3 Step Staircase to Your Go To Market Strategy
Building a new product is a tough job! Starting a new business or curating a business expansion strategy or adding a new service to your existing service line demands a lot of research, hard work, and investment. Wonder what’s more difficult? The complete path of converting your idea into a real business, that too a successful one!
IBM Institute’s famous report for Business Value and Oxford Economics extrapolated that 90% of startups fail in their first 5 years. Though there can be several aspects behind the failure rate of startups in India, one vital and common reason is understating the importance of having a concrete Go To Market Strategy.
A well-thought Go To Market (GTM) Strategy should be able to give answers to the following questions
- Do you wish to expand your business online? Or
- Do you want to validate your new product/business idea? Or
- Are you unsure what is the right approach to launch your new business? Or
- Are you looking for a potential solution after your failed attempt?
A decades-old way involves writing a Business Plan, presenting it to the investors, working on the product, launching it in the market, and starting the marketing right away.
“GTM Strategy is a smart methodology, a procedure that helps you validate your idea as well as launch it to the market. It is a strategic action plan with an end goal of profit-making /sales target/acquisition or a successful exit strategy.”
You must be wondering how a procedure can be applied to every business? That’s the beauty of it, you can associate it with any business idea, expansion strategy, or a comeback plan, as the architecture is built to suit any kind of scenario.
The entire Go To Market procedure is divided into 3 easy stages. Following these steps, solopreneurs/entrepreneurs like you can validate the business idea, unveil possible growth obstacles, and ensure a successful market launch as well as retaining plans.
“Driving business growth is a Science & not an Art!”
3 Step Staircase to the Overarching Go To Market Strategy
1. Identify Products’/Services’ Value Proposition
2. Go To Market Strategy Architecture
3. Decisioning to Thrive Your Business
So let’s get started!
1. Identify Products’/Services’ Value Proposition
‘Since it’s your idea, you must be knowing everything about it.’ That’s where you might go wrong. Asking the right questions to yourself and analyzing every possibility unveils how little you know about your own business concept!
“The key kickstarter to your business growth plan is to ask questions; to yourself, your team, & market researchers.”
The first stage of your Go To Market Strategy not only helps you validate your business idea but also to gain confidence in your concept. There are 6 vital questions every solopreneur/entrepreneur should ask before working on the Go To Market Strategy-
Top 6 Questions That Will Help Solopreneurs/Entrepreneurs With GTM
Note down all the questions and answers in a sheet or on paper for further evaluation. Let me help you with a few questions here:
a. What Is the Goal of Your Business/Product/Service?
Here you can analyze what you want to achieve with your idea. You can also ensure whether your goals are actionable and achievable. While analyzing your business goals, make sure you have the quantified goals set with you.
b. Who Is Going to Be the Target Audience?
Understanding who is going to use the product (consumer) and who is going to be the purchase decision-maker (customer) is extremely important. Knowing whom to target makes the further process much easier. Being unsure about the target audience might take the entire strategy on the wrong track.
For instance, if you are planning to start an educational institution that offers external courses to school kids, though your consumer is going to be students who fall in the range of 10-16 years age, your entire outreach activities should be focused on the right TG; Parents! How often do you see a school kid surfing the internet and looking out for extra courses or even accessing social media? I believe you got the point already!
c. What Unique Problem Is My Idea Solving?
Asking this question helps you identify your idea’s potential. It is vital to evaluate what pain point your idea is going to resolve as well as whether end-users really count the pain point as significant to look out for a solution or not.
d. What Unique Features My Idea Is Introducing to the Market?
Having unique features is equally important to have a unique idea. Ask yourself whether your idea is offering something that seemed undoable or unachievable by consumers. The answer to this question can be achieved only by having in-depth research of
- Existing Competitors
- User Persona
- Brainstorming the Idea Optimization
- Identifying Lynchpin
- Identify the Scalability Part
Make sure you perform a detailed SCOT Analysis (Strength, Challenges, Opportunities, & Threats) of your business as well as of competitors. Why competitors? Check out the next point.
