As marketers, it’s easy to get excited about what we’re bringing to market — excitement that stems from a deep familiarity with the value of our brands. But that excitement doesn’t extend to prospective customers on its own. Marketers need a go-to-market strategy, one that ensures their value proposition reaches their target audiences in a compelling way right from the start.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan of action for a specific product, service, or brand that defines how a company will reach target customers and achieve a competitive advantage. Conceptually, a GTM strategy is simple: it begins with consideration and analysis of your prospective customers’ needs, then goes on to strategically address those needs with a unique value proposition from your company.
Developing a successful GTM strategy isn’t as simple in practice. “If you ask each member of your executive leadership team how they define a go-to-market strategy, you will likely get a different answer from each of them,” Forrester, a global research and advisory firm.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of a healthy GTM strategy. We’ll determine when these strategies are necessary and how marketers can use them to reach the right audiences, build brand equity, develop customer loyalty, and drive revenue.
When Does a GTM Strategy Make Sense?
Marketers should consider developing a GTM strategy when new sales or audience-building opportunities arise. Developments like a new product, brand, or service are chances for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors and increase market share upon launch.
GTM strategies can be effective for other purposes as well. For example, marketers may adopt a GTM strategy to:
- Reignite lagging sales for a longstanding product
- Expand offerings within an established audience
- Adapt value propositions for new markets
- Introduce a major change to an existing brand
Simply put, a GTM strategy ensures these important moments aren’t boring, generic, underperforming, or overlooked. It ensures they are memorable, impactful, engaging, and profitable instead.
How to Create a Successful GTM Strategy
Although each GTM strategy is unique, they all share fundamental characteristics that are essential for their success. Here we’ll consider some of the aspects of a successful GTM strategy and how they contribute to both near-term and long-term results.
To begin, marketers can establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with their GTM strategy’s value proposition. But KPIs will vary depending on the product, service, or brand associated with the strategy. For example, KPIs for each of the following subjects may include:
- New products: reach, engagements, downloads, or conversions
- Rebranding campaigns: media mentions, brand awareness, or sentiment analysis
- Reigniting lagging sales: cross-sells, upsells, or customer retention
- Expanding offerings: customer acquisition rates, market share, or revenue
Tracking these KPIs will help marketers identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, then guide how marketers shape their tactics — for this campaign and those in the future.
Take a Data-Driven Approach
Marketers need to understand the needs, motivations, and behaviors of their target audiences in order to deliver effective communications; that understanding is best served through research, analytics, and a keen eye toward customer insights.
Data analysis can help marketers target the right audience, but also help them craft more relevant and meaningful messages as part of their strategies. Market analyses may also help marketers determine the right KPIs and improve how they track them as they measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Leverage Multiple Channels
A successful GTM strategy leverages multiple channels to increase reach and engagement. Marketers should consider a healthy mix of digital, social, and physical channels, depending on their brand’s goals and audience. Content and advertising may be part of that mix, but GTM strategies can incorporate public relations, sales enablement, events, and customer service channels as well. To this end, marketers can develop their GTM strategies with a holistic, companywide approach in mind.
Focus on Longevity
The impact of a successful GTM strategy stands the test of time and drives revenue over long periods. “A modern GTM strategy maximizes inbound demand while using a scientific approach to create highly effective outbound,” says Forbes magazine; outbound that “supports the success both leading up to and after the GTM launch.” GTM strategies, therefore, go beyond advertising campaigns and promotions to support lasting engagement, brand equity, and customer loyalty.
Measure Your Results
Companies should be tracking progress across the go-to-market timeline in order to adjust strategies as needed. By measuring effectiveness against these criteria, marketers can determine which channels are driving success and make more informed decisions going forward. In addition to its established KPIs, a successful GTM strategy involves measuring against broader business objectives and outcomes. This helps demonstrate the value of those efforts to internal stakeholders.
You Can Do Better Than Marketing for Marketing’s Sake
GTM strategies are a great way to avoid the pitfall of “marketing for marketing’s sake.” They shape the overall direction of a company, create long-term value, and surface insights about the right audiences for products, services, and brands. Start your own internal conversation about GTM strategies as you consider your most exciting new and future projects.