Launching a new product (or entering a new market, for that matter), isn’t easy. How can you ensure that you’ll hit the right KPIs and achieve your broader business goals? For that very reason, in order to improve their odds, businesses leverage a tool known as a GTM strategy (go-to-market strategy).
With an effective GTM strategy, you can reduce your time to market, increase adoption rates/conversions, decrease chances of failure, and ultimately, pull off a successful product launch.
However, creating a GTM plan from scratch isn’t easy.
There are many factors that you have to be careful about. One misstep could sabotage the launch of your new product (or seamless entry into a new market), which is why, you have to be extra careful.
In this article, I’ll take you through 7 different go-to-market strategy examples to inspire your creativity. In addition, I’ll set the basic foundations of the concept for those who are unfamiliar.
Let’s get started.
What is a GTM Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is a business tool (and a critical component of the business plan) that product marketing specialists, managers, and other decision-makers use to ensure a smooth launch of a new product, entry into an unfamiliar market, or the re-launch of a former brand/company.
Basically, a GTM strategy is a comprehensive action plan that details how a new product or a service would reach the end-customers.
While each product has a different strategy, the end-goal of every GTM plan is the same – to achieve a competitive advantage.
In the most basic sense, a typical GTM strategy boils down to two areas:
- The pricing strategy
- The distribution plan
However, today, businesses prefer to be a little more specific than that. To elaborate, all go-to-market strategies have the following core components:
- Target Market – before anything else, you should have a clear definition of your target audience. This involves the demographic, psychographic, geographical, and other variables that can help you narrow down your focus. Furthermore, you’ll also need to create buyer personas and pin-point the ideal profiles that you want to target (more on that later).
- Value Proposition and Product Messaging – your value proposition and a clear description of your product (the problems it solves, etc.) are two other key components of your GTM strategy. These will help you position your brand and stand out from the crowd.
- Pricing Strategy – depending on your target market and positioning goals, decide on an appropriate pricing strategy.
- Distribution Plan – finally, make sure that you have an effective distribution plan in place for your new product.
To become a true product champion, knowing how to roll out a new product and treading into unfamiliar territory is crucial.
GTM Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy – What’s the Difference?
A lot of beginners tend to confuse GTM strategy with a marketing plan/strategy.
While there may be a few similarities, they are two distinct strategies.
But, how exactly do they differ? Here’s an easy differentiation – a go-to-market plan is a short-term, one-time strategy that’s applied when launching a new product and/or entering a new market. On the other hand, a marketing strategy involves your on-going efforts to retain that competitive edge and keep reaching your end-customers.
For companies that are just starting out, the GTM strategy and the marketing strategy will be the same. After a while, once they’ve successfully entered their markets, they can expand their game-plan with a marketing strategy for their existing products.
7 GTM Strategy Examples for Your Inspiration
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating a GTM strategy.
As you probably already know, it completely depends on the product you’re trying to sell.
That being said, creating a new strategy from scratch can be difficult.
To get those creative juices flowing, here are 7 genius GTM strategy examples to seek inspiration from.
1. Eight Sleep’s Partnership with IFTTT
For simplicity’s sake, we have so far kept our definition of go-to-market strategies limited to new product launches, relaunches, and new market entries.
However, brands can also make a GTM strategy for a new component or a feature for an existing product.
That’s what Eight Sleep – a brand of high-tech smart mattresses – did for one of one of their cutting-edge features.
By partnering up with IFTTT, a free service that lets you create conditional statements and integrate multiple applications, Eight Sleep developed a new feature that allowed its users to simplify their night and morning routines.
By connecting their mattresses with the smart home system, the customers are able to turn on/off lights, start their coffee machines, activate bed warming, and much more, all through their smartphones.
Their go-to-market strategy for this new feature involved:
- An initial email announcement to get users excited
- A landing page to educate the target audience about the new feature
- Promotion on social media following the launch, highlighting the benefits and use cases (the most crucial aspect that got customers flowing in)
The result? Customers welcomed this new feature with great enthusiasm.
In the official case study on the IFTTT website, Eight Sleep officials said that the secret to success was to go all in on use cases.
2. TaxJar’s Content Marketing Plan
A tried-and-tested way to create brand awareness and establish authority around a given subject/industry is to invest in content marketing.
