Go-to-market strategy

The Ultimate Guide to Developing a Go-to-Market Strategy

  • On : June 2, 2021

Here’s the situation. You’ve come up with an incredible idea that you know is going to save businesses a considerable amount of time and money by solving a problem in a way no one has thought of yet (as far as you know). You’ve gone through the process of pitching it to investors and raised enough capital to develop and refine it. Your product is in the final stages of completion and is almost ready to hit the market. You launch it and against all your foreseeable expectations, it flops. Your solution: develop an effective go-to-market strategy.

This is a universal problem for start-ups and tech companies all over the world, which usually stems from failing to create or execute an effective go-to-market strategy (GTM). It’s well known that over 90% of start-ups fail in their first year and this is predominantly because:

  1. Your customers don’t know who you are
  2. You’ve missed critical oversights
  3. The value of your product has not been effectively communicated
  4. You’ve failed to execute your strategy within a crucial time period

Whether it’s been a failure or a success, most entrepreneurs would agree that these four factors have significantly impacted their ability to gain traction, scale their business model and make conversions. To find out how your product launch can benefit from a winning strategy, here’s a guide on how to develop a go-to-market (GTM) strategy.

What is a GTM Strategy?

To summarise, a go-to-market strategy is a short-term focused, highly detailed roadmap that indicates how you want your product to reach your ideal customers. This involves a significant amount of research into your market and your ideal customers. From here you can develop your unique value proposition, core messaging, and from there, your market position. After this position is taken, you can select your marketing channels, begin to map the customer journey, and closely follow the success of your launch.

How Do I Build a G0-to-Market Strategy? What do I Need to Include?

Every organization has its own rules for its GTM strategies which will vary depending on whether you’re a B2B or B2C focused firm. Most are built through a defined process that is comprised of several key elements. This guide will give you an idea of how you need to approach the process and understand the rationale behind a GTM strategy, rather than obsessing over the details.

Initial Research

  1. Defining Your Target Segment

Even if you’re entering in a winner takes all market, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to take every market. Developing a product that attempts to satisfy the needs of everyone might end up helping a lot of people, but a failure to specialize will leave you vulnerable to being outperformed by competitors. The best way to deal with this issue is to select a target segment by selecting one of four key segmentation strategies. These consist of demographic, psychographic, behavioral, or geographic segmentation.

  1. Prospecting the Market Environment

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, the next stage is to identify if a gap in the market exists for the problem you’re solving or the solution you’re offering. Your product or service might face significant barriers to entry, or the market might already be heavily saturated, with low-profit potential.

Prospecting the market will help you recognize whether it’s worthwhile to develop the product in the first place. For example, if you determine the cost of your product will be substantial for a customer group that has little disposable income in an intensely competitive market, the entire venture may not be worthwhile.

  1. Define your Ideal Customer

The most useful idea, product or service in the world won’t amount to the practical utility if it can’t find a customer that is willing to buy it. By defining your ideal customer in greater detail than a single segment, you can identify specific pain points and customer value early on in the process. This customer focus will inform all other areas of your GTM strategy too.

By using the information, you will have at your disposal, you can focus on addressing specific pain points and precisely who you will address them for. One way of doing this is developing a buyer/customer persona, which will define details about them such as who they are, what’s their situation, and how they would respond to specific communication.

Development of Branding & Core Messaging

  1. Develop and Define Your Unique Value Proposition

After you’ve completed the earlier areas of research, you can analyze all of your relevant information to identify what it is about your product or service that makes it unlike any other. The earlier research you’ve conducted should provide details of what price point, feature, or solution your ideal consumer will be sensitive to. Once you understand what your product’s strengths and weaknesses are, you need to weigh this against your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses as well. A great way to do this is through the creation of a positioning map, which you can find examples of here.

  1. Construct Your Key Messaging

No customer can remember every bit of advertising or marketing communication they’re exposed to, so it’s important to define the heart of what your brand stands for. This should be captured in one big idea that you want to share with the world about what makes you different from your competitors and why you do what you do. Keeping core messaging about your product is a useful idea too. Remember, this should be emphasizing benefits, not just features.

Customer Experience Development

  1. Selecting Your Marketing Channels

The next step is to determine how you want to curate the promotional and informational content your audience will see by selecting the right marketing channels and planning out your customer’s journey. You’ll be using everything you’ve worked on up until now to base your content and advertising for your ideal customers using your core messaging and describing your unique value proposition.

You should be communicating and engaging with your customers in the places that they spend the most time. For example, if you’re looking to market technology products to male consumers aged 25-40, you should try advertising on relevant YouTube channels and the social media sites they use most.

  1. Developing Your Customer Journey

After you’ve deduced where your customers are spending their time, you can start creating an information pipeline known as a customer journey map to control how and when your customers will receive information. You’ll also be controlling where customers will access the product from, and this should again reflect the behavior of your ideal customer.

Take antivirus software as an example, this product should be available online to reach most customers, but also in a retail technology store to reach customers who are more comfortable with making physical purchases. You can find more details on customer journey mapping here.

Performance and Review

  1. Metrics

What does success mean for your product or service? Instead of lofty aspirations for the performance of your business, develop goals. The best way to track whatever success means to you is by having attainable, measurable goals, such as ‘x’ number of sales over the next 30 days. These will form the metrics you can use to measure the performance of your campaign.

  1. Assess Performance Throughout the Launch

Using these metrics, you can assess the performance of your product on multiple levels such as engagement, sales and the reach of your campaign. By monitoring this regularly, you can determine whether things are proceeding as planned or whether changes need to be made.

  1. Review

The final step of building a winning go-to-market strategy is to review the performance of your campaign once it’s completed. You may not get everything right, so taking the time to analyze what went wrong or could have gone better will help you in your future as an entrepreneur, business owner or marketer.

How Will it Help My Product/Service?

A go-to-market strategy will help your business provide a carefully premeditated and well-developed roadmap of how a newly launched or service should perform in the marketplace.

By placing yourself in the customer’s shoes, your product or service will be challenged and scrutinized, forcing you and your team to address these concerns prior to launch instead of recalling or scrambling to develop a software patch. By developing clearly defined metrics, objectives and targets for your launch, your business will be able to utilize its’ resources more efficiently, because you’ll only need to be concerned about reaching relevant goals.

Bringing it all together

Using this guide as a general roadmap is sure to improve the likelihood of your product or service succeeding in its launch into a new market, however, managing all of this while trying to run a business can be a challenge, to say the least. Developing a detailed, winning go-to-market strategy is a delicate, time-intensive process that takes active care and guidance to maximize your chances of success.

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