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What is your blueprint for developing a ‘go to market plan’?

What core elements must it encompass?
9 Answers
Dave Steer
Dave Steer
GitLab Vice President of Product MarketingJuly 28

I love this question because it widens the aperture from product launch to go-to-market plan. The product launch is an important part of the go-to-market plan, but the launch only represents one (really important) point in time. I like to think of the product launch as the rocket booster that you need to get your message to the marketplace.

Before I share my blueprint, I have an important PSA for product marketers: product availability is not the same thing as product launch. Product availability is when the product is functional (as defined by the product requirements doc) and can be used by customers; product launch, on the other hand, is when you’ve executed your marketing launch plan to meet your business and marketing objective. Product managers and product markets confuse the two at their own peril as it can lead to extraordinary stress and, more importantly, missed opportunities to tell a big, compelling story to the market.

The blueprint I use for go-to-market planning is straightforward:
1- Audience - Identify the target audience(s) and included all of the insights you have about them,
2- Problems & Job to be Done - Articulate the problems that the product solves,
3- Positioning & Messaging - Craft a positioning and messaging strategy that will resonate with the target audience based on the problem statement above, and
4- Creative & Channel - Show the creative concepts and channels you will leverage to break through the noise in the marketplace so that the target audience is inspired and acts on your message. 

5- Execution - The last part of the blueprint is vital: as the product marketer, your job is to ensure that all of your customer-facing teams -- from marketing to sales to communications to EVERYONE -- are rowing in the same direction. 

You are the conductor of this orchestrated set of events, so make sure that you’ve articulated how, operationally, this will be done in the go-to-market plan.

It sounds simple, but the details of each of these elements is what separates a meh Go-to-Market plan from a great Go-to-Market plan.

Jeffrey Vocell
Jeffrey Vocell
Panorama Education Head of Product MarketingSeptember 1

I think every product marketing team should! Ultimately, at Iterable we have 3 key documents:

  • Product GTM Launch Plan - This is a spreadsheet that includes every team involved in a launch, what set of activities are being done, where they are in the development process, and more. It's really a central resource for the entire launch.
  • Positioning & Campaign Kick-Off - This document should be filled out first before everything else. It includes all of the foundational details that will help create positioning, and what should go into your launch campaign (in the spreadsheet mentioned above).
  • GTM Launch Process - This is a step-by-step process for how to do every single element of a launch, and what's required to move between the four phases. If a new PMM comes onto the team, or an executive is curious about how we handle launches, this document comes in really valuable.

Ultimately the core GTM plan has to include every aspect of bringing your product to market - pricing/packaging, positioning/messaging, launch campaign, enablement, and promotion. And it needs to include or involve all of the teams that touch every aspect of that work as well.

Susan "Spark" Park
Susan "Spark" Park
Meta Head of Product Marketing, VR Work Experiences, OculusFebruary 3

I invented the 5A Framework for GTM to easily communicate a nd keep track the top objectives of a Go-To-Market plan. 

  1. Audience: You must understand your target(s), and how it will be best to approach them. 
  2. Angle: What is your message/angle. This will tell your audience(s) how you solve a problem.
  3. Accomplishments: Your goals and milestones
  4. Activate: How will you execute your plan? 
  5. Assess: Evaluate and adjust

If your GTM has all of these five elements you have a solid overview of what your GTM will deliver. It also creates real-language objectives for your GTM vs using our jargon like core-value proposition and other product-led language. This has been a very handy framework for me to deliver the executive summary of the GTM, especially to executives who are unfamiliar with product marketing and haven't seen a full GTM strategy for their business before. 

Many product marketers focus on the Activate more than the other A's, but if you do, you run the risk of just running a launch and a campaign vs holistically driving growth and adoption of a product.  

A lovely exercise to ensure you have the 5A Framework covered is the work backward exercise that Amazon employs.   

The A's will have your GTM in a solid place. So rely on them to ensure you're not getting too mucked up in the details. 

