In this post, we discuss go-to-market strategy and the significance of a solid plan, including "micro GTMs” for new product launches.
What we mean when we talk about go-to-market (GTM)
What do we mean when we talk about go-to-market strategy and building a GTM plan? There’s a lot of different ways “GTM” is used in the wild, from describing company-level distribution motions, to sales strategies, launch plans, and more. This guide specifically covers launching and the process of bringing a new thing to market, or a “micro GTM” (we’ll talk more about this shortly).
A GTM strategy is more than just the way you announce something; done correctly, you’re building a repeatable process with your team that can be scaled up or down depending on the launch. Done incorrectly, you’re risking a lot of wasted resources– time and money– at best, and suffering abject failure to launch, at worst.
Setting your team up for success means putting together a strategy that’s comprehensive but also achievable. A strategy that can be used to build the right plan for each new feature release, product launch, or even something really big like entering a new geographic market or launching an entirely new brand.
This ultimate guide is here to help you through all of the work involved and give you the good bones you need to work your way to smarter and faster future launches. Feel free to skip ahead to the sections you need if you’re already familiar with the basics, or use it to reboot your team’s entire process from scratch.
3, 2, 1...let’s go 🚀
What kind of GTM plan do you need?
First things first: there’s macro, or company-level, GTM and micro-level GTM. A macro GTM plan covers the overall brand and company growth strategy; it’s an ever-evolving, continuous process. A micro GTM plan covers a launch for a specific new “thing” (such as specific product or feature releases).
Both will have the same important components to define, including:
- Goals: what do you hope to achieve?
- Audience: who are you hoping to reach in order to achieve that goal?
- Positioning and messaging: what will you say and how will you say it in order to reach that audience and achieve that goal?
- Distribution channels: where are you going to put that message out to reach that audience and achieve that goal?
- Model or plan: how you’re going to actually do it, better known as all the nitty gritty details for each of the above
These components will be approached slightly differently and with different levels of depth, especially when it comes to resources. For example, if your brand is trying to create a new category and launch a new message to get a target market to think of you in a whole new way, that’s going to require months of intense planning (if not more). If your team is releasing a small feature update to an existing product, that’s obviously going to require much less time and energy.
We will note that small releases don’t mean you should skip out on planning entirely, or avoid infusing some creativity into it in pursuit of ruthless speed. Take enough time to make sure your message is relevant, and get some creative copy into the release notes for a little customer surprise and delight, for example.
Now that we’ve covered the differences between GTM plan levels, let’s break down each component a little bit more.
GTM plan components
While it might seem obvious, having a well-defined goal for your launch of any size is key to success. It’s especially important to make sure everyone involved with a launch knows about and agrees on what the goal actually is, before you even decide how you’re going to achieve it.
Everyone should be able to answer the question: why are we launching this AND what do we hope to achieve?
If the marketing team has a slightly different goal in mind for a launch than the product team does, you can see where you might start to run into problems before you’ve even gotten started. That’s easy to avoid with small feature updates but can be a huge problem with big, brand-level launches.
Once you’ve defined the goal, be sure to communicate it across teams involved with the launch and make it easy to find with all of the rest of your launch documentation for ongoing reference and reinforcement. That makes it easier to keep launch plans from getting derailed. If someone comes up with something that doesn’t fit the plan, simply point to the goal and say “While that sounds great, what you’re suggesting doesn’t align with our agreed goal. Should we table it for now?”
Your team most likely has some marketing personas and ideal customer profiles tucked away somewhere. They might be the ideal audience to target to achieve your goal with this particular launch– or they might not. If those profiles are outdated or if the updated versions haven’t been shared out to the right teams, your launch isn’t going to reach the people it needs to.
Fixing this will come with the pre-launch work you need to do, which we’ll discuss in an upcoming section of this guide.
Here’s where teams need to work very closely together to make sure they’re on the same page in communicating the launch to the chosen audience. Once you know what you’re trying to achieve and who you need to talk to in order to achieve it, you need to figure out what to say to those people to get them to take action.
Your positioning is what you’ll use to frame why your new thing is better or different from the customer’s existing frame of reference for your new thing. Your messaging will be the key talking points you need to get across to communicate and reinforce that positioning.
