Launching a new product seems easy, but finding the right new market for it is hard. You not only need to create a competitive startup with a solid product and develop a marketing strategy but also a dynamic marketing plan and to market the heck out of it. Unless all of your key business units (i.e. the sales team, marketing team, etc.) are on the same page with a well-thought-out go-to-market strategy, your product launch will struggle to gain traction.
But several companies, typically new start-ups and new entrepreneurs, drop the ball when it comes to designing a go-to-market strategy. And, this will be the focus of this guide.
In this guide, we will cover:
● What go-to-market strategy is and how that related to messaging and your target audience
● The key components of a go-to-market strategy
● How to find the best go-to-market strategy for your startup/target market
● How to build the right go-to-marketing strategy and value proposition
By the time you are through with this guide, we hope to have left you with actionable information on how to build a go-to-market strategy that’s tailored to your specific product launch and startup’s needs.
Table of Contents
- What is a Go-To-Market Strategy?
- What Are The Different Go-To-Market Strategies?
- What Goes Into a Go-to-Market Strategy?
- How to Build Your Go-to-Market Strategy
- Examples of Go-to-Market Strategies
What is a Go-To-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a methodical approach to introducing a new product to consumers or penetrating an untapped market. GTM strategies help companies determine the best way to introduce their new product to consumers. You can target the right people at the right time with the right message, ensuring the success of your initiatives. To learn more about GTM strategies, you can refer to one of these excellent product marketing books, such as Product Marketing Debunked: The Essential Go-To-Market Guide by Yasmeen Turayhi.
The go-to-market strategy should not just be about what you are selling, but how. There are many ways to approach your GTM strategy, such as:
● Designing marketing material and marketing plan
● Testing your product before release / validating your business model
● Creating a press release and targeting media outlets
● Attending industry trade shows to meet new customers and get feedback on new ideas and pain points
Your go-to-market strategy should be focused on your intended audience, your coordinated messaging, and your product positioning. The ultimate goal here is to help your company reach its target audience in the most efficient way possible.
What Are the Different Go-To-Market Strategies?
Go-to-market strategy describes how they market their products to customers and decision-makers, and its success depends on how well it ties into the product sales process/lifecycle. A company's go-to-market strategy should be aligned with its marketing goals as well as its products' needs in order for it to be successful.
Go-to-market strategies can also be tied into the product life cycle. Product positioning, pricing, distribution channels, and promotion all depend on where the product is in its lifecycle and what stage it needs to reach next.
There are five common go-to-market strategies that companies adopt.
Product-led marketing, or product-led growth, focuses on the product and its value proposition. It is all about delivering the right features to the target customers. The emphasis is squarely on the values that a product brings to the table and how it solves customer needs. This approach helps companies:
● Understand what target customers want and give them more opportunities to create products that are in demand.
● Identify their target market by understanding their needs, wants, and pain points.
● Position their products as solutions for these needs, wants, or pain points in order to create more demand for their products.
Apple, Coca-Cola, and Nike are some of the popular brands that use product-led marketing to terrific effect. These companies spend a lot of time researching what people want from their products and giving them exactly what they want to create a loyal customer base. They have always had a deep connection with their target customers, which has helped them maintain its reputation as a trustworthy brand among consumers.
Sales enablement GTM strategy helps sales teams perform better by providing them with the necessary tools, skills, and knowledge. The main purpose of this strategy is to help salespeople sell more efficiently and effectively throughout the sales cycle. This is typically done through training programs, webinars, videos, content marketing, and other online resources.
This strategy works because:
● It provides salespeople with the right information at the right time
● It also helps in closing deals faster and optimizing as they can answer customer questions faster than before
● Companies can scale their sales faster at lower cost
● They can deliver an improved customer experience by making it easier for customers to buy and know about products.
Inbound marketing is also known as “pull marketing” as it relies on pulling target customers in rather than pushing information out. The inbound marketing strategy, in contrast to the traditional outbound marketing strategy, is about attracting customers organically by talking directly about the value proposition, pain points, and needs. It achieves this by providing valuable content to the customer through various channels like blogs, social media, videos, and email campaigns.
