A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a step-by-step plan created to launch a product to market successfully. A good GTM strategy generally identifies a target audience, includes a marketing plan, and outlines a sales strategy.
When the Swedish brand Oatly branched out into the US, American consumers were interested in something other than oat milk. However, the company had a cunning plan; rather than spending money on advertisements and going right to the source—coffee shops. Customers who frequently sought out dairy substitutes frequented the artisanal establishments where Oatly partnered, and their product's creamy, latte-friendly consistency won over the crowd. As a result, the company's revenue increased tenfold between 2017 and 2018 following its US launch, sparking a new craze for oat milk.
At the precise moment when customers were smelling the espresso and prepared to buy, Oatly went right to their target demographic. And you can be sure that their success was primarily due to this creative go-to-market plan.
What Exactly Is A Go-To-Market Plan?
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a detailed plan for introducing a new product to the market or taking an already successful product into untapped territory. By responding to the following inquiries, it positions your project for success:
What product do you sell, and what particular need does it address?
Who is your ideal client, and what problems do they have?
Where will your goods be sold? What markets are you interested in entering, and how is the demand and competition there?
How will you generate demand and contact your target audience?
The cost of launching a product is high. However, no matter how innovative your product is or how you market and sell it, it will determine whether it is a success. By developing a GTM plan, you can ensure you're considering everything and prevent costly errors, such as putting your product in front of the wrong demographic or entering a crowded market with competing goods.
When Is A Go-To-Market (GTM) Plan Necessary?
It would be best if you had a go-to-market plan every time you launch a good or service. This comprises:
Introducing a new product into an established market
For instance, a well-known apparel company is introducing a line of cosmetics.
Introducing a current product into a new market
Take the example of a regional grocery chain moving into another state.
Product testing in a new market
A tech startup is releasing its first app, for instance.
Even well-established businesses require a go-to-market strategy when creating a novel product or breaking into a new industry. This is due to how quickly market conditions and competition can change. Even if you've had success in the past with a similar product launch, the same approach might be less effective now.
A Marketing Plan Versus A Go-To-Market Approach
A go-to-market plan is designed to introduce a new product or enter a new market. On the other hand, a marketing plan provides specifics on how the entire marketing strategy will be carried out. A marketing plan, like an annual roadmap or an all-encompassing digital marketing strategy, is a long-term strategy to help you reach your marketing objectives rather than being launch-specific. Your GTM approach is adapted to a particular launch, but it is based on your long-term marketing strategy.
Example of a marketing strategy: Sephora uses its loyalty program, which rewards customers with discounts and freebies when they spend a particular amount. This strategy is a long-term strategy to gradually increase client loyalty rather than being specific to a new introduction.
Example of a go-to-market strategy: Microsoft used a go-to-market plan to introduce their third-generation Surface tablet. Their approach was unique to the tablet's introduction and addressed a particular market issue—that existing tablets lacked the features of a complete computer.
9 Steps To Creating Your Go-To-Market Plan
So, you've developed an intriguing new product or desire to enter a new market. To ensure the success of your endeavor, you are aware that you need a go-to-market plan. But what does that approach look like?
Step 1: Determine The Issue
Every successful product launch resolves a particular issue. For instance, Blackberry phones enable businesspeople to respond to emails. At the same time, on the go, Uber avoids the laborious process of hailing or phoning for a taxi, and Dawn detergent removes oil and simplifies the dishwashing procedure. Each of those items has a distinctive value proposition, which describes how it adds value for clients by resolving their problems. But, most importantly, there was a high need for solutions when such items were introduced.
The degree to which a product satisfies a significant market demand is known as product-market fit. Gaining a competitive edge and ensuring you're launching the appropriate product to the right customers depend on your understanding of product-market fit.
Step 2: Determine The Target Market
You must thoroughly understand your target market to have a successful GTM launch. Start by posing the following inquiries to yourself:
Who is having the issue that your product addresses?
What specific annoyances can your product help with?
How much is your target market willing to spend on a fix?
The ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas are the two most frequently used methods to identify your target market. Together, these techniques let you target a more specific audience and reduce the size of your consumer base.
This strategy identifies the ideal client or the person who faces the problems your solution addresses. They can purchase your goods, know the issue, and actively seek a fix. Take into account the following traits while developing your ideal customer profile:
This strategy identifies the ideal client or the person who faces the problems your solution addresses. They can purchase your goods, are aware of the issue, and actively seek a fix. Take into account the following traits while developing your ideal customer profile:
Demographic or industry
If you're selling to businesses, specify the industry you're aiming for, such as the SaaS, legal, or financial sectors. Identify the specific categories your potential consumer falls within if you are marketing to individuals. For instance, a daycare facility might focus on families with children between the ages of 1 and 5.
