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An Ultimate Guide for Developing a Go-To Marketing Strategy

Entering into the world of marketing is like barreling into a Wild West of possibility. Like any good western has taught us, there’s going to be a lot of good, bad—and sometimes ugly—that leads to the standoff of competition. 

Some markets will say, “there ain’t room for both of you in this town,” and that’s when having a trusty go-to marketing strategy at your side will blow them away. 

Before gun spinning into success, it’s important to understand what a go-to marketing strategy is and why they’re imperative to business. There’s also a difference between marketing and sales, which should be addressed immediately. 

According to Stanford professor Mark Leslie, the more marketing you have working for you, the less attention or resources should be attributed to the sales. 

For example, are you in the B2B or B2C market, which is to ask whether you’re selling to businesses or individuals? The latter is easier to market to, but businesses have a tendency to be sold to. Either way, your relationship should aim to be long-lasting.

It’s fair to say that most businesses are in the business of making money, and the only sure-fire way to that is by expanding. The more markets a business conquers, the wider the customer base, which is the aim here. 

Therein is the competitive side of entering a new market.

What You Need to Know Before Creating a Marketing Strategy

Now more than ever, resources seem to be drying out where creative strategy is a wellspring of problem-solving prosperity. There are several ways to enter a market, but without a strategy, the plan will dry up like a well in the desert. 

Product-Market Fit

Address the problems your audience may have and decide how or if your product is going to solve the problem. In a recent study, 100 failed startups found that at least 42 percent did not solve valid customer issues. Additionally, consider how you plan to adapt and change with the market.

Target Audience

Consider the target or who is going to buy this product. You’ll want to know who this person is and what makes them tick. Don’t avoid the psychological aspects of marketing. It’s how you’re going to figure out what you can do for these people.

This category also entails breaking down audiences into different cohorts, like how big your target audiences are and what the data says about their buying power? Researching this data will allow you to understand the market more and give you leveraging power.


The competitive landscape can either be an oasis or a desert, depending on how you choose to implement your strategy. This ties into researching the market first and how to position yourself without bursting through the front door. Coming on too strong can be an assault on the audience and form a bad perception of the company.

Even if the strategy works initially, there has to be a safety net in place. This takes shape in your ability to change and adapt as the market adapts. Be mindful of what trends are happening now as well as what is to come in the future. 

Business-to-business research can be a major asset in this area and keep you abreast of the latest news and verticals.


Now that you have your product ready to go, where and how will you choose to distribute it? Cater to the customer in this case. You can provide your product through the eCommerce route—online, or you can have a tangible shop for which new and recurring customers can poke around. Distribution may not be the glossy part of marketing, but it is a cog that will ultimately hold the entire machine together.

What is a Go-To Market Strategy?

A go-to marketing (GTM) strategy is essentially an outline that details how to succeed in new markets or with new customers. 

There’s no reason to reject having a GTM, even if your business is successful. However, one surefire way to descend into remittance is by failing to embrace the ability to pivot or adapt. Markets, especially individual markets, can be unpredictable, making adaptability your biggest strength. 

Leveraging the constant trends within these changing landscapes will show a better return on investment than pretending they aren’t there. Vagueness in the industry should be anticipated, and with that comes the backup plan, your go-to marketing strategy. 

8 Steps to Developing a Go-To Marketing Strategy

Understand the Market

In order to make sense of anything new, research has to be done. One can never be too prepared or too literate with any given topic, so research is imperative to developing a successful marketing strategy. 

Don’t shy away from primary research, either. People, after all, are the market. The more you get to know them, the better, and there’s no greater way to do that than talking to them. 

When appropriately implemented into strategy, their feedback provides positive results. 

E = mc^2

Equity = audience participation x brand values

Your brand’s reputation for being trustworthy creates the strongest tether between you and the target audience. Should there ever be a gap between your brand and the target audience, mix in the four Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. 

Audiences should also be able to immediately identify your brand’s standards based on your mission statement, messaging, and everything in between. Transparency should be as available to the public as your brand book. 

Prioritize the Target

When you prioritize the needs of the target audience, you’re also prioritizing the needs of the individual. Time has just as much to do with care and respect today as it does marketing. Instant gratification is objectively personal to audiences. 

The more context you can provide to audiences—and faster—the better. For example, email marketing personalized to the individual has been proven to increase user response. 

Identify the Timing

Think of your strategy and the timing of your decision separately. They should be like two maps that only make sense when laid on top of each other, and the end result is the business plan. 

You should be able to explain why the plan is being executed at a certain time and why. The underlying message should form how you plan to segue into a new market. 

Well-defined target markets and buyer profiles help maintain focus and improve closing rates. Oftentimes, the goal is margin-based, not necessarily 100 percent. But you always want to remain measurable and operational. 

Take on the Persona

When there is a new product to market, there will certainly be a new business plan, marketing plan, and sales strategy to follow. This is where collaboration is celebrated between the development and marketing teams. 

For each customer target or channel, figuring out the psychology behind these buyers helps anticipate prospective objectives and potential issues. 

The idea is to create value for either. 

Source What’s Available

Sometimes the best way into a market is by using what’s already available and fixing it. Finding an entry point where a product market has clearly defined issues based on consumer needs is the perfect opportunity to collaborate on and manipulate an offer. 

Already knowing what that audience doesn’t want leads to a faster return rate.  By better suiting their needs, you’ve given yourself the lead in that channel. 

Other possible entry points may arise in corporate sponsorship, identifying which brands are more susceptible to competition. 

Use similar traits or defects to your advantage. 

Think Globally

Consider the marketing strategy from its end result and anticipate any obstacle that may present itself along the way. This can mean remaining acutely aware of your website. 

What is the message you’re trying to present there? Are your thoughts aligned with the message, and is the message in tune with the colors and fonts, etc.

Another perspective is how you plan to get new customers engaged and keep current customers faithful. Are your events, ads, and public relations on par with your ability to pivot at a moment’s notice? 

Sales Strategy

Sales are a direct representation of your brand, which means you want to have anyone performing sales as well-versed in the product and background of the business as possible. 

Make sure that the sales team has the adaptability required of the market and every resource available to educate them. Educating tools will allow tactics like cold pitching to reach an effective, long-term commitment. 


A go-to marketing strategy should always be mindful of these key areas and should answer why your business or product is the answer to the market’s problem. You want to understand the consumer’s persona and ultimately be able to fit inside the shape of their mindset. 

Having a detailed outline for a strategy like this that works might sound cumbersome, as the steps toward thinking globally and formulating a well-rounded, multifaceted brand. 

But this is supposed to be the fun part of the competition. You get to fire those creative neurons that leave the competition in the dust. 

How Harper+Scott Can Help

Harper+Scott helps brands establish their voice in an increasingly saturated marketplace, and give them unique identities that accentuate their strengths and values. We can support strategic marketing goals with a host of private label capabilities, including product design, branded merchandise, custom manufacturing, and unique digital products. 

The future is bright, and Harper+Scott is ready to help you get there.


The Proven Process for Developing a Go-To-Market Strategy | Top Results Consulting

Contextual Marketing: The Next Big Wave In Customer Conversion | Conversion Sciences 

13 Strategies For Making A Truly Effective Cold Pitch | Forbes 

Why Startups Fail: Top 20 Reasons l CB Insights 

A Framework For Go-To-Market Strategy | Leslie’s Compass