Harish Peri
Harish Peri
Okta SVP Product MarketingApril 5
  1. How does your company think of its 'market'? This is essentially a segmentation exercise but sometimes the hardest part. This requires alignment between sales, product, and marketing and is a great starting point for PMM to make an impact. Decide on the GTM 'vector' early - ie. verticals, company size, revenue band, geo, use case, needs based. Decide on the definitions of each and write them down
  2. For a given release or launch, what are the priority segments?. Not everything is going to be equally important to every segment and the core of GTM is to make those prioritization decisions. E.g. a launch that's aimed at Financial Services companies vs. Health providers or a major release that's targeting Enterprise customers vs. SMB. For this exercise, you also need to understand product intent. Are we trying to capture new share, fix bugs and rescue CSAT, open up a new market, etc. This will help to determine the opportunity value that a given segment can provide for a given release or launch
  3. For those priority segments, what is the segment-by-segment positioning? This is the 'art' of PMM where you write down the basic value prop for each target segment. Remember, what matters to an Enterprise buyer is very different from a vertical-specific buyer. Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for failure
  4. How does the positioning translate into execution? Sales enablement, campaigns, website updates, social/blog/content plan
  5. Stakeholders - the above points address what, how and why. But you also need to loop in the 'who'. Product, sales, support, documentation, sales engineering and the entire village required to make your GTM successful.

Ultimately you need to start with the launch or release date, and create a 'work back plan' that addresses all of the above questions.  

Quinn Hubbard
Quinn Hubbard
Matterport Director of Product MarketingMay 3

A thorough go to market (GTM) plan can provide incredible clarity for the many, many stakeholders who are involved in a launch. That’s why it’s so important for the GTM plan to be self-serve when you don’t have the luxury of walking your colleagues through it. The goal is to align your core team, plus answer the top questions for anyone else who needs to be looped in. I suggest using these 9 sections as your core elements:

  1. Business context, goals and projected impact → why is this launching?
  2. Product experience → what is launching?
  3. Audience insights, definition and targeting strategy → who is this launching for and what need(s) are we solving?
  4. Marketing brief → what are we saying and how?
  5. Channel plan → where are we sharing this?
  6. Campaign creative → how does it look, feel and sound?
  7. Launch timeline → when is it launching and how is it being rolled out?
  8. Measurement plan → how will we know what success looks like?
  9. Roles & responsibilities → who owns bringing this to life?

There are plenty of times when this list expands or contracts, but as long as you are answering why, what, who, where, when and how, you’ll have a solid starting point to create a successful GTM plan.

Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Crossbeam Senior Director Product MarketingJanuary 23

My blueprint usually consists of at minimum completing a product marketing brief that consists of:

  • feature name
  • description
  • value props
  • use cases
  • audience
  • packaging/pricing
  • how it works
  • help docs

Couples with tiering calculation (tier 1-4) you can build a scrappy GTM blue print and execute on tactics with key stakeholders across relevant communication channels.

Yvonne Chow
Yvonne Chow
Zennify Director of Product MarketingOctober 11

A GTM (go-to-market) plan is imperative for both PMMs and stakeholders, for several reasons:

  • Provides clarity & alignment on target audiences, customer personas, value prop, and messaging

  • Helps with resource optimization - ensuring that the right budget, tech, and talent are available

  • Mitigates risk

  • Ensures that you always take a customer-centric approach (what's in it for me as the customer, not "why is my company great for you").

  • Sets clear, measurable KPIs and objectives.

My personal GTM plan that I used back at Hootsuite includes:

  • A launch dashboard - typically this view is for execs who want a quick snapshot of the GTM plan. This is an overview of the solution/product/release with:

    • The 5Ws

    • Current project phase, risk status, launch tier, and budget

    • Objectives, KPIs (outcomes), key deliverables, and dependencies & risks.

  • Launch workstreams that identify which team, key partners/stakeholders are for each launch. This includes a RACI.

  • High-level timeline for each workstream's main efforts - if I'm leading the marketing workstream, I would include the marketing & promotion plan here.

  • Assets & collaterals checklist, which includes:

    • Bill of materials

    • Sales play

    • Internal & external communications

    • Enablement (partner, technical, internal sales)

  • Messaging framework, which includes:

    • Value proposition, messaging & positioning

  • Market research & segmentation, which includes:

    • Buyer influencer personas - their needs, pain points

    • Competitors in the space (this can be a tabled summary or a perceptual map)

  • Pricing strategy

  • Product/solution features, benefits, use cases

  • Product screenshots & demos

  • Launch plan

  • Metrics

A well-structured GTM blueprint should be a comprehensive document that guides PMMs and the entire cross-functional team in successfully bringing a product to market and achieving business objectives. It should also be flexible enough to adapt to changes and feedback as the product evolves in the market.

Iman Bayatra
Iman Bayatra
Coachendo Director of Product MarketingNovember 1

A GTM plan serves as an open book for everyone to understand your strategy and acts as the compass for a successful product launch. As you can see here in this doc, a GTM plan aligns your team, defines your target audience, and guides your marketing efforts to achieve your business goals and objectives.