Executing on this will involve teams working together to produce consistent messaging in all of the assets necessary for the launch. You don’t want blog posts and emails to have messaging that’s different from paid ads or help documentation. That’s a recipe for confusing customers, your customer-facing teams, and potentially increasing churn rates.
Once you know what you need to say to the right people to achieve the goal of your launch, you need to decide where the place or places are to reach them with that message. That includes:
- Paid channels: this is, as the name implies, anything you pay to get eyeballs in front of from digital marketing ads, to paid social ads, sponsored newsletters, maybe even podcast ads or skywriters
- Earned: “other peoples channels” such as media coverage of your launch or partners; basically anyone who will help promote your launch in exchange for something non-monetary
- Owned: these are the channels your brand “owns”, like your blog, organic social channels, a podcast or newsletter, and your website
Here’s where you define all of the nitty gritty details of how to put everything above into action. This is also how you start to put together a repeatable plan that will save your team time and other resources on the next launch– but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’ll cover how to do that at the end of this guide.
Your plan should include defining:
- How will buyers buy the product? Consider pricing, packaging, and buying models; will you price to undercut competition or at a premium? Will your new product/feature be bundled with anything else? Will your customers need to talk to sales or will any upgrades be self-serve?
- How will you phase your rollout? That could be a soft or hard launch– or phases that include both– like a beta testing phase with existing customers before a full, public launch
- What actions do you need to take, to support these efforts? What assets will you need to create, what specific tasks need to get done and by when, who will be in charge of which pieces of the plan, and how will you keep the team informed?
Importance of a well-defined strategy
We touched on this a little bit in the beginning of this guide, but it bears repeating: a well-defined GTM strategy can make or break your launch.
A good GTM strategy increases revenue by attracting new customers, expanding how much current customers commit to spending, and helps with customer retention. It can help boost your public profile or perception, moving you ahead of the competition and demonstrating how your company is poised to move forward in the market. That’s very attractive to potential investors, if you’re looking for them!
Good GTM also helps you build a repeatable, scalable process. That will help your teams unlock channel efficiency and build shared, internal knowledge they can iterate on– ultimately leading to faster time-to-market and happier customers. Critically, a good GTM strategy will also boost internal morale and make teams excited to come together to work on the next thing.
On the other side of the spectrum, a bad GTM strategy can lead to poor adoption by customers, and underperforming new customer acquisition from ineffective messaging. That ineffective messaging can also lead to an inconsistent brand narrative that results in confused customers and customer-facing teams.
If you’re reading this guide, chances are you’ve been part of an ineffective or inefficient launch at some point in your career– or you’re wisely trying to avoid that situation. “Spray and pray” customer acquisition is a recipe for churn. Chaotic launches either result from or increase poor team alignment, leading to greater internal frustration.
At best a bad GTM strategy leads to your team launching an unwanted product into an oversaturated market, having wasted resources to get there. At worst, you’re creating a recipe for increased employee turnover and customer churn.
Let us help you avoid that. Here's our guide for getting it right, including a framework with steps.
What is the GTM process?
How to build out a framework, with steps
Before anything else, you need to invest in upfront research. That includes sizing your target market, understanding competitors, identifying a target audience, and researching what those customers care about to build an ideal customer profile. If your organization has already done this work, make sure it’s not outdated. The best launch plan in the world will fall flat if it’s aimed at the wrong audience!
Once you’ve done your homework, you can build a roadmap based on the competitive intelligence and customer research you’ve accumulated. With a roadmap in place, you can finally decide how you’re going to get it to market with a specific launch plan.
But let’s back up a minute and start with research. What do you need to know?
The research your team needs to invest in
There are different types of research you can do in order to inform your GTM strategy and different applications for each of them. Qualitative research is best for a “generative” approach, when you have open-ended questions you want to answer in order to develop a hypothesis. Quantitative research is best for working to validate your existing hypothesis by identifying specific answers to specific questions.
Monitoring is closely related; you need to keep an eye on competitors in order to keep your competitive intelligence up to date, ideally automatically.
