We don’t mean to intimidate you (and maybe you were already aware), but there’s something you need to know: Studies show that 90% of all startups fail within five years of formation — not a very reassuring statistic, right? But what’s the story behind this damning figure?
It all comes down to obscurity. Simply put, nobody knows about your business or what products/services you offer. In an ideal world, you could pour endless amounts of cash into a marketing push that announces your presence to the world with gusto, but, as we’re sure we’re both painfully aware, this is no ideal world.
Not only are advertising budgets rather meager for startups, you’re up against other businesses with established product-market-fit, which is daunting, to say the least… but there is a way to cut through the competition and get your voice heard – an effective go-to-market strategy for startups.
What Exactly Is A Go-To-Market Strategy, And Why Is It Important For Startups?
A go-to-market strategy for startups is precisely what it sounds like – an advertising game-plan that breaks an unknown product or service into a target market; it’s your key to the locked door of commerce!
Your go-to-market strategy is a blueprint that illustrates how you will reach the people you want to reach with the message you want them to hear. It’s considered a separate entity to standard marketing stratagems, as they imply an established market position, whereas GTM is a way of reaching an initial audience from nothing.
It’s the foundation on which all your future marketing campaigns will be based, and a strong foundation inspires confidence, not just within your target audience, but among your investors, too. Creating a GTM strategy is the ultimate way to position your business for success moving forward. Other GTM benefits include…
- Weeding out potential risks
- Generating profit quickly
- Developing your business and product/service
- Attaining you a competitive edge over other startups
Creating a Go-To-Market Strategy For Your Startup
The three pillars you’ll need to know for a go-to-market strategy for startups are the What, Who, and How…
- What are you trying to sell?
- Who needs what you’re trying to sell?
- How are you going to introduce your offering to those who need it?
If you can answer these questions, you’ll have laid the foundation for a successful entrance into your particular niche of the market, so let’s consider how this can be done.
Step 1. Know Your Audience
You may well have come up with the concept of your product or service through finding gaps or weaknesses in the market yourself, and that’s great; it means whatever you come up with has some form of real-world appeal, but now you have to find others like yourself and figure out what makes them tick.
Hone in on your target audience, and try to map out their behaviors and general way of thinking. Forget about trying to sell something to the world; focus on this very finite group of people and figure out exactly what they’re looking for.
Modern consumers expect businesses to know all about their wants and needs, but we’re not mind readers, so instead, we can build up a customer persona by… This applies to all types of businesses. It doesn’t matter if you are a digital service providing with a nationwide audience, like providing legal wills online, or a brick and mortar business creating tangible products to specific locations, like a vodka distillery, knowing your audience is crucial.
Scheduling Interviews with Potential Users
Interviewing people takes time, but you won’t find more rich, accurate, and enlightening results via any other means, so it pays to talk to prospective customers face-to-face.
Far more fluid and personal than standardized surveys, interviews give you a real insight into the lives of people who your product/service could help, which is a great way to gather data you can use at a later date to refine your offering.
Be wary of time constraints and ask effective questions, such as…
- What are their preferred channels of communication (e.g. email, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, billboards, etc)?
- What are they disappointed by or lacking?
- In their eyes, what makes a product or business effective and valuable?
Interviews are fantastic sources of information, but they’re almost too focused. Although you’re narrowing your research to drum up a customer persona, you still need to venture further afield to ascertain splits in that persona in terms of age, profession, location, etc, and questionnaires are a great way to do so.
The wider net you cast will give you more of an insight into what pain points are simply individual woes and which are felt universally, ripe for capitalization.
However, do bear in mind that you’ll need to provide some form of incentive to encourage people to complete your questionnaire, and try to keep it short and sweet, too — we’re all busy people.
Purchase Pre-Existing Data
There are countless other companies that have had to study their target audience before you founded your startup, and you can use this to your advantage.
