Go-to-market is your overall marketing program to win in the marketplace. A successful strategy needs to communicate to audiences your unique value proposition, get prospects into your sales cycle, and then continuously earn revenue from them over the longest possible period of time.
As Peter Drucker, the founder of modern business management, emphatically wrote, “…the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation.” This article covers the first function: marketing.
How do you effectively promote not just awareness but trust between customers and your business? Think of the flywheel model, coined by author Jim Collins. Business leaders understand that putting in the work upfront — always with the customer at the center of your operation — is key to later success. Once you push the flywheel far enough to build up momentum, eventually it will continue to turn independently, allowing you to enjoy the well-earned spoils of your success. Take the time to build that strong bond with your customer base, and it will pay off in your dividends down the road.
Here are five key flywheels to keep your go-to-market strategy ahead of the curve:
1. Define your brand and go-to-market value propositions.
Your brand is more than your visual identity; it is the communication architecture through which your business is understood. Start with the big “why” at the top of your brand and support it with your value propositions from product all the way through to customer success.
Ask yourself: What specific need am I filling? What products am I offering to fill that need? How will those products improve our customers’ lives?
Answering these questions defines your go-to-market value propositions — the reason why a customer should choose you over the competitor down the street. Those value propositions become the raw materials you can draw from to forge your unique brand. Make sure to keep your brand simple and congruous. Focus on what makes you stand out in the marketplace, and ensure those unique value propositions are front and center.
Remember the flywheel. The first push is always the hardest, but it is worth putting in the effort in these early stages.
2. Create content that tells your brand’s story.
Remember, the sales cycle is no longer a funnel; it is an hourglass. What does this mean? You need to continuously tell your marketing story from brand to purchase, all the way through to customer engagement and renewal/upsell. Marketing should do far more than engage a customer’s wallet. A strong marketing story should engage a customer’s heart. You are trying to inspire loyalty and become a topic around the dinner table — the next “great thing” someone shares with their friend or co-worker — not just sell a product.
So, how can you most effectively tell that story? As the founder of two award-winning digital marketing agencies, I have spent my career unpacking that question, and the answer is constantly evolving. Today, maybe that content is an eye-catching website and dynamic social videos. Tomorrow? That’s the art and science of marketing. The most important thing is to always let customer need drive your content marketing strategy, continuously pushing the flywheel forward.
3. Create your target contact list.
Third, create your TCL (target contact list). Remember, B2B (business-to-business) marketing is ABM (account-based marketing). When developing your marketing plan, always think in terms of target account ecosystems. Who are the most reliable players who can best support your bottom line? These should be the prospects at the top of your TCL — the accounts you woo above all others.
For B2B, you can get to the contact level, building a direct line of communication and trust between you and your target accounts. Because of this hyper-personalized approach to marketing, your strategy must remain flexible to adapt to whatever ecosystem in which you are selling. These targets will become the customers that keep your flywheel turning.
4. Get your message into the world.
Fourth, do marketing activities to get your message into the world. Splash your brand across the right channels like digital, television, and direct mail. Your strategy will be unique to your target client list and value propositions.
Which activities should you choose? The truth is you won’t always know until you try and measure. When you are first starting out, stay laser-focused on your target audience, but consider casting a wider net in terms of the channels by which you reach audiences.
Once your message is out in the world, you have reached the final stage of the flywheel. It is time to execute your go-to-market plan, sit back, and let the flywheel carry out what you built.
5. Keep turning the flywheel.
Measure, iterate, refine. Try, try again. The important thing to remember about the flywheel process is that it never stops turning. It is crucial to constantly talk to your customers, whether through market research, data analytics, or a simple cold call. The moment you let yourself or your business get complacent is the moment the market leaves you behind. Keep your finger on the pulse and always be ready to pivot and adjust when the moment demands it.
Follow these go-to-market flywheels and you will be on the path to success. Veer off course even a little, and you have lost your way forevermore! Okay, maybe not forever, but marketing takes resources and dedication and can make or break your business.
Read the full Forbes article here.