In what region do your potential clients reside? For instance, a tour operator that exclusively provides experiences in English might focus on customers in the US and Europe.
This one is particular to B2B businesses. First, determine the size of the company you're aiming for; for instance, you might promote a new co-working space to funded startups with at most 20 employees.
The budget that your clients have to spend on your goods will help to determine your price approach. This will also affect how the market views your product. For instance, you generally want to stay within a specific price threshold if your business offers expensive timepieces. Alternatively, a law firm may decide it is more profitable to focus primarily on clients with a monthly budget of at least $5,000.
What aspects affect a customer's decision to buy your product? Do they, for instance, rely on recommendations from reliable friends or coworkers? Does a chief decision-maker in a corporation, such as the CEO or the sales manager?
What particular annoyances does your ideal client have? For example, a business that sells financial planning software might aim at people who waste time using spreadsheets to track their budgets.
How does your ideal client take in knowledge? Do they quickly use the web, read print periodicals, or use social media, for instance?
Each person in your target audience is a distinct individual with problems, values, and ambitions. Therefore, they are not all the same. You may distinguish between the many types of people in your target audience by creating buyer personas, which enable you to see your clients as actual people.
To comprehend your target client, you ought to develop a variety of customer personas. Here is an illustration of a buyer persona for a travel agency introducing a new in-destination app:
Persona: Memory Maker
A person in the 25–35 age range
Willing to pay more for premium experiences
Travels alone or with a partner
Appreciates flexible scheduling
Wants to reserve in-demand experiences ahead of time while also having some flexibility to choose an activity once they arrive at a destination.
Has no trouble using apps and technologies
Although buyer personas may resemble an ideal client profile, they serve a different purpose. Personas help you understand who your customers are by segmenting your ICP into more particular groups, each representing a specific individual with unique problems, values, and ambitions.
Step 3: Examine Supply And Demand
Now that you've determined your product's value proposition and target market, it's time to research. Ensure adequate demand and only a little competition before bringing your product to market. Consider these inquiries as a guide for your research:
Who else sells a product that is comparable to yours?
What demographics and geographical areas do your rivals focus on?
What sets your product apart from the alternatives? What distinguishes you from the competition?
Does the product have a market, or is it oversaturated?
Conduct a competition study to have a complete understanding of the market landscape. This strategy uses research to find your direct and indirect rivals and their advantages and disadvantages compared to you.
Step 4: Select Your Main Messages
The next stage is to choose the main points you'll make to prospective consumers. The superb strategy is to create personalized messaging for each buyer persona so you can speak to their particular values and concerns.
Create a value matrix to align your messaging with each buyer persona. Each persona is broken down into a value matrix along with their pain areas, the value your product offers, and a key message outlining how your solution may address their particular issue.
Let's stick with the earlier tour operator scenario. The business plans to introduce a brand-new in-destination app as a refresher. One of their personalities is a "memory-maker," or a client who is prepared to shell out money for exclusive events. For this persona, a value matrix might resemble this:
Online reservations make it challenging to confirm the caliber of the experiences.
They cannot get their money back if their plans change after paying for an expensive excursion.
A feel for the trip quality can be obtained via an app that includes customer photos and reviews.
They can cancel if their plans change, thanks to a flexible booking policy.
Make confident plans for high-quality experiences.
Repeat these steps for each of your buyer personas to finish creating your value matrix.
Step 5: Map The Buyer's Path
You may now chart the buyer's journey—the steps customers take from discovering their problem to evaluating your product as a solution to making a purchase—after you've determined your buyer personas and messaging. An essential element of content marketing is buyer's journey mapping, enabling you to present suitable material to prospects at the right time.
Most frequently, a funnel with three components is used to represent the buyer's journey:
Middle of funnel
Customers know the issue they want to resolve and are looking for answers. However, they still need to be made aware of your goods. You aim to draw the customer's attention during this stage so they will think about your product.
Center of funnel
Customers compare your product to competing products. In this stage, you want to persuade potential customers that your product is the best choice.
The base of the funnel
Customers decide to buy your product. You want to persuade them to commit during this period.
Step 6: Select Marketing Channels
The various forms of material you employ as marketing channels generate demand for your goods and guide potential buyers through the sales funnel. For instance, there are several marketing platforms, including social media, paid search ads, blogs, SEO content, and emails. Your target market and the buying cycle stage at which your potential consumers are will determine the marketing channels you use.
Align marketing platforms to your target market.
Ensure the marketing platforms you select are compatible with how your target demographic likes to consume material. For instance, you might concentrate on YouTube advertisements rather than sponsored social postings if your ideal customer utilizes YouTube but not Instagram or Facebook.
