{PODCAST} In-Ear Insights: Go To Market Strategy

In this episode of In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris discuss the sudden re-emergence of people promoting go to market strategy (GTM) and what it means. Why is this suddenly a thing again, when GTM is as old as product marketing itself?

Go to market strategy is a subset of marketing strategy that is focused on how to bring a product or service to market. It is not a new concept, but it is resurfacing as a result of the Great Recession and the need for companies to find new ways to market their products and services.


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{PODCAST} In-Ear Insights: Go To Market Strategy

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Christopher Penn 0:17

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, let’s talk about go to market strategy.

So one of the things that we’ve seen happening in the various sort of thought leaders and key opinion leaders, particularly on LinkedIn, is pivoting from talking about target marketing and niche marketing to Account Based Marketing.

And now for some reason, people are now talking about go to market strategy as the next big thing in marketing.

And this, I don’t know about you, Katie.

But this confuses me deeply, because go to market strategy, aka product launch strategy isn’t a new thing at all.

It’s It’s ancient, it’s probably, you know, the oldest part of marketing, like I have this thing, how do I sell it? You know, from the very first farmers, like, I have a barrel of apples, how do I sell this to today? And I think it’s, I want to get your opinion on why you think this might be the thing.

But just a very quickly level set for folks who might not be clear, you have a business plan, which is overall what your business is doing.

You have a marketing strategy, which is how marketing executes on the business plan.

And you have go to market strategy, which is taking something a product or service and thing and bringing it to market, hence, go to market.

So it is a subset of a subset of business strategy.

And I think that’s a useful distinction so that we don’t get, you know, all kinds of confused as you got something, and you got to bring it to market.

So Katie, what, what’s your opinion about why we’ve pivoted from Account Based Marketing to go to market strategy?

Katie Robbert 1:47

Well, I think, you know, anecdotally, I would say you can probably tie it to, you know, the great, you know, reboot, or the Great Recession, or the great, you know, I’m leaving my job, or the quiet quitting, or whatever the hell the thing is these days, basically, you know, what’s old is new again, and people have changed careers, people have, you know, rediscovered marketing as an effective tool, like, oh, my gosh, like, the pipeline is, you know, doesn’t have enough stuff in it.

What the heck do we do? Oh, let’s try this magical new thing called marketing.

You know, and so I feel like, it’s not that it’s hot and new, it’s almost like a rediscovery or, you know, we forgotten about the fact that we can just do basic marketing, like, audience research, or, you know, understanding, hey, is there a need for the thing that we have, okay, let’s go ahead and give people what they need versus shoving something else down their throats.

I, you know, I’m not going to draw like this straight, you know, connected lines to things like, you know, the cookieless future, and, you know, data privacy, but that does play a role in the fact that we can’t rely on lazy marketing tactics anymore, that we actually have to think through.

What does this person actually need? How do I give my audience the stuff that they’re asking for? How do I find my audience, because I can no longer rely on just lazily like, you know, cooking them and then throwing them into my ecosystem they have to choose to come in.

So I probably need to give them a reason to choose me over anyone else.

So that’s my quick, hot take on why the go to market strategy is resurfacing.

You know, it’s a few different things.

Now, anyone who’s calling it new, is clearly new to the industry, because it’s new to them.

But you’re absolutely right.

It’s not new.

It’s literally Hey, I have a thing, how do I let people know I have a thing.

That’s a go to market strategy.

And even then, I wouldn’t even really call it a strategy.

It’s a plan.

It’s a tactic.

It’s part of the overall, you know, business plan, as you said, Chris.

Christopher Penn 4:10

So you’ve run and product launches.

You’ve you’ve built that in your career, what are the components of a go to market strategy?

Katie Robbert 4:20

Number one is trying to figure out if there’s even demand for the thing.

That’s probably the step that people skip over.

And basically, it’s having a solution in search of a problem.

And so I can sit here in my office and come up with like, what I think are 10 Great ideas that people could probably use.

But if I don’t have any concrete evidence that people actually lead to the solution that I’m creating, it’s stalled out because then I’m just going to be wasting my time.

So that’s step number one.

Step number one is understanding.

Is there a need for the thing in the first place? Number two, is figure going out, you know, how somebody would use the thing, whether it’s a physical product or a service? You know? Yes, I have a solution to your problem.

But that’s not enough information.

And so Chris, for example, you know, one of our solutions is to do a Google Analytics infrastructure audit, not everybody needs us to do it start to finish, some people just need a couple of buttons, you know, twisted and turned, some people do need sort of, you know, the full Migaila, from start to finish.

