What Is A Go-To-Market (GTM) Plan or Strategy

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy or framework is a detailed plan used by organizations to launch new products or services. It is created to improve the odds of new products or services succeeding at launch. It is a planning document that contains information about the target market, marketing plan, distribution strategy, and market positioning for a new product. A GTM strategy document can also be employed to launch a line extension or rebrand.

As you develop a new product or service, it’s important to start drafting a go-to-market plan. While having this document wouldn’t guarantee a successful product launch, it can prevent many of the mistakes and oversights that can tank new product launches.

Even if a strategy is well-thought-out, unforeseen problems can surface at launch. More so, some strategies will provide great results while others will fall short. Therefore, as you draft your GTM document, it’s important to define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and outline a means of tracking sales and marketing activities, so you can measure your progress and refine your strategy based on your results.


Go-to-Market Strategy Template

  1. Executive Summary 
  2. Product Overview
  3. Target Market
  4. Market Analysis
  5. Value Proposition
  6. Pricing Strategy
  7. Distribution channels
  8. Marketing Plan
  9. Sales Strategy
  10. Launch Activities
  11. Metrics and Key Performance Indicators
  12. Budget and Resource Allocation
  13. Timeline
  14. Risk and Mitigation Strategies
  15. Conclusion.

Executive Summary

A brief overview of the entire Go-to-Market strategy or framework, emphasizing the key objectives, target market, value proposition, and launch plan.

Product Overview

Details of the product or service being introduced to the market. This includes features, benefits, and how it meets the needs of customers.

Target Market

Knowing your target market is essential to launching a successful product or service. This description includes their demographics, pain points, problems, and needs. Creating user personas for products has become popular across several industries, particularly in Tech.

A user persona is a fictional character who represents your target audience’s demographics, behaviour, motivations, and pain points. To develop a strong user persona, you must first conduct customer interviews to understand your target audience. Furthermore, if you’ve already generated some sales, you may use that past data to build the client profile. This process starts early in the product development process through “customer discovery” exercises where you evaluate your understanding of the customer’s problem and how well your solution addresses their needs.

Read More: Creating a User Persona for Your Product 

Market Analysis

This refers to an audit of the competitive landscape for your product. There are several tools for running a competitive analysis or market analysis. One such is the S.W.O.T analysis. The S.W.O.T analysis assesses the strengths and weaknesses of your product and opportunities and threats in the market environment. A competitive analysis compares your product against competitors based on certain applicable criteria. There are no universal criteria for assessment, but here’s a suggested template which you can adjust as necessary.

Your Product Competitor 1 Competitor 2 Competitor 3
Product or Service Offering
1. Features and capabilities
2. Innovation
3. Quality (H, M, or L)
Pricing & Value Proposition
1. Price point ($-$$$)
2. Value proposition
3. Discounts and promotions
Target Audience
1. Demographics
2. Ideal Customer description
3. Customer pain point
Marketing and Branding
1. Brand Messaging
2. Brand Personality
3. Marketing channel
Online Presence
1. Website
2. Social Media Presence (followers, engagement)
3. Online reviews

Value Proposition

Your product’s value proposition is a short description of the benefits that a product provides to customers. It’s also capturing why customers should choose your product over others. This statement should be simple and compelling enough to attract customers.

Here are a few ideas for crafting your product’s value proposition.

  1. [Product/Service] is the only one in [product category] that provides [unique benefit] to [target audience].
  2. We provide [unique feature] to help [target audience] achieve [desired outcome].
  3. [Unique differentiator] for [the audience] looking to [goal]

Here’s an example based on this template: [Unique differentiator] for [the audience] looking to [goal]

olutobi.com: Our value proposition is “Actionable Insights for Entrepreneurs Looking to Launch and Scale their Ideas.” 

Pricing Strategy

Outline how you arrived at the price point for your product. Several factors are considered in determining the price of a product including the brand value, cost of production, financial forecasts for the product or business unit and/or the prices of competitor products. Most organizations have an established pricing mechanism to improve and facilitate decision-making around pricing.

Common pricing strategies include:

  1. Cost-plus pricing: Where the price of a product or service is set at a margin or markup above the cost of sale.
  2. Dynamic pricing:  Where companies set prices depending on customer segment, demand or time of the year. Very common with airline companies and SaaS products.
  3. Competitor-based pricing: Where companies adjust the price of commodities based on competition. Very common with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and Pharmaceutical drug distribution.
  4. Value-based pricing: Where the price is based solely on the consumer’s perceived value for the product.

Distribution Channels

Describe how your product will reach final customers. The distribution channel for a new product will depend on your overall business model.

Types of distribution channels:

Direct Distribution Channels:

  • Direct Sales
  • Company-Owned Online Stores
  • Company-owned physical Stores or fulfilment centres. “Fulfilment centres” serve online buyers who want to pick up or fulfil their orders at physical locations.

Indirect Distribution Channels:

  • Retailers
  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors

Marketing Plan

After you’ve identified your target audience and defined your value proposition, you should set SMART marketing goals that are in line with your overall business objectives.  The SMART in SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Considerations for developing a marketing plan as part of your GTM include:

  • Brand messaging: Defines the brand’s identity and how key messages are communicated
  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Online presence and public relations: Social media has evolved into a crucial marketing tool for companies of all kinds. With over 4 billion active users globally, social media provides businesses with a strong tool to engage with their target audience, develop brand awareness, and generate traffic to their websites. Besides social media, there’s email marketing and website optimization.

Sales Strategy

  • Explain how you intend to sell your product/service.
  • Describe your sales team’s structure and responsibilities.
  • Describe how your sales force will receive product knowledge and selling methods training.
  • Describe how you intend to create leads, qualify leads and close deals.
  • CRM tool: information on the tools and methods used to manage client relationships.

Launch Activities

  • Pre-launch planning: Outline the actions and activities required to successfully launch your product/service.
  • Pre-launch marketing activities.
  • Launch Day:  Outline activities happening on the launch day.
  • Post-launch Activities: Outline plans for follow-up communication, customer support, and continuous engagement.

Metrics and Key Performance Indicators

How will you measure the success of your Go-to-market strategy?
It’s very important to choose metrics that are actually reflective of progress. Eric Ries introduces this idea of vanity metrics in The Lean Start Up  (which is our current book club read). Vanity metrics are metrics that may appear to be beneficial or indicate success, but in reality, they lack actionable data and have no relevance to progress. For example, when monitoring website traffic, the total number of users is not as important as the number of returning users or the engagement time. So, if you were to select KPIs, the total number of users may not be indicative of progress.

Budget and Resource

What is your budget for executing the GTM?
Are you working with an internal team or working with vendors?

Timelines

This involves breaking down large plans into timelines, with milestone targets.

Risks and Mitigation

Having a risk management plan is vital. Risk management is the process of identifying, analyzing, and managing potential threats to your business objectives.

The risk management process involves three stages:

Risk Identification:

via brainstorming with colleagues, using historical data and so on.

Impact Assessment:

Here’s a popular impact assessment matrix.

  Probability →  
↓ Impact Low Probability medium Probability High Probability
Low Impact Low medium High
Medium Impact Low medium High
High Impact Medium High High

Risk Mitigation:

  1. Risk avoidance
  2. Risk Reduction
  3. Risk transfer
  4. Risk acceptance

Read More: Business Risk Management 

The conclusion is where you wrap up the entire document. It’s essentially highlighting “this is what we are doing” and “this is why it matters.”