Introduction to GTM Strategy
The goal of every business is to have a successful product. Which means that everything has to be perfect.
You need to chase the right customers, enter the market at the right and share the right marketing message.
If there’s a miscalculation in any of these steps, you might end up launching an unprofitable product.
To avoid scenarios like this, all businesses work on a go-to-market strategy.
In this article, we’ll explain what it means, why you need one, and how to build yours.
What is a Go-to-market Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy, popularly referred to as a GTM, is a step-by-step plan that outlines how you’ll successfully launch a product into the market.
You should definitely create a GTM whenever you’re launching a new product in a new market, launching an existing product in a new market, or launching a new product in an existing market.
Ideally, it should cover the main questions anyone would have. This includes
- Who: who are your potential customers and why do they need your product
- What: which is your product. But in this context, it means what the product is and what problems it solves
- Where: this covers what markets you’re chasing, your prospective competitors if there’s a demand for your product, and any potential risks involved
- How: which is how you plan to create a demand for your product and convince your potential customers to choose your brand.
Seeing how extensive your GTM is, it’s pretty similar to a product roadmap for your launch.
Many business owners assume that it’s specifically for physical products. However, a GTM is essential for both physical and digital products. It even extends to launching a service.
Why Should You Have a GTM Strategy?
So, you’re probably wondering if it’s REALLY necessary to work on a GTM.
After all, you can simply map out a marketing strategy to generate awareness and new customers.
However, if you don’t create a GTM, your business stands a lot to lose.
Here are some reasons;
a. There may be no market fit
How many times have you seen businesses fold up because people weren’t just buying what they were selling?
We’ll tell you. 42% of startups fail because there is no market fit.
Oftentimes, it might even be a great product doing numbers in a different state. Or the pricing strategy wasn’t aligned with what the target market could afford. Sadly, there was no proper market research to project this.
In your go-to-market strategy, one of the key focuses is on your target market.
So this means there’ll be ample research on whether your product will be successful there or not. This can influence you to make the right adjustments before launch.
b. There might be potential losses you can avoid
If there’s no market fit, or you spend advertising resources trying to get the wrong audience, it’s going to cost your business. It gets worse when the product is a high-risk investment.
Asides from dealing with the losses, you might also have to justify the reasons to your investors. All of which can be avoided with a solid GTM.
With your go-to-market plan, you can immediately identify the risks your product might face when it launches.
This means you don’t have to spend resources on a product that’s doomed to fail or won’t get the right reception. You can spend time fixing the issues before investing your resources into dominating the market.
c. You can adequately manage expectations post-launch
Unfortunately, your go-to-market isn’t foolproof. And so this means you cannot completely avoid failures with it.
However, with it, you can manage your expectations. For one, you can foresee the reaction it’ll have in the market.
If your customers might have trouble with a particular area of the product, you can easily adjust it before launch. That way, you not only save costs but even optimize it for better adoption.
How to Build a Solid GTM Strategy in 10 Steps
So, now that you’re ready to test that new product or expand it to a newer market, here are ten steps guaranteed to give you a solid go-to-market strategy;
1. Understand the problem you’re solving
While building your product, there has to be a need or problem you’re trying to solve. Every business does.
For instance, Bolt was created to help reduce the stress associated with getting a private taxi.
Food delivery services try to bring already prepared food to your doorstep and social media apps try to make networking easier.
The purpose of this step is so you can know what value you’re offering as a product. It also helps you see whether there’s even a need for your product.
To thoroughly understand a problem you’ve identified, start by analyzing it. You’d understand the root cause and how to better approach or tackle it. After this, create the goals and potential solutions you want to see. Then set action plans for your product.
Once you clarify and thoroughly understand what problems you’re solving, you can then work on how to take up the market share.
Pro Tips– Don’t create a solution and then find a problem for it to solve.
– Start by solving the basic need first.
