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Get the Basics Right to Ensure Your Go-to-Market Plans Deliver the Results You Need

Creating a successful go-to-market strategy that resonates with the target audience is essential for any business looking to launch a new product or service with a bang. The statistics of failure for new product launch make sobering reading. If you rely on gut feel and instinct to define your product strategy then your go-to-market plan will as likely as not fail to hit the mark. This guide offers a step-by-step approach to help you develop a plan that ensures the product or service you develop is right for the market and your go-to-market strategy, and its many components delivers the results you need.

Research the Market

Never rely on gut feel, or internal stakeholder feedback to define your proposition. Often as not the stakeholders in the business are not the ideal customer. If you want your new product or service to fly, it's important to conduct thorough market research, not to do so is a false economy! Product failure rates are high enough as it is, don't risk being part of the failure statistics with a poorly thought out subjective plan. Make sure there is a real demand for what you plan to offer, market fit is essential. You need to understand the market, the gap that exists, who your target audience is, their needs, preferences the problem only you can solve. The research you conduct can also help overcome subjective bias that will inevitably exist within the organisation, a marketing team who can define their proposition with confidence, using research backed, facts and figures are in a better position to sell their plans both internally and externally. Show proof that the demand exists and who will buy it and you are half way there. You can use a variety of methods to gather this information, including surveys, focus groups, customer interviews, ethnographic and online research. A good mix of qualitative and quantitative data will ensure your findings are robust. The key is to gather as much data as possible and use it to inform your strategy. This will help you make informed decisions that will allow you to build your marketing plans and sales decks with confidence. It will also empower your sales team to be sell with confidence too and for your customers to find instant resonance with the product or service you have to offer. The research further reinforces your company as a trusted partner who are an experts in your field.

Analyse your competition.

As part of the research phase take time to analyse your competition, it is a crucial step in developing a winning go-to-market strategy. You need to understand who your competitors are, what they offer, and how they position themselves in the market. This will help you identify gaps in the market that you can fill, as well as potential threats to your success. Conduct a thorough analysis of your competitors’ products, pricing, marketing strategies, and distribution channels. Tools such as Similar Web, UBERSuggest, SEMRush and Mention are great ways to really get an insight your competitors. Find out about their PPC activity, display ads, media spend, keywords, backlinks, web traffic, social media activity and a host of other information. Recent innovations in marketing SaaS platforms mean it has never ben easier for a marketer to build a solid picture of your competitors marketing tactics. Use this information to differentiate your offering and create a unique value proposition that resonates with your target audience and a messaging and channel plan that will reach them with the right messages in the right place. Remember, your goal is not to copy your competitors, but to learn from them and find ways to stand out in the market.

Identify your Unique Selling Proposition.

The market research will ensure your unique selling proposition (USP), the element that sets your product or service apart from the competition is real. The research can guide you to perfect this element, your differentiator. It's the reason why customers should choose you over other options in the market. To identify your USP, consider what makes your offering different, better, or more valuable than others. This could be a unique feature, a superior quality, functionality, or a better customer experience. Once you have identified your USP, make sure to communicate it clearly and consistently In all your marketing touch points. This will help you stand out in a crowded market and attract customers who are looking for what you have to offer.

Get to Really Know Your Target Audience.

So you have identified a gap and perfected your service or product offer to meet the potential demand. A winning go-to-market strategy needs to have as much information about your target audience as possible built in. Knowing who are you trying to reach with your product or service? What are their needs, pain points, and preferences? Gather insights and data on your target audience, including demographics, psychographics, behaviour patterns and even media consumption. Tools like Sparktoro for example are great ways to get under the skin of your ideal consumer persona (ICP) and build up a detailed picture. You can find out what social media channels they use, who they follow, what they say, and even what channels they like on YouTube. Use this information to create buyer personas that represent your ideal customers and guide your marketing efforts. By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your messaging, positioning, and channel strategies to effectively reach and engage them. Remember you may have more than one audience and they may well require a different content and channel strategy to reach them.

Develop Your Messaging Strategy.

By this point you should have a ton of data with which to start to plan your content strategy. No go-to-market strategy should progress without having information to hand. You know your target audience groups, what they are interested in, and you know your product offer is right for them, you even know their media consumptions patterns! It is time to start build a content strategy to underpin the go-to-market plan. Develop messaging and assets that resonate with their needs matching your product offer or service with the real world needs and wants of the individual market segments you are targeting. Position your product/service as the right solution to their specific needs. Remember to customise the messaging strategy to each segment of your audience to maximise efficacy of the media.

Define the Right Channel Mix to Reach your Audience.

At this point you understand your target audience segments, you know your product meet their needs and requirements, your product USP is set and your messaging strategy is in place. Next you must work to define a channel plan that will ensure your messaging is seen by your target audience. It’s important at this stage to define your budget allocation, no point in building a plan that is unaffordable, think tactically, with a good understanding of your audience and their media consumption, a plan can be built that will reach them on the right channels with the right message with minimum waste. The investment already made in research will pay here as the guess work otherwise required is minimised. You also have a pretty good idea what works for your competitors too. Consider how the message can be broadcast across your owned channels such as websites, email, social channels and how it can be amplified across the right paid channels also to ensure the target audience gets to see your content and build the awareness needed. The first stage of the conversion to paying customer you have worked so hard to get to is now set.

Set Clear Goals and Objectives.

It is time to set the goals and objectives that underpin the go-to-market plan. What do you want to achieve with your product or service? What does a successful launch look like? How will you measure success? By answering these questions, you can create a roadmap for your strategy and ensure that everyone on your team is aligned with your goals. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) under these should sit your KPI’s. Key performance indicators for each subset of activities allow your team to track effectiveness along the way and wherever possible define attribution. If you can attribute a specific activity such as an App download to a specific element of your campaign you can start to fine tune your tactics to maximise results. This will help your team to stay focused and track your progress along the way. Early results help to instil confidence with management so make sure your targets are achievable. A surefire way for any new product or service launch to fail is to pull the marketing budget to soon because unrealistically optimistic targets were set too early in the journey. This is a terrible position for any business to find it self in, the sunk costs in product development alone will be significant and a poorly planned go-to-market plan can be the nail in the coffin.

Review, refine and repeat

Don't leave it there! All plans needs refinement and tweaking. Whilst you have been busy refining the product proposition and plans the market has moved on. It's never too late to make changes to a plan, an agile plan is a winning planing plan! Watch each stage, keep on track of your KPI's and modify channel plans and messaging until you hit on the right mix.


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