And some people just want a little bit of training or validation to say, Did I do it right, myself.

And so making sure you’re not only understanding that there’s a need for it, but what that need looks like.

And then once you have, once you understand the need, then you can start to develop the thing.

And this is where, you know, you use all that feedback to actually develop the product, do some beta testing, make sure from start to finish that it really works the way as intended.

And then you can start to run down the different phases of a customer journey to say, well, if somebody doesn’t know about us, how do they find out about us? Well, once somebody knows about us, how do we keep them engaged? But once they’re engaged, how do we get them to purchase something, and so working your way through the customer journey, to build out that marketing plan to say, Alright, first and foremost, they need to know what the thing is.

And so creating that messaging, creating those assets, creating those tutorials, those FAQs, and so on, so forth, and then you can get into the Okay, now they’re ready to buy something.

So that’s a very long winded way of saying, make sure there’s a need for it, make sure you’re giving people what they’ve asked for.

And then you need to let them know that it’s available.

Christopher Penn 6:41


How does that map to say, like the five P’s, because we talk about that framework a lot.

And a lot of the go to market strategies I’ve seen are fairly, I wouldn’t call them like overly simplistic, but they either rely on your traditional marketing four P’s product, price, place and promotion.

Or they rely on something even as simple as just like, you know, the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

And I feel like that doesn’t have enough detail, I think to to effectively say like, here’s, here’s the battle plan for how we’re gonna bring this thing in the market.

Like, for example, last night, I was for fun, I built a piece of software that extracts songs from Spotify playlists, and counts up the most frequently occurring songs on a set of playlists, because I needed to put together a playlist for a friend’s birthday in another country, and I don’t know, any of the popular music in that country.

So pulling this whole thing.

So I have this thing, right? I have this product, which I don’t think anybody besides me wants.

How do I apply the five Ps to even figure out like, should I even make the effort to build a go to market strategy for it?

Katie Robbert 7:50

You know, you can use the five P’s for that.

And so the first P, which is purpose, is basically what is the problem you’re trying to solve? And so for the piece of software that you wrote, your first question to answer is, what problem does this solve? What is the purpose of me creating this, and you gave me a very specific use case, you were trying to create a playlist for someone who lived in a different part of the world.

And you didn’t know what music was popular there.

So that is a very specific use case.

So in order to understand if other people have this problem, then that’s the use case that you start shopping around, like, is anybody else have this problem? Is this? Is this a problem that needs solving? Or is this just unique to me? So that’s the first P is what problem does this solve? What is the purpose of creating this thing? And so as you start chopping that around, then you move down to the second P, which is people, as you’re talking to people, you may find that there’s variations of that problem.

So at the core of what you created, it sounds like you created some sort of aggregator for lack of a better term.

So basically, if I have five different lists of things, what is the common piece like does this does piece a appear on every single list and how many times and so on so forth.

And so if you remove the Spotify from it, then you can start to create those use cases of as a marketing manager, I need to understand how many times my brand shows up in conversation across different social platforms.

And so it’s using the same kind of technology or the same methodology to solve a similar problem.

And so, you know, you’re asking people, like, do you have to aggregate counts across different things? And then you can start to go into the process.

Well, what does that process look like, if it’s not Spotify? If it’s Facebook, if it’s Twitter, if it’s Reddit, whatever the thing is, and so what is that process? Does The process translate across platforms.

And then you can get into the platform platform being the fourth p is not necessarily like, you know, the platform I’m using is Spotify, the platform I’m using is Facebook.

That’s part of it.

But you, Chris need to use tools and technology to actually gather that data.

So what what platforms are you using? Yeah, I’m guessing you’re using R, I’m guessing you’re using API’s, I’m guessing you’re using, you know, SQL or BigQuery, or other things like that.

But then also, what is your reporting output? And so, you know, one of the things that we’re talking about this week at the marketing process, B2B forum, is platforms in terms of collect, analyze, and reporting.

So if you think of your technology platforms in those three different categories, then you can expand upon that list and have more detail.

And then lastly, the fifth P, which is performance is what’s my measure of success? And so for this, it’s did I answer the question being asked, Did I solve a problem? If you only solve the problem for yourself, that’s fine.

If you solve the problem for other people, you may have a product that you can work on that you can continue to develop that solves additional problems.

Christopher Penn 11:16


Yeah, I did some Googling, before I sat down to do this, because I figured if it already exists, why reinvent the wheel, and not to my surprise, then nobody offers this, I suspect very strongly, it’s a fairly unique problem, it’s fairly rare problem, and therefore, there probably isn’t demand for it right now, it’s very rare that you would need to put together a birthday playlist of songs from a playlist in foreign languages, for a friend who speaks that language because presumably, the person probably would have their own way.

