How to Launch Your Startup – An Insight Into Go-To-Market Strategies
Have you ever wondered what the difference between a startup and a well-established business is? We can go down a whole list – but the most prominent aspect that associates itself with startups is that they need to be a lot more critical in introducing their product.
The stakes are higher, the risk a lot more severe than it would be for a more significant business. The severity linked with the launch of a startup begs for a strategic, well-informed plan.
During his presentation at Inbound 2020, Rahul Raj shared a comprehensive framework focused on multiple go-to-market strategies for startups. Rahul is the founder and CMO of 5&Vine, a company bent on helping startups for challenger brands.
Raj’s talk was inspiring and, more importantly, gave insights into the go-to-market strategies for launching your startup successfully. So without waiting any further, let’s get into everything we learned from Rahul.Take control of your ads with real-time campaign reports. Get Your Free Trial Now
Your Go-to-Market Strategy: What Should It Be?
Before launching into an in-depth discussion covering all the do’s and don’ts for a startup’s market launch, it’s crucial to understand what a go-to-market strategy entails in its essence. According to Rahul, the following three components are a must when it comes to the launch strategy for your startup:
It Should Be Customizable
The strategy should be easy to customize when necessary. It helps to understand the nature of any startup is fluid initially; it is bound to evolve in the future, and hence your strategy should also be flexible.
You should be able to make any changes according to your brand’s particular organization at any time!
It Should Be Perforated
This means that all the elements that have gone into building your brand should be sewn together seamlessly. PR, Marketing, and Sales; all the departments should collaborate and work simultaneously for the most profitable outcome.
It Should Be Scalable
Your go-to-market strategy should be scalable – meaning that although you create it following your locality, you should still be able to extend across geographies. This allows your business to have that potential for future expansion.
The Perfect Go-To-Market Strategy – An Overview
Raj iterates that the perfect go-to-market strategy should clarify five components. These are:
- Value Proposition
- Target Customer
- Brand Positioning
- Competitive Response
- Marketing Strategy
Let’s take a look at them one by one to understand their importance.
What is the problem your customers are hiring your product/services to solve?
Rahul insinuates that the biggest mistake made by startups is to neglect the previous question. As a startup, you need to realize that your product/service is essentially going to be the solution to a problem your customer faces.
The customer is going to utilize your work to fix something for themselves. Once you think in those terms, the entire outlook of your brand will change.
To further elaborate on this, Rahul shared a couple of compelling examples varying across different sectors. The brand in question enhanced its product model based on what would bring value to the customer experience.
While establishing the value proposition for your startup, Rahul urges you to ask yourself the following questions:
– Will people fire their current product for yours?
– What does your product do for the customer?
– What needs does your product fulfill? Is it associated with self-fulfillment, psychological benefits, or basic needs?
Once you have materialized answers to the prompts mentioned above, you should acquire a clearer view of where your value proposition stands. Remember that what you’re doing here is essentially a promise to your customers. You should clearly state how you will solve the problem, quantify the value you deliver and why you should be chosen over your competitors.
Who are you selling to?
Instead of scattering your marketing budget and brand message in different areas, you should focus on one specific target. Your ultimate goal should be to identify that 20% of the market will help you make 80% of the total sale.
For you to execute this correctly, you must understand your target customer. Rahul shares some handy resources that will help you identify, analyze, and understand your target market to the fullest.
You can use this tool to identify known and unknown competitor targets. It would be useful for you to compare and contrast your objectives with those of your competitors and then use that knowledge to make your message more attractive for the target customer.
MOAT will help you gain a better understanding of competitive ads. It gives you access to all of the ads that relate to your product – which you can observe and identify the correct visual language and tone for your ads.
3.Social Media Feeds
Your competitors’ social media feeds are also essential in realizing unmet needs and embedding them in your strategy. This also includes staying in touch with the email updates of your competitors!
Also, Instagram and Facebook can be used to find real people that represent your ideal customer. So make sure that you’re up for winning over your audience on social media platforms.
4.Shopify and Google Analytics
These two can be paired and collaboratively used to learn important things about current customers, what brands they like, their existing shopping history, and what other products they are considering.
This site is a useful tool to determine and understand the demographics of your target market. So if you want to be clear on the right demographics, use this site.
SEMrush can be used to determine and understand the psychographics of your target market.
These resources will help you pin down your target market and, therefore, help you evolve the perfect go-to-market strategy for your start-up.
How do you want the market to view your offering vs. your competitor’s offering?
Your brand positioning as a startup is an essential aspect of the overall go-to-strategy of your business. According to Rahul, your positioning formula should explicitly state the target customer, statement of need/opportunity connected to the customer, product category, and the benefit that the customer will incur.
What is going to be your main competitor’s reaction to the launch of your product?
To figure out what your competitor’s response will be to the launch of your product, you must craft a competitor analysis that considers a multitude of factors such as their positioning, the sales strategy, and their response in the past.
Start off by identifying the main competition and then predict their response to an incredibly strategic move. This will help you evolve your strategy following the current market atmosphere.
How will you reach your target market and turn them into customers?
Here, considering the traditional marketing funnel is fundamental, your marketing starts from awareness on the customer’s part, moves onto interest, then consideration, then intent, then evaluation, and finally purchases by the customer.
The important thing here is to understand that the transition through each phase in the funnel will be gradual. You cannot do everything at once, so it wouldn’t be wise to try!
Other than this, Rahul suggests trying a blend of different elements in your strategy. Consider earned, paid, and owned media. Consider both soft launch (early testing, iterative, cost-effective) vs. hard launch (full release, more feature-rich, hard push for market adoption) to decide what would be the best for your strategy.
Rahul also recommends for startups to invest in content, mainly to drive SEO and inbound. If there are any concerning points of friction, you can use free tools to address them.
The Question and Answer Session
Rahul’s presentation was followed by a questions and answers session, where he answered any queries regarding starting a business. We have picked the top questions to help you evolve and improve your overall strategy.
What are the most important metrics when it comes to launching your startup?
Rahul believes it is the momentum. The momentum you can build with your brand is an indicator of how successful everything will be.
What are the top 5 social media strategies for startup businesses?
The top 5 social media strategies for any business, according to Rahul, are:
-Make sure to deliver value.
-Engage your customers
-Be brief and concise.
-Keep a tone that is human and empathetic.
Where is it best to spend money on your startup?
Rahil says that your target customers define this area. For example, if you’re targeting the younger generations, TikTok and Snapchat would be the right platforms.
Starting a business of your own may seem like an easy task, but it isn’t. In the digitally advanced world that we live in, it is becoming difficult with each passing day. But the silver lining presented by Raj is that if you know the right strategy to launch your startup, you can build it into a massive brand in no time!