You’ll need to conduct research throughout the launch process. Upfront research is essential to be sure you’re headed down the right path. Once your plans are solidifying, it’s important to confirm you’re still on the right path– or have the information you need to pivot as efficiently as possible. Post-launch, it’s important to validate the work you’ve done.
Set your team up for success when it comes time to figure out your market positioning by investing in a strong foundation of competitive research (see step 4 for more on that). You need to know who your competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses, and how you can differentiate yourself.
If possible, find a tool to automate as much of this as you can so you can spend more time analyzing and less time gathering data.
Use qualitative research (like customer interviews) to discover who the potential customer segments are that you can target. Not just your entire target market, but the specific segments you will be targeting that will be the most interested in what you have to offer.
Once you’ve identified the segments you’re going to target, determine what the people in those segments care about the most and what their decision-making process is like for choosing products that make their lives easier.
This will be a combination of qualitative and quantitative research and we dive deeper into the how-to in step 3.
Where does your persona like to spend time? That’s where you’ll most effectively target them. Quantitative research will get you there. (Learn more in step 5.)
Once you know where to talk to your ideal buyer persona you’ll need to figure out how to talk to them. Which messages resonate with them? Which messages motivate them to buy? You can pull from a lot of different sources with quantitative data (A/B testing, heatmap tracking, etc) throughout the launch process to see what’s working and what’s not.
(More on this in step 4, too.)
Pricing and packaging
In order to most effectively package your features, you need to know how customers prioritize the features you offer. What’s the most important thing for them to have and what can they live without? How much are they willing to pay for it?
Analyze quantitative buying data to find the acceptable price range your customers are willing to buy in, in order to maximize your revenue. (More on this in step 7.)
Finally, remember that all of this research is most valuable when it’s regularly considered and updated. That will give you the best, most informed GTM strategy possible!
The Golden Rule: Your Product Has To Be Good
If you skipped the last page, go back and read that again. Before you build any kind of GTM plan, you need to be sure you have a solid product in place that’s ready to be launched. That’s true regardless of if it’s your first product to market or the tenth. The best strategy in the world behind the cleverest campaign can’t save a bad product.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s start building out a GTM strategy framework.
Detailed plans: 12 steps to GTM success
These are the steps that will take you to a repeatable process your team can continuously iterate on– and build into faster release cycles.
Step 1: Figure out how much GTM activity you need
This will depend on the size of the launch you’re planning. For the purposes of this guide, we’re breaking it down into three categories plus the value each provides to both the business and the customers.
You can use the chart below as a scoring system to determine what level your launch is, if you aren’t sure. To use it, give X points for each of the things that are true, then move up the X/Y axis proportionately.
For example, if you’re looking at the Value to Business axis, the +3 points amounts to "customer+ = this launch will help acquire net-new customers" and "price/packaging change". (See the table below for more.)
Tier 1 launches
These are the biggest launches, like new product launches or a full rebranding. They require extensive timelines, huge coordination across the entire organization, and a vast amount of resources to pull them off.
The distribution strategy for Tier 1 launches is typically a complex, multi-channel effort making full use of every channel available to the company across paid, earned, and owned.
Tier 2 launches
These are mid-sized launches, like a new minor product or major feature release that’s not only going to be hugely beneficial to your existing customers, but also attract new ones. They resemble Tier 1 launches in terms of the thought and planning needed, but typically happen on shorter timelines than T1 launches. While they still need significant cross-team collaboration, it’s not quite as all-encompassing for the organization and may be contained to a specific “pod” of teams.
In terms of channel distribution, these launches largely focus on your owned channels and might include some more selective paid and earned support where relevant.
Tier 3 launches
The smallest launches, these are things like bug fixes or feature updates that will be important to your existing customers, but not at a level exciting enough to interrupt their day with a lot of flashy announcements about it. The goal with Tier 3 launches is to spend minimal effort (so you can stay focused on more impactful T1/T2 efforts), while still getting them on relevant customers’ radar – so they’re typically run with a very small amount of planning and coordination (typically just PMM and PM).
Tier 3 announcements will utilize exclusively owned channels, and typically will get bundled together along with multiple other Tier 3 announcements via a newsletter email, or published to a release notes page.