Adopt several channels at various stages of the purchasing process.
Different kinds of marketing material can assist clients in progressing to the next stage, depending on where they are in the marketing funnel. For instance, search engine optimization (SEO) material might drive website visitors at the top of the funnel who are unfamiliar with your brand to your website. On the other hand, case studies and webinars may be most beneficial for buyers amid the sales funnel and considering your product. Additionally, offering a free trial can persuade potential clients to buy near the bottom of the funnel.
Step 7: Develop A Sales Strategy
Decide how you'll sell to your target audience and convert potential customers into purchases because selling your product is the main objective of your GTM strategy. Your sales approach enters the picture here.
The four most popular sales techniques are listed below. You can combine these tactics with matching your particular product and business style.
Customers make independent purchases of your goods. This is a typical step in purchasing products sold through online retailers. Although you don't need a specialized sales crew for this option, you still need to spend money on marketing to get people to your website.
An internal sales model
To persuade potential clients to buy your goods, your sales team cultivates them. This is a fantastic choice for medium-priced, slightly more complex items, such as team design software.
Field sales strategy
Salespeople concentrate on securing large business transactions. This approach has a higher investment in sales and a longer sales cycle, but the reward is substantial. For instance, you might sell HR management software to big businesses using a field sales strategy.
A third party offers your product on your behalf. Although you have less control over how you market your goods, this method is the least expensive and can be successful if you collaborate with a business that offers related goods. For instance, you could collaborate with a grocery chain offering a novel kind of cereal.
Step 8: Make Specific Objectives
Every successful go-to-market strategy begins with well-defined goals. With goals, you have precise objectives to work toward, a deadline, and a means of tracking your progress. With specific purposes, it's easier to determine whether your strategy is effective.
The goal-setting frameworks listed below can be used to create quantifiable goals. You can employ these tactics alone or in combination, depending on your company's needs:
Using this acronym, you can set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals. For instance, when introducing a new app, you might establish the following SMART objective: "Generate 50K new user accounts and 1M total app downloads in six months."
KPIs are quantitative measurements that assist you in monitoring the development of your business goals. For instance, you could monitor total sales and ad click-throughs when implementing a go-to-market strategy for your new product. Remember that you can create KPIs using the SMART objective structure, such as "Within three months, generate 100K total conversions and 1M ad click-throughs."
Purposes And Essential Outcomes (OKRs)
This tactic aligns your desired outcomes with the crucial products you'll use to gauge your success. I shall [goal] as measured by [significant result] in the following format. The marketing team, for instance, "will boost awareness of a new product, as measured by the following key results: Drive 1M online traffic to the product page, increase social media engagement by 50%, and produce 50K new customers through email signups."
Step 9: Establish Precise Procedures
It's one thing to develop a fantastic go-to-market plan; quite another to put it into action. Since of this, developing transparent processes is crucial when launching a product because, no matter how well you create your strategy, it can only be successful if you share it with your team and have them carry it out. So when developing your GTM plan, for instance, you ought to take into account the following:
How You'll Communicate Your Plan And Work Together With Your Team
Instead of letting your strategy languish in a drawer, organize all the ideas and initiatives that make up your strategy in one location. You can achieve this with the use of a powerful work management application.
How You'll Monitor Progress And Make Course Corrections
The effectiveness of your goals depends on how well they relate to your regular work. Making a plan to routinely check in and track your progress—for example, at the end of each week or month—will help you avoid setting goals for your GTM strategy and forgetting about them. Communicate these modifications with stakeholders using a centralized project management solution. In this manner, everybody agrees.
How Using Templates Can Help Standardize Operations
Every go-to-market plan has some moving parts and components. But even if it's crucial to reevaluate your strategy with each new product introduction, there's no need to come up with anything entirely new. Instead, standardize your go-to-market procedure by developing process documentation and templates to prevent duplication of effort. For example, you may create templates describing the methods for identifying your target market, clarifying your messaging, and other phases, as well as a general template to direct how you develop your whole GTM plan. Pick a project management solution for your team that enables you to build and share templates for your team's routine processes.
A step-by-step plan for introducing a new product or entering a new market is known as a go-to-market (GTM) strategy. It aids in promptly introducing your product to the appropriate market and with the proper messaging. Discover the nine steps to creating a go-to-market design, and prepare your next product launch for success.
It costs a lot of money to sell a product. But with a solid framework to identify your target audience and to message specific goals, and transparent procedures to execute your strategy, you may position your next launch for success. Once you follow these nine stages, crafting a successful go-to-market strategy is more manageable.
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