- How unique your business/idea is
- USPs of your idea
- Strong & creative minds working with you
- Seed funding
- How to analyze competitor’s strategies
- To outreach a broader target audience
- Explore the online business establishment
- Additional features in the product line
- Higher competition
- Changing market scenario
e. How Tough Is the Competition?
How does the competition look in the market? Who are the top competitors? What differentiates your idea from the competition? Having answers to all these questions can help you understand what is going to be the position of your product, how people are going to get engaged with it, what is going to be their perception, etc.
If your idea is an innovation that has never been introduced before, it will be having a usual product adoption curve, but if you are entering a market that has similar ideas doing well already, it will be having a completely different product adoption curve.
Let’s check out examples of two completely different businesses. An Energy Bar with all the goodness of nutrients & proteins that are extremely good for health. And the 2nd product is an online platform designed & developed for Cable Industry that allows Industries & Cable Distributors to connect online and complete the procurement process.
The Energy Bar is a well-known concept and there are plenty of such products in the market whereas an online platform customized for Cable Industry is an innovation and the canvas is completely blank at the initial stage. Check out the completely different Product Adoption.
This curve will work with the Cable Trading platform as it is an innovation. But the Energy Bar product will have a completely different Product Adoption Curve as it is an old concept in a crowded market.
f. Is Your Business Model & Revenue Model the Same or Different?
The Business Model is how a brand generates value for its customers and Revenue Model is how a brand generates revenue. At times business’s revenue model and business model are very different.
We all know what the Business Model of McDonald’s is. They are a Quick Service Restaurant that offers drive-in & dine-in facilities. But their Revenue Model is completely different from their Business Model. McDonald’s generates revenue by offering large markup properties on lease to their franchisees. That means McDonald’s offers fast food real quick and earns from Real Estate! Of 36000+ McDonald’s outlets, 85% are franchisee-operated.
Stackoverflow is a Question-Answer Platform where developers can ask queries and other developers can help by providing accurate answers. Something similar to Yahoo Answers but customized for developers. Though this is an online QA platform with an intention to help developers, the platform is funded through Stack Overflow Talent (job-finding) and advertising. Since pro developers come to the rescue of other developers by providing the best answers, it becomes easy for Stack Overflow Talent to identify talented developers and help brands with recruiting those developers.
Phewww!! All questions are done! But you can always ask more questions as per your business type & industry. Asking all such questions can give you a clear idea about your current business scenario. Now that you have asked the right questions, you are ready to step ahead and start the evaluation process. Not as complicated as it sounds though! All the above questions will dawn on you the product’s/business’s value proposition and what exactly do you wish to accomplish with it.
Analyzing various vital aspects of your business will help you understand where exactly does your business stand and how close it is to achieving your ultimate goal. Let’s check out all factors you must consider while auditing.
Evaluate the Existing Business Footprints
Where has your product been visible; online as well as offline? Are people talking about your product/brand? What are the mediums people are interacting with your brand? These are nothing but your business footprints!
While auditing these footprints, it is important to analyze in detail whether your mediums of interaction are clear, user-friendly, and make a straight way to your goal. Let me explain with examples.
If you are selling a range of A2 milk byproducts like Ghee and have chosen malls as the retail outlets for sale, it is vital to analyze how different are your products standing from the competitors’ products. Is it easily differentiable from other products, what unique way are you displaying the products, etc. can be analyzed to estimate the sales barriers and unveil opportunities? Let me tell you a funny story!
For a similar product basket, our team of creative designers visited a mall and checked around 57 A2 Milk product bottles and analyzed their packaging, pricing, presentation, etc. And while doing all this, we even got scolded by the guards. 😀 But the struggle was worth it as we helped our client establish a unique brand identity.
