How to build a go-to-market (GTM) strategy

A go-to-market or GTM strategy defines how you interact with your customers—from initial contact to delivery of value or unique selling proposition. It’s essentially your plan of action before you “go to market” and meet your customers. It is different from a marketing strategy, which covers the ongoing campaigns and programs designed to generate demand for a product or service already introduced to a specified market.

A GTM strategy helps ensure that you have a mature offering to present to your customers; it reduces time to market, helps control product launch costs, and increases product’s adaptability to change. Essentially, the goal of a GTM strategy is to improve key business outcomes. That’s why it’s a vital part of any business plan, even if it means a significant investment in time and resources.

Ingredients of a GTM strategy

To create a pre-launch plan for a new product or service, there are a number of aspects you must consider.

  • Customer/market – It’s important to know who your customers are so you can define your target market—and what your product should offer. Once you define your target market, you can design your campaigns accordingly.
  • Product – Define your product and what it offers your customers; this is where you differentiate your offering from competitors. Even if you offer a similar product, you must clearly define your product via a unique selling proposition.
  • Price – Your pricing strategy must be based on thorough marketing analysis and an in-depth understanding of your business goals. You should also consider whether you’re going to cater to a broad audience or a more specific one, since this will largely determine your pricing model. Price is also where you will most likely compete with similar offerings in the market.
  • Positioning – There are two main things to consider when it comes to how you position your offering: your unique value proposition and what your target market considers as valuable.
  • Channel – Where you’re selling your products is very important; where your customers are buying, more so. Determining the proper marketing channel will help you determine where to promote your offering. Whether to go online, offline, or both is a major consideration, especially today.

Building your GTM strategy

Before building your GTM strategy, it’s vital to ask yourself the right questions:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How do you get there?

The tips below are designed to help you answer these questions and, ultimately, design an effective GTM strategy.

Define your target market

Defining your target market is very important because it will help define your product offering. Know what the market’s needs are and design your product and value proposition accordingly. Important considerations are existing client base, market size, and geographic location.

Market segmentation is also part of defining your target market. Determine which segment you can serve best and focus on customers that are the best fit for you according to your business goals. The people within your target market may need your services, but not all of them are prospects.

Position your brand as the best

Your brand positioning plays an important role in your GTM strategy because it provides reasons for buying and using your product or service. Customer perception is also a factor because you would want to see how customers view your brand; are you a low-cost alternative, an innovator, a leader?

Ideally, your brand should be positioned as the best, at least for your target market. Your GTM strategy should follow suit. Focus on what makes you the best choice for your customers.

Address your target market’s needs

Now that you have a deeper understanding of your target market, it’s time to see how it affects your product’s value. See what aspects of your product or service are in tune with market sentiment and decide on how you can position yourself at an advantage. It’s important that you know what your market wants and design your product around that information and not do it the other way around. Tailoring your value proposition to your market’s needs will help cement your position in your market’s top-of-mind awareness.

Clarify your marketing channels

Marketing channels are the methods you use to connect with your customers. This could be a website, brick-and-mortar store, or a combination of both. After identifying your channels, you should ensure that they all integrate seamlessly with each other so that you can provide a consistent experience to customers. Customers will remember your brand if they have a pleasant experience via your channels.

Develop an appropriate marketing strategy

Ultimately, your product offering should be in tune with your positioning and customers. Before finalizing your GTM strategy, determine customer pain points and present how your product will address these issues. Clear messaging is key when reaching out to customers, and there should be no ambiguity when it comes time to launch your product. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and try to speak your customers’ language to help them relate to you and your brand.

These tips are key in the development of a GTM strategy that will help you be your customers’ first choice. As with any modern approach, however, your GTM strategy should be agile and flexible. New challenges may arise in the process of executing your strategy, and you must be prepared to modify your methods and adapt to change as necessary.