what is a got to market strategy
Date: March 2, 2023

Introduction to a Go-To-Market Strategy

Stewart Butterfield and the Slack team wanted to change the paradigm for communication. However, it was hard to explain the benefits of an always-available communication system to users used to emails. To combat this, they implemented a go-to-market strategy which strategically positioned them as an easy, integrated, team communication tool, leading them to famously become “the email killer”. 

What is a go-to-market strategy 

A go-to-market strategy is a comprehensive action plan to introduce or relaunch a product or service to market. It helps to position a new product or service for launch, define the ideal customer base, and coordinate brand messaging. By aligning various business units, it enables you to reach your target customers and achieve a competitive advantage. It is designed to mitigate risks and optimise success, and serves to detail how an organisation will engage with the customers. When implemented properly, a go-to-market strategy aligns all stakeholders and sets a timeline to ensure every participant meets the defined objectives. 

A go-to-market strategy typically includes: 

  • Marketing plan 
  • Target market profiles 
  • Sales and distribution strategy 
  • Pricing strategy  
  • Buying journey  
  • Industry awareness 
  • Lead generation  
  • Value proposition  
  • Customer loyalty initiatives 

Type of go-to-market strategies 

Most organisations combine a variety of business strategies to devise a go-to-market strategy that will serve them best.  

what is a go-to-market strategy

In terms of go-to-market strategy approaches, there are two broad types: 

  1. Sales-led: This utilises marketing to garner interest for a product, focusing mainly on content. Within this approach, the salespersons’ main goal is to convert potential prospects into customers.  
  1. Product-led: This makes use of the product itself to gain and retain customers. In this approach, the product serves as a sales person.  

Further, specific go-to-market strategy types can include: 

  • Demand generation: Sales and marketing teams make efforts to build awareness of the service or product with the end goal of demand generation. Actions within this include advertisements, email marketing campaigns, events, and cold calling.  
  • Inbound: By focusing on personalising the sale process to the buyer, it attracts potential customers who have already expressed interest in the service or goods. This includes social media interaction and search engine optimisation. 
  • Account-based marketing: With the focus on B2B sales within this strategy, the sales team ascertains and attempts to sell to specific companies. The sales tools or methods used here might include content marketing and email marketing.  
  • Sales Enablement: this involves supplying the sales team members with required tools and resources to identify and close leads through the sales cycle.   

Who requires a go-to-market strategy  

A go-to-market strategy is required in these following situations: 

  • Launching a new product in a current or existing market  
  • Re-launching an existing product into the existing market  
  • Introducing an existing product in a new market  
  • Testing the potential for growth of a new product in a new market 
  • Relaunching the company 

How to create a go-to-market strategy  

1. Identify your targets

The first step is to identify all the things you are targeting, including specific customers and markets. Beginning with market research to identify the market one would like to focus on, one can move on to identifying target customers. Here, you define your customer personas or ideal customer profile, which is a comprehensive description of the perfect customer for you.  

2. Competition Analysis

It is essential to determine who your competitors are and what makes your product different before entering a market. Understanding where your service or product fits in the existing landscape is vital. This can also give insight into how your competitors are lacking, and thus what the customers are looking for.  

3. Creating a value matrix or proposition

A value proposition articulates why your product should be purchased, i.e., its benefits and the problem it solves. One should have clarity on their value matrix, as this is what will define and direct your marketing efforts. It also explains the purpose of the product or service to all its stakeholders.  

4. Define your pricing and product positioning

Price and product positioning decides how your product or service will be perceived by the market, and thus how it will be adopted. Product positioning makes the product stand out by ensuring consumers identify a product or service with its benefits and selling points. Additionally, depending on your sale and product perception objectives, determining the price is of great importance in a GTM strategy.  

5. Identify suitable product messaging, marketing tactics and promotion strategy

The next step is to create a strategy to promote the product and reach customers. The marketing techniques that are used depend on the particular product or service.  

