The secret is out there. Three out of four venture-backed startups fail. That’s a whooping 75% failure rate! There are many reasons for this, including leadership breakdown, inability to build a profitable business model and the failure to communicate the value proposition. All in all, most of the problems could be avoided by planning and testing (thus why MVP’s, which we’ve talked about here, are so popular). With that said, one form of planning that could help ease the damage, especially for specific launches, is the Go To Market Strategy.
What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will deliver their unique value proposition to customers and achieve competitive advantage. It is a subset of a marketing plan focused on how a company will bring a specific growth strategy to life. The GTM plan is about a specific product or market, whereas the marketing plan is about a specific business. What that means is that this is the tool you’ll turn to when introducing new products/services, expanding into new markets, launching a new startup or even completely transforming your business.
What’s specially interesting about a GTM plan is that it allows you to identify roadblock and unrealized opportunities, ensure you have the right team in place to execute your plan, and to keep track of deadlines and milestones. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that much like any plan, for a GTM to be successful and effective it needs to be actionable, holistic, link business goals to metrics and milestones to customer experience.
Why do you need a Go-to-Market Strategy?
There are always benefits to planning, however what sets a GTM apart is that when properly executed, it makes strategies and opportunities actionable. It drives alignment across all stakeholder and sets a timeline that makes sure they all meet the desired milestones and outcomes. It is also a great tool to help you reduce costs, ensure effective customer experience, and establish a growth path.
Before you start, read this
There are a few things you should make sure you understand before digging into the plan itself. An effective plan will require an understanding of the current environment, which is why the first thing you need to do is ask:
- Where are you right now?: Identify and map the current state of the business, marketplace and touchpoint regarding people, process and systems. In other words, look inside and out.
- What are you trying to achieve?: Make sure you have clear and specific SMART goals that align with the overarching long-term company goals and strategy.
- What do you need to do to achieve your goals?: This is the path to your goals. Try thinking backwards to set your milestones. For example:
What this initial prep will do is enable you to sidestep potential roadblock before they actually turn into issues, as well as allow you to discover new opportunities.
Now if you’ve followed and used all the tools we’ve been discussing on this MVP series (the MVP, customer discovery and project specs), you should already have this information gathered. The next step is to use this data, applying it to people, process and systems. One way you can do that is by mapping out your consumer journey. For example let’s say BabyLogger is planning to launch on Amazon’s Alexa, they would have to think about all the moments in which the consumer would interact with the service and why. Such as the first step would be the user has to program the service on Alexa. Then let’s say the mom just fed the baby and she had to remember to log that into the system, and so on. This way you’ll have mapped out all the interactions the consumer will have with your service, and will also have a better understanding of what kind of barriers might stop the user from moving forward (what if they thought getting the service linked to Alexa was too much work?).
How to outline your Go to Market Strategy
When it comes to the structure of an GTM plan, there is no one size fits all. The blueprint will vary according to what kind of project you’re using the tool for. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t common points all GTM strategies must cover. They are:
- Business Goals
- Target Market/Market Strategy
- Target Customer
- Product Roadmap
- Brand Positioning
If you’re the kind of person who really needs to follow a pre-made structure, there are tons of detailed outlines available online. We recommend Chief Outsiders and fourquadrant for more detailed versions. If you already know what you’re doing and just need something quick Medium put together a “2-Minute GTM Plan”.
Watch out for these pitfalls
For the success of your project, never forget that:
- This is a living document. Alter it often as things change.
- Put in place a system to manage the program.
- Map out work streams. Or how your strategy will be supported internally – stakeholders who will execute on the infrastructure and when.
- Set a timeline with clear deadlines.
- Have managers for each program to ensure your key milestones and deadlines are being met.
- Keep close communication.
Are there other outlines or resources you trust to achieve success? Please share them with us on the comments below!