Learn how to create and use a go-to-market strategy for your next product or service launch.
About to launch a new product in the market? Or want to?
We know your mixed feelings — excited, nervous, curious, and afraid — at the same time.
That’s because we’ve often read that between 50% and 70% of new products fail.
But that shouldn’t dishearten you. With the right go-to-market strategy, you can set your product for success.
In this article we’ll take you through the various steps of creating and using a go-to-market strategy for your product launch.
- What is a go-to-market strategy
- GTM strategy, marketing strategy, and business plan: difference
- Who needs a go-to-market strategy?
- What does a GTM strategy framework include?
- Benefits of go-to-market strategy
- How to create a go-to-market strategy
What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is a detailed plan for launching something new in the market, such as a new product or service, or a new business. It includes detailed, step-by-step sales and marketing plans. A go-to-market strategy can be useful in many ways, for example, to determine the viability of a product, to understand market demand for the product, collect data about competing products, among others.
Let’s look at some go-to-market strategy examples:
Example 1: Huawei
Huawei wanted to enter the Indian telecom supplier market, which was already crowded. Another challenge was that Indians perceive Chinese products as inferior quality.
What did Huawei do? The company built R&D centers in India and employed locals to help the brand create value for Indians. The company positioned Huawei products as aspirational, established trust, and built relationships with customers via campaigns.
Example 2: Slack
When the builders of Slack thought of introducing their product to the world, they faced the challenge of explaining the benefits of their product in comparison to a platform that the world had been using so far – email.
The brand decided to strategically position the product as a preferred choice for integrated team communication that simplified team work. Slack decided to use webinars to educate its target audience about the value their product could add to teams that were frustrated with tedious communication methods.
How is a GTM strategy different from a marketing strategy or a business plan?
Many people tend to use the three terms or formats interchangeably. While there are subtle differences and overlaps, all three have a different purpose, among other differences.
- In a go-to-market strategy, the focus is only on one product or service with the idea to launch it in the market. The timelines of go-to-market strategy are short term and limited only up to the launch.
- A marketing strategy typically focuses on the entire business with the idea to build a brand, attract and retain customers for the long-term.
- In comparison to the above two, a business plan is all about defining goals and how a business will achieve them. Go-to-market strategy and marketing strategy can be a part of a business plan.
Who needs a go-to-market strategy?
Brands aiming to launch a new product or solution in the market need a GTM strategy. Besides, new businesses or old businesses entering new markets also need a GTM strategy.
This strategy offers a roadmap that guides a company from the beginning to the final launch stage.
GTM strategy is most common in sectors such as B2B, SaaS, tech startups, as well as used in the B2C sector. It makes the launch process more streamlined and successful.
What does a go-to-market framework include?
The GTM framework will be different for each brand. However there will be some basic and common components. The sections and details can be added or removed based on the business and product’s need.
|Product details and concept||What and why about the product|
|Customer profile||Pain points, segmentation, how to reach target audience|
|Strategy||Vision, mission, objectives, uniqueness, revenue model|
|About the industry||Industry analysis and trends|
|SWOT analysis||Strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of your product|
|Customer journey map||Customer experience throughout different stages|
|Marketings and sales||Tools and strategies to use for marketing and sales|
|Target audience||Personas, segmentation,|
|Strategies and channels||Messaging, PR, positioning, direct channels, partnerships, etc.|
|Growth plan||Customer journey, growth model, sales, marketing, etc.|
|Operating models||Teams, structure, technology, financials, skills, etc.|
|Key performance indicators||Leads rate, sales rate, query rate, drop-off rate, etc.|
Why do brands need a go-to market strategy? (Benefits)
It is critical for brands to get a deep understanding of various factors before launching anything new in a market. A go-to-market strategy can provide several benefits in this regard. Here are some reasons why it’s a must-have for brands.
1. It sets you up for success
A go-to-market strategy helps you envision how your product/service could succeed in the market. For example, it will make you answer questions such as, are you addressing your target audiences’ needs, or will the demand for your product increase in the future, etc. By addressing all these questions, you can ensure the success of your product/service. In other words, it will help you decrease risks before you launch something.
2. Helps bring teams on the same page
With go-to-market strategies you can align your teams all along the launch lifecycle. The roadmap and plan makes it easy for different teams and members to understand their specific tasks and timelines. To begin with, all your employees will be aware about a launch and what their roles are for the same.
3. Ensure adequate resources
Having a go-to-market strategy helps you plan in such a way that you have enough time, enough number of people, and monetary resources, among other aspects, required for the launch. This helps ensure safety and gives a certain sense of surety.