Step 2: Set the right objectives
Once you know how much activity you’re going to need based on the size of your launch, it’s time to set corresponding objectives. Different objectives should lead to different plans, but all of them need to be the right objectives: make them measurable, time-bound, and achievable.
We suggest following a three-part structure to set the right objectives:
- Define your business objective: this is the tangible business impact you want to drive, such as "grow revenue to X by Y date"
- Define your marketing objective: this is the way you’re going to drive that impact, like "invent the X category and grow it to $x by Y date"
- Define your communication objective: this is who you need to convince in order to achieve your goal or, in other words, “get X persona to take Y action by convincing them of Z thing”
Different marketing objectives should lead to different plans. For example, with your marketing objectives, your approach will look different depending on what your goals are:
- If you want to create or grow your category, then emphasize PR, content, and brand-building
- If you want to penetrate an existing market/category, then emphasize performance marketing and sales
- If you want to switch customers from a competitor, then emphasize pricing/offers, and account-based marketing (ABM)
- If you want to drive adoption among existing customers, then emphasize your owned channels
Each of these is a marketing objective meant to drive that tangible business objective. The next step will be creating the plan for your communication objective, or who you’re going to convince.
How to use OKRs to set effective goals
For all of these, you want to set effective launch-plan OKRs (or however you define your goals at your organization) and measure against them. The goal is to break bigger objectives into more bite-sized measurable items with everything ideally rolling up to your company-level OKRs.
How does this look in practice? If you have a big T1 launch, your objectives might be the big company OKRs for the year with related OKRs cascading down to teams and even individuals. For something like a small T3 launch, you might establish smaller goals that roll up to bigger team or departmental OKRs. Again, this will all depend on the size of your organization, your team, and your goals.
If you’re using Ignition, your OKRs might look something like this:
We recommend that the key results you outline follow the SMART framework– be sure they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. You also want to be sure your launch-plan OKRs support the macro-level business/marketing/communication objectives you and your team just worked to set in the previous section.
Step 3: Research and define your ideal buyer persona
In conducting market research, you need to define your target market (the broader group of people you think will be interested in your brand or specific product) and within that, your target audience (the more specific group you’re focusing on for a launch campaign). Neither should be so broad that it’s difficult to create messaging specific to them; if you’re targeting “all existing knowledge workers” for example, that’s too broad. Get very specific, such as “PMs at 200-500 person companies in the SaaS industry who are using Jira”.
Decide who your ideal customer is and build out a profile around it. If they’re a company, what size are they? What industry are they in? Once you have that in place, determine the buyer persona you’ll be dealing with for those ICPs– or who is actually making the buying decision within that customer target. Messaging will be different, depending on if it’s the CFO or CMO making the final call on a sale.
Create an ideal buyer persona that’s targetable and gives insightful, actionable information to the teams who need it. That’s anyone crafting copy for customer-facing messaging and positioning and for customer-facing teams who will be directly interacting with these potential customers.
Your personas should paint a vivid, specific, and actionable picture of who this buyer is. Part of this process will involve identifying customer needs and the pain points they’re facing. What problems are they trying to solve that your product can help with? What’s their experience with competitors like? How do they find and evaluate products like yours?
Some of these same questions will roll over into analyzing the competitive landscape: how are your biggest competitors solving or trying to solve your target market’s pain points and fill their needs? What are they good at or bad at? Are there things they do that could be traps to talk about in your messaging, because your company is worse at them? What should you highlight to win against them?
All of this research is important to your organization as a whole, but it’s especially important to have in place to decide how to build out your GTM strategy. Depending on what kind of launch campaign you’re planning, you’ll spend more time reviewing the research you have for your existing customers (a simple feature update) or for a new target market (aiming to expand your business).
Step 4: Define your positioning, messaging, and copy
This is where product and marketing teams shine best in collaborating on how to translate what the product is to the people who want to hear about it. If you’re in an organization with product marketers, it’s their time to shine in bringing both of their specialties together.
The positioning for your product is the frame-of-reference for it, or how you want the market to think about it relative to your competitors and your customers’ existing solutions (maybe they don’t use one of your competitors, but they’re using clunky spreadsheets).