Let us take one more example of a digital footprint. If you are into furniture business and selling your products online through your customized e-commerce website, analyzing whether the user experience is up to the mark, are users finding it easy to access your website, is your website able to handle thousands of orders every day, how easy is the process of exploring furniture to making the payment for selected ones, etc.
‘What others are doing is none of our business.’ But in this case, it is exactly what you should poke your nose into! Before we start, let me tell you that studying a competitor’s business model, their marketing strategy, and their approach to the market is a part of the research. It can give you an idea of product demand, a precise target audience, and an optimized perception of the problem of consumers you are trying to solve.
“Yes! marketing strategy can be reverse engineered, to an extent. 😉 “
The entire competitor analysis can help you uncover their strengths and weaknesses in order to plan a systematic strategy to outperform your competitors. While analyzing competition, make sure you are taking direct as well as indirect competitors into account.
While you evaluate every aspect of your business, you must not miss the fundamental aspect which often gets overlooked; whether your product is a market fit or not. Check whether your product satisfies strong market demand. Make sure you are launching the right product at the right time and gaining a competitive advantage.
Though it might sound funny, launching an advanced technology or innovative product at the stage when a rare percentage of the audience is ready for innovations i.e there are very few innovators and early adopters. It will certainly take an awful amount of time to engage non-innovators and an audience whose purchase decision depends on the number of products sold.
Addressing the pain points of consumers and analyzing how you resolve those pain points with your current strategies is imperative. Here’s the fun part. Many times the pain points are common and widely spoken about.
Let’s take an example of a laptop repair center. Once the laptop starts getting problems, people ultimately look for repair services. But some pain points are not even known to the end-users!
Let’s take an example of an online store selling commercial kitchen equipment to restaurants & cafes. If the online store is offering only equipment, it is solving the basic pain point, but when it also offers expert consultation services where industry experts guide which equipment fits the restaurant’s requirement, that is a pain point you discover, work on, and resolve! This is called delighting your customers.
It might take a while to understand what exactly the users’ expectations are and how they are perceiving your service/product. Let’s take the famous example from Eric’s startup called IMVU, a 3D Avatar generating platform where users could create virtual worlds using Avatars, could exchange accessories, connect with each other keep the real identity safe, and much more. But people perceived it more as an online platform to make new friends. It took a lot of brainstorming, user analysis, and pivoting of strategies to understand the user’s real perception.
If you have already established your product into the market and have been ‘spending’ on marketing, it is highly vital to perform a detailed audit of your marketing campaigns; past, current as well as lined up ones. We recommend that you have accountability in terms of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Customer Long Term Value (CLTV), Marketing percentage of CAC, Ratio of LTV:CAC, Marketing Originated & Influenced customer percentage, and a few more.
To understand what niche are you targeting (Ideal Customer Profile- ICP), how are they responding to your campaigns (impression & engagement) what are the creative ideas you have been using (USPs), how intriguing each idea is, what part of your campaigns are generating most engagement (clicks on CTAs), what mediums are delivering better results, etc. can help you ‘invest’ in the right marketing approach.
While you are performing a detailed audit, make sure you list down the entire audit in the form of a report and curate all vital key pointers.
2. Go To Market Strategy Architecture
Let’s turn your data into a series of actions! By asking the right questions you already get aware of the product, right audience, precise goals, etc.
Later you understand your product’s exact positioning, how well it performs on digital footprints, how poor or better is your product in terms of quality than your competitors, etc. Here’s an image explaining an example of an Anti Pimple Cream product’s Positioning Perspective; whether your product falls under the category of an Expensive Chemical-based product, a Low-Cost Ayurvedic product, Low-Cost Chemical-based product, or an Expensive Ayurvedic product. Understanding the right positioning helps products in Branding as well as overall Go To Market Strategy building.
Now that you got the audit part well, let’s jump to the war field!
