How does your business connect with its customers and how do you deliver your unique value? How do you go from the initial connection with a potential customer to the fulfilment of your brand promise? The answer to these vital questions defines 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 an action plan that clarifies how to reach your target customers and better compete in your marketplace.
Benefits of a ‘Go to Market’ strategy
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy has numerous benefits. It helps your business:
- Reduce time to market
- Reduce costs associated with failed product launches
- Increase ability to adapt to change
- Manage innovation challenges
- Ensure effective customer experience
- Ensure regulatory compliance
- Ensure a successful product launch
- Avoid the wrong path
- Establish path for growth
- Clarifies plan and direction for all
Whilst developing a comprehensive GTM strategy can be daunting, it is worthwhile and will help ensure a workable path to market success.
What should I include in my strategy?
To create an effective GTM strategy for your business, you want to create a detailed plan with the following six ingredients:
- Markets: What markets do you want to enter?
- Customers: Who are you selling to? Who is your target customer?
- Channels: Where do your target customers buy? Where will you promote your products?
- Product or Service: What product/service are you selling? And what unique value do you offer to each target customer group?
- Price: How much will you charge for your products for each customer group and why?
- Positioning: What is your unique value or primary differentiation? How will you connect to what matters to your target customers and position your brand?
Before you begin, as with the creation of any corporate strategy, it’s a matter of asking the right questions, in the right order.
- Where are you now? What is the current state of affairs in your business? Decide how to measure your current business position and the current climate in your marketplace.
- Where do you want to go? What is the desired end picture of this new initiative? Define your objectives.
- What has to happen to reach your goals? What strategic options are available to you? What does success look like?
The main distinction between an overall business strategy and a specific GTM strategy is that the latter has a greater emphasis on connecting with your customers: sales, marketing, branding, distribution, customer touch points etc.
How Long Will Your GTM Strategy Take to Execute?
A new go to market strategy can take several weeks to formulate and 12 to 36 months to implement. There is no overnight quick win solution. This 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 should have several strategic objectives including to:
- Create awareness of your offering
- Convert your initial customers
- Maximize your market share by encroaching on your competitors, entering new markets, and increasing customer engagement
- Defend your present market share against competitors
- Reinforce your brand position
- Reduce cost and maximize profitability
Seven Steps to Creating a GTM Strategy:
Define Your Target Markets
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, drivers of need, buyer personas, online/offline and location.
You can’t pursue every market so you need 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.
Define Your Target Customer
The driving force behind this step is generating actionable customer intelligence through online surveys, focus groups, one-on-one in-depth interviews, in-store interactions etc. Data is king but make sure it is usable and useful.
Define Your Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. If a company takes an intelligent, forward-thinking approach, it can positively influence its brand’s position in the eyes of its preferred audience.
Define your offering
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.
Define Your Channels
You link your offering to your customers through channels. Channels might include a physical shop, an e-commerce site, a customer service call centre, face to face salesperson, a trade show, a seminar or a direct partner company for example. A you selling directly or through a distribution network?
Build Your Budget Model
Once you’ve defined your channels, you’re ready to build a budget model. Here you’ll want to confirm your product pricing and estimate costs. You need to consider the value your offering to your target customers. Are there existing price expectations? How do you price your product relative to your competitors? Is there a way to create a competitive advantage with your pricing model? Pricing is key to success however, selling purely on price is not a sustainable business model on the longer term. Brand value also needs to be a part of your pricing decisions.
Define Your Marketing Strategy
Now it’s time to put everything 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 how you reach the buyers and influencers in your target markets? What messages will motivate them to consideration and purchase? Keep in mind that your marketing objectives and strategy might change throughout the product life cycle so be ready to adapt.
And once you have created your strategy and begun its’ implementation, measure and track your key performance metrics on a weekly and monthly basis so you can make adjustments to your strategies, financials and staffing. After all, there’s no point bringing in new business leads if you can’t fulfill them!