Vertical Marketing System Explained With Examples

Photo of author

Editorial Team

Vertical marketing systems or horizontal marketing systems are used by businesses to generate and sell products to consumers. The vertical marketing system brings up producers, distributors, and retailers to increase profitability and streamline operations. Learning more about VMS could be beneficial if you want to understand how businesses structure their operations. This article defines a vertical marketing system, lists its three primary varieties, discusses its benefits and cons, and offers advice on how to pick a VMS for a company.

Vertical Marketing Systems

When manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers collaborate to satisfy the demands of their clients, this system is used. It enables one business to have complete control over the making and selling of a product. Producers, wholesalers, and retailers operate as independent businesses in traditional marketing systems, each looking to maximize profits. While this might allow each organization more independence, it can also increase conflict and competitiveness, which cost both organizations money. It is a network of businesses and people involved in bringing a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. These methods of distribution are known as marketing channels. A product or service is sold directly to the customer through the direct distribution channel. The sales activities, however, are carried out through distributors through the indirect distribution channel.

Purpose Of Vertical Marketing Systems

The vertical marketing system is a great way to expand a company and is perfect for business owners with vision and drive. However, one needs the skill to do so. This technology is helpful, especially given the competition of today. Vertical marketing systems achieve the economy by using the market’s scale, the negotiating power of independent channels, and eliminating redundant services. With 80% of the market served, VMSs have become a dominating player in the distribution industry. The growing market demand and boosting the client purchasing power can increase value for devoted customers. It establishes a dependable structure and flexible channels wherever the contributors who perform well are rewarded.

Types Of Vertical Marketing Systems

You can take into account one of the following three primary forms of vertical marketing systems:

1.  Corporate

Each company in this channel continues to oversee the project even if a single company manages the entire production and distribution process. It comprises developing goods, promoting them, and finally offering them for sale to customers. As a result, these companies don’t rely on other organizations to deliver their goods to customers.


Amway is one example. This American marketing firm creates products for the home, body, and health. The brand sells goods only through its authorized outlets, making it a part of a corporate vertical marketing structure. As a result, the business functions as both a manufacturer and a distributor of its products. Another example is Dairy farms owned by John’s Dairy Freeze, which produces ice cream in-house, and sells it to clients directly through an internal distribution network.

2. Contractual

Each component functions as a separate entity in this system. All combine these efforts to increase efficiency and produce value for all participating businesses. Companies start arrangements with significant distributors to advertise their products and maintain their competitiveness. Producers, wholesalers, and retailers collaborate on a contractual VMS while staying independent to achieve the same profit and objectives. These businesses are legally required to satisfy certain costs, delivery, and product-related objectives, but they are free to govern their administrative procedures. Businesses frequently form alliances to reduce administrative expenses and offer more affordable prices. They can expand their market reach and use one another’s skills through cooperation.


A franchise that is run by the original owner and has many locations, each of which is in charge of its operations, finances, and procedures. An example of a contractual kind is working with a franchise. People should buy a license to open one of these shops or cafés. They must, however, adhere to a franchisor’s standards, procedures, and rules. Franchises like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and McDonald’s are well-known examples.

3. Administered

In a vertical marketing system that is administered, one member of the distribution and manufacturing chain is senior and has more influence. Its market sway and larger size are frequently to blame for this. In these situations, the big firm may set up a marketing system devoid of a written contract. Smaller firms frequently decide to operate under their rules including for stock, prices, and branding. Although there is no formal agreement, the size and influence of one of the companies influence the operations of the other companies in the distribution and production channel. A large corporation with the biggest influence controls what everyone else does.


A sizable business decides that each location can only stock 50 gallons of ice cream in a store yearly. Procter & Gamble, as an illustration. High levels of collaboration can be expected from this consumer goods company.