Defining the Right Go To Market (GTM) Strategy
Now is the time to use all the studies you have been doing. To start with, the first thing to perform is to curate a Go To Market (GTM) Strategy. To build an architectural framework that unveils every minute opportunity to help you establish your business with a higher assurity of success. Don’t worry it is not rocket science! All you have to do is to brainstorm strategies that will fill up the chasm between your ‘current business status’ and your ‘goals’.
To start with, you can focus on the barriers to success. Evaluate what exactly is the biggest obstacle you need to overcome on priority. It can be a lack of features in your product, poor marketing strategy, inadequate digital presence (website, social media, application, etc.), lack of uniqueness in your brand identity, or it can also be the entire business idea.
Once you decide what you are going to work on first, think like your consumer. If you were to purchase your product, what would you look for as the motivation to buy? Try to bring creativity and uniqueness to every strategy. Let me explain with some awesome examples.
With Strategic Growth Recommendations and Documented Scope Of Work, the brand was transformed gradually with a step-step process. First, the website was revamped with a brand new design, better user experience, and an innovative strategy of enabling customers to pay one time, get mangoes delivered every week as per your order. Thanks to the better version of the online store website, it became easy to optimize their marketing strategies. With the right approach, the client achieved a whopping 212% increase in organic orders!
It’s always good to have variety in the product basket. A low-hanging fruit (low-cost product item) that allows a deep stick followed by brand loyalty that can be built step by step by dripping smartly.
Having a documented Scope Of Work & its Execution Schedule is extremely important. Once you start executing the Go To Market Strategy in batches, you will have a clear route to success.
Validating Each Batch
Even though till this stage a lot of brainstorming, research, and analysis is involved, every strategy you define is ultimately an Assumption! The GTM process demands executing these assumptions as all these are number-based assumptions.
Hence, it is extremely important to validate every batch of your Go To Market Strategy you are executing on the basis of your researched assumptions. Any Go To Market Strategy is not going to be bound to a couple of tasks. Many times activities will be depending on prior activities. This itself explains the importance of validation.
How do you validate whether the strategic approach is right or not?
- You can either consult an expert or get it validated by direct results. Consulting an expert has a couple of added perks. Industry experts who have assisted several businesses and have a team of researchers & creative minds can not only validate your strategic activities but also add more innovative strategies that you might have missed.
- Getting it validated from end-users requires accountability in validation. Comparing previous user behavior with current user behavior and converting it into a quantified observation is the right way to assure you are on the right track. Based on the numbers, you can make alterations to your new strategies and repeat the validation process.
3. Decisioning to Thrive Your Business
Once you achieve your goal for one batch, you can jump to the next one. Most of the time, it is a linked process. For instance, you cannot start spending thousands of dollars on online advertisements if you have not sorted the poor user experience on your website. Any prospect clicking on the ads and landing on your website has major chances of bouncing off if they do not understand what is to be done next.
Always start with a small budget on wisely curated A/B testing approaches. If you lose, you will lose small, if you gain, you can always scale!
Make Decisions With Confidence
Data achieved from your own business’s several aspects, data of the entire business’s audit, data of validations of your assumptions and executions in batches; all the data can be used to convert hypotheses/assumptions into decisions.
Decision taken on pure assumptions and decision taken on validated strategic assumptions has an entire arch of research, engineered calculations, and validation.
Validate Consistently, Leap, & Scale
Even if you are making decisions based on validated assumptions, let’s not understate the importance of consistent validation. It helps you assure that all your efforts are headed towards the right track.
With every decision you make, you can gradually expand your business and experience a real upscale. Having a systematic & right approach towards your business can help you establish a strong brand identity, outreach a bigger market, and achieve increased revenue.
A perfect Business Expansion Strategy can be achieved with the right Go To Market Strategy! Following this standard process suitable for every type of business you can build sustainable value and successful brands. Launching a product basket or a range of services to the market involves a great investment and hence, it must be supported with an organized & result-driven process.