy

While developing a horizontal marketing strategy might be difficult, working with businesses that can connect with customers can produce fantastic results without going over budget. ?

These businesses could also provide supplementary goods that don’t compete with the company’s line-up. The following actions should be taken into account to make sure the horizontal marketing approach is successful:

Establish Business Objective

Go beyond simply growing revenue when deciding the company’s goals and guiding principles for the horizontal marketing system.?

Partnering with charity, for instance, can help a business if it wants to be seen as an ethical brand.

Recognize the New Audience

Recognizing the client base is still crucial even though the organization may be aiming for a new audience.

Research may be necessary to enhance promotional tactics, such as tailoring sales presentations to new consumers’ personalities or overcoming language difficulties when entering a foreign nation.?

Concentrate on Jointly Beneficial Strategies and Partnerships

Consider the long-term objectives and common values of the parties when choosing the businesses with whom to work.

Both businesses should gain from the collaboration, and it should be acceptable for the brand that the firm is developing.

An organization that values the environment, for instance, might not collaborate with one that exploits oil.?

Create the Plan of Execution

Once the strategy, partner, and target market have been chosen, carry out the plan of the horizontal marketing system.

This entails selecting marketing channels for the target market, integrating current promotional strategies with fresh advertising campaigns, and ensuring that the brand’s core principles are upheld as the business enters new markets.?

Horizontal Marketing Strategy

  • Product Adaptation:

The product or service offered should have universal appeal and be adaptable to different customer segments or industries. It should address common needs or pain points across various markets.

Conduct thorough market research to identify different customer segments that could benefit from the product or service. Understand their preferences, behaviors, and specific requirements to tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.?

  • Targeted Messaging:

Develop a messaging strategy that resonates with the different customer segments you are targeting. Highlight the specific benefits and value propositions that are most relevant to each segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing:

Utilize a variety of marketing channels to reach a wider audience. This could include online advertising, social media, content marketing, traditional advertising, and direct marketing.? Tailor your channel selection based on the preferences and behaviors of your target segments.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

Implement an effective CRM system to track and manage customer interactions across different segments. This will help in personalizing marketing efforts and nurturing customer relationships.

  • Partnerships and Alliances:

Consider forming partnerships or alliances with complementary businesses or influencers in different industries. This can help expand your reach and credibility among different customer segments.?

  • Continuous Optimization:

Regularly analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategies. Monitor customer feedback, market trends, and competitors to stay relevant and adapt your approach as needed.

  • Scalability and Operational Efficiency:

Ensure that your business processes and infrastructure can handle the demands of serving multiple customer segments effectively. Streamline operations and leverage technology to support scalability and efficiency.?

Tips for Horizontal Marketing

Establish your company’s goals.

Prior to pursuing new clients or forming partnerships with other companies, it is essential to set your goals in order to create a successful horizontal marketing strategy.

Although increasing sales is a clear goal, you should base your choices on which businesses or organizations to partner with on something more particular.?

For instance, it would make sense to collaborate with technological businesses and industry leaders if you wanted to strengthen your company’s reputation as a modern and inventive one.

Working with charity might improve your reputation if your goal is to be seen as a moral organization. You can monitor the performance of your efforts if you have already decided where you want your horizontal marketing strategy to lead you.

Recognize your new audience.

Many companies make the error of presuming that because their reach is expanding, they no longer need to understand their consumers. ?

To direct your promotional efforts in this area, you will need to create fresh marketing strategies and personas as you grow into new markets and regions.

Consider if using certain terminology or jargon in your sales pitches would be necessary if you were to break into a new sector.

Will the personality of your new audience match the tone of your voice? Are there any language hurdles that would be difficult to overcome if you relocate to a different country??

Establish strategic alliances that benefit both parties.

Bear in mind that creating relationships is often what determines how your horizontal marketing strategies build your physical and online visibility.

Consider your company’s long-term objectives and common values that will promote more productive cooperation when choosing businesses to collaborate with.?

An ecologically conscious business that prioritizes sustainability would not make sense to partner with an oil mining business, and the opposite would be true.

The goal of horizontal marketing systems is to increase your market reach, but you must make sure that the connections you make are acceptable for the brand you are attempting to establish.

Moreover, be certain that you can provide the businesses you collaborate with something worthwhile in exchange for what they do for you. The best instances of horizontal marketing systems work because the collaboration benefits both companies.?

Develop a strategy for action.

The secret to practically every marketing or advertising plan is strategy. You may begin creating an execution strategy for your horizontal market once you have set your marketing goals, selected your partners, and identified the consumers you wish to target.

Consider, for instance, which marketing avenues would best help you reach your new audience.

  • How to link your new advertising initiatives with your old promotional tactics.?‍?
  • Where might you benefit your new partners and aid in the expansion of their businesses?
  • What can you do to make sure that when you enter new markets, your company’s values and character stand out?

Pros and Cons of Horizontal Marketing


  • Increased market reach
  • Diversification of customer base
  • Economies of scale
  • Enhanced brand visibility
  • Collaboration opportunities
  • Improved customer insights


  • Intense competition
  • Reduced customer loyalty
  • Potential for brand dilution
  • Lack of specialization
  • Difficulty in targeting specific segments
  • Risk of cannibalization

Horizontal Marketing examples 

Apple and Starbucks

When iTunes first came out, Apple and Starbucks partnered exclusively to allow customers of Starbucks Wi-Fi to access and buy music from the iTunes store. ?

Many advantages came from this agreement for Apple, including an uptick in iTunes sales because of the large number of devoted Starbucks consumers who frequent the store and value its distinctive atmosphere.

To its astonishment, Apple exceeded this aim by selling over one million songs within the first six days of introducing the iTunes music shop, with a major contribution from Starbucks outlets. Previously, Apple had set a goal to sell one million songs in six months.?

Uber and Uber Eats

Uber proves to be a successful illustration of a horizontal marketing structure. The business initially launched its service in a single city before expanding to other cities and countries.

It grew to utilize a horizontal market with “Uber Eats” after researching consumer demand for additional smartphone-focused services.?

Johnson & Johnson and Google

A healthcare business named Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Google. The purpose of having a surgical platform with robotic assistance. It will allow the incorporation of cutting-edge technology, enhancing healthcare services.

Nike and Apple

Cooperation between Nike and Apple has been established. In order to play music and show information, the iPod may be plugged into Nike+ shoes as part of the relationship.

Time, distance traveled, calories burnt, and heart rate statistics will all be displayed on the screen.?

FAQs on Horizontal Marketing

What distinguishes horizontal marketing from vertical marketing?

In order to accomplish marketing goals, horizontal marketing entails working with businesses from many industries. And a vertical promotional plan is one in which you work with businesses in the same industry to reach shared sales objectives.

Can we simultaneously use vertical and horizontal marketing?

Definitely, using both tactics will be good for your company. In other words, it will greatly increase the size of your present consumer base.

What is a horizontal merger example?

Instagram and Facebook are one instance of a horizontal merger. To bolster its marketing efforts, Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012. The growth of the audience was another goal of this combination.

Which is better for you, vertical or horizontal?

If used properly, both tactics are advantageous. To make the most of both techniques, a good strategy must be defined before implementation.

How can a tiny company put the horizontal strategy into practice?

To present their goods to broad audience sets, a small commercial organization might work with a comparable larger organization. It can quickly see significant growth using this method.

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