Product launches fail for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the pricing doesn’t align with the perceived value. Other times, there’s no established product-market fit, or companies make assumptions about what the market needs without fully verifying those theories.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy can help teams avoid a "failure to launch" situation. This is a step-by-step plan that describes how you’ll introduce, launch, and sell your products to your target market.
With the right plan, you can ensure that you introduce your product to the right people at the right time using messaging that resonates with their wants, needs, and pain points.
In the sections to come, we’ll cover how to build a GTM plan for a successful product launch.
- Resource allocation is key for a successful go-to-market strategy. If you can strike the right balance, you can avoid some of the most common risks and challenges associated with a product launch.
- Tracking key metrics helps keep stakeholders informed and aligned. GTM tracking tools streamline the performance-tracking process and make it much easier to analyze how well your strategy is working.
- It’s not uncommon for an organization to enter a new market with an MVP (minimum viable product). You don’t need to have everything figured out from the beginning.
- Long-term success depends on stakeholder participation, testing and experimentation, data analysis, and ongoing improvements.
What is a go-to-market strategy, and who needs one?
A GTM strategy outlines a company's plan of action to introduce, launch, and sell its products or services to its target customers. It details everything a company will do to achieve a successful outcome, including tactical components like messaging, product pricing, purchase paths, conversion funnels, distribution channels, and marketing campaigns. The most effective GTM strategies also include the exact metrics you’ll use to measure success and overall performance.
A thoughtful GTM strategy is essential for new product and feature launches and are helpful to execute when launching:
- A new product in an existing market, like building a new productivity tool for a technology startup. In this scenario, key components of your strategy could include details about pricing structure and how you’ll develop messaging that differentiates your tool from the competition.
- An existing product in a new market, like expanding an online retail platform into a new international market. Here, your GTM strategy might address cultural nuances, local competitors, and localization efforts.
- A new product in a new market, like bringing a plant-based meat alternative to a region where vegetarian and vegan diets aren’t mainstream. With this product, your GTM strategy might include things like identifying early adopters and conducting targeted awareness campaigns.
Established companies will sometimes revise their GTM strategies. A strategy that worked in the past may lose effectiveness as the competition increases and market conditions change.
Why a go-to-market strategy is essential for product launches
Developing and launching a new product or service is an expensive investment. Even if you have the most valuable and innovative product ever created, its ultimate success relies on reaching the right audience and convincing them to buy.
When you create a GTM strategy, you can avoid mistakes like marketing to the wrong audience or trying to launch in an oversaturated market.
How to develop a go-to-market strategy
To create an effective GTM strategy, begin by assessing your business goals and objectives, identify your target audiences and segments, conduct market research, complete competitor analysis, and determine which marketing channels will be most effective.
Determine the business goals and objectives of your GTM strategy
Common business goals include revenue targets, growth of market share, customer acquisition, and product adoption.
The best way to measure progress toward your business goals is to choose a north star metric. A north star metric is the key measure of success that connects the customer problems your product team is tackling the revenue you hope to generate.
Every company’s north star metric looks different. For example, a SaaS company with a self-serve business model like HubSpot could measure a metric like “trial accounts with less than three users active in week one.”
The most effective north star metrics:
- Measure the moment that a customer finds value in your product.
- Represent the core of your current product strategy.
- Serve as leading (not lagging) indicators of a future business outcome.
Identify your target audiences and segments
Thorough market research will help you identify the ideal target audiences and segments for your product.
Demographic factors, like age, location, and income, are important, but you’ll discover even more helpful information once you dig beyond the basics. Learn about the audience's interests, behaviors, and preferences and which marketing channels they prefer. Conducting customer surveys and holding focus groups are great ways to get this information during this stage of the GTM process.
Soon enough, you’ll have a solid understanding of your audience’s shared characteristics, needs, and pain points.
Conduct market research and a competitor analysis
Once you have insights about your customers, analyze the broader market, including its size and growth potential. To assess the competition, look at their products, pricing, positioning, and marketing strategies.
Publicly available information, like industry reports, trade publications, and social media monitoring, is a great resource.
This combination of audience and market insights will provide a comprehensive picture that you can use to identify opportunities and develop competitive positioning for your GTM strategy.
Choose the right marketing channels
You need to get the word out about your new product, but which marketing channels are the best fit? There’s no single answer—it depends on your target audience and their preferred communication channels (you should have this information from your initial research).
When assessing channels, consider factors like reach, engagement levels, cost, resources needed, and alignment with your product and brand. One thing to be mindful of, however, is not spreading your marketing resources too thin. Choosing the right mix of marketing channels is a common challenge for companies trying to take a new product to market. That’s why prioritization and resource allocation are so important.
Common go-to-market strategy challenges and risks
Executing an effective GTM strategy requires a substantial amount of resources. When planning, be mindful of how you’ll balance product launch efforts with other company priorities.
As mentioned earlier, juggling different marketing channels can also present challenges. Each channel requires a different approach and unique messaging—what resonates on your company’s blog isn’t necessarily the same as what gains traction on Twitter. There’s no shortage of channels to choose from either: blogs, ebooks, email newsletters, videos, LinkedIn, podcasts, and paid ads are just a few options.
To get the most out of your available resources, remember to prioritize, maintain clear communication with stakeholders and individual contributors, and regularly analyze performance. This way, you maximize your chances of a successful product launch.
Best practices for a successful go-to-market strategy
As you build your GTM strategy, there are several best practices you can use to increase your chances of a successful launch.
- Get stakeholder participation: The responsibility for executing a GTM plan should fall on a curated group of senior stakeholders from the sales, marketing, and product departments. This group will also align on metrics and KPIs.
- Launch with an MVP (minimum viable product). Your product will inevitably change and evolve. Launching with an MVP that has enough features to convince early adopters to purchase can be an efficient way to validate your ideas.
- Prioritize communication and training: Make it easy for teams to collaborate. Equip your sales, marketing, and product teams with the information they need to drive promotion and adoption.
- Test and experiment: Learn what works (and what doesn’t). Trying new things helps you refine the messaging, pricing, distribution channels, and other elements of your GTM plan.
- Measure and analyze: The most effective GTM strategies methodically track key metrics to analyze progress. You’ll need the right tools to track and analyze data.
- Encourage continuous improvement: Ongoing maintenance and improvements are the keys to successful strategy execution in the long run.
Build a data-driven go-to-market strategy with Amplitude
A well-executed GTM strategy can make or break your next product launch. Amplitude can simplify how you measure and analyze your strategy’s performance. With Amplitude Analytics, you can easily:
- Visualize the full user journey.
- Discover exactly how customers interact with and get value from your products.
- Analyze marketing channels by spend, user action, and lifetime value.
Sign up for free today and start making strategic, data-driven decisions.