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What Is a Go-to-Market Strategy and How Is it Different From a Marketing Strategy?
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Businesses always plan ahead, and that is a fact. This is why a marketing strategy is a very much needed practice for brands that want to be prepared, have goals, and see that their efforts will amount to something, sooner rather than later.
A marketing strategy encompasses all of the marketing actions a business is willing to take. These marketing actions cover a broad spectrum and aim to reach a target market. The representation of these marketing actions and the overall marketing strategy is what creates a marketing plan.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy, on the other hand, is created to cover new product launches. As such, a GTM strategy is product-specific, tailored around said product, and targets the audience that would be interested in the product’s release, first and foremost.
Sometimes, marketers use the terms interchangeably, mainly because the two terms encapsulate the same meaning when a company launches its first products. This makes sense if one considers that marketing aims to present something to appropriate buyers, and no brand starts with a plethora of products.
However, a broader venture with various products and services will need to separate the two meanings, since a GTM strategy is merely a component of the overall marketing strategy that aims to lead prospects further down the funnel.
The Key Differences
The main difference between a GTM strategy and a marketing strategy is that a GTM strategy focuses on one product. In contrast, a marketing strategy focuses on the actions, distribution channels, and target audience of the value proposition.
Therefore, there are some critical differences between the two strategies.
Let’s start with the difference in purpose. A marketing strategy is created to ensure that a business will manage to keep up with the existing and upcoming trends for an extended period of time. Therefore, it can include marketing actions such as an SMS marketing strategy or perhaps an Instagram growth strategy. Still, it must include a detailed distribution plan and be created around the brand’s target audience.
In other words, a marketing plan aims to attract the audience that will appreciate the value of the brand as a whole and will manage to outshine the competitors.
On the other hand, a GTM strategy is a little more short-lived in the sense that it will serve the purpose by approaching the segment of the audience that will be interested in a specific product.
While a GTM strategy may typically include components of a marketing strategy — distribution channels, for example, or a video content plan — it often is highly targeted towards a specific buyer persona. In the end, it aims to ensure that a product outshines the competitors’ product.
Sometimes, when it comes to a GTM strategy, there could be more than marketers involved in the process.
A GTM strategy focuses on a product’s lifecycle — from the creation of the concept to distribution to discontinuation. Therefore, a brand will need more than its best marketers to create one.
Usually, the process will begin with the product marketing team. It will continue by training sales and customer support teams and collaborating with the marketing team to ensure that the GTM strategy fits the brand’s broader marketing strategy.
On the other hand, a marketing strategy will need an entire team for its creation and implementation. The marketing team will go through a SWOT analysis, rigorous market research, and determining goals before deciding on marketing actions.
Remember, there is no marketing action without a clear marketing plan, such as scheduling Instagram posts or even the GTM strategy itself.
The Time and Place
The last key aspect that sets the two strategies apart is the “when” factor and the “how/where” factor.
GTM strategies are generally related to a product launch, a new benefit, or anything that the pre-existing audience has not experienced yet. Plus, as all marketers know, new launches have specific timelines.
Since a GTM strategy covers those launches, marketers create plans that last a specific time period. In this fixed timeline, marketers need to achieve particular goals.
On the contrary, a marketing strategy is an ongoing process of re-discovering, re-assigning, and reviewing. To better understand the difference between the two, think of a marketing strategy as a marathon, while a GTM strategy as a sprint.
The difference is a little easier to spot with the “how/where” factor. A marketing strategy is an umbrella term and therefore encapsulates every aspect of a brand. This means that a marketing strategy needs to appeal to a more significant chunk of a brand’s audience.
Marketing actions that stem from a generalized marketing plan need to portray its values and unique value proposition. Of course, this takes effort, meticulous competitor analysis, and focusing on metrics that can help the brand determine its weaknesses, such as customer churn rate or customer satisfaction.
On the other hand, a successful GTM strategy requires strong messages and actions to speak directly to the audience that will appeal to that specific product. Creating such messages involves a combination of factors, such as the brand’s tone, the product’s or service’s functionality, and the tone of the platform where the message will be presented.
To create a message and actions that will be meaningful, a brand will need to get feedback from existing customers, using questionnaires or through the customer service team’s feedback.
All in all, marketers need to keep in mind that no matter the strategy they need to implement, one thing is certain: The more relevant the message, the better it will resonate with the target audience.
Knowing the differences between a marketing strategy and a GTM strategy is one thing, but using strategies to create marketing actions takes a lot more. Studying your data and determining how each marketing action resonates with your audience — or segments of it — is a vital component of creating meaningful and actionable marketing messages.