In this month’s main article, This Little Vodka Went to Market, Wendy got to expound on one of her favorite roles as a marketing advisor: developing GoToMarket strategies. While this may sound complex at first glance, these plans for launching new products or services into a market can be straightforward when you have a solid gameplan. With that in mind, I’d like to draw some parallels to the game of baseball to help illustrate the following five essential elements for creating a successful GoToMarket plan:

  1. Get to Know the Client’s Goals & Business Plans – In baseball, the overall goal is pretty clear: make it to the World Series in October. Now of course that is much easier to say than to do. The same can be said for the overall goal in business, which is to make more money with a new product or service. In short, both entities need to establish how they are going to accomplish their main goal. For baseball, the coaching staff is going to start by analyzing their players’ individual strengths and weakness and strategically select new players for the roster that complement the team’s collective strengths and fill in the team’s collective weaknesses. For business, key stakeholders need to analyze the internal strengths and weaknesses of their business in addition to their new product or service and strategically articulate how these affect their business plans or road map, as Wendy put it.
  2. Conduct Competitive Landscape Research – Baseball is a game of constant evaluation, just as business should be. Prior to game play, pitchers are studying the hitting style of their opponents – Who has trouble with the curve? Who tends to have a slow bat? Who has a high batting average? On the other side, the batters are studying the pitching style from the dugout – Does he throw to one side of the plate more than the other? Does he pitch differently with runners on base compared to nobody on base? The answers to these questions are intended to give players on each side a strategy and, hopefully, a competitive advantage. Business owners also need to analyze the opponents in their industry. The aim of this essential element is to discover what part of the market is not being covered yet, or as Wendy mentioned, “How can I be different?” This is done by discovering how the competition is positioning themselves with such things as benefit statements, unique selling propositions and key messaging.
  3. Analyze Relevant Consumer or Business Trends – After looking externally at the competition, baseball organizations and businesses alike need to assess their target audiences because if there are not people in the seats or leads rolling in, no one is going to reach their overall goal. For baseball organizations, having a good team is a good start but they really need to make the whole concept of baseball an experience for the fans, from the food and promotions to the music and mascots. For business, having a good product or service is a good start but they really need to make their whole consumer experience engaging and seamless, from the first interaction with their brand to the final sale to the sale follow up. In both of these examples, if key stakeholders want to excel on their platform, they will need to research their target audiences and know what they are thinking, how they are acting and what they are wanting in order to keep people coming back for more.
  4. Differentiate the Client’s Product or Services from Competitors – This element in a GoToMarket strategy is where the rubber really meets the road, or should I say where the bat meets the baseball. This is where the three elements listed above come together to direct where your new product or service fits within the landscape of your industry. For baseball, many times this comes down to the individual player or team stories. What player is having an unexpected stellar season? Which team is in the middle of a Cinderella story? What team has overcome adversity the past few years? For business, this usually comes down to the unique selling point of your new product or service. Maybe it’s more economical than the competition’s. Maybe it’s more versatile or has more features. Or maybe there’s really nothing else like it on the market. In both regards, it’s all about cultivating investment with the audience which translates to longevity in your market.
  5. Develop the Marketing Plan – As you work through each of the above elements, the path for the GoToMarket plan should become clearer and clearer, just as Wendy mentioned, because you’re able to stack each piece on the ones before it to discover how your product or service can fill a need or solve a problem in your industry. Just as a baseball team doesn’t want to leave any players on base, a business doesn’t want to leave any leads on the table and a thoughtful, well-researched GoToMarket strategy will help you go the distance.

If you’re team needs assistance launching a new product or service, please give us a call at 701-478-1111 and ask to speak with a Marketing Advisor, or contact us at