The messaging is how you’re going to achieve the positioning via your narrative. What are the key talking points you need to highlight to convey the differentiation in your positioning?
The words you use are the copy that will convey that message.
In generating all of this, you want to keep your value proposition in mind. Constantly consider how you’re differentiating your brand and your product from your competitors by communicating your unique selling points and aligning what you have to offer with customer needs. How will you make their lives easier?
Don’t forget about existing customers either; they’re a great place to test copy and get feedback on messaging before you use it on a wider audience. You can run things by members of your customer community, incorporate messaging questions in customer interviews, or ask for feedback via simpler email surveys.
We love April Dunford’s positioning process as an example of how to think about positioning your product; this is not the same as messaging. (Your messaging framework will be built out of your positioning and we’ll talk about that next in this section.)
The components of positioning break down into:
- Competitive Alternatives
- Differentiated "Features" or "Capabilities"
- Value for customers
- Target Customer Segmentation
- Market Category
An important note from Dunford: each of these components depends on the next one and you absolutely need to start with competitive alternatives in order to differentiate your product.
Defining your competitive alternatives is not simply listing out every conceivable competitor you might have, but instead asking the question: what would your customers do if you didn’t exist? What is the current status quo? Would they use a competitor or would they simply hire an intern to use a spreadsheet?
Once you have that figured out you can clarify what you have to offer that the alternatives do not– those are your key unique attributes or differentiated “features” or “capabilities”. This is what you alone can deliver, or what makes you absolutely unique.
From there you can answer the “so what” about what makes you unique, from the customer’s point of view. What value does your product give them? How are you going to make their lives easier? This can be focused on a single feature or a bundle.
Next is deciding who really cares about what it is that you’re offering. Some people will care a little bit but you’re focusing on who cares the most to get the most return on your investment. This is your target customer segmentation and it’s where your early research will really pay off, especially if you’re a startup or other small team with fewer resources!
Market category can be the hardest step– how do you make it incredibly obvious that what unique thing you have to offer is something your top prospects can’t live without? Don’t think you have to stay in the market you originally thought of when you had your product idea or even first launched your product. Think about which other markets you could fit into or even sub-segments of specific markets where your unique value proposition would truly shine.
Implementing a positioning shift is obviously a huge undertaking for any organization and will affect not only the perception of and expectations for your brand, but also internal plans around roadmaps and what’s expected of each team. It’s better to do that work to put your brand in the right position than it is to stick it out where you already are for the sake of history, however. Once you have it, be sure you test how your positioning is resonating with customers, prospects and your entire target market and make adjustments where needed.
Whether or not this positioning exercise leaves you with a shift in market position, you’ll still need to build out your messaging framework– as we mentioned earlier, positioning and messaging are not the same thing but messaging is built on positioning.
One way (also April Dunford approved) is to build out a messaging document that takes your positioning and expands on it, creating approved messaging for each buyer persona. This can be used to create further standardized messaging for teams to draw on as needed– the single source of messaging truth that keeps everyone aligned as your strategy progresses.
Step 5: Figure out your channel mix
We broke down the channels you’ll put your messaging out on earlier: paid, earned and owned. Mix and match these as needed, depending on the tier of the launch, the launch objectives you’ve decided based on that tier and the resources you have available.
Obviously if you don’t have a huge budget, you’ll be funneling less into paid channels in favor of earned and owned.
It doesn’t stop with those channels, though! Consider if your approach is meant to raise awareness of your brand (inform and educate the market) or generate a direct response (convert the target audience into a customer). And also consider if you’ll be focusing on inbound or outbound tactics, either capturing existing demand or generating new demand. You might have both, with marketing and sales working to capture attention together.
Step 6: Figure out your asset plan
This is a good time in your strategy to develop an asset plan. Deciding which channels you’ll focus on and which approaches you’ll take on them will give you the information you need to coordinate with design and marketing on what forms your messaging will take. (Not to mention a realistic timeline for creating them prior to the launch date.)
You’ll have a mix of core assets, promotional assets and more as part of your launch; ideally these will all be accessible to the full team in your central source of truth. What you scope out will of course depend on the size of your launch and your available resources, like the size of your design team or budget for outsourcing.