Folks at TaxJar, a tax automation company targeting businesses, knew this all too well, and therefore, went all in on content while designing their go-to-market strategy.
To build their authority and seem like a trustworthy company to their target audience (business owners and other executives/decision-makers), TaxJar decided to educate the world about relevant topics (mainly sales tax).
They did that by crafting and promoting high-level content and investing in SEO.
However, around the time when TaxJar came along, there wasn’t much existing content related to their industry. This gave them a significant competitive advantage, as they were able to craft evergreen content before most of their competitors, and become the go-to source for guides.
All of this, in turn, resulted in the company building a strong authority on the main subject – sales tax.
The main take-home message here is that if you belong to a certain industry, where there are ample opportunities to rank higher in search engines without investing in link building, content alone can help you reach your target audience.
3. FitBit Smart Coach
FitBit is an American manufacturer of activity trackers.
A few years ago, the company launched Smart Coach, a premium service and personal training app, that integrates with the user’s FitBit.
They started off their GTM strategy with simple objectives, including:
- Increasing subscription revenue
- Building brand awareness
- Boosting the subscription attach rate
The campaign “Get More With FitBit,” involved leveraging both paid and owned channels to reach the target audience (which consisted of people who owned FitBit wearable devices and smartphones).
Paid channels mainly included retargeting display ads that led potential customers to a landing page.
Additionally, they used push notifications, social accounts, and newsletters to reach potential customers.
The end-result: The company earned an estimated $192 million in revenue through their strategy.
Upscope is an online interactive screen-sharing service.
When the company was originally starting out, you’d think that it would be just another standard screen-sharing service, targeted at common users.
However, by leveraging the live chat wave, the company went ahead and targeted those who’d appreciate it the most – technical support, onboarding specialists, and customer success teams.
Upscope focused on just one pain point – the hassle of setting up screen sharing.
This, in turn, helped users save time and avoid frustrating calls and written instructions altogether.
To reach their end-customers, they used the power of content and integrations.
By partnering up with existing live chat companies, such as Zendesk, Drift, Intercom, etc., they got listed on their websites.
Furthermore, they wrote about SaaS success stories to attract relevant buyers.
Vuclip, a “technology-driven” media company, specializes in mobile video on demand service.
When starting out, they went all in on slow video buffering in certain markets as the main pain point.
To acquire a competitive advantage, the company selectively went after those markets where mobile networks hadn’t evolved to support smooth video buffering at all times.
Simply put, they diverted their focus on “must-have” emerging markets, such as India and Indonesia.
To make things even simpler, the company went with a web-based system, and completely ditched the app-based approach in the beginning.
In addition, they invested heavily on building a consumer-centric brand.
The result? Today, Vuclip has more than 7 million subscribers and is available in India, Africa, South East Asia, and the Middle East.
6. Southwest Airlines
When Southwest Airlines started out back in the 70’s, it had to overcome a lot of adversity in order to make it in the commercial airlines industry.
However, with an innovative strategy, the airline was able to quickly climb up the ladder and steal the spotlight.
Most airlines operate using the “hub-and-spoke” system. Imagine a wheel with a hub, that’s attached to several spokes – with the hub being the center of those airlines, leading out to multiple destinations.
With such a system, a large percentage of passengers have to choose connecting flights.
To address this pain point of passengers, Southwest Airlines introduced the concept of a point-to-point system. This meant that instead of taking the passengers to their final destinations through a central hub, the airline took them directly to their stops.
Today, only about 20% of Southwest passengers have to go through connecting flights – the rest enjoy direct transits.
7. Symyx Electronic Laboratory Notebook
Symyx Technologies (now mostly acquired by BIOVIA) was a software company that specialized in automation and informatics.
Back in 2009, they developed a business case for an integrated go-to-market approach when launching their Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN).
Their main targets were small biotech and pharmaceutical companies across the globe.
To reach their end-customers, the company used a blend of conventional marketing tactics (print, telecommunication, and public relations) and digital marketing tactics (micro-sites, websites, display ads, webinars, email marketing, and SEO).
How to Create a GTM Strategy
To attain a decent product-market fit, you can’t rush the planning and execution of your GTM plan.