Inbound marketing includes four main components:
● Attracting visitors through content creation and distribution
● Converting visitors into leads
● Nurturing leads into customers
● Increasing customer loyalty through great customer service
This GTM strategy is one of the most effective ways to create awareness and interest in your product or service without spending any money on advertising or paid social media. Any kind of business, from start-ups to enterprise companies, can use inbound marketing to great effect, as it does not require any major outlays for advertising or marketing.
Demand generation is a tried-and-true GTM strategy and sales strategy that helps companies find new customers by creating and distributing content to potential buyers. This strategy can be used for both B2B and B2C SaaS businesses. A company continuously generates demand for its products or services from potential buyers by sending them promotional messages about the company’s offerings.
It is an all-inclusive strategy that encompasses the entire marketing funnel, from lead generation to conversion.
● Demand generation helps in tracking marketing efforts, measuring ROI, and other sales metrics or KPIs
● It helps in building brand value and reputation
● It helps in driving more traffic to your website
● The company can get higher conversions by focusing on on-demand generation, as it has fewer customer acquisition costs
● It is also helpful for companies that are looking to build their customer base
The goal of demand generation is to create awareness, interest, and desire in potential customers, so they will purchase a product or service. This is typically done through email campaigns, social media, blogs, webinars, case studies, video marketing, surveys, SEO, etc.
Account-based marketing focuses on targeting specific accounts and achieving a deeper level of engagement with them. It is typically used by B2B companies to get a higher return on investment in the long run.
Accounts are targeted based on the needs of the business, which might include:
● The size and profitability of the account
● The potential value of the account
● The potential growth opportunities with the account
● The company's products or services that are most relevant to the account
This GTM strategy is not just about finding new customers, it also includes nurturing current ones while working on broader goals such as increasing market share or expanding into new markets. Account-based marketing delivers high conversion rates for several small and medium companies because it helps them focus on the right accounts and build a long-lasting relationships with prospects.
What Goes Into a Go-to-Market Strategy?
Companies are constantly trying to figure out what will work best for them. And to get their go-to-marketing strategy right, you need to spend time researching different marketing strategies and then testing them.
However, there are certain things that remain common to all GTM strategies. All effective go-to-market strategies try to answer the following questions:
Who is your ideal customer?
Your go-to-market strategy must always revolve around your ideal target customer. You can't market to a group of people if you don't know who they are. The first step is to identify who your ideal customer is and what their needs are. Once you have this information, you can focus on finding out their pain points. This will help you create a marketing strategy that speaks to their needs and delivers on their expectations.
What do they want/need?
You should always identify the pain points of their ideal customer for their GTM strategy to work. It will help you understand what they are looking for and what they need, and you will be able to create a product or service that solves their problem and makes them want to buy it. The best way is to ask them. Customers are happy when you take the time to listen and address their issues, so make sure you do that before launching anything new.
Why is your product the best solution to their problems?
Every company has to know what its existing product does and how it solves a customer’s problem. In order to answer this question, you have to fully understand your customers and the problems they are facing. Because you already know what your customers' pain points are, you can then design solutions specifically addressing them.
Where will you sell your product?
Selecting a go-to-market strategy also involves determining how you will sell your products to customers. You have to figure out how you will be selling your product to customers and whether that will be direct-to-consumer, online (i.e. search engineers, social media, LinkedIn, etc.), offline, or a mix of these. This ties in deeply to how your product messaging comes together through those channels.
How will your target audience know that your product exists?
This question is one of the most important ones in the marketing world. It's not enough to just have a great product; you also need to be proactive and create a plan for your product to make it visible to your target audience. Once you have selected your sales and distribution channels, it is just as vital to devise the appropriate marketing strategy and communicate it to your target audience through various channels.
Which is the best way to reach them?
And finally, you need to identify the channels that are best suited for reaching these customers. This could include physical stores, online stores, or even social media channels like Facebook LinkedIn, Twitter, and even search engine ads on platforms such as Google.
How to Build Your Go-to-Market Strategy
How well your product reaches its target market and how well your target audience responds to it depends on how carefully your go-to-market strategy is drawn and how well it is executed.
Overly aggressive go-to-market tactics might work, but they could also backfire on your product and brand. But deliberate market research, consideration for what your target audience wants, and a strong GTM strategy will go a long way in helping you avoid the pitfalls of overly aggressive marketing tactics.
