Go-to-Market Strategy: A Digital Advertising Checklist

April 5, 2019

With a wide variety of digital platforms and channels available, organizing around the right go-to-market (GTM) strategy is challenging.

A deep understanding of context, audience targeting and the buyer’s journey is crucial for marketing campaigns to successfully align with larger business objectives. To add an extra layer of complexity, some marketers must optimize for ever-changing business goals, depending on the maturity of the business and the product or service being sold.

A detailed, forward-thinking GTM plan will help you transition from ideation to execution with a clear, actionable plan of attack. Here are the steps to transform your strategic ideas into a successful go-to-market strategy.

1. Evaluate the business, market and growth opportunities

While it may seem obvious, it’s imperative to understand and communicate larger business objectives in order to find meaningful ways to engage and expand the market. Once clear, quantifiable objectives are defined, analyzing the unique consumer decision journey of your target audience will reveal impactful digital touchpoints – allowing your business to drive significant engagement by leveraging these key interactions.

Chasing too many growth initiatives can be bad for business. According to the Harvard Business Review, “As an executive team’s priority list grows, the company’s revenue in fact declines relative to its peers.” Rather, focusing on a small set of promising initiatives can lead to above-average revenue growth.

Other considerations, including payment methods, current and projected market size and the competitive landscape must be taken into account to maximize potential growth opportunities.

2. Test the new buyer persona framework

Understanding who is engaging with your brand and purchasing your product/service is a prerequisite to crafting the right brand experience. First and third-party data can now be analyzed at a much more granular level, enabling us to consider factors like seasonality and location so marketers must clearly define buyer personas at the product-level (including demographics, interests, behaviors and preferences, such as social platform, device and browser of choice) in order to succeed.

For example, a B2C company may believe a 45-year old man, married with two children, living in New York and working at a tech company is their singular buyer persona, when in reality, data at the product-level reveals various job titles and ages tend to engage with different products and services. Utilizing insights from these new, aggregated data sources to test and optimize varied brand experiences can be a key factor in improving performance, rather than relying on traditional macro-buyer guesswork.

3. Define goals for all marketing channels

When an advertiser has a clear understanding of consumer behavior, defining specific marketing goals for online and offline channels becomes easier. Creating monthly and quarterly plans to achieve these goals can help marketers keep track of progress and engage new audiences that have a high lifetime value.

Allocating resources to create and test digital assets, updating and optimizing key areas of your website, and tracking on- and off-site behavior to map out your consumer journey are equally-important factors when defining quantifiable goals for each channel.

4. Integrate the right digital marketing tools

Based on the service offering, buyer personas, and business maturity, leveraging the right digital marketing tools – such as Google Ads, Bing Ads and social media – is just the start. Systems to manage email marketing, ongoing search engine optimization, programmatic buying and display retargeting should be incorporated into a holistic, cross-channel approach to effectively hit marketing goals and business objectives.

5. Plan and optimize your brand messaging

At this stage, marketers graduate to a more advanced strategy that involves determining the best brand experience for each product on each distribution channel (SEO, paid search, email, content marketing, social media, etc.). This is the stage where previous steps finally begin to pay off, and good marketers can make a massive impact on growth. Analyzing clean data that is aligned to top-level business goals can make even the most minor changes to user experience extremely impactful to your bottom line.

If organized and executed properly, the initiatives outlined in this post will help transform the ideas and analysis of your marketing team into a successful go-to-market plan. However, with so many important external factors, it’s easy for a simple plan to become a source of confusion and – ultimately – exhaustion for many marketers. One last word of advice: Don’t hastily rush through this checklist – tackle a few key initiatives at a time to ensure market success.


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