So it’s relatively niche.

There’s, I think it’s one of the tastes like when we think about product market fit.

It’s a good fit for the use case, but the use case is so rare that the market wouldn’t ask for it.

Katie Robbert 12:07


And that’s the kind of, you know, so as you’re asking, you know, what, what’s new and different about go to market strategy? There isn’t? That’s the first step, regardless of how you’re approaching it.

Regardless of if you’re using artificial intelligence, or, you know, a piece of paper and a pen, you need to know, is there any demand for this thing? Or is this just unique to me? And I think where a lot of companies get it wrong, is they do develop a solution that works for them, and then try to sell the shit out of it to people who haven’t asked for it.

Christopher Penn 12:43

Yeah, one of the red flags that I know, we used to say all the time in public relations, and this is true, is if you say, we have no competitors, that’s not a good thing.

That means a market for what you offer offer.

Katie Robbert 12:58

And that’s, you know, it’s interesting, because, you know, the term innovation is one of those words, that makes me cringe a little bit, because it’s, it’s just a buzzword, it’s innovation is reinventing the wheel in a new and different way.

It’s thinking about something, you know, slightly differently than somebody else has been thinking about it, you’re innovating, something that’s existing, apparently, otherwise, you’re developing something completely brand new, which, at this stage of the game, is really, it’s gonna be really difficult to do.

It’s basically you know, you are reinventing the wheel.

And so it’s I don’t even know where I was going with this innovate like.

It’s hard, because so what you’re doing, Chris, what you developed is essentially you were innovating, how you can count and aggregate data, which technically you can do in something like Excel, if you can bring the data in.

And so companies that are saying, Oh, hey, I created a way to aggregate and count data.

Do you want this thing for $10 million? It’s not gonna go anywhere, because that’s existed forever.

Like, I can do that by hand.

Christopher Penn 14:18

Innovation is a very tricky word.

And I think it deserves its own podcast episode, because innovation literally means looking inwards, right? So nobody in Latin, such looking inwards for what’s new.

And that kind of almost goes against go to market strategy.

Right? Like yes, you can create something net new that the market has never seen before.

But you run the risk of inventing something that nobody else wants.

One of the things that people give Apple a lot of crap about copying and they do absolutely 100% Do Apple did not have the first mp3 player Apple did not have the first smartphone Apple, for sure did not have the first tablet.

What they did was they waited to see if there was a market.

They looked at the existing solutions on the markets and these all suck.

Let’s make our rendition of it with Apple was by far not the first company had a smartwatch, but they’ve now made this the most popular watch in the world.

And so from a go to market strategy, their their go to market strategy is not let’s be first to the market, let their market strategy let’s be best in our unique way that for people who are you know, in that ecosystem, like Yeah, it everything just works like I got these new AirPods AirPods, Frozen 2, they are not the best noise cancelling headphones, they are not the best earbuds but they are the the customer experience is so seamless, I just put them in, they just work.

There’s no mucking around pressing, connecting things, it just it just magically works.

And so in terms of their go to market strategy, the the value proposition of their product is, hey, if you’ve have our other products, these things just work.

It’s it’s, you’re paying for the seamless experience and reasonably good design.

And so when it comes to innovation, I feel like if you’re going to have a good go to market strategy, that almost has to extend up into your product marketing strategy of like, do we ask anybody if they have this problem?

Katie Robbert 16:30

Well, yeah, and that sort of, as I was saying, that’s the first step is the demand for this thing.

You know, apples, one of those interesting case studies, to your point, because you absolutely don’t have to be first to market, you just have to be best at what you do.

And customer experience is the key to all of that success.

And it’s doing that research, it’s making sure that, you know, you’re actually solving a problem that people have and not just thrusting upon them a solution that you think that they need.

You know, so to your point earlier about people who are saying we don’t have competitors, that’s a red flag.

It absolutely is.

Because we as humans are fairly predictable.

And our problems are fairly predictable.

The thing that changes is the technology we apply to having a solution that sort of like the innovation piece of it is we’ve had the same problems for you know, 1000s, if not millions of years, like our problems are not new and different.

The way in which we approach solving them is what’s new and different.

But if you’re starting a new company, if you’re trying to develop a new product, look at you know, just look look inward, look at yourself, look at the people who are sitting around the table with you, we all have the same problem.

It’s just a variation of what that looks like.

And what can you do to provide an even more simplistic solution to that problem, we don’t want to complicate our lives, we want to make them easier.

And so when you’re thinking about that new product development, keep that in mind human problems, not new solutions, not new.

