What Is a Go-to-Market Strategy (and Why Do I Need One)?


Travel back in time to 1975. The cult classic movie Jaws is showing in theaters. You see mood rings, bell-bottom jeans, and tie-dye everywhere you look. Life is groovy, man. But unbeknownst to you, Sony and VHS are on the brink of a video format war that would soon change television's future. 

When Sony released the Betamax video cassette player in 1975, it was a high-quality piece of technology. It allowed people to watch 2-hour videos in the comfort of their own homes without having to go to a movie theater. The only problem? Beta machines were overpriced and bulky. 

Soon after, VHS launched a similar product. The VHS machine was smaller, more user-friendly, and even allowed people to record movies aired on television. The two companies erupted in a price war, slowly raising prices to edge one another out. Ultimately, VHS came out on top and wiped Betamax off the market. 

Why did Sony lose this battle? What can we learn from their expensive mistake? The Sony/VHS war proves that even the most well-known companies can fail without a proper product launch. This is the reason you need a go-to-market strategy. 

What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a step-by-step plan for how a company will launch a specific product or service and gain an advantage over competitors. A good GTM can identify problems in the market while offering a new product or service as the solution. 

Simply put, a GTM strategy is a handy roadmap that can predict the success of a new product or service using market data, competitive analysis, and customer research.

Who uses a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?

It’s important to note that GTM strategies are not exclusive to just physical product launches. They can be used for both B2B and B2C companies before:

  • Launching a new product or service in an existing market
  • Launching an existing product or service in a new market
  • Transforming existing product or service models 
  • Testing a new product or service’s potential for growth and success

Now that you know the who and the what behind go-to-market strategies, let’s turn to the important question — why do they matter?

Marketing team building a go-to-market strategy in a conference room

Why do you need a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?

If the story about Sony’s failed Betamax didn’t convince you that a GTM strategy is crucial, keep on reading. Since the 1970s, there has been a fundamental shift in how people shop. Today’s buyers are more knowledgeable than ever, making a GTM strategy that much more important.

Here are just some of the many reasons you need a go-to-market strategy: 

  • To ensure your product or service stands out — If your product or service is just like any other, chances are it won’t make a splash. A GTM strategy identifies the area of opportunity within your market before a launch, allowing you to pivot your product to speak to customers’ pain points.
  • To create demand — What if you launch this product or service and nobody even knows it exists? A GTM strategy allows you to curate content that revs up customer interest and increase buyer demand. 
  • To guarantee satisfaction — Sony was utterly unaware that the Betamax video cassette player was too bulky for their customers. Similarly, you might not know what tweaks or changes you need to make before launching your product or service. With a GTM strategy, you can address any concerns before it’s too late. 
  • To keep costs down — A go-to-market strategy allows you to identify promotional channels and areas of opportunity with the highest return on investment. Rather than launching a product with your fingers crossed, you can crunch the numbers and execute with confidence.

At the end of the day, a strong GTM strategy paints a clear picture of the niche markets, efficient processes, and market data required to launch your product or service.

It’s time to streamline and simplify.

Long gone are the days of old, outdated delivery models. Companies used to shell out thousands of dollars to cold call, travel to tradeshows, and commission salesmen. From there, a customer would be passed through a never-ending pipeline of service departments, call centers, and quality control checks. 

Now, businesses can streamline the entire customer journey with a GTM including:

  • Inbound Lead Plans
  • Digital Customer Onboarding
  • Concierge 
  • Chat Bots/Automation

This new operating business model provides customers with personal touch points at every spot in their journey. 

Ready to build a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?

I hope that by now you can see a GTM strategy is one of the easiest ways to avoid joining the expensive graveyard filled with failed product launches. And while developing a GTM strategy takes time and effort, you don’t have to do it alone. 

Vye is a full-service growth agency that can assist you with everything from tracking KPIs to creating attention-grabbing content. Reach out to discuss the first steps. 

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