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GTM & Closing the Marketing Proof Gap

The term GTM, or Go to Market, is a relatively new term in the world of marketing. It first appeared in the early 1990s, as companies began to focus more on bringing new products and services to market successfully.
Aron Kressner

More on bringing new offerings to market successfully below. Since the early 90s GTM has become an essential part of the marketing process, and it is now used by companies of all sizes to ensure that their products and services are reaching the right people in the right way.

There are many reasons why GTM has become so important in recent years. First, the marketplace has become increasingly complex and competitive. This makes it more difficult for companies to simply launch a new offering and expect it to take hold organically. Second, the rise of digital marketing has given companies more ways to reach their target customers, creating “the messy middle” where – for all our technology – customers are still difficult to track. Of course, this also means there is more noise in the marketplace, it can be difficult for companies to break through and get their message heard.

A well-developed GTM strategy can help companies overcome these challenges and bring new products and services to market successfully. A GTM strategy typically includes the following elements:

  • Clear understanding of the target customer
  • Compelling value proposition
  • Strong brand identity
  • Well-defined distribution strategy

By developing a GTM strategy that addresses all of these elements, companies can increase their chances of success in the marketplace, and improve their ability to generate reliable data around what’s working and what is not.

A brief history of Go-to-Market strategy.

In 1994, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company published a report titled “The Go-to-Market Imperative.” The report argued that companies need to develop a more strategic approach to bringing new products and services to market. This is the first time most of us in the marketing world would have seen the term.

In 1996, the marketing software company Salesforce launched its first product, Sales Cloud. The company’s go-to-market strategy focused on selling the product to small and medium-sized businesses through direct sales and online marketing.

In 2000, the marketing automation company Marketo launched its first product, Lead Nurturing. The company’s go-to-market strategy focused on selling the product to marketing professionals through online marketing and content marketing.

In 2007, the marketing cloud company HubSpot launched its first product, HubSpot Marketing. The company’s go-to-market strategy focused on selling the product to small and medium-sized businesses through inbound marketing.

These are just a few early examples of how the term GTM took hold, starting with three of the B2B SaaS business that still rule the roost. In this recent Worky article we go into detail about hiring GTM talent. In that spirit, here are more recent campaigns from top enterprise tech companies:

  • Slack launched its “Future of Work” campaign to promote its communication and collaboration platform to businesses of all sizes. The campaign focused on the benefits of remote work and how Slack could help businesses stay connected and productive in a new digital landscape. The campaign was a success, helping Slack to increase its user base by 40% in 2020.
  • Zoom launched its “The World Video Calls on Zoom” campaign in 2020 as the world transitioned to remote work and learning. The campaign focused on the power of video communication to connect people during a time of social distancing. The campaign was a success, helping Zoom to become the go-to video conferencing platform for businesses and individuals alike.
  • Google Cloud launched its “Run on What Matters” campaign to promote its cloud computing platform to businesses of all sizes. The campaign focused on the benefits of their open, secure, and reliable platform. The campaign was a success, helping Google Cloud to become a leading cloud computing provider.
  • Microsoft launched its “Hybrid Work: The New Way to Work” campaign to promote its hybrid work solutions to businesses of all sizes. The campaign focused on the benefits of a hybrid work model, where employees can work remotely or from the office, depending on their needs. The campaign was a success, helping Microsoft to sell more subscriptions to its hybrid work solutions.
  • Stripe’s “Grow Your Business” campaign focuses on how Stripe is helping businesses to accept payments online. It features a series of ads that show how Stripe can help businesses to process payments quickly and securely.
  • Canva’s “Create Anything” focuses on how their product is a powerful tool that anyone can use to create beautiful designs, it features a series of ads that show how Canva can be used to create a variety of designs, from social media graphics to presentations.
  • Notion’s “All-in-One Workspace” campaign focuses on how their platform can be used for a variety of purposes, from taking notes to managing projects. It features a series of ads that show how Notion can help businesses and individuals to be more organized and productive.

What these campaigns have in common is that they are all well-executed and focused on a specific target audience. They also all leverage a variety of marketing channels, such as social media, display advertising, and PR with clear goals, a clearly defined value proposition, and compelling messaging.

Closing the Marketing Proof Gap

For certain businesses, there will forever be those always-on campaigns, whether the company is looking to grow their user base consistently over time, or that company simply needs to stay top of mind in order to drive sales. But many businesses have grown tired trying to clean up the messy middle – that still undefined area of user acquisition where an individual sees a billboard in real life, then does a search on their phone, then gets a new phone, searches the brand on their laptop browser, gets served retargeting ads, and then buys the product via their Amazon app. For all the software and unique identifiers in the world, we’re just not going to track all that as reliably as we’d like. This is the marketing proof gap.

If for no other reason, this is why so many companies have grown to love GTM, campaigns that push clear messaging and drive directly toward sales and adoption. When we’re launching something new, like a hybrid suite of software tools, we know pretty clearly what campaigns should be weighed against that new revenue.

The marketing proof gap can have a number of negative consequences for companies, including:

  • Reduced marketing budgets. If marketers cannot demonstrate the ROI of their work, it is likely their budgets will be reduced or reassigned.
  • Reduced credibility with the C-suite. If marketers cannot demonstrate the value of their work, it is likely they will lose credibility, making it even more difficult for marketers to get the resources they need to be successful.
  • Difficulty attracting and retaining top talent. Top marketers want to work for companies where they can see the impact of their work. If a company has this issue, it will be difficult to attract and retain top talent.

Here are some specific ways that GTM strategies can be used to close the marketing proof gap:

  • GTM strategies should be focused on generating leads and sales, two metrics that are easy to measure and track, especially in an account based marketing system. This can be as simple as aligning sales and marketing teams, and many organizations will actually spin up a RevOps team for this purpose.
  • Marketing automation can help track and measure the customer journey, attributing 80% or more of that journey will go along way with managing up, even into the executive suite.
  • Use data and analytics to optimize GTM and other marketing campaigns. The data used to track campaigns can often be used to optimize and improve the customer experience.

By using GTM strategies to generate leads and sales, track and measure the success of new products and services, and align with the sales team, marketers can close the marketing proof gap and demonstrate the value of their work to the C-suite as well as to the rest of the company. Attribution is also going to pay big dividends with regard to planning, bringing the CMO, CFO and COO into better alignment, more accurate forecasting means the whole organization can be run more efficiently.

Marketing Proof Gap
Marketing ROI
Product Launch