2. Understand your users
You’re going to be selling this product to people. Understanding who your target customers are can help uncover insights into why they’ll need your product and what can encourage them to choose your brand.
So you need to research to know their basic bio-data (demographic).
You also need to know where they stay. This will help you understand their market, culture, and any other external influences you’d have to deal with.
Then finally, there are the behavioral and psychological traits. This will be useful in deciding what their motivations are. It’ll also show the potential concerns they might have with using your product.
Once you complete this research, it’s time to build your ideal customer profile. Many people refer to it as a buyer persona.
The goal here is to create a character that brings your research to life. They become relatable and you can deduce what types of messaging they’d relate to.
Pro Tips– Focus on their roles and the challenges they might have with your product.
– Interview real people from your target audience to get real responses.
3. Study the competition
Competitive analysis is crucial at this stage because it helps you understand your industry a lot better.
For example, you can see how to develop your product, how to set the right pricing strategy, what type of promotions you need to run, and even the types of messages to send. It can also show you how to position your brand differently and stand out.
Now you can choose to do this internally or hire an agency – it’s all up to you and your budget. However, ensure you have the full scope of your research outline.
Some of the things to include are the company and location (if you’re expanding to new locations), their website, what their mission is, and what they do. You also want to include their product range along with the prices.
Next, do a proper SWOT analysis for each of these competitors. This is so you can know their strengths, weaknesses you can exploit, and opportunities for your product.
Pro Tips– Ask their customers – interviews, reading reviews, or gauging their social sentiments.
– Be sure to run this research for both your direct and indirect competitors.
4. Understand the market
Many businesses make the mistake of solely focusing on their users and competitors without reviewing the market itself. However, this is one of the most important steps because your market is the actual playing ground. If it’s hostile, it’ll be terrible for your business.
Understanding the market shows you certain areas you can take advantage of and also the risks associated with it. For example, if you’re looking to break into the financial sector as a finance business, you need to evaluate all regulations you’d be subject to.
Some of the areas you should cover in your market research includes demand. Is there a lot of demand for your product? If yes, will there be a decline in the future or will it continue to increase?
You also want to evaluate the structures. In our earlier example, this includes the regulatory bodies and terms you have to follow. After this, look at how competitive the sector is. Is there an opportunity to still enter the market at whatever stage it’s in? Or is it completely oversaturated?
Finally, look at the market trends. What are the changes over the last 2-5 years? If it’s predictable, this can help you better prepare for whatever wave will be coming next.
Pro Tips– You can conduct market research by setting up focus groups and observational studies.
– If you’re running surveys, always ask quantitative and short answers so you can analyze the data better.
5. Build your unique value proposition for messaging
Now that you’re done with the research part, it’s time to put to use all you’ve studied about your competitors, target customers, and market research.
In this research, you’d be able to deduce what your unique value proposition is and carve your brand messaging from it.
Now your messaging has to resonate with your audience and so you need to bring in their motivations and goals. So think about the benefits of your product applied to your customer profile. Don’t just list features, how does it affect their day-to-day life?
Outline their problems and strategically position your product as the solution with your messages. It’s also important to be authentic with your value proposition especially if you’re a new brand. What makes you different? Why should they switch to your product?
Finally, ensure that all aspects of your branding align with your messaging. This includes your logo, design, business name, and more.
Pro Tips– Have a brand positioning statement to help you guide future product launches.
– It should define your product, show how you’re different, and state your benefits.
6. Create your user journey
Now, it’s time to study how your target users will identify their problems, find and interact with your product. The goal here is to be able to show the right message at the right time. This way, you’ll increase the chances of them converting and sticking to your brand for years.
So when creating this journey, start from the top of the funnel. This includes the awareness stage where they become aware of their problem and then research solutions. Oftentimes, they’ll come in contact with your product if you’re positioned just right.
Next move to the middle which is the consideration stage. Here, they compare your products with your competitors. This is when you should convince them that you’re different and a better option.
