Question: What is a go to market strategy?
Answer: A go to market strategy is a plan to achieve the business goals of a product or service by aligning all available internal and external resources. It is associated mostly with selling and promotion. A "route to market" is the path taken in a go to market strategy that focuses sales and marketing resources to increase efficiency.
The term "go-to-market strategy" is commonly associated with a product launch, but this isn’t always the case.
Think of it this way. A product launch always requires a go to market strategy, but a go to market strategy doesn’t always involve a product launch.
The Thought Process of Developing a Go to Market Strategy
The development of a go to market strategy involves evaluating market conditions, documenting the ideal customer profile, identifying market segments with a high need for a product, evaluating the competitive landscape in each market segment, developing a pricing strategy, developing a distribution strategy, listing the advantages that can be leveraged, as well as the obstacles to overcome.
All of the above is balanced with an effort vs. results risk evaluation. Some things take more effort with little results. Some things take less effort with higher results. Then all of that gets put into an action plan.
Go to Market Strategy Development is Iterative
The process of GTM strategy development is iterative and often without the benefit of precise quantitative data.
Emerging markets have fewer data and unreliable patterns. At best, you can derive directional guidance.
Mature markets have more data and reliable patterns, which provide opportunities to reduce risk if you heed the lessons learned by others.
There is a structured process for developing a go-to-market strategy that's built in into the BrainKraft Product Launch Framework.
Look at the diagram of the framework in Figure 1.
If a few words are changed, the Launch Framework becomes a GTM Framework, as in Figure 2. Notice the gray donuts. Launch Plan was changed to GTM Plan. Accelerate was changed to Implement.
How a Launch is Different from a Go to Market Strategy (and the Same)
A product launch is about acceleration; it’s about building sustainable momentum. A product launch plan is bound by a near-term timeframe. One element of a product launch plan is the go-to-market strategy. That is, the path of least resistance to achieve acceleration (the least resources, the shortest period of time, the least friction, etc.).
A GTM plan isn’t bound by a near-term timeframe. The GTM strategy in the GTM plan may take years to implement, like transitioning a software company from on-premise software to SaaS.
When A GTM Plan isn’t a Product Launch Plan
Your product could have been already launched, had a brief run, and then placed on a shelf to be ignored. It may not make sense to re-launch the product, but it may make sense to develop a new go-to-market strategy to invigorate sales.
Your product portfolio could have grown due to an acquisition of another company. Now you want to apply the resources of your organization to increase sales by developing a new GTM strategy.
In the above cases, a product launch isn’t necessary. It might be a complete waste of resources. Both cases benefit from a revised GTM strategy, however.
A simple way to think about it is this. If there’s a product launch date, it’s a product launch supported by a GTM strategy. If there isn’t a product launch date, it’s a GTM strategy without a launch.