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Are you a vertical or a horizontal email marketer?

Whether you're using omni-channel, cross-channel or multi-channel as a strategy, email will definitely have a place in your marketing mix. But where exactly do we fit in email marketing? Is it just another channel you use, in addition to social, website, print, search,…? Or is it rather an influencer for all these channels? Otherwise put, what is the most effective way to put your email marketing to work: the horizontal or the vertical approach?.

Confused? Don't be. First, what exactly do we mean by ‘as a channel' or ‘as an influencer'? The best way is to understand the concepts of vertical and horizontal email marketing.

Vertical email marketing uses email as a full-blown digital channel. It's a direct connection to your customer. Vertical messages have the core message, the USP and the CTA in one and the same email. Which means the email carries the content and also triggers the interaction. There is no direct link to other channels, except maybe to a website. These types of messages often take the form of newsletters, newsflashes, promotion emails,… Your intention as a brand is to engage via email.

Horizontal email marketing puts in email as an influencer to enhance all your other channels. The USP, the offer or main CTA is not directly in the email, but on another channel. You are using email to intensify the traffic and engagement on the channel that the email influences. This is a different approach from vertical email marketing, because it needs to be implemented on a strategic level. Horizontal messages we all know are social activation emails, follow-up emails after a DM was sent, a triggered message to get traffic back to a community,…

But what is the best approach? Simply put: combining both types of email is the way to go. Vertical email messages should be crafted to perfection with great design, stunning copy and killer content. This is a channel on its own, and provides a direct ROI.

Horizontal email messages support all other channels and aim to boost the ROI of other channels. Embed email on a strategic level and you have a strong influencer for all other channels.


Always combine vertical and horizontal email marketing, as they reinforce eachother and give you the best perspective for good results

Posted on
Dec 19, 2014