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Use GROW to Plan Your Go to Market Strategy


A mnemonic for GTM planning - growth - retention - optimization - withdraw

A mnemonic is a memory device. “Every good boy does fine” is a mnemonic that helps us to remember the lines of a musical staff (EGBDF). It’s one of the first things we learn as we understand how to read music.


Let me introduce ‘GROW’, a mnemonic to help you develop a go to market strategy for your product or service. Whether you are introducing a new product, sunsetting a product, or anything in between, GROW keeps you grounded.

GROW connects to the stages of a product category life cycle (introduction, growth, maturity, and decline) but in a way that is easier to remember.


GROW provides an added level of structure to your go to market planning.


G is for Growth

The term ‘growth’ is often associated with the introduction of new products, but that isn’t always the case. We can grow old products by introducing them into new markets.


Use the G of GROW when the objectives and key results (OKRs) for a product are for growth. Growth is typically related to revenue or subscribers, but it can be any metric you want to get more of.


R is for Retention

Retention is about keeping the customers you acquire. This is the situation that becomes most acute when you have a customer churn problem.


Retention is an integral component of growth. Why? Because it’s inefficient to lose one customer for every three you acquire. Customer acquisition looks good on the surface but when you dig into the numbers it’s not a healthy situation.


This has a compounding effect that causes more and more resources to be consumed to support growth key results.


O is for Optimization

There is a time in every product life cycle where efforts to grow have diminishing returns. There are fewer opportunities to sell because there are fewer buyers. So the game shifts from growth to optimization.


Optimization is about squeezing as much out of a product as you possibly can. It’s most commonly applied to mature products in mature markets.


When you reach this stage it’s time to focus on optimizing cost, optimizing resources, and optimizing pricing.


W is for Withdraw

It’s time to withdraw a product from the market when the effort to maintain it and support customers is no longer worth it.


A withdrawal of a product - AKA as ‘sunsetting’ - comes in two flavors. One flavor is a complete withdrawal from the market. Your executive leadership team has decided they no longer want to be in the market with that category of product.


The second flavor is to withdraw one product and replace it with another. A software company transitioning from an on-premise product to a SaaS product is an example. Another example is a new generation of an existing product to replace the old generation.


Competing Go to Market Opinions

One region wants to get rid of a product (W), while another region sees a growth opportunity for the same product (G).


The CEO wants to optimize (O) the cash-cow product and direct the profits to new product development, while the VP of customer success wants to reduce churn (R).


There are competing opinions in the creation of a GTM strategy. An easy way to balance those competing opinions is to stay grounded in the OKRs for your product.


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