While the deeper technicalities will vary, there are certain steps that anyone could take to build a go-to-market strategy from scratch.
1. Describe Your Target Market and Create Buyer Personas
Start off with the basics.
While coming up with the idea of your product, you must have thought of the pain points it would solve.
The next thing on the list is the basic definition of your target market. Start asking broader questions, and then narrow down your focus, like so (in sequence):
- Who faces the challenge(s) my product will solve?
- What demographic variables define them?
- Are there any psychographic and geographical factors at play here?
- What other variables, if any, would you use to define your market?
This will help you pin-point the exact group that you’ll go after.
If you’re in the B2B space (such as a SaaS provider), go one step further and create buyer personas.
To communicate the value delivered to your stakeholders, create a value matrix, which involves assigning a pain point and a product message to each buyer persona.
Here’s an example, via SalesHero:
All of that information will help you create appropriate marketing campaigns, pricing plan(s), and a distribution strategy.
2. Craft the Rest of Your Basic Marketing Strategy
The reason I said “the rest” is because your target market definition, buyer personas, and product message fall under the basic marketing strategy.
With that out of the way, now it’s time to focus on other aspects, including:
- Marketing Tactics – depending on your product, are you going to use outbound tactics, inbound methodology, or a combination of both? Usually, the last option is the best route i.e. taking advantage of content marketing, SEO, etc. while also investing in paid channels and interruptive tactics, such as display ads, print, cold calls, etc.
- Positioning – how do you want your product to be perceived? Find a way to distinguish yourself from other players in the market.
- Branding – figure out the personality of your product. Using your target market as a reference, determine the language you want to use, the color you want to apply, and the values and promises you want to communicate.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to set clear marketing objectives and understand different SaaS metrics, since both will help you navigate and measure the success of your efforts.
3. Determine the Pricing Strategy
Decide on an appropriate pricing strategy by involving your marketing and finance teams.
While setting up your pricing strategy, consider the market you’re targeting and your value proposition.
You can always rely on the good ol’ pricing matrix to make your decision:
You can replace “low quality” with “fewer” or “limited” features. Because, let’s face it – no one wants to buy a low quality product these days.
Keeping that, and your marketing objectives in mind, come up with an appropriate pricing plan.
Another safe way is to look at the pricing of your competitors, and determining if you could match it, sustainably provide a better offer, or even opt for value based pricing.
4. Create Your Sales Strategy
With your marketing plan and pricing strategy at your disposal, it’s time to align your sales strategy.
Since we’ve already discussed the marketing/promotional bit, all that’s left is to determine how you’re going to sell your product.
Depending on the nature, type, and market of your product, what mediums will you choose to deliver your product?
For example, if you’re a SaaS company with cloud-based solutions, you can simply opt for the online route.
In contrast, on-site solutions and tangible products will require a more hands-on and physical approach.
Additionally, you’ll have to provide training and supporting material to your sales staff (if any).
5. Set Up Customer Support
Great customer support is no longer a USP – but a necessity for all companies.
Which is why, when launching your new product (and long after it has entered the market), you’ll need to continue providing stellar technical support to your customers.
6. Identify the Right Metrics
To monitor the effectiveness of your GTM strategy, you’ll need to use the right customer satisfaction metrics.
The two most popular ones include:
- Revenue Per Dollar of Sales Expense – in simple words, this is the ROI for your sales strategy. To calculate it, simply divide your total revenue with the total cost of sales.
- Customer Acquisition Cost – as the name suggests, this reflects the total cost of acquiring a single customer. To measure it, add the total expense of your sales, marketing, and customer support strategies, and divide the sum with annual revenue generated through a customer’s contract.
Other popular metrics include lead conversion rates, selling time, and customer lifetime value, among others.
7. Determine Where the New Product Fits
Last, but not least, once you’ve entered the market, it’s time to determine the position your new product takes in the overall roadmap.
This will help you prioritize your marketing and sales efforts in the future.
Wrapping it Up
By creating a GTM strategy, you gain a comprehensive blueprint to guide your entry in the market.
With proper research, a decent value proposition, smart SaaS marketing and sales tactics, and a little bit of luck, you can easily attain a good product-market fit.