A go-to-market or GTM strategy is not limited to new products or new market entries; it encompasses every aspect of your product that’s being introduced or re-introduced to the market. An effective GTM strategy should be part of an overall brand strategy, especially if you’re a new player or if launching a new, innovative product or service.
Unfortunately, it’s still common for marketing professionals to mistake a business plan for a GTM strategy. Although the two are related, there are several aspects of a GTM strategy that differentiate it from a business plan.
A business plan illustrates an overall strategy that guides an organization through all stages of a product’s life cycle and business growth. A GTM strategy, on the other hand, is used for specific situations wherein you need to allocate resources and create a detailed plan to deliver value to customers and gain a competitive advantage.
Southwest Airlines and Its “Point to Point” System
In the commercial aviation industry, Southwest Airlines is recognized as a trendsetter. With its innovative approach to aviation, it veered away from the traditional “hub and spoke” flight routing system and employed its very own “point to point” system. The hub and spoke system uses hubs in major cities where most flights connect through like spokes on a wheel.
By recognizing that the majority of its passengers are local and non-connecting, Southwest successfully gained a competitive advantage over its competitors by providing a more effective solution to its target market that directly addressed a major main point—connecting flights. The point to point system helped Southwest provide its customers nonstop direct flights at lower fares, completely eliminating the need for hubs by taking passengers from one point directly to another.
FitBit and Its “Smart” Coach
Although the wearable market shows promise and its usage is expected to grow to more than 1.1 billion connected devices worldwide in 2022, it remains a niche market in the overall tech landscape. FitBit, a major US manufacturer of wearables and activity trackers, did not let this hinder their ambitious dreams, however, and came up with the “Get More With FitBit” campaign. The star of the campaign? FitBIt Coach.
FitBit launched FitBIt Coach a few years back, with the simple goal of building brand awareness, boosting subscription attach rate, and increasing subscription revenue. FitBit Coach is a premium personal training app and service designed to integrate with certain models of the company’s wearable fitness trackers.
FitBit’s GTM strategy for FitBit Coach leveraged both paid and owned channels to reach customers who owned a FitBit wearable device and a smartphone. The company retargeted display ads to lead potential customers to a specific landing page, in conjunction with a social media push, targeted newsletters, and push notifications.
Eight Sleep and IFTTT
Arguably one of the most innovative in the history of tech partnerships, the collaboration between “smart mattress” brand Eight Sleep and app developer IFTTT is as creative as it is surprising. It showcased a use case for the smart mattress that no competitor or customer has thought about.
By partnering with IFTTT, Eight Sleep was able to use the app’s integration with several useful applications and the power of creating conditional statements that triggered events in connected devices and appliances. Eight Sleep created a connection between their mattresses and the smart home system, which allowed their customers to use their smartphones to activate and automate bed warming, switch lights on and off, and start coffee machines, to name a few.
Eight Sleep’s GTM strategy involved a two-prong approach using an initial email campaign to pique interest and excitement and a dedicated landing page with information about the brand new feature. Immediately after the launch, social media promotion sealed the deal by showcasing benefits and use cases that demonstrated how revolutionary the new feature is.
These examples are further proof of how important a GTM strategy is when planning to launch a new product or feature. It helps ensure that you meet your business goals by preparing your product—and your business—pre-launch. There are several things that can go wrong during a product launch, but there are also things that can go right. A well laid out GTM strategy will help increase the chances of the latter.