According to the International Dictionary of Marketing (Daniel Yadin, Kogan Page, UK, 2002), Horizontal Marketing is “Collaboration among companies working on the same markets. In setting up a combined manufacturing, marketing and sales operations, they can bring more power to the market, offer better prices and better services that either of the individual companies working alone. The term may also apply to individual companies within the same organization, seeking savings, economies of scale and other mutual benefits achieved from collaboration.”

It is a strategy adopted to tap potential customers sharing the same common characteristics, but are spread over a wide range of industries. For example, if an auto company ties up with a finance company to provide vehicle finance options and with a hospitality company to provide club membership to it’s customers, it will be a horizontal marketing system. Here, even though the three partners belong to different industries, each benefit with the collaboration because they all target the same set of customers. A successful horizontal marketing system is perhaps the best example of business synergy. That is why it is also referred to as symbiotic marketing.