For me, there are two key aspects of the GTM plan:

  1. A clear alignment of the GTM plan processes 

    • Clear goals and objectives: Specify the specific objectives and outcomes the GTM plan aims to achieve. These objectives could include increasing ROI, expanding the customer base, enhancing user engagement, or achieving any other measurable goals. 

    • Campaign timeline: Define the different phases of the campaign. Provide a timeline or schedule for your campaign, outlining when specific activities will be executed, such as launch dates, content release dates, and any critical milestones.

    • Roles and responsibilities: Clearly define the responsibilities of each team member or stakeholder and provide a breakdown of the tasks and activities they are expected to perform. Explain how the team will communicate and collaborate, including reporting structures, meetings, and decision-making processes. The DACI model is a perfect fit for this purpose.

  2. An effective GTM strategy

    • Target audience: Who is the audience you’re targeting? Collect data around their pain points, needs, preferences and buying behavior. Define them clearly, specify who they are, what challenges they face, and what motivates their purchasing decisions. 

    • Product / feature: Provide a detailed description of the product or service that is being launched. You need to include details about the product features, functionality but more important the benefits and the jobs to be done. Explain how the product creates value for customers.

    • Product messaging and differentiation: Describe the core messages and content that will be used in marketing materials. These messages should align with the value proposition of the product and address the pain points of the target audience.

    • Content, creative and channel plans: Describe the visual aesthetics, including design, imagery, color schemes, and the overall look and feel of the campaign. Explain how these creative elements align with the brand and resonate with the target audience. Specify the distribution channels and platforms where the marketing materials will be shared. 

    • Track, measure, optimize and iterate: Identify and define the specific KPIs that align with your project or business objectives.  It’s very important to clearly define the resources where the data for your metrics will be sourced from. This may involve website analytics, customer surveys, sales data, or other relevant data streams. In addition, identify the tools and methods that will be used for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data. Regularly review and refine strategies and tactics to enhance your campaign performance. Use of A/B testing or similar methodologies to test different approaches and identify what works best. Incorporate feedback from customers, users, or stakeholders into the optimization process.

Your GTM strategy might include additional components, such as distribution plan or pricing and packaging.

David Bressler
David Bressler
BackBox Director, Product MarketingMarch 11

As I read a lot of these responses (and similar ones on other questions) I see that GTM and "product launches" seem to be conflated into a single thing. And, while some highlight small launches vs big launches, they're still making GTM all about launching, and I think that's missing something important.

A launch might be a GTM activity, but GTM is bigger than just launches (big and small). At least, or obviously, in my mind. Anything you want to get into the hands of sales needs a "go to market" motion. Whether it rises to the level of a launch or not.

Here's an example, from earlier today. I have a point of view on how my company helps with ransomware. It's a page long set of ideas and lists four capabilities of my offering that helps mitigate ransomware (even though we don't directly protect against it). I saw a new story come out, about how an MSP (Managed Service Provider) is being sued by one of their customers (not surprisingly, a law firm customer) for exposing the law firm to ransomware. So, I took the news story, and my point of view, and reached out to the sales person who covers service providers. Together, we can use that story plus my point of view to craft a few emails to cold prospects of hers to try to get them interested in our offering.

So, what's involved?

I like to think of a "minimum viable sales motion"... it includes a point of view, a recent news story (for relevancy and something to compel action), and if I have them, some stats or a customer story that supports my point of view on the topic.

That's it... as an MVP.

If it resonates, and we start to build pipeline on the topic... then it's time to create more down-funnel content. Doing a proof-of-concept - you might need some specific use cases to show (in this case) about ransomware mitigation. Might need some competitive information against other players/solution-approaches. Maybe we do a webinar on the topic to get something more middle-of-funnel, an explainer that can be sent to really help people visualize the problem and the offering.

But these later pieces can be created "just in time". If you create them ahead of time, you've potentially wasted time. Start with the Minimum Viable Sales Motion and and create from there. The one thing you do need is a close relationship with the sellers (and their technical counterparts) to give them talking points, and an ability to create content quickly if needed.

The advantage of doing this, vs a full launch is that you can move quickly. Try things out, if they work, double down and do more. If they don't, move on to the next idea. By the way, eventually you build a library of these Minimum Viable Sales Motions... that can be used to train new team members, or again in the future if a similar trigger happens.

Also, keep in mind, while it's the motion that gets you in the door, that may not be what you sell. Get in the door with a ransomware message... you're just selling "backups" (for example), so maybe you just needed a new way to get someone's attention about the importance of backups.

As for full launches, there's plenty of good advice in the other answers. Not sure I can add much value there... but full launches are a thing too!

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