- Product Screenshot Library
- Key Art
- Packaging (In-Product Experience)
- Product Video
- Customer Email
- Content Marketing
- Announcement blog post
- Social content, including visuals (images, videos)
- Testimonials (web, blog, video)
- Press Kit (screens, videos, etc.)
- Press Release
- Press Factsheet / FAQ's (internal and external)
- Display Ad Designs
- Outbound Emails
- Content Marketing Content
- Updates to Existing Collateral (ROI calc, etc.)
- Website Copy and Designs
- Landing Page Copy and Designs
- Updates to Other Pages (pricing, customers, partners, etc.)
- Update to App Store page
- Build / HTML
Your team should build out specific asset plans and accompanying checklists for any specialty channels you’re planning to include in your launch, too. That could be video specifically for TikTok or YouTube, audio and other assets for a podcast, or physical collateral for an in-person event your team will present for around the time of your launch.
Step 7: Figure out your pricing/packaging model
This step can be your most powerful growth lever, so don’t underestimate its importance! Be thoughtful in how you determine your pricing structure and how you’ll sell your product. If you go for a product-lead approach, how does your product sell itself? Will you make it self-serve freemium? Offer a free trial? Or will this be a sales-led approach, where your sales team uses their expertise to convince buyers that your product will make their lives easier.
With any model, you’ll need to determine how you’re bundling your features and what your value metric– or the way you measure the value of your product– is. Start by analyzing your existing customers and grouping them into segments that make sense for your brand (note: this can be more of an art than a science). Figure out which of these segments you want to focus on while building out your feature bundles.
Bundling research helps you identify what features customers care about enough to get them to buy your product and what the ideal price to charge for it is. Lean on existing customers to determine what they value most about your product. You can send out open-ended surveys or conduct customer interviews to get this data, then use it to identify common themes in the responses. Drop those themes into a MaxDiff survey then calculate the results by segment. This should give you the best idea of how to bundle together features and which value metrics you should use to determine price.
We also recommend conducting price sensitivity research to understand what percentage of customers are willing to pay at various price points and, therefore, what you should actually charge. Using the bundles you’ve just created, drop them into a Van Westendorp survey and send it out to the relevant segments of customers you previously identified.
Once you calculate the results for each bundle, you should be able to determine the appropriate price range and pick a price point from within that range. The price point you choose will depend on your goals; choose a higher one if you’re aiming for your brand to be perceived as premium and lower if you’re just trying to achieve market penetration.
Additionally, you can use Gabor-Granger surveys if you want to collect price elasticity data. That should help you understand how market sizing will shift as prices increase.
Finally: do a gut check. Compare the customer-preferred pricing to both COGS and competitive pricing and bundling. Does the price point you’ve chosen make sense economically for your organization? Does it make sense competitively? If it’s wildly different from your competitors– in either direction– be sure your messaging and positioning reflects the value of why.
Basically: does the story you’re telling with pricing match the story you’re telling about your product and your brand? They should reinforce each other, never undermining each other.
Step 8: Figure out your rollout plan
Now it’s time to build the actual plan that will get you through to launch day! Decide first how you’re going to roll out this new product or feature. Will it be one big splashy public launch? Will it be done in stages?
Depending on what you’re launching and the story you want to tell around it about either the product, your brand, or both, it might make sense to roll it out in stages. Start with an alpha release that’s private and internal; get your team to drink their own champagne and tell you about it. The feedback you get from this can be used to tweak your approach before a beta launch.
Beta launches are soft launches to a controlled user-group. They may or may not be secret and may be a period during which you start pre-launch marketing the upcoming general-availability launch. Either way, your beta should be focused on collecting live feedback from a subset of “friendly” existing or prospective customers. Feedback from a beta is crucial and can be collected via surveys or in a beta community meant to foster connection between key brand supporters and your brand itself. Don’t forget to use this as an opportunity to collect case studies so you have real-life customer stories to highlight when you launch publicly!
A public rollout means you’re finally out in the world, open to all users. You’ll want a big campaign to announce this and you’ll want to be sure your team is monitoring ongoing reactions and activity around it.