Marketing strategies are a critical aspect of any business because they define the go-to-market strategy that dictates what type of customer you are targeting. A well-drawn go-to-market strategy can help you reach your target audience and increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Here is a step-by-step breakdown to developing a go-to-market strategy that is specifically designed for you:
1. Identify the problem
Launching a successful new product always involves addressing a pressing issue. For instance, Netflix saw a void for streaming TV and movies to traditional TV sets. Netflix tackled the problem of people watching too much TV by offering a simple solution: avoid traditional cable. Tesla, on the other hand, went a different route. Tesla was founded to address a problem with battery-powered vehicles: they had a limited range.
But getting people excited about your product is not enough. You have to have a well-crafted marketing plan and product messaging, especially if you're trying to crack a market in its nascent stages.
New product launches are not as simple as they seem to be. If you want to launch a successful new product, you first need to understand the pain points. You also need to consider the competition and how your product will be different from other products in the industry. Last, but not least, you need to determine how your new products will meet valued customer needs and solve pressing issues for your customers.
When all these things come together, you achieve a glorious milestone called “product-market fit,” in which a given product effectively meets the needs of its target audience. Having a firm grasp on product-market fit will help you get a leg up on the competition and ensure that you're introducing the best product to the most interested consumers.
2. Research the market
Any solid go-to-market strategy must begin with an in-depth analysis of your product's current market position. This includes understanding the pricing strategies of your rival companies and their products. You must know your competitive advantage. If you are selling a product that is in a niche market, it's important to understand how your competitors think they will be able to attract more customers. Some of the questions you will want to ask yourself include:
● What marketing strategies do your competitors use?
● How are they able to differentiate themselves?
● What is your product's competitive advantage?
● How do their prices differ from yours?
● What pricing strategies have been most successful for them in the past, and what has not been so much?
● Who is their target audience, and how can you better understand this audience before approaching it yourself?
If you have more than five competitors, you must supplement their competitive analysis with your own.
● Identify your target customer and the behavior that makes them valuable to you.
● What are they looking for?
● What do they want?
● Why should they buy from you instead of the competition?
● How would they feel if they bought your product instead of some other brand?
● What will make them switch over from a rival product and start using yours?
Remember that you are not yet developing your ideal customer profile — that will come later. You are just getting the feel of the market by surveying your users and buyer personas.
3. Build your Ideal Customer Profile
An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a list of attributes and demographics that describe the customer who is most likely to buy from you. It can be used to help you understand what your customers want and how they may behave.
The process of developing an ICP involves identifying the key characteristics of your target customer, including their age group, gender, ethnicity, income level, among other demographics. This will help you understand what type of products or services they are looking for and how best to market them to them.
It could also help you find new groups of customers who might want your products or services.
To build your ICP:
● Start with understanding their pain points and their specific frustrations. This will help later in sharpening your key message and speaking to them directly
● Understand their needs. This will help you to tailor your product or service to meet their requirements
● Identify the target market and create a detailed profile of this group. You need to know where they live, how old they are, what gender they are, and what social media networks they use
● Ensure that your marketing strategy takes the customer profile into account. This will help you understand who your target audience is and how best to reach them with your message
● The customer profile should also include things like demographics, psychographics, and lifestyle information about the potential customer
4. Identify your key messaging
The next thing to do is to think about what you want to say to your target audience. The most effective strategy is to create distinct messages for your target customer, catering to their individual pain points. You need to think about how you want your product to be perceived.
One way to achieve this is by developing a value matrix. A value matrix is a visualization tool that can help you tailor your messaging to the needs of your audience. It helps you identify what matters most to your customers and what drives them nuts.
A value matrix also lets you understand how your marketing message should differ depending on the persona you are speaking to.
● What are the benefits it offers? Address the pain points and the frustrations.
● What will make it stand out from the competition? Highlight the differentiating aspects of your product
● How can you use language that will appeal to your target market in a way that feels authentic and not too sales-y?
Once you have thought of a marketing strategy, you need to figure out what time of day is most likely to work for the marketing campaign. This is an important factor because if your content isn't relevant or interesting at the time it's sent, it will fall on deaf ears. No matter how polished your key message is, it’s not going to work much unless it’s delivered effectively.