Benefits Of A Vertical Marketing System

Earlier, businesses chose a traditional marketing strategy. It can be characterized as a situation in which manufacturers, distributors, and retailers work independently from one another to maximize profits. The system increased disputes among business partners and decreased ROI. Some businesses chose to transition to the vertical marketing system to prevent these repercussions. The following are the principal benefits of selecting this system:

1. Improved Branding

By concentrating marketing efforts on a small number of potential clients and industries, you can decide on the main message and boost your chances of being well-known. You may establish a company as an industry authority by offering specialist products. As a result, business owners can effectively manage their organizations and increase their market share.

2. Enhanced Efficiency

By collaborating to achieve a single objective, producers, retailers, and distributors in a vertical marketing system have the chance to build stronger, more effective systems. This system aims to reduce rivalry and conflict that frequently exist between businesses. Better efficiency and lower production costs are the results.

3. New Ideas

You might find it simpler to understand customer preferences and create cutting-edge new products and services with the vertical marketing strategy. Vertical marketing systems are frequently used by brands to offer ground-breaking solutions. This collaboration increases productivity helps solve issues and gives businesses complete control over their operations. The system needs strong coordination and communication abilities to succeed, though.

4. Increased Profits

In this system, producers, wholesalers, and retailers work together to achieve their commercial goals and boost profits for everyone involved. Additionally, each participant has the authority to manage channel activities.

5. Greater Access To Resources

The firm might have more resources available if more entities cooperate toward a common objective. The company, for instance, has the means to ship its goods, so it can control delivery schedules and shipping costs without having to haggle with a third-party shipping company.

Drawbacks Of A Vertical Marketing System

A vertical marketing strategy isn’t always the best choice for every organization. Here are a few possible negatives:

1. Limited Perspective

A constrained viewpoint is one possible drawback of vertical marketing systems. When everyone focuses on a single objective, inefficiencies are less likely to be obvious. On the other hand, when businesses outsource their manufacturing, processing, and supply, each party contributes a distinctive viewpoint to the project.

2. Lowered Quality Assurance

Quality control reduces, which is another possible negative. Keeping track of all processes and departments when all departments are under the authority of one corporation can be difficult. Reduced product quality, inefficient procedures, an unhealthy atmosphere, or even diminished employee appreciation can result from this. Make sure that there are effective quality control procedures in place at every level if you’re thinking about using a vertical marketing plan.

3. Inconsistent Coordination

Vertical marketing systems may experience a lack of coordination between divisions, even though working for one firm can often be more beneficial. The involvement of third parties frequently results in them pursuing their financial interests and objectives. Sometimes, there isn’t as much incentive in a VMS to work together to achieve the parent company’s objectives.

Applications Of Vertical Marketing System

Because of how effective this marketing strategy is, every company need to at least give it a shot. Large-scale industries can embrace this more easily. They can buy small or mid-sized businesses to engage in the wholesale and retail business. For both major corporations and small businesses, it can also make things simpler and lessen the complexity. It can eliminate rivalry in the lesser channels and rise to the status of a premium brand in the industry. The intermediary company can participate in this system if it is neither too big nor too small and has skilled personnel.

Example Of Vertical Marketing System

There are numerous instances in contemporary businesses. It is so that organizations can increase their efficiency and lower product costs by controlling the logistics and expenses of a distribution channel. Take Zara, for instance. The entire supply chain is completely under the brand’s control. Conflicts within the company are avoided as a result. Since Zara owns every store, they all employ the same advertising approach. Integration of all operations, in a complete manner, eliminates the potential for channel conflict and promotes maximum effectiveness.

Methods For Selecting A Vertical Marketing System

When selecting a vertical marketing system, take the following actions:

1. Take Into Account The Company’s Assets

It’s crucial to consider the company’s current resources before selecting a vertical marketing strategy. You might choose to employ a corporate VMS for the firm if it generates enough cash and has the necessary staff to establish its production, wholesale, and retail departments. Consider suggesting a contractual agreement if you see that another company owns the resources that are needed by your employer.

