What is horizontal positioning?

Horizonal positioning is the business practice of selecting an area of specialization based on demographic or psychographic client factors. This is in contrast to vertical positioning which selects an area of specialization based on an industry vertical.

Here are application examples of both approaches.

Positioning Examples
Vertical positioning

- Consulting to consumer beverage companies
- Marketing services for credit unions
- Change management training for online publishers

Horizontal positioning

- Consulting CEOs in managing change in disruptive environments
- Branding work for fast-growing challenger brands
- Web design for mission-driven companies

David C. Baker discusses the pros and cons of horizontal versus vertical positioning in his book, The Business of Expertise.