Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 602
, Published on 05 June 2016
A business idea has struck your mind and after much deliberation you have decide to enter the market with your offering. But, is that it? NO. With the nation going on a start-up spree and small enterprises making all the difference, what differentiates successful enterprises from the unsuccessful ones – what allows them to adapt themselves to changing environments – is a properly planned, robust and at the same time dynamically evolving Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy.
A Go-To-Market strategy is a plan for utilizing the resources at one’s disposal to create a competitive advantage and deliver unique value to one’s customers. Its purpose is to lay down an action plan to deliver one’s offering to the customer while considering various factors such as pricing and distribution. It brings together all the key elements influencing your business such as sales, distribution, marketing, pricing etc. It increases the probability of success as it enables you to understand your market, customers and competition better and allows you to plan accordingly. Developing a GTM strategy also reduces costs, time to market, complexity and chaos and helps in increasing the ability to foresee and overcome challenges, adaptability, clarity for the path to growth and probability of a successful product launch.
A GTM can be developed for anything from a product launch to an entry of a new business. While for large enterprises, it is usually used for product launches or launch of new division or product range, small enterprises can use GTM to develop an action plan for entering the market. GTM for small business is different from that for a large enterprise in that the scope and the resources are limited and the segments may not be clearly defined.
A GTM should essentially comprise of the following 9 elements:
1. Market Dynamics
This will define the market and the category that you are targeting. It should include the introduction to the category as in the different types of the products available in the category, the expectations and the requirements of the customer, whether the market is fragmented or not, the technologies and the political and economic factors that may influence the market etc.
This should also cover the business drivers, market size and the expected growth rate for the near future. You can also include the reasons for entering the market.
This segment should identify your target customer. The target market should be defined as narrowly as possible. For e.g. if you are selling honeymoon suites, you should be targeting people between the age of 25-30 who are newly married and not just couples between the age of 25 to 30. It makes sense to have a smaller target segment initially and then broaden the scope as required.
This should also include the preferences of the customer, the needs and the requirements of the customer, how a customer perceives the product and the factors influencing the buying behavior.
One of the most important aspect of leading a successful enterprise is knowing your competition and knowing them well enough. Thus a comprehensive research should be done about the competitors. The plan should include the information about the competitors regarding their products, the services that they offer, their marketing strategies, their channels of distribution, their strengths and their weaknesses, how the customer perceives them, the unique values being offered by them etc. This would allow you to develop your strategy accordingly. After all you, don’t want to offer a value already being offered by one of your competitors.
Knowing the competition will allow you to differentiate yourself from the competition by providing a unique value proposition. The differentiation should be clear and simple enough for the customers to accept and acknowledge it effortlessly.
4. Product & Pricing
Once you have identified you unique value proposition, then you can go on to developing a proper product strategy. This should include the range of the products that you are going to offer, the aspects in which they will stand out amongst the competition and the prices that you will offer them for. This should be decide while keeping in mind the basic differentiators that you will be highlighting in your sales messaging. The product strategy should be devised considering the brand positioning. The pricing strategy should also be based on the brand positioning, market dynamics, competition and the value that is being offered to the customer.
5. Channel Strategy
This will focus on deciding the distribution of your products and the availability of the products through the various channels. This should be developed considering the product, market dynamics and the requirements of the customer. Initially, e-commerce can be useful in driving the awareness regarding the product but there are chances that it may not be feasible. Thus, various factors such as budget restrictions, company’s strength across the channels and the product type also play a critical role in developing the channel strategy apart from the above mentioned factors.
This focuses on the activities that will be used to drive awareness related to the products and generate leads. The promotion can vary across different channels or may be similar across all the channels. The focus should be on delivering a common message through all the promotional activities. It may be confusing to the customer if different platforms deliver different messages regarding the product or the company. The promotional activities should also determine the perceived customer experience. Tailoring an appropriate customer is of utmost importance with customer experience becoming an increasingly important brand differentiator.
All the above mentioned activities may help in identifying the support that you may require while entering the market. Identifying the support required will help in planning for it at an early stage and reduce the costs, time and the possible problems. This may also include the service aspect of the offering and the after sales support required by the customer.
A good GTM strategy is one that evolves dynamically on the basis of the success and failure of achieving the goal. But, changing it appropriately requires proper evaluation of the strategy and hence it is important to decide on the factors that will help in evaluating the GTM strategy. The factors should be specific, detailed and simple enough for everybody to understand so that vagueness shall be avoided. This should also include the key performance indicators to align and optimize the activities throughout the launch.
Finally your GTM strategy should also include the schedule for the activities that are to be performed. This will help in allocating the resources efficiently. As explained already, a good GTM strategy should be dynamic and hence the schedule should also identify when the strategy needs to be reviewed.
A good GTM strategy goes a long way in determining the success of your enterprise and even small enterprises should have well defined GTM strategy so that they need not play catch up in an environment where industries are progressing rapidly.
This article has been authored by Harshil Patel from IIM Kashipur
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