How does your business connect with its customers? How do you deliver your unique value to your target customers? How do you go from the initial connection with a potential customer to the fulfillment of your brand promise? The answer to these vital questions define your go-to-market strategy.
Your go-to-market strategy brings together all of the key elements that drive your business: sales, marketing, distribution, pricing, brand development, competitive analysis, and consumer insights. It provides a strategic action plan that clarifies how to reach your target customers and better compete in your marketplace. Go to market strategies can be applied to new product launches as well as existing products and services.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy has numerous benefits. It helps your business:
Developing a comprehensive GTM strategy is an investment in time and resources, but it can help illuminate and ensure a viable path to market success.
The goal of a GTM strategy is to improve key business outcomes. This is mainly accomplished by aligning to the evolving needs of your customers.
To create an effective GTM strategy for your business, you want to create a detailed plan with the following six ingredients:
If you can concisely and effectively answer these six questions, you’ll be in the position to formulate a GTM strategies, like any corporate strategy, is a matter of asking the right questions (and in the right order).
As a business leader, it is helpful to play the role of “strategic coach” and run through the following questions with your executive team:
The main distinction between an overall corporate strategy and a GTM strategy is that the latter has a greater emphasis on connecting with your customers: sales, marketing, branding, distribution, customer touch points, and so on.
A comprehensive GTM strategy that includes a detailed analysis of your target markets, customer segments, budget requirements, offers, positioning can take several weeks (or longer) to formulate. Successful implementation of a new GTM strategy can take 12 to 36 months. It is important to keep in mind that a GTM strategy is a long-term approach to building profitability, decreasing customer acquisition cost, and enhancing the customer experience.
Key Objectives of Your GTM Strategy
Your GTM strategy has several strategic objectives including to:
As an integral strategy for your long-term business success, let’s take a look at the seven key steps for developing your strategy.
Seven Steps to Creating a GTM Strategy
Here are the seven vital steps to formulating your strategy:
No product is appropriate for every market. Clarifying your ideal target markets is a vital element to formulating your GTM strategy. Factors might include demographics, psychographics, ethnographics, drivers of need, buyer personas, online/offline, and geography. Remember you can’t profitably pursue every market so you want to determine where you can most effectively differentiate your brand and attract the most profitable customers who resonate with your offering.
Force yourself to sacrifice and focus on what matters most.
Start by brainstorming a master list of all possible markets you could pursue. Then, determine how you will assess each market opportunity. You may use metrics like market size, growth trends, ability to compete, barriers to entry, the economics of each market.
Next, assess each market for accessibility, alignment, and overall opportunity. Do what you can to test or validate each market opportunity with key stakeholders. Review feedback from current and prospective clients as well as employees on the front line. Review trend data from available sources. Try using customer surveys and external focus groups. Finally, prioritize your market opportunities and refine them on an ongoing basis.
Ultimately, you’re best opportunities will also attract your competitors, so defining your target markets is insufficient in itself. You will still need to differentiate your offer and position your brand. But at least now you will have the confidence that you’re fishing where your fish are.
Management guru Peter Drucker reminds us, “The purpose of business is to create a customer.”
The driving force behind this step is developing customer intelligence. You want to become masterful at generating actionable consumer insights through web surveys, focus groups, one-on-one in-depth interviews, in-store interactions, and more.
Here’s a list of questions that require thoughtful deliberation:
Your goal is to understand who your customers are, how they behave, and what they experience. The better consumer insights you have, the better chances you have for executing an effective GTM strategy.
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. If management takes an intelligence, forward-looking approach, it can positively influence its brand’s position in the eyes of its target customers.
We’ve outlined how to create a brand positioning statement here.
Now define your product or the product’s unique value proposition. Understanding your product’s key features and benefits is the first step. Then you must understand exactly how your product connects with your customers: the context of their use, the solutions it solves, the benefits they derive.
Here are some key questions to bring clarity to your offering:
To help determine the product’s unique value proposition, put yourself in your target customer’s perspective when you think about presenting your company’s offering. Consider:
The better insights you have about your customers, the more effective you can be at defining your offering. This means you need to get to know your customers, to obsess about your customers.
Talk to them, listen to them, and get to know them. This step will also help you create more effective marketing messages later on.
You link your offering to your customers through channels. Channels might include a retail store, Internet, a customer service call center, face to face salesperson, a trade show, a seminar, or a direct partner.
Amazon.com’s primary channel is its website. Walmart’s primary channel is its retail chain. BWM’s primary channel is its dealerships. LL Bean’s primary channels are its catalogs, call center, and website. AT&T’s channels include its authorized dealers (partners), independent retail stores, and website.
Your goal isn’t just to identify your channels, but to ensure that each channel is as seamlessly integrated with each other as possible.
Customers should be have a consistent brand experience no matter what channel or touch pointthrough which they interact with you.
The key questions in your channel analysis are:
You want to make sure your offering fits your channel. For example, it is difficult to sell complex services or certain high-priced products over the web.
Once you’ve defined your channels, you’re ready to build a budget model. Here you’ll want to define your product pricing and estimate costs associate with your GTM strategy.
To develop your pricing model, consider:
Channel economics is an important to consider. For example, most airlines, like JetBlue, charges a $25 booking fee when you book a flight over the phone while charging no fees for online booking. There’s little variable cost for web transactions, but call center representatives are expensive.
Your goal might be to develop a revenue model based on anticipated market penetration, average transaction size, number of transaction, and so on.
To help mitigate risk, it is advisable to identify the economic, competitive, and internal risks associated with executing this strategy. Outline the biggest risks that may affect your ability to reach your goals and develop strategies to address how to overcome them.
Now it’s time to put all of the pieces of this massive puzzle together. You’re going to want to develop a unique marketing strategy for each target market you’ve identified in step 1.
Your marketing mix will be determined by your strategy in each market. Starting with your brand positioning, your goal is to create competitive advantages for your product offering.
To develop your marketing tactics, consider:
Keep in mind that your marketing objectives and strategy might change throughout the product lifecycle so be ready to adapt. Be sure to measure and track your key performance metrics on a weekly and monthly basis so you can make adjustments to your strategies, investments, and human resources.
Now It’s Your Turn
As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
An effective GTM strategy is based on the art of delighting your customers and surprising your competitors. Consider how hard Apple used to work to keep the the plans of their new iPhone secret until “the right moment” to go to market with their new product. Once you are in the process of rolling out your strategy you won’t have time to plan as you’ll be more reactive due to your deadline pressures. Thoughtfully and thoroughly walking through these vital steps gives your organization the greatest chance of success.
Contact us to discuss how you can better prepare for what’s ahead. We can help you identify ways for your organization to tap into the power of cult branding, create value, and ultimately thrust your performance.
Best of luck in your go to market journey!