6. Select a Sales strategy

Building a robust go-to-market strategy requires selecting a sales strategy. There should be an understanding as to how a sales team will guide potential consumers through the sales funnel. Since there are many sales strategies to move potential customers through the sales process, the choice of one or more sales strategy should be done according to the market, business model and product.  

7. Outline budget, time frame and resources

Launching a product requires time, money and resources. These parameters should be defined and anticipated as a part of the GTM strategy. 

8. Identify metrics

Lastly, the success of the go-to-market strategy depends on its goals or objectives, and thus its corresponding metrics. This step decides how the product’s success will be measured, which is usually through key performance indicators. The decided metrics should be clearly measurable, meaningful and trackable. It is an ongoing process that assess how the go-to-market strategy can improve.  

what is a go to market strategy

Benefits of a go-to-market strategy  

As an essential component of launching a product or service, a go-to-market strategy can be beneficial in many ways: 

  • Helps understand the market  
  • Provides clarity on the business mission  
  • Reduces costs  
  • Reduces time to market  
  • Increases growth potential  
  • Builds brand awareness  
  • Helps stay on task  
  • Improves customer experience  
  • Builds preparedness  

Challenges of a go-to-market strategy  

While a go-to-market strategy has many advantages, it comes with its own set of challenges that one may potentially face. These include: 

  • A lengthy planning process 
  • Insufficient knowledge of audience  
  • Incorrect sales channel selection 
  • Risk of overspending  
  • Ineffective and incorrect customer profiles creation 

Few go-to-market strategy examples  

  1. Apple: An example of a successful go-to-market strategy is the iMac G3 launch of 1998. The company targeted three consumer bases, including first-time computer buyers, PC owners and loyal Apple users. Their strategy focused on conveying the product’s novel experience, convincing the company’s stability and generating excitement around the product launch. Their main vehicle was a presentation done by their CEO to communicate these goals, and ads which reinforced the product’s uniqueness. Their strategy understood its market, constituted a well-articulated product value proposition and included a comprehensive marketing plan. Through this, they were able to shield the company from imminent failure and financial ruin. 
  1. Netflix: Another successful go-to-market strategy is that of Netflix. Their strategy was based on recognising the opportunity and entering a target market at the right time. Starting as a mail-order company that would ship DVDs to customers, they recognised the market saturation and simultaneous rise in streaming service popularity. Netflix then launched an unlimited video-on-demand system to their users, which now boasts of millions of users. Their go-to-market strategies now make use of incentives like the ‘one-month free trial’ scheme to attract new customers, who are retained by the content that they provide.  
  1. Pepsi: An example of a not so successful go-to-market strategy is Pepsi’s Crystal Pepsi launch in 1992. Despite pledging a large marketing budget, the strategy failed as the Crystal Pepsi was marketed as a colourless version of the already available regular Pepsi. This made it easy for consumers to ignore it, thus making the GO-TO-MARKET strategy ineffective.  

Digital go-to-market strategy 

With the world rapidly going digital, designing and implementing a digital go-to-market strategy gives your organisation a unique competitive edge. This particular type of strategy takes your service or product to the customers using digital and online channels, including social media and search engine optimisation (SEO). It includes:  

  • Identifying online platforms or channels to target  
  • Creation and curation of the digital GO-TO-MARKET strategy, similar to a regular go-to-market strategy with a digital focus 
  • Defining the key digital marketing tactics to be used  

Considering the large number of internet users, going digital can help your product or service reach a massive audience, and enable your organisation to attain business success. It has the potential to boost lead generation, increase your brand’s digital reach, tap into new geographies and audience, grow brand loyalty, develop a competitive advantage and capture market share. Such benefits emphasise the importance of having a digital GTM strategy for your service or product.  

If you are considering including a digital go-to-market strategy into your marketing plan, think no further than DG Brew. As a leading digital marketing agency, our highly experienced team creates comprehensive and customised go-to-market strategies to cater to all your product or service marketing needs. Click here to learn more about our services, click here to get in touch. Let’s get talking! 

By Abhishree Joshi