When you introduce a product or service to a new market, there’s always going to be some risk. Over 30,000 new products are introduced every year, but 95% of new products fail. You don’t want to spend time and resources on a go to market plan that’s going to fall flat.
A comprehensive go to market strategy acts as a roadmap, helping you research your market, position your brand, and unveil your new product or service. But before we look at how to build a go to market strategy framework, just what is “go to market” and how do you build a strategy around it?
So, what does “go to market” mean?
A go to market strategy (sometimes called a GTM strategy) is a plan of action that lays out how your company will reach customers in a new target market and gain a competitive advantage over other players in that market. It can also refer to how you’ll reach customers in an existing market with a new product or service.
While this summary of go to market may sound like standard marketing, there are key differences. While your marketing strategy may focus on product development, pricing, branding, and reaching your audience, most marketing strategies are built in conjunction with sales to create a pipeline and assist in closing deals.
A go to market strategy is primarily focused on market penetration and is proceeded by your general marketing strategy.
Your first step should be to research your audience (the people you want to sell to) and come up with your value proposition. A value proposition is a promise of what value your product or service will deliver.
When doing audience research, you should develop buyer personas. These are living, breathing, semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. They include demographic information, but they also inform your team of your audience’s values, habits, lifestyles, and pain points.
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Once you have buyer personas, you can craft your value proposition to address their specific needs. For example, if you intend to sell a time-saving app to busy young professionals, you can craft your value proposition to inform them of how your product will make their lives easier and more productive.
You’ll use your buyer personas and your value proposition throughout your go to market strategy and even after you’ve established yourself in the market.
Again, entering a new market is never without risk. There may be other players in the market. And even if your product or service is completely original, there may be competitors you’re not immediately aware of. If you want to succeed, you need to position your brand in the mind of your customers.
Your objective is to own a marketing niche to build brand loyalty. Essentially, you’re in a battle for your customers’ minds.
You should first determine your current brand position. What does your audience already know about your brand, if anything? What must you change about their perception to be successful?
You should also work to understand how your direct competitors are positioning their brands. Compare your own brand position to theirs, then identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Once you have all this information documented, you’ll be ready to write a brand positioning statement. This is like a value proposition, but it defines how you differ from other players in the market.
As an example of a brand positioning statement in a go to market plan, Amazon.com used this statement in 2001 when they still primarily sold books:
“For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, Amazon.com is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection.”
Businesses sometimes go straight to branding when they try to break into a new market. But by doing all the preliminary planning listed above, you’ll be in a much better position to create a brand logo and other branding elements that speak to your audience.
Your brand is your audience’s perceived understanding of your company as a whole. It encompasses your company culture, your value proposition, your position in your market, and the personal and emotional attachments your customers have to your brand (if any).
Established brands like Apple and Coca-Cola are more than the sum of their parts — they are incorporated into their customers’ lifestyles and the culture in general. This makes them formidable in their markets.
Your logo should identify your brand in the simplest terms to your audience. As a new player in the market, you’ll need to earn brand recognition. But eventually, you’ll want your audience to recognize your brand by your logo alone, without context and without any other identifiers.
You should work with skilled designers to develop branding elements. Provide them with any and all documentation related to your audience, your value proposition, and your competitors. This will help them create logos and other designs that help you stand out.
A poor first impression can have a lasting effect on market penetration. Even if you have a product or service that’s guaranteed to generate interest, the way you introduce it into your target market will set the stage for your future success.
Identify the best channels for your introduction. For example, if you’re targeting consumers, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may be the best venue for your introduction. If you sell to businesses and professionals, LinkedIn marketing may be a better option.
Second, you need to identify which format your introduction will take. Depending on what you know about your audience, you may want to use a video to gain organic reach or even run a PPC campaign. Many companies also use press releases or make deals with third-party publications to write articles about their offerings.
Before launching your product or service, consider testing it. You can use focus groups to test your marketing message, obtain feedback, and fine-tune it before launch.
Once you’ve officially entered the market, you need to generate more interest and demand for your offering and build a sales pipeline. This is where your marketing strategy comes in.
Depending on your business, your marketing strategy could vary widely. For example, if you serve other businesses, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and other inbound tactics will be a good investment. If you sell a product to consumers, social media marketing, digital advertising, and influencer marketing may be more successful.
You’ll need a dedicated team of marketers and contractors to implement your marketing strategy. Most companies use a combination of writers, designers, developers, and strategists to put their plan into action. Smart companies often fill gaps in their resources by using professional freelancers to help create and implement their marketing strategies.
Penetrating a new market isn’t easy, and you’ll need your entire team onboard if you want to be successful. While much of the deliberation around your strategy may occur at the leadership level, your go to market strategy should be documented, accessible, and easy for your entire team to understand.
Most companies begin with a go to market strategy example from another company. They might take what they need from the example, then use it as a go to market plan template for their own company. Once you’ve defined your high-level strategy, you can create a go to market strategy PowerPoint presentation to inform the rest of the team about your plan of action.
Ideally, your team will refer to this deck throughout the process, so everyone is aligned toward the same goals. This helps you avoid miscommunications, misunderstandings, and missteps when entering the market. Remember to include your freelancers as integral parts of the go to market team and share the template and all relevant information with them to get the best results.
Got any extra tip you would like to share to build an effective go to market strategy? Tell us in the comments below