5. Select the right marketing channels
Picking the right marketing channels is crucial if you want to ensure that messages reach your target audience at the right time. Marketing channels can be a daunting task if you don't know where to start. There are many different channels that you can utilize for your marketing strategy. Distribution channels such as: social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), SEO (search engines), email, and content marketing are just a few of the channels that exist and all serve different purposes.
For instance, social media is more interactive and has the potential to perform well for your company in terms of getting your brand message out there and reaching new people. Email, on the other hand, is mainly used for sending out general announcements and newsletters. Content marketing engages by providing educational content that your audience will find valuable.
Here are some key guidelines you can follow to select the right marketing channels:
● Choose channels that are appropriate to your business type and industry
● If you don't have a clear idea of the target audience that you want to reach, then test several channels with different messages and figure out what resonates best
● Consider the costs associated with each distribution channel
● If you're unsure about how well your content will perform on a specific channel, then try it out first before investing heavily in it
● Monitor your marketing distribution channels closely to detect changes in user behavior
● Think of your content as a business asset and protect it with copyright and other intellectual property rights.
Finding the right marketing channels will require some trial and error. But once you have your perfect marketing channels, you can use these channels to build the audience you need for your business.
6. Develop your sales plan
Developing a robust sales plan with your sales team is the final step in building an effective go-to-market strategy. A sales team plan determines what products or services are to be sold, who will sell them, where they will be sold, and how much they will cost. It will be the bridge between a company and its customers.
A successful sales plan follows a set of principles that include:
● Creating a monetization strategy that will generate revenue
● Prioritizing products and services based on their projected revenue potential
● Creating a strategy and timeline for achieving the plan
● Defining the key metrics or KPIs that help you monitor your product’s performance as well as key performance indicators (such as profit margins, sales quotas, and pricing strategies)
Examples of Go-to-Market Strategies
Many companies are constantly experimenting with new strategies to jump ahead of the competition. Now, we will look at three companies that crushed their go-to-market strategies to penetrate the market quickly.
Loom is a company that provides tools for video and audio editing. The company has been able to capture the market quickly by focusing on customer acquisition through various go-to-market strategies.
Loom’s go-to-market strategy is based on four core pillars:
● Targeted Marketing: Loom focuses on attracting customers by marketing to specific segments of the population (i.e. their target audience or sometimes referred to as buyer personas with specific demographics)
● Organic marketing: Loom focused on its sharing abilities and a “word-of-mouth” publicity to rope in more customers (A great example of brand awareness)
● Partnerships: Loom partners with other companies to increase its customer base and reach
● Automation: Loom automates and optimizes certain parts of its business to save time and money, which can be invested in other areas of the company
The Eight Sleep mattress is designed to be comfortable, supportive, and personalized for each individual. It's made of four layers of foam and memory foam that are designed to align with the spine and provide the right amount of support.
Eight Sleep partnered with IFTTT to help their customers sleep better, demonstrating its cutting-edge technology and letting their users create conditional statements and integrate multiple apps to build a new feature that simplifies bedtime and morning routines. Their go-to-market strategy included the following:
● Its new product launch campaign piqued the interest of the people
● Blog post roundups showcasing customer success stories and how customers were using the new feature to build their own conditional statements
● Showing users how easy it is to work with the latest IFTTT app and creating one’s own conditional statement for bedtime and morning routines
To learn more about Eight’s strategy read Shopify’s excellent post about their story here.
Slack is a team communication platform that helps people connect, communicate, and collaborate with each other. The company has built a strong brand awareness and brand identity and created an active user base by focusing on the following go-to-market strategies:
The company’s go-to-market strategies were based on three different approaches:
● A focus on the product's value proposition, simplicity in design, and features
● A free version of the app with limited features helped them build a large user base
● The paid version of the app offers advanced features and functionality for teams who are willing to pay for it
● Integrations with third-party apps, services, and platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, etc. which helped them grow their customer base even more
Go-to-market strategies are a vital component that every business has to get right. One of the most important components of a successful go-to-market strategy is a good marketing campaign—and a great start to come up with a marketing campaign is by understanding what your target audience needs and wants, where they are and when they are online, and what kind of content they prefer.
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