2. Set Your Objectives

A considerable and careful amount of preparation and resources are needed to create a vertical marketing strategy. Think about the goals you have for your marketing channel as a whole. It can be the best marketing strategy for the brand if the company needs more resources and prefers fewer competitors. You might want to hold off on partnering if the brand benefits from some competition.

3. Employ A Consultant

If you’re still unclear about which model would best serve your company’s objectives, consider hiring a consultant. To make wiser judgments, a business marketing expert may assist you in assessing the needs, resources, and company constraints. In your particular field, look for someone with a lot of experience in business marketing.

Steps For Starting Your Vertical Marketing System

Let’s look at how you can develop your vertical marketing strategy now that you are aware of what this system is and why you should purchase one.

1. Perform Your Work

You should take the time to do your research in advance because you need to identify the most appropriate audience and modify sales messaging within the vertical marketing system. If you follow this, you can see a significant change, lay the groundwork for your campaign, and save time and money by avoiding unimportant verticals. Think about the consumer group you want to target. Once you have determined who your target market is, you may develop unique user personas to identify problems and provide solutions.

2. Create A Reliable Content Strategy

Hopefully, you created buyer personas and discovered places to improve upon during your research. The creation of your content strategy is now necessary because it connects your brand with your target market. Always consider that the material you provide should be valuable and specifically targeted at the B2B market. To set yourself apart from competitors, you must also determine your unique selling propositions and ensure they are carefully articulated inside your content. You need precise, targeted content for a vertical marketing system. Avoid writing stuff that is ambiguous and general. Whom your content is designed for must be clear to your audience. To create great content, you should find the ideal questions that clients in your particular business are asking.

3. Expand Your Presence Both Online And Offline

You must start boosting your visibility as soon as your content marketing strategy has been created. When deciding how to improve your presence, you can consult with your distributors if you’re using the vertical marketing approach. In the end, you must identify the areas where your target market spends their time and concentrate on your marketing efforts. For example, B2B vertical marketing approach frequently incorporates venues like LinkedIn, business conferences, trade shows, and specialized forums.

4. Present Yourself To The Audience

With the aforementioned information in mind, the time has come to present yourself to your target market immediately and at the appropriate moment. Standard marketing tactics are good, but you should additionally think about leveraging certain marketing channels and related tactics. Because you want to engage with customers who are looking for specific assistance, a vertical marketing strategy, for instance, is typically perfect for live events. Determine your audience’s location and the best moment to establish your brand’s position in a particular specialty.

5. Determine Important Problems And Address Them

You should position yourself as an authority figure in your profession as your content marketing plan. Your content must demonstrate its worth and educational value to do this. Your content must be of the highest quality and show that you are an authority in your field if you want to stand out from the crowd. Whether you are writing blog posts, white papers, or eBooks, it is true. Now, remember to take long-form content into account. The value of this kind of content to your whole vertical marketing strategy can be enormous. You must, however, be aware of the questions your audience wants you to address in your material. Discovering what matters to your clients will be easier if you are familiar with the buyer’s journey. Once you have chosen a viable topic, address your audience rather than talking down to them.

6.  Track Your Performance

Finally, you need to evaluate and test the effectiveness of your campaign. When using a vertical marketing strategy, you’ll rapidly discover how steep the learning curve may be as you figure out what appeals to your target audience. You can check that the material you’ve developed is effective, that you’re distributing it in the right places, and that you’re connecting through the right channels for success by monitoring the results of your marketing campaign.


A vertical marketing strategy is an original take on a conventional marketing strategy. There are many advantages of a vertical marketing system for an organization if they adopt it. It guarantees that many businesses can work together to satisfy customers’ requirements, boost income, and cut costs. A vertical marketing strategy can elevate your brand when used properly, with lots of patience, and planning. Your brand and your target audience are connected through the Vertical Marketing System. It involves being able to provide the greatest possible customer service. Select your vertical wisely if you want to dominate your market and your area. It only needs a little assistance and commitment to your task. It will be hard to determine whether a vertical marketing system will work for you; narrow your focus because you will be working with a smaller audience.