So your goal is really how do I provide the same solution.

But even easier,

Christopher Penn 18:18

I asked this question on LinkedIn, and one of my colleagues wrote back apparently, consultants ran out of money being able to charge money for Account Based Marketing.

And now, they’ve pivoted back to go to market strategy because they can charge more money for it.

That’s, which is probably true.

Katie Robbert 18:33

But you know, when you think about it, consult consultants, ourselves included, we’re not solving new problems, we in order to quote unquote, stay competitive, we have to come up with fancy new names and labels and packages to solve the exact same problem.

And that I think is part of what’s happening is sort of, again, with the great marketing reboot, and people changing roles and a whole new teams.

These new team members are looking for solutions to help set them apart in these new roles.

And oh, my goodness, well, why don’t I get on, you know, the go to market strategy bandwagon with everybody else? Because that’s what everyone else is buying right now.

And consultancies are seeing that that’s what’s happening.

And you know, to their credit it, there’s nothing illegal about it, they’re taking advantage of that.

So they’ve repackaged Account Based Marketing, they’ve repackage you know, new product development, they’ve repackaged marketing 101 and said, Hey, go to market, buy this.

It’s the same thing.

I guarantee, if we were to bring on one of those agencies, they would not tell us anything we don’t already know about marketing.

Christopher Penn 19:42

So if we think about the five P’s and it sounds like the purpose would be obviously why, you know, why do you think was what problems is solved? What is the value proposition? The people part sounds like it’s the target market, like who are the people and from the customer side, then who have people internally that need to do them Marketing.

From the platform side, it sounds like that would be the mechanism for the marketing itself.

And it also would be the product attributes like, where you’re going to sell this thing.

The process side sounds like it would be product marketing, fit, competitive analysis.

And you’re the marketing plan itself.

And then the performance side sounds like it’s going to be the measure of success.

Did the product launch successfully or not? And if so, what’s the position in the marketplace?

Katie Robbert 20:35

The measure of success is also did it solve the problem? You know, are people happy customer satisfaction? NPS scores all of those things.

Those are measures of performance.

So, yes, did we develop the thing? Did we launch it successfully? But you know, you can launch a product? But it doesn’t necessarily answer the question being asked.

And so you need to be specific about your performance and measure of success.

Like, yeah, I can set up a Google ads, ads campaign.

Am I successful? Technically, yeah.

Cuz I did it.

It’s running.

But is it doing anything? Is it giving people the information they need? And so you need to, you know, dig a little bit deeper with those performance metrics.

Like, yeah, I woke up today, I took a shower.

I I’m successful.

You know, it’s little things.

But you have to define that measure of success, and tie it back to what problem is this solving.

Christopher Penn 21:40

Got it.

So it sounds like go to market strategy, nothing, nothing really new, nothing new under the sun.

But I wholly agree with you that the great marketing reboot has set a lot of marketing departments back to square one.

You know, we were just talking with some colleagues last week, and pretty much, you know, at a fairly large technology company, just the entire marketing department is is is exiting in one fashion or another from the CMO downwards.

And so that that whole company’s everything strategy is going to reboot, and would not surprise me if, as that happens, somebody Google’s How do I do go to market strategy for our product that now nobody knows how to market? And we’re back to our back to the basics.

Katie Robbert 22:28

We’re back to the basics.

And I think that that’s something that we identified, you know, a few months ago is that what we’re seeing based on the data that we collect, and what we’re seeing based on conversations people are having and questions being asked is, we are back to the basics.

However, by saying that we’re back to the basics, the basics, never go out of style.


People are always looking for the basics, people are always starting new jobs.

And so I guess one of the pro tips, if you are a content creator, is make sure you have a library of basic 101 content.

What is how do i Where can I answering those questions.

That’s something that we’re working on, internally is making sure that you know is Vance as advanced as we are with artificial intelligence and, you know, organizational behavior.

People still have questions about the basics, and it’s a good refresher for us to make sure that we don’t get too far from being able to share the answers to those basic questions.

Christopher Penn 23:32

And if you’d like a Spotify playlist that but if you have questions about go to market strategy, or you want to share some of your thoughts about why you think it is suddenly the hot new thing, pop on over to our free slack group go to trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers, where you can over 20 100 other marketers are asking and answering each other’s questions every single day.

And wherever it is you watch or listen to the show.

If there’s a platform you’d rather have it on instead, go to trust insights.ai/ti podcast where you can find all the different options we have for you to enjoy the show and hey, if you enjoy the show, please leave us a review and a rating on your platform of choice as always helps out the show.

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