Updated: Feb 15
What does a go-to-market mean?
Utilized to launch a product, service or a business and often referred to as a go-to-market strategy (GTM strategy), it is a tactical plan that outlines how a brand will reach, engage and deliver its product or services to its customers and gain competitive advantage by adding value to them. The idea is to be an irresistible solution addressing the major pain points of your customers.
Let me share some more definitions to bring more clarity -
Gartner describes it as -
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan that details how an organization can engage with customers to convince them to buy their product or service and to gain a competitive advantage. A GTM strategy includes tactics related to pricing, sales and channels, the buying journey, new product or service launches, product rebranding or product introduction to a new market.
Hubspot defines it as -
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a step-by-step plan created to successfully launch a product to market. A good GTM strategy generally identifies a target audience, includes a marketing plan, and outlines a sales strategy. While each product and market will be different, a GTM strategy should identify a market problem and position the product as a solution.
What can you use go-to-market for?
Sometimes the notion is that a go-to-market is used to launch new products or services. However, you can also use it to -
Launch a brand in an existing market
Launch a new office in an existing market
An existing product in a new market
A new product or service in a new market
A well defined GTM will help you plan out important aspects such as - competition, value propositions, customer experience - that will ultimately define your success in the marketplace. While never a fool proof plan and best of Go-to-market’s fail despite all the work, having a defined plan is far better than not having one. It will help you avoid costly mistakes and reduce time to market.
5 components of a go-to-market
A go-to-market will include laying out a strong foundation followed by defining a - product strategy, channel strategy, marketing strategy and an evaluation strategy. Let’s look at what each would entail.
GTM Foundation - Building a strong GTM foundation is critical to launching your product into the market. Here you will gather market intelligence - assess the market landscape, validate the product against customer needs, evaluate the market readiness for your product, do an in-depth competitive analysis, define your competitive advantage, segment your target customer base and set strategy objectives. In case your marketing budget is small, you will also look at how you will manage the funding for the product launch.
Product Strategy - Product strategy starts with developing a product vision. You want to get clear on - why your product exists? It’s purpose and how it can evolve with time? What will customers appreciate about your product? You will then move on to developing compelling messaging. Your customers will buy only if they know you understand them and therefore being targeted is important. You will also want to set up product feedback loops to understand how your customers feel about your new product, pricing model and promotional offers.
Channel Strategy - Determining how you will sell your products is next and a channel strategy can help. The important thing to keep in mind is - where and how do your customers buy? Do they prefer your website? Will you use partners? For example if you are an ecommerce technology SaaS company helping brands create digital experiences, think of where and how your prospects like to shop? Providing product tours on your website, tying up with technology and solution partners (with incentives), social selling, AI powered chatbots are all channels to consider to reach your customers and help them make a purchase. Consider providing training and support to your customers and don’t forget to evaluate channel performance to determine its effectiveness.
Marketing Strategy - Three important components of a marketing strategy is defining your value propositions, positioning statement and developing buyer personas. Why will customers buy from you over your competitors? How are you uniquely positioned in the marketplace? Developing buyer personas for every stakeholder on the buying committee will help you determine what each is wanting your product to do for them and how to appeal to them? Taking the ecommerce technology company example above - your targeted buying group may comprise a CIO, CTO, CFO, CMO, VP or Director depending upon the size of the company. Each role will have unique needs, pain points and goals, hence they will be interested in different things. For one ease of use, conversion rate, ROI will be important, for another processes, operations, scalability and cost. Developing use cases will be important. Not only that you will craft your story for your pre-launch, launch and post launch stage as well as develop external marketing programs.
Evaluation Strategy - Setting KPIs or Key Performance Indicators is an essential step to knowing how you are doing, what is working and what is not. Success metrics such as - MRR (monthly recurring revenue), ARR (Annual recurring revenue), CAC (customer acquisition cost), CLV (customer lifetime value), NRR (net revenue retention), Churn rate and NPS (net promoter score) - serve as north star to your initiatives.
While planning a go-to-market takes time and energy, it’s well worth it because you don’t want to launch an unprofitable product or enter an already saturated market.