At the bottom of the funnel, they decide whether to stick to your product or go for a different brand.
Here’s a customer journey example for a language learning app. A potential customer might realize that they aren’t getting better in French with a competitor, so they search for alternatives. During this period they stumble on an article that talks about your app. This is their awareness phase.
They then visit your website and other options to weigh which one addresses their specific vocabulary issues. That’s the consideration stage. Whatever they see there in terms of offerings and pricing can then nudge them into choosing your product. This is the decision stage.
Pro Tips– Outline all the customer touchpoints with your product.
– It should define your product, show how you’re different, and state your benefits.
7. Create a marketing plan and channels
Based on the user journey you’ve mapped out, you need to find corresponding channels that’ll resonate best with your prospective users. Since you need users to go further down the funnel, you need to explore a variety of options.
So think search marketing, social media, email, or even content. For social media, you need to identify what channels your customers use. So this is where your user research will work.
If your demographic is young, you’d want to look into Tiktok and maybe Snapchat. For millennials, there’s the option of Tiktok and Instagram. For much older users, Facebook is a more suitable channel.
Ensure that whatever you do, you align your marketing channels to the type of user you’re targeting. Over time, you might still need to segment your social media audience based on their behavior.
Finally, in your marketing plan, ensure you use different channels for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
So if you’re using a banner ad to attract them to the top of the funnel for example, you might want to focus on webinars, user testimonials, and reviews during the consideration stage.
Then for the bottom stage, you can use a discount or free trial to help them choose your product.
Pro Tips– Don’t forget to account for every stage of the funnel.
– Inbound marketing is always a strategy to explore – especially since you’d still have competitors.
8. Build your sales plan
For some products, you might not need a sales plan. However, ideally, you need to prepare one – especially since it’s how you’ll be closing accounts of high-profile clients. When creating a sales plan, be sure to include one that’s best suited for your product.
There are four popular models every business can choose from. They include;
- The self-service model – Here, customers find the product and purchase it online. These are the products that don’t exactly need a sales team. You just need enough marketing to get traffic. Most businesses under this model are e-commerce websites.
- The field sales model – In this model, your sales team focuses on getting into the field to acquire huge deals for your product. Many times, it means there’d be a long sales cycle but the pay-off actually covers the duration. This is common with software services designed for enterprises.
- The inside sales model – Designed for medium-priced products, you have a sales team whose job is to convince prospective customers to purchase your product.
- The channel model – This is when you have a business partner that helps you sell your product. You basically give them a certain amount and then let them do the distribution. You see a lot of this in retail and wholesale chains.
Pro Tips– Evaluate the cons of the sales model you’ll be choosing so you’re better prepared.
– It’s also advisable to mix these strategies depending on where you are in size.
9. Create smart goals and processes
It’s time to get to work. Outline clear targets for when you launch your product as well as the processes that’ll get you there. A great way to do this is by setting SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. So for example, if you plan to launch an insurance app, your SMART goal could be to have 100k app downloads and 20k new accounts in the first year.
Break down this goal into smaller measurable tasks for each member of your team. This way, you can be sure that everyone is working towards achieving the same goal.
Pro Tips– Have a project management tool so it’s easier to collaborate with your team.
– Document your progress each step of the way either through sprints or templates.
10. Analyze, evaluate and adjust where necessary
As we’ve earlier mentioned, your go-to-market strategy won’t be 100% foolproof. This is why you should constantly analyze the results you get, evaluate them, and improve.
If there’s an aspect of your plan that’s not working, go back, tweak them and find alternative options to tweak them.
Pro Tips– Always interpret the data from your research – don’t just guess.
– Start by experimenting with the channel first before modifying your entire message.
Your go-to-market strategy is the roadmap for ensuring that you successfully launch your product in a new or existing market. The tough part is doing the research right and then using what you’ve learned from this research to influence your strategy.
Remember to also use your brand to influence your market share. A great way to start is to get the right business name.