Paying for research carried out by similar companies gives you effort-free results. Now, they’re not going to be quite as accurate as the results you’ll get from your own studies, but they can certainly help to create a more substantive customer persona in a short amount of time.
Due to its immediacy, this method is often employed first as a sort of scattershot data drive. It gives you a rough estimate of things like target consumer age, location, profession, income, pain points, and purchase triggers.
Step 2. Know Your Competitor
If you’re going to offer something new, you need to know what your competitor is already bringing to the table. If an established entity has beaten you to the punch, your chances of gaining traction with a GTM strategy are slim-to-none. Find ways around it.
Step 3. Coming Up With a Value Proposition
In a nutshell, a value proposition is a snappy headline followed by 2–3 sentences that divulge why your product/service:
- Is relevant to the user
- Solves the user’s problem
- Is unique and cannot be found elsewhere
For example, let’s say you’ve invented an automatic garlic clove peeler. Your value proposition should establish that garlic is one of the most common ingredients in cuisine around the globe (relevance), it makes the tough job of peeling cloves effortless (problem solved), and it’s a patented design (unique).
It’s important not to get caught up in mentioning features alone. To entice customers, you need to tell them in no uncertain words how it will make their life easier or more enjoyable.
Step 4. Establish The Best Lines Of Communication For Reaching Your Target Audience
With your target audience in sight, it’s time to find out how to reach them. People of different age groups and professions communicate and are exposed to things in unique ways.
For example, younger people will consume a lot of adverts on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, while older generations may only use Facebook or perhaps even just email.
Another example is that people working from home will engage with mostly digital adverts, but for those who commute to an office, billboard advertising will be highly effective.
Don’t feel you have to settle for just one mode of communication per faction of your target audience. Research has shown that omnichannel approaches to customer communication have a much higher retention rate than single-channel approaches.
Step 5. Zeroing In On Marketing Tactics
People don’t just use different channels of communication, they also have preferences in regard to how they’re engaged with.
For instance, certain demographics may respond well to the personal/celebrity touch of paid partnerships, while others will be distrustful of this tactic as the pecuniary aspect of the agreement makes the brand representative seem disingenuous and the product seem weak.
Step 6. Don’t Stop Testing
Even if you think you’ve got everything figured out, you need to keep on testing your theories by measuring advertising effectiveness. Test different styles of ad copy, test the efficacy of different images, test different marketing tactics… test everything!
Marketing is a trial and error process, so the more mistakes you get out of your system early on by putting plans through their paces, the fewer you’ll be paying for later with a poor campaign.
Step 7. Budget Planning
Once your research has provided all the answers you need to shape your GTM strategy, it’s time to map out what your budget may look like and how it will be split across different marketing tactics.
Step 8. Implementation
At this stage, you’ve done most of the heavy lifting, and now it’s time to use what you’ve learned to implement your marketing strategy!
bMedia and Developing a Go-To-Market Strategy
As mentioned earlier, omnichannel marketing tactics in GTM strategies are far more effective than single-channel plans, which is why you should seriously consider incorporating a robust OOH line of communication with your target audience as part of your strategy, either as the primary or supporting mode of contact.
Granted, digital marketing has great reach potential, but as a fatally saturated facet of the advertising industry, it tends to inspire a lot of fatigue in the viewer. Billboards and OOH adverts, on the other hand, still grab attention, cinching valuable real estate in the consciousness of the viewer.
But providing the physical space for your ads is just the tip of the bMedia Group’s iceberg. Our dedicated team of marketing experts can help you build a custom, go-to-market strategy for startups from the ground up, ensuring you and your business can generate customers, and start changing people’s lives with your product/service.
Contact us today, and we’ll talk you through how we measure the efficacy of OOH advertising with state-of-the-art analytics to optimize the potential of your campaigns and stimulate rapid business growth.
Your startup may be small, but with bMedia in your corner, you’ll cast a much larger shadow, giving you the confidence and market position to hold your own against giants of any given industry, giants that, with our help, you will soon tower over.