Companies that have amazing results from their marketing campaigns are both horizontally and vertically integrated. Today I’m going to explain exactly what that means.

Horizontal Strategic Integration

Horizontal Strategic Integration is a concept that encompasses all of your marketing efforts across the board. This is what comes to mind when people think about an integrated marketing campaign. If you are not familiar with what an integrated marketing campaign is, it’s a complex phrase that basically means that all of your marketing efforts are working together. Both your online marketing campaigns and your off-line marketing campaigns are working together to achieve a single desired result.

This is a concept that seems to be common sense, but I can’t tell you how many times I see a company’s marketing efforts going in 15 different directions. When your marketing efforts are going in 15 different directions, not only are you confusing your customers and your staff, but you’re also wasting valuable marketing resources. You literally may as well have a Friday night bonfire for your staff and use your marketing budget to fuel the fire.

One particular area of media that often lacks horizontal integration, is TV advertising.

It’s becoming slightly more common, but it still is shocking how much money is wasted with TV commercials. An good example of an integrated TV commercial is the Axe Apollo advertisement that aired during Superbowl XLVII (Forty-Seven). At the end of the Axe Apollo “Nothing beats and Astronaut” commercial, there was a simple call to action to go to their website to enter to win a trip to outer-space. This was a great use of horizontal integration with online marketing, online lead generation, and a mass-exposure television commercial to generate more traffic. (Click here to watch the “Nothing Beats and Astronaut” commercial.)

While we are on the topic of super bowl commercials, it always amazes me how companies spend so much money on a 30-second commercial, yet, they don’t take the right steps to maximize all the media exposure. In fact, some super bowl ads even provide virtually free traffic for their competitors!

A few years back, Ford had one of the more memorable Super Bowl commercials for their new Hybrid, Ford Escape that starred Kermit The Frog! Ford didn’t take the extra step to ensure they capitalized on the interest the commercial created on the back-end and competitor General Motors (GM) recognized an opportunity. GM purchased the word Kermit in paid search ads on Google to promote their own hybrid model. This strategic move by GM essentially got them all of the benefits from having a Super Bowl ad, with out having to create or pay for the actual commercial. Compared to paying for a Super Bowl commercial, the cost of the paid search ads was next to nothing.

Unfortunately there are dozens of stories just like the Ford horror story. Don’t make the same mistake in your business.

It’s very important that you consistently think about how you can make your marketing more effective by leveraging the power of cross-media, Horizontal Integration.

Vertical Strategic Integration

Vertical Strategic Integration is when your Strategy, Message, Tactics, and Actions are in alignment with your vision and your purpose. One of the big reasons why small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with marketing is because they operate their marketing campaigns on a very superficial level; their campaigns are very bland and lack depth and character.

It’s really easy to tell when a company is Vertically Integrated because all of their marketing messaging is, in some way, aligned with their core values and their mission. A company’s mission shouldn’t just be a statement that collects dust on the wall, it’s something that should be felt in all of your customer interactions.

Recently I was in Torrance, California, just south of LA, and a group of 9 of my friends and I went out to dinner at a small, family-owned, Italian restaurant for dinner. The owner of the restaurant ended up being our waiter for the night so we heard many stories about the creation of certain dishes and certain wines. To make a long story, short, his passion and pride in his restaurant’s food was palpable, you could feel it, it was contagious. That dinner will be something that I remember for the rest of my life and I will always go back there every time I’m in LA because the experience that was created from pure passion.

If you feel stuck or feel like you’re spinning your wheels, your business won’t get un-stuck with a new flyer or a new website; there’s a good chance that what your business needs, is more of you in it. What I mean by that is that your passion needs to bleed through all the aspects of your business; so much so, that your customers, clients or patients, can’t help but to feel it.

When you are so focused working in your business, it’s easy to forget that humans are emotional beings. We, as people, make our buying decisions based on our emotions, not logic. When you communicate a bigger purpose, or a deeper passion behind what you do, it creates an emotional attachment to your product, service, and brand. What can you do to better express your bigger purpose or the passion that drives your business? Why did you start your business? What positive impact do your products and services have and why is that important to you?

A great example of an up-and-coming company who embodies Vertical Integration to its core is a tech-company called Infusionsoft out of Chandler, Arizona. Infusionsoft is a company devoted to helping small businesses succeed through sales and marketing automation. The Infusionsoft software allows business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers the ability to automate repetitive sales and marketing tasks, so they can focus on other important areas of their business.

Infusionsoft’s mission is to decreasing the number of businesses that fail and helping their customers create lucrative businesses. Their pride and passion is prominently displayed in the way they recognize and feature their customer’s success. (Click here to go to the Infusionsoft clients page.)

If you are interested in exploring how your business can benefit from Infusionsoft’s all-in-one, small business automation software, click here to register for a free, product demonstration.


Both Horizontal and Vertical Integration are essential to effective and strategic marketing. I hope that this short piece of content helped you understand the importance of going deep in your messaging and staying unified in your marketing efforts across multiple types of media.

If you are looking for more guidance on implementing Horizontal and Vertical Strategic Integration, Check out my blog post titled: Introduction to the Strategic Marketing Compass.


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Michael R. Hunter
Michael R. Hunter
Michael R. Hunter is the founder of Right Mindset Daily, and Co-Founder of Paperplane. A trusted authority in marketing, Michael is passionate about helping small business owners grow and develop their business. When he's not saving the world from utter chaos, Michael enjoys watching the Denver Broncos, snowboarding, racing go-karts, and traveling. My Google Profile+

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