Sunday, November 20, 2011
I'm often asked about the art and science of a go-to-market strategy. Although there's really not perfect plan when it comes to developing effective marketing programs for your products or services, I do believe that there are a number of key components to the best go-to-marketing programs.
If you're not familiar with a go-to-market strategy, it's really a road map for introducing your offering to the marketplace. It's based on creating a unique position in the market which includes pricing, messaging, and promotional campaigns. Essentials of a strong go-to-market plan include:
1. Product positing. Determine what your unique selling proposition is. What is your differentiation and who are you trying to sell to? Once you know just how different your products is and who your target is you can make decisions on price, packaging, and so on.
2. Know your customer. Do you have a clear picture of who will pay for your product or service? Understanding the purchase decision process of your buyer - how they use the product, the need your product solves, what they are willing to pay for - makes all the difference.
3. Segment by event. Are there specific buying occasions that are important to your buyer? In the past, most go to market plans were based on product launches or arbitrary media dates. Today, in order to be effective, you need to consider significant buying times for your customers. What events are times of year drive behavior? Knowing and capitalizing on these events is essential fr your go-to-market plan.
4. Determine your sales strategy. Before rolling our your marketing plans you need to consider the sales strategy. Are you going to drive prospects to a face-to-face meeting, leverage your inside sales team, or move them into an online purchase funnel? Consider all of the buying steps before going to market.
5. Pilot your program. The most effective programs are those which are tested on a small scale. Before you put all of your marketing eggs into a single basket, consider rolling out your plans on a small test group. This allows you to better control and test all aspects of your marketing plan while minimizing risk.
6. Refine your go-to-market strategy. Once you begin to roll out your plan, be mindful of what's working and what needs improvement. The goal of marketing isn't perfect but continuous improvement. Through measurement and refinement, you can get the most from your go-to-market plan.
7. Test. Test. Test. Don't settle for good. Focus on great. After you do the initial launch of your plan, document what works, what doesn't, and what you'll do differently next time. Documentation is the key to avoiding mistakes in the future and building on your successes.
Go-to-market strategies always vary in size, scope, and timing. But effective strategies have all considered the key elements of: positioning, knowing your customers, segmenting by event, sales strategy, pilot programs, refining and testing your plan. If you want to success with your next marketing roll out, make sure you've considered all of these elements as part of your go-to-market plan.