Think Vertical When Creating a Mobile Business Strategy

Last updated: 09. Oct 2020

Each new year offers new ways to latch onto emerging trends and start a business anew or revamp your existing strategy.  For upstart app creators looking to take advantage of opportunities afforded by more devices in hands than ever, the issue many faces is a vision that encompasses every opportunity possible. Vertical markets, oft-shortened as “verticals”, can help hone your focus when considering app creation as a business, saving you time and ultimately increasing your profitability.

Identifying verticals that will work for you

It’s important to separate cost-effective verticals in your app creation strategy from the types that have prohibitive entry-points. Some examples of verticals that require top-tier expertise, and in turn the monetary consideration to provide the necessary components, are rather obvious:

  • Finance/banking
  • Hospitals/health
  • Insurance/pharmacies
Not only are you dealing with incredibly sensitive user information, requiring coordination with corporate legal teams to monitor compliance, but you’re looking at months of work to integrate the systems necessary to provide an app these entities would even consider. Sure the payday will be great if you reach this level, but let’s assume that if you’re reading this article you’re not quite there yet.

Some verticals, although the idea may seem lofty, lend themselves to great opportunities with a bit of outside-the-box thinking:

If you break down their individual moving parts, you can find needs to fill for each vertical mobile presence. Break down local government into its individual candidates by creating apps for those seeking office or re-election. School athletics apps are a great way to provide advertising potential, keeping a vested interest in your community as a whole. Publishers are looking for new ways to promote authors individually, as well as upcoming book releases. These examples are where the difference between vertical and niche marketing becomes apparent.

Assessing local needs

Diversification of clientele is a useful strategy to bolster opportunities in a local setting. Understanding the needs of your community or local businesses can edge you ahead of potential competition, especially as the adoption of a mobile-first strategy is relatively unfamiliar to most small businesses. Choose two or three areas, share with potential clients the importance of user engagement to help create return-business, and you’ve already paved the way for additional work in those verticals down the road.

  • Beauty/Lifestyle (Salons, Spas, Hair)
  • Events/Conferences/Exhibition
  • Hospitality/Food & Beverage
  • Contractors/Architects/Interior Design
  • Retail
  • Religious/Faith-based

There’s a reason why these verticals are a good fit to focus on, as they offer great value to your community and will expand your local network quickly.

A safe start

The importance of diversification is best summed up by the adage “don’t put your eggs in one basket”. Far too many mobile projects have started solely to replicate the success, and sometimes the exact experience of another single app which has far more market share currently than you’ll likely see. Why claw your way up the first rungs of an endless ladder when you can scale a few verticals at your own pace? When you find the ladder that’s easiest to climb, it’s a matter of time before you find yourself at the top.

Hopefully, after a year of this experience, you’ll walk away with a diversified clientele and more in your coffers. You may choose to add talent to your team, approaching more ambitious projects with matching return potential, or continue to work with multiple clients at an increasing premium. It’s likely that your goal is to be profitable, and by expanding your network through targeted verticals you can have the best of either world down the line.

Ivona Palko