A 2020 LinkedIn report states that a whopping 90% of product launches fail every year. The ad-media landscape can easily overwhelm consumers with relentless campaigns and fail to communicate a crisp understanding of products. This is where a go-to-market strategy comes into play. It is an offshoot of the company’s wide-ranging marketing strategy that takes every business aspect into account to filter out expensive marketing errors. So, what is go-to-market strategy, and how does it boost market intelligence to direct buyers’ choices?
What is Go-To-Market Strategy?
A Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy is a product-centric business plan that optimizes success and mitigates risks. It enables companies to foresee challenges while effectively positioning themselves against competitors. A GTM strategy ensures entrepreneurial success by correctly identifying the target audience and developing a niche marketing plan—as well as strict sales and distribution strategies.
Go-To-Market Strategy: Purpose
Any new endeavor, be it a product launch or exploring new domains, is a costly investment. A typical GTM strategy asks the following questions to sharpen the competitive edge of products and leverage appropriate marketing tactics:
- What is the product and what problems does it solve?
- Who is the ideal customer and why would they choose this product?
- Where do you wish to sell the product—with regard to the degrees of demand and competition in the chosen markets?
- How do you plan to reach this target market?
Three Real-Life Examples of Go-To-Market Strategies
TaxJar’s Content Marketing Plan
Taxjar created brand awareness by tracking down the unmet demands in its domain and filling the vacuum with its GTM strategy. The company undertook extensive SEO-optimized educational content related to tax automation to gradually build its authority.
Microsoft’s Digital Transformation Strategy
In 2017, Microsoft narrowed down its target demographic to customers undertaking digital transformation as a means to generate deeper insights for their businesses. The short-term GTM strategy translated into a long-term business plan where Microsoft specifically targets vertical markets for its business initiatives.
Eight Sleep and IFTTT Collaboration
Eight Sleep produces smart mattresses while IFTTT automates web-based tasks to enhance productivity. Their collaboration led Eight Sleep to add a new feature to its mattresses that allow people to regulate their sleeping patterns.
Go-To-Market Strategy: Benefits
- Acting as a buffer and reducing risks for failed launches or changes in strategies
- Focusing the most on customer acquisition and retention
- Drastic reduction of marketing time
- A holistic approach toward resource management and better engagement with external stakeholders
Go-to-Market Plan Methodologies
Understanding what go-to-market strategy is involves learning the methodology to forge the best action plan. For that, it is important to understand the information that will shape it.
- Barriers to entering the market: There can be multiple factors that hinder entry into the market such as heavy initial investment and lack of interest among potential customers, among others.
- Cheaper substitute products: These can eat up a large segment of target consumers.
- Varied bargaining environments: With the increasing demand for certain products, suppliers often gain the upper hand and increase prices. This increases production costs and shrinks profits.
- Buying capacity of consumers: Close attention to income levels and expenditure capacity of consumers is an important ingredient of GTM strategies.
- Understanding the nature of competition: Competition erodes your market share and profits. Carefully follow the metrics surrounding user attention, time, and purchasing intentions to rethink product strategies.
The Components of a Successful Strategy
What does a successful go-to-market strategy comprise? Here are the five components:
- Market or product strategy: Segregating the target audience to classify customers into buyer personas
- Customer or promotion strategy: Involves customer segmentation and strategizing for each group
- Distribution model or channel strategy: Which channels to use for distribution, which for spreading awareness, and to what extent?
- Product positioning: Deals with finding the most efficient ways to bring the product to the buyer’s attention
- Pricing strategy: Helps determine the pricing strategies for each customer segment
How to Create a Go-To-Market Strategy
You have a ground-breaking product ready for launch that might also expand into newer markets you haven’t explored before. So, how do you create a go-to-market strategy for such a product? Here are the steps:
Step 1: Identify the Product-Market Fit and USP
Product-market fit refers to the extent to which a product or service solves a problem or satisfies a specific market need. The USP of a product is its central selling point that adds value to the customer’s buy. Product-market fit and USPs intersect to secure competitive advantage and capture the target consumer’s attention.
Step 2: Understand the Target Demographic
A target audience is the group of people that experiences the problems your product seeks to solve. It involves industry and demographic knowledge, the geographical composition of customers, their buying decisions and pain points, their preferred communication channels, and the average customer budget.
Step 3: Updated Knowledge of Competition and Demand
This step involves understanding the extent of competition in the market. Research on similar products, their target markets, and the quality or feature differences between your product and theirs will guide this step.
Step 4: What Key Messages to Send the Target Audience
Knowing how to reach your target audience is as important as identifying them correctly. To effectively reach out, one can group potential customers into categories of buyer personas with different needs and unique values, and tailor the communication accordingly.
Step 5: Mapping the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey has three stages, each with its own set of problems and need for different marketing tactics. The first stage marks buyers’ problems and their urge to solve them. The middle stage represents buyers’ curiosity as they weigh your product against that of competitors. The final stage represents the buyer’s decision and your marketing choices.
Step 6: Decide on the Marketing Channels
For the previous step to succeed, leverage the marketing channels and corresponding content that attract the target market. Successful choices of marketing channels depend on where the buyers stand in their decisions.
Step 7: A Concrete Sales Plan
This stage involves choosing from the different nominal sales strategies. There are self-service models securing one-on-one sales, inside-sales models that probe purchases for a large group of people, and field-sales models for extensive businesses that target big enterprises.
Step 8: Setting SMART Goals and Strict KPIs
SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs_ are quantifiable measures of success in meeting specific objectives over time. A SMART KPI looks like ‘500,000 Instagram followers, and 1 million app downloads within the first three months’.
Step 9: Breaking Down the Plan for Final Execution
Strong collaboration skills, method standardization, and regular tracking of goals are key to executing the GTM master plan.
Who Needs a Go-To-Market Strategy?
- New product launch
- Exploring or merging domains
- Old product launch in a new market
- Testing the growth potential of new products
Go-To-Market Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy
The primary difference between GTM strategies and marketing strategies is that the former is product-driven, and the latter is company-driven. A go-to-market strategy that aims to outshine competitors’ products revolves around time-bound markets, products, and short-term company decisions. Marketing strategies on the other hand relate to long-term high-level business objectives.
As consumer behavior evolves with technological shifts, their needs and demands are also diversifying. Outsmart your competition with Emeritus’ latest sales and marketing courses and design the most dynamic GTM framework.
By Bishwadeep Mitra
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