Step 9: Execute!
Here’s how to put this big, beautiful plan you’ve built into action. Keep in mind things will start rolling long before actual launch day, even with smaller releases.
Don’t overlook the importance of communicating to your internal audiences, either. Sales, support, marketing and any agencies you’re working with will all need to know about your launch plan in order to get the message out to your intended audience. Failure to inform them can be THE thing that torpedoes your launch. Internal audiences can also be your biggest marketing channel, serving as brand ambassadors who are enthusiastic cheerleaders of the brand, sharing out relevant announcements to their own networks and audiences.
In order to share everything your internal audience will need to be successful, put together a central source of truth around the launch. This ensures everyone knows where the most accurate, up-to-date information and research context is. It’s a way to refer back to overarching goals and be sure teams are aligned and staying on track throughout the entire process.
The key is to start building out asset and documentation libraries with good hygiene from day one; this will also make it easier to make the entire process repeatable for future launches (more on this in step 12).
When communicating, try to “pulse” information outwards to these audiences on a regular basis as well. Share regular briefings on what’s going on with the launch and how strategy has shifted, and make sure you’re shouting loudly as a reminder as the launch approaches.
Our final piece of advice for smooth execution? Follow the pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule. Don’t spend lots of energy on smaller, T3 launches. Batch them together and use release notes to communicate with your audience when that will suffice, vs. spending time on a whole marketing campaign around a tiny feature update. Save that energy to expend it on T1 launches, putting extra thought and resources into creating durable assets the team can draw on for years.
Step 10: Tips for execution and operationalizing (including a task list)
Not sure what your full launch plan and documentation should look like? Create one that matches up with your project plan, noting what assets will be necessary for each piece.
Here’s an example:
This is just one example to get you started; figure out the format that makes the most sense for your team and is easily duplicated and updated for future launches.
While it’s tempting to think you don’t need a specific task list if you already have extensive research and documentation organized into a central source of truth, it’s a key way to stay ahead of lead times for specific tasks and account for any dependencies you expect as the launch progresses.
For example, does design have what they need to produce all of the required assets prior to launch? Will legal have enough time to review messaging from marketing to be sure it can be used? A checklist keeps you on track for the major milestones and the small-but-vital details alike.
Be sure to take time to celebrate and give yourself and your team a gold star when you check off that final item and it’s all done.
Step 11: Post-mortem
It’s tempting to skip this step– we’re all busy and usually need to immediately jump into the next big project on our to-do list. But this step is vital to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the GTM strategy you’ve created and now tested, so you can improve it for the next launch.
Sit down with key stakeholders to discuss both what went well that you’ll definitely want to repeat for next time, and what did not go as well. Was it something out of the team’s control– earned media got pushed because of an unexpected news event, perhaps– or was it something the team can prepare for and execute better on next time?
In the case of T1 or T2 launch, it’s wise to take those findings and sit down with the entire team that was involved to get their feedback. You may catch bottlenecks in the process the key stakeholders weren’t aware of, or potential bottlenecks the team just narrowly managed to avoid this time.
Taking the time to do this step thoroughly is key to making your GTM strategy repeatable.
Step 12: How do you make this repeatable for your team?
There’s no reason to completely reinvent your GTM plan for every single launch; build a repeatable launch process instead!
We’ve laid out all of the tools you need in this guide to put together a strategy and an actionable plan for your next launch. That gives you the good bones you need to have a repeatable process with your team so you can all focus more on the work that matters most to your organization.
Want to make it even easier? Automate as much of the communications and process work as possible (Ignition can help with that!) to save your team crucial time and energy. Find a tool that plays well with the rest of your existing tech stack for maximum return.
Also be sure that you include ongoing customer feedback as part of your process. Customers may voluntarily share if they’re exceptionally happy or disappointed with a new product or feature, but be sure you’re also proactively reaching out to see how they feel and where you need to adjust accordingly.
We know this was a lot, but taking the time to really put together a thorough GTM strategy and plan you can turn into a repeatable process is one of the best investments you can make with and for your team.
And if you think Ignition can help you do that, click HERE to give us a try for FREE!