4. Create product-market fit
Maybe you have a great product or service, but the market you’re targeting isn’t really right for the product. For example, maybe the price of your product is too high for your target market, or the market already has better alternatives to yours, and hence your product is not fit for that market. These are mistakes that a good go-to-market strategy can help you avoid and find the right solutions to.
5. Discover and fill gaps
A go-to-market strategy can help you identify gaps in your product or in the market and help you fix them. For example, maybe your product or service doesn’t exactly address your target audiences’ pain points, and hence, it may not succeed. With a go-to-market strategy, you can identify these drawbacks much early in your launch journey and address them with suitable solutions.
6. Reduce time to market
Go-to-market strategy can give an overview of the entire process, helping you prioritize tasks, address any gaps before launching, and define details of how each task and process will take place. Such clarity can help reduce time to market as the chances of making mistakes and setbacks are much lesser.
How to create a GTM (go-to market) strategy?
Building a go-to-market strategy involves many factors. Moreover, factors such as the nature of the product or service, the industry, niche, and target audience also influence GTM strategies. Here, we share 10 key steps required to build a comprehensive go-to-market strategy for startups, businesses, product designers, and marketers, among others.
1. Identify your target market
Your target market is nothing but a set of customers or multiple segments of customers who could use your product/service. Customers are the whole and sole for your product. And hence, it is essential to identify which market segment will be interested in your product.
2. Conduct competitor research
By understanding what your competitors are offering, you will be able to position your product/ service based on the value you offer against your competitor. Understand why your potential customers like your competitor. Alongside, also consider other factors that may affect your launch in the near future.
3. Define your value proposition
One of the key parts of your GTM strategy is the value proposition of your product or service — why consumers should buy your product, what are its benefits, how does it address customer pain points, and how does it make peoples’ lives better. In short, the benefits your product/service provides. For example, your value proposition could be that your product has advanced features that no other alternative product has, or that yours is more cost-effective than others.
4. Craft your product messaging
How you talk about your product or service will have an impact on your success. That’s where messaging comes in. It helps capture your target audience’s interest and give them information about your product. For example, whether you’re sharing a press release, publishing an article, or a product video, your messaging should remain consistent and share the same information.
5. Define your KPIs
To know how effective your GTM strategy is, you will need to measure some metrics. The metrics will depend on your goals. For example, is your goal to spread product awareness, to increase conversions, or any other key performance indicators? Some KPIs you could consider are: number of leads, number of sales, cash burn rate, revenue per customer, number of website visits, etc.
6. Decide your product pricing
Once you have an understanding of your target audience and the value your product offers, you will have to decide on your pricing strategy. Some of the factors that will help you decide the right price for your product are its manufacturing cost, profit margins, prices of competing products in the market, and the willingness of your target audience to pay that price, among other factors.
7. Decide your sales cycle
Your sales plan will include all activities related to sales, such as strategy, pricing, schedules, process, etc. to help you meet your sales goals. And so, you must finalize your sales cycle before the launch. If you’re adding or removing some strategies, tweaking the plan, it should happen before the launch. For example, the sales activities should be aligned with customer journeys and at what stage your customers are in their journey.
8. Create your marketing strategy
Without a marketing plan, it will be difficult to introduce your product to the market and to your target audience. Your marketing strategy will have various elements, such as, data strategy, content strategy, partnerships, social media, paid ads, etc. All these different elements have to be aligned with your go-to-market strategy.
9. Decide product distribution channels
An important factor of go-to-market strategies is the distribution channels. These will differ based on the product type. For example, for digital products, they would be direct via website, proprietary, app stores or marketplaces, partners or affiliates, etc. For physical products, they would fall in the segments of direct distribution channels, online stores, physical stores, etc. Your product type will help you decide your product distribution channels.
10. Align marketing, sales, and support
Now that the nitty-gritty aspects are sorted, you will have to ensure the smooth functioning of your go-to-market strategy that you have carefully crafted so far. For this, one of the most important factors is to sync your marketing, sales, and support processes. Ensure your different departments work together and are on the same page. Besides, ensure each department provides support to the other in order to be successful.
For example, to do this for a startup’s go-to-market strategy may be comparatively easier because most startups have fewer departments and employees. However, this process could get complex when there are multiple teams and team members involved.
Summing up — How to get started with your GTM strategy?
By now you have a fair idea of how to go about your GTM strategy. You can reference the go-to-market examples and go-to-market framework shared earlier in the article to chalk out your strategy.
However, you may require expert inputs to build your go-to-market framework. It will ensure you eliminate the common mistakes made by most companies at the beginning. Therefore, reduce your go-to-market time, unnecessary resources or expenses, and give you a confident start.
We, at Kanagawa, have successfully helped 100+ startups to design go-to-market strategies.
And the next, could be you. Let’s talk!