One of the most fundamental parts of launching a product is ensuring that you have a strong go-to-market (GTM) strategy in place. Without one, it will be extremely difficult to reach your target audience, sales goals, and stand out from competitors within the market.

But there’s no use in taking GTM advice from companies in a different stage as yours. The one thing many people don’t realize is that your GTM strategy needs to be adapted for different organization sizes. For instance, your strategy for a start-up company is going to be different from that of an enterprise business that has been on the market for years, which would have significantly larger budgets, resources, and team sizes.

So, you need to know how to adapt your strategy to suit your circumstances. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how to do this, specifically taking a look at:

What is a go-to-market strategy?

A go-to-market strategy is a method or plan that an organization puts in place to show its customers the unique value and benefits of its product in comparison to competitors within the market.

Ultimately, the goal is to optimize the customer experience by creating an invaluable product that they can’t get elsewhere. The creation of this strategy relies on multiple factors, like customer intelligence, market research, and brand development, and requires a lot of focus and effort to get right.

And, as we mentioned previously, the amount of research you can put into this strategy will change depending on your company’s overall structure and resource availability.

Tune into the Ready, Set, Go-to-Market podcast series where Holly Watson, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Amazon Web Services, teams up with many leading experts to discuss the intricacies of taking a product to market.

A go-to-market checklist for start-up businesses

With start-ups being in the very early stages of marketing their product, there may be things that they still haven’t yet established, like a solid customer base, or other important product marketing strategies.

But a go-to-market strategy is essentially a development of all the initial product marketing strategies, so first, you must establish:

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Customer research: Interview potential customers to understand their needs and pain points. This will help you to connect how your product will solve these issues, and give you a greater understanding of your product’s value proposition, and unique selling points (USPs).
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Personas: Create user, buyer, and brand personas (yes, they’re different!) to help develop a greater understanding of your target audience demographics (age, location, gender identity…) and your brand identity, what’s so appealing about your product, and how to market your product effectively to your customer base. 
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Messaging strategy: Use these personas to gain a better understanding of how your target consumers would like to be communicated with, i.e. what kind of platforms they communicate on, how they react to certain communication methods, etc to develop your messaging. This is going to change for different audience segments, and different mediums you’re using to market your product. 
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Competitive intelligence: Develop an effective competitive intelligence strategy that will allow you to spot gaps in the market, stay ahead of the competition, recognize where you can improve your products, and ultimately meet demand and price accordingly.
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Pricing strategy: Continue your research to discover things like how much customers would be willing to pay for your product, and what price competing products are selling for, to implement the best pricing strategy for your organization and calculate the perfect product price for the best profits and overall revenue. 
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Positioning strategy: All of this research will help you to establish your positioning statement, and discover where you want to position your product within the market. This strategy is all about finding that perfect place for your product that’ll be sure to engage customers, stand out from the crowd, and increase your revenue.

Being in a start-up, you’re likely going to have to position yourself in an underserved market segment. This way, you’re likely to hit a niche within the market, whilst also giving yourself the opportunity to grow on a larger scale.

Optimizing your go-to-market strategy for scale-up businesses

A scale-up business is just one step up from a start-up. So, you’re still very much in the beginning stages of your organization. One of the most important things you must do when you’re in this position is to just continue working on and refining your product marketing strategies depending on the data and feedback you receive from your previous launches.

One of the biggest goals you must always be aiming towards is to enhance the customer experience (CX) with your product. Some factors affecting CX that you may look to refine and improve are:

  • Product design/quality,
  • Accessibility,
  • Reducing cognitive load,
  • Pricing (discounts, freebies, etc),
  • Convenience, and
  • Availability.

In order to do this, ensure that you’re carrying out accurate and appropriate testing. One of the simpler tests you can carry out is A/B testing, which many PMMs argue is one of the most important tests to implement, especially when just starting out.

Siddhartha Kathpalia, Associate Director (Marketing, Americas + Product) at VWO said,

“A/B testing is a great methodology for making incremental changes and being sure of impact but it isn't great when a strategy needs to be deployed. It’s great when there is sizable data available, but not when there isn't enough traffic. A/B testing is great to ensure metrics maintain at the same level or grow, but not to disrupt the market.
“Everything can be A/B tested, but not everything should be. I've been able to demonstrate two changes that led to 150% growth for two organizations that have helped me grow too.”

Refining your go-to-market strategy for enterprise businesses

Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions for enterprise businesses- and a big pain point for PMMs- is that they believe because their organization is so well established, they no longer need to make the effort to continue improving and refining their product marketing strategies. But, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If anything, in an enterprise organization, you should be continuing to fight for the lead you have, with the help of your larger team size, budget, and resources, and putting them to good use by consistently researching and implementing new and improved strategies. The goal should always be to try and improve the customer experience, reduce churn, and always win the market.

Because you’re an enterprise business, and likely have done multiple product launches, you can use these to your advantage. Carrying out research like win/loss analysis and Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) is a great way to see how you can further improve and refine your products. And, as always, ensure the focus for this is always on your customers, as their opinion is the most important when it comes to your product.

One of the biggest challenges that enterprise businesses face, and that start-ups probably don't, is that of busier processes. If your company is large and you're marketing multiple products, you might be given a bigger project with unrealistic timelines, for example.

When we asked Jeremy Castile, Senior Director of Product and Alliance Marketing at Docker the advice he’d give for those struggling with this challenge, he said:

“Try and work as early as you can with the product and engineering team.
“But beyond that, let's say you have 30 days to go launch a major project or product that you just got told about. The number one thing is to stay focused, don't panic, but see if you can create an MVP, a minimum viable product, if you will, for this launch.
“Ask yourself: What are the must-haves? What are the things that you can trim to do post-launch? Because if you look at a launch list of all the things that you need to do for a launch, some things can be pushed, and other things are absolute must-haves for a go-to-market launch.
“So I would say that's one of the ways that I've been able to overcome the challenge of not having enough time. I’ve told myself: "Okay, we have this long list of things that we need to do. Let's organize this by what's must-have, what's nice to have, and what can be pushed to post-launch".
“All of a sudden, you start finding all these things that you could go "Okay, we don't have to have that in 30 days", or whatever the short timeline is. So that's been super helpful.”

Want to learn more?

Having a strong go-to-market strategy helps to elevate and align Product, Marketing, and Revenue teams to established goals, narratives, and motions related to new product offerings; it ensures everyone understands exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, when you’re doing it, who you’re doing it to, and how you’ll do it.

That’s why it’s so important to get right. And what better way to truly optimize your GTM strategy than taking our Go-to-Market Certified: Masters course?

Led by Chief Marketing Officer at Uptime.com and GTM expert, Yoni Solomon, this course will help you:

  • Grasp a proven product launch formula that’s equal parts comprehensive, repeatable, creative, and collaborative.
  • Gain the expertise and know-how to build and tailor an ideal product blueprint of your own.
  • Equip yourself with templates to facilitate a seamless GTM process.

So what are you waiting for?

Get GTM Certified