For businesses wanting to expand internationally, a go-to-market plan will help them identify countries where there is the greatest demand for their products, and create marketing campaigns tailored to local customers.
In this article we will explore the main components of a go-to-market strategy, with guidance on creating one.
There are three main scenarios when a business may need a go-to-market strategy:
Launching a new product in an existing market – for example, an established wellness brand adding a candle range to its product portfolio.
Launching an existing product in a new market – for example, a furniture business looking to sell to China for the first time.
Testing a new product’s market for growth – for example, a tech startup soft launching an app to limited users to measure demand and response.
In such instances, a go-to-market strategy will minimize their risks via in-depth planning and research into the market they’re entering.
A go-to-market strategy focuses on how a business will introduce a specific product to the market and reach its target customers. It’s focused on immediate revenue and customer success.
A marketing strategy is a longer-term, ongoing plan for the wider business and covers messaging, content creation and campaigns – essentially the touchpoints that makes the brand memorable in a competitive market. It should be flexible to help the business adapt to demand and find the optimal market-product fit.
A go-to-market strategy ensures due diligence is paid to all the components of a product launch. You’ll be able to identify potential problems early on – such as a target market without enough demand to deliver a profit – and then adjust your strategy before any more resources are wasted.
Thoroughly researching who and where your target customers are will help you create powerful, effective and tailored marketing messaging that really resonates with customers’ pain points. Furthermore, it will allow you to define your product’s value proposition to differentiate it in a crowded and competitive market.
A go-to-market strategy emphasizes extensive research and planning before you launch a product. This mitigates risks and ensures the product is put in front of the most relevant audience for maximum sales. As your understanding of the target customer deepens, you can adjust the product to enhance its chances of success.
Each business’s go-to-market plan will vary depending on different factors – for example, an established business launching a new product will be able to leverage some of its existing customer data to build target customer profiles in a way that a brand-new business can’t. That said, there are some general components of a go-to-market strategy that all businesses should look to tick off: market research and analysis; product promotion; sales and distribution; and logistics and supply chain management.
The first step is to look at the existing market you hope to enter and establish if and where your product will fit. A thorough competitor analysis will help you understand:
If you’re looking to expand into international markets, it’s especially important to thoroughly research the target country. Consumers’ preferences and habits can vary vastly between markets, so understanding these nuances will help you localize your marketing content accordingly. Our dedicated shipping guides are a good place to start.
Next, you should define your buyer persona – i.e., your target customer. Beyond demographics such as age, location and income bracket, you need to establish:
Combined, the above information (competitor and customer profiles) will help you define your marketing messaging so that you can communicate the value of your product in a way that engages and entices consumers to buy. It should also inform your pricing strategy.
Construct a value matrix
This maps out your different buyer personas’ pain points and then which of your product’s values provides a solution. It means each persona can be targeted with relevant, personalized marketing messaging that is more likely to convert them into a buyer. There are lots of value matrix templates online that can help you with this.
Identify where your target audience spend most of their time
What marketing channels penetrate that space? Social media, SEO, emails? Which ones will deliver the highest return on investment? This should inform where you allocate the most of your marketing budget and resources.
Track your marketing content’s performance
Once your campaigns have been rolled out, they should be continually tested and optimized depending on key engagement metrics like click-through-rate and conversion rate.
This refers to where consumers can buy your product and how it will get there. Ultimately, the goal is to make the buyer’s journey as easy as possible to increase sales.
Many small e-commerce businesses begin selling via their own website. However, things can get trickier if you want to ship your new product cross-border so you should explore different distribution models depending on the region you’re trying to reach. Let’s say, for example, you want to sell to China. The country’s leading online marketplaces are Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall and JD.com, but selling on these platforms is challenging for foreign brands, as sellers have to be registered in mainland China to qualify. But there is a way in – Tmall has a dedicated sister site, Tmall Global, specifically set up for international brands; you don’t need a physical entity in China or a Chinese business license to sell on the platform, and you can accept payment in your local currency.
This is just one example. You’ll have to do your research into the country you’re planning to launch your product in, and then change your sales channel strategy accordingly.
Bringing new products to market is a key way to keep your business competitive – if you can get there before your competitors. Early supplier involvement will foster the ideal environment for innovation, whilst reducing product development time. A close relationship with your suppliers, where you talk them through your new product vision, will yield ideas that you may not have considered before.
Ensuring your products get to customers on time should be a priority of your logistics strategy. Late deliveries will impact negatively on your brand and undo all the time you have invested into the product launch. By partnering with DHL, you can guarantee your customers fast and reliable delivery. And, as international experts, DHL can help you establish a global network with customers in over 220 countries and territories across the world.
Of course, delivery is just one part of your logistics. There are other factors to consider including inventory management (ensuring your new product is always in stock to meet demand), warehousing (how will you store your products in the most efficient way?), and packaging (will it sufficiently protect the product during transportation?) This dedicated logistics guide will help you run an efficient operation.
There are two main types of go-to-market strategies:
Here, salespeople using persuasive positioning are at the heart of the GTM strategy. It’s most suited for businesses looking to establish a one-to-one relationship with a specific account, or when a business has created a complex product that needs skilful salespeople to guide the buyer through the customer pipeline.
Here, the product itself is the salesperson, empowered with all the information a buyer may need. A product-led GTM strategy involves analyzing customers’ behavior and interaction with the product to ultimately drive customer acquisition, retention and growth. For this reason, it’s well suited to businesses that want to scale fast at a low customer acquisition cost.
If your business is launching a new product or entering a new market, you’ll need support from the experts. With a DHL Express Business Account, you’ll join thousands of other businesses which benefit from the logistics leader’s international and e-commerce expertise.