Targeting a vertical—a niche or segment of an industry—can help technology providers demonstrate expertise and communicate more effectively with customers. Specializing enables them to relate better to their prospects’ pain-points and, thus, propose solutions of greater overall value and relevance.
That said, verticals lock businesses into one marketplace. When a vertical becomes exhausted or no longer makes sense, it can be difficult to transition into a different one. Likewise, expanding into new markets can be difficult when all focus lies on a different audience. If your business faces such a challenge, consider the following new-vertical strategies.
Many verticals relate to one another in regards to demands and pain-points. Finding those with similarities is paramount for three reasons:
It preserves brand unity—targeting a vertical too far from your business’ core risks alienating current customers and breaking the focus of your business’ marketing and support materials;
It facilitates incremental change—finding gateway or sibling verticals lets you roll out tweaks to your business’ position rather than changing the direction completely. Consequently, you can dip your toes into new ponds before jumping in;
It leverages history—moving into an unrelated vertical renders previous business experience irrelevant. A new vertical should not warrant changes to your business’ foundation—it should relate enough that you can still boast your experience and knowledge.
Slowly switching verticals acclimatizes and stabilizes your solutions. You’ll learn more about your solutions’ weaknesses and strengthens, fine-tuning as you push them deeper into that marketplace. Meanwhile, you’ll likely find new applications for your offerings too, which will improve your approach.
Unfortunately, when a solution has too many applications, it loses some of its value because it no longer satisfies the nuances of a single user type. For this reason, if you intend to target new verticals, you may need to add to your existing solutions and then market those extensions separately. Branching like this helps to keep the trunk (your core business) intact and relatively unaffected by your vertical experiments.