In today’s competitive business landscape, a well-executed go-to-market (GTM) strategy is essential to launch a new product or service successfully. By carefully planning and executing this strategy, you can differentiate yourself from competitors, maximize customer acquisition, increase brand awareness and drive revenue growth.

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Those all sound good, but one wrong move can severely cut success short. A successful launch is contingent on many factors and if not executed properly, you may not make a lasting impression on your customers or see the right results. We know this sounds daunting, but The James Agency is here to help. We’ve seen firsthand the mistakes businesses often make in their GTM plan and we’re here to share our experience. After all, what’s a mistake without learning from it?

Here are our top pitfalls to avoid when developing a GTM strategy:

Misstep #1: Not spending enough time defining your audience

Kelsee Gopp is Senior Project Manager at The James Agency.

Identifying your target audience is crucial to the success of your strategy. Understanding who your customer is, what they need and how to reach them will enable you to tailor every point of your marketing strategy to the end user, maximizing your efforts while effectively growing your business.

Here are three tips to help you find your target audience and keep them coming back.

  • Identify your ideal customer personas: Personas are a way to center your marketing efforts around your ideal target audience, knowing that every message you’re putting out into the marketplace will resonate with your consumers. Personas humanize your audience and serve as a reference point for all your marketing efforts.
  • Conduct market research: While personas help with all the intangibles of your audience, conducting market research is really the only way you’ll accurately define your audience and know how they act. Use primary and secondary research to gather insights on your audiences’ preferences, behaviors and purchasing patterns.
  • Monitor and adapt: A common mistake businesses often make is not adjusting their tactics as results come in. Fail fast and often— by that, we mean monitor your audience closely and don’t be afraid to adapt. Keep a close eye on how your audiences interact with industry trends and seasonality.

Misstep #2: Not identifying risks early on

Your GTM plan will go a lot smoother if you think ahead. Identifying risks each step of the way is crucial in allowing businesses to proactively mitigate potential challenges and uncertainties that may hinder the success of your launch.

Lucky for you, we’ve listed a few of the common GTM risks we see often:

  • Market fit: Conduct thorough market research and validate the product-market fit before launch. By accurately identifying your audience and ensuring that your product or service aligns with the needs of your customers, you can mitigate any risks.
  • Timing: Launching at the wrong time can lead to missed opportunities or low market adoption. Consider factors such as market trends, industry cycle, and seasonality when deciding when to go to market.
  • Pricing: Setting the right pricing strategy is crucial for financial success. Overpricing can lead to limited customer adoption, while underpricing may result in revenue shortfalls. Thorough market analysis, competitor benchmarking and customer feedback can guide pricing decisions.

There is certainly more involved to plan a successful launch, but we’ve found those are the common suspects to businesses and marketers alike.

Misstep #3: You define your goal, but not your key metrics

If you know your destination but don’t have directions, are you sure you’ll even get there? If your sales goal is your North Star, it’s crucial that you don’t skip calibrating your compass to help you navigate.

Analogies aside, it is crucial to identify the key metrics that will define your plan’s success.

Key metrics for consumer products and business services will vary; but ultimately, the goal is to make profit. We suggest that you map this path to your goal backwards. Start with the amount of sales that you need to hit in order to profit.

Next, identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that your marketing strategy should use to evaluate the progress and pacing towards your goal. Depending on the channel, the KPIs you look at when introducing a product to the market could be impressions, engagement rate, customer acquisition cost-per-channel and so on.

Misstep #4: Your marketing strategy isnt integrated across channels.

A winning go-to-market approach requires more than throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks (as fun as that is.) Equipped with a clear definition of your audience and KPIs, you can thoughtfully plan marketing channels you want to hit.

Many marketers make the mistake of casting too wide of a net or investing in channels where your audience isn’t found. We recommend mapping your consumer journey to understand where to capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged on the path toward conversion. For each stage of the funnel, consider the following objective:

  • Brand awareness: Introduce your offering to the public through tactics that expand your reach such as paid media and public relations.
  • Consideration: Bulk your content strategy with resources that help them learn about your product and its benefits to make a decision. (Video is queen! Harness the benefits of cross-platform video content and share to your website, social channels and email lists. More is more.)
  • Conversion: Convince them to take a desired action such as phone calls, contact form submissions, completing a purchase and so on. (Pro-tip: Monitor the KPI’s you set to optimize your marketing campaigns and test hypotheses.)

BONUS: Your internal buy-in is missing

You’ve put in all this time and effort to craft a winning go-to-market campaign, complete with a product or service you can’t wait to announce to the world… but your team might not be sold. It goes without saying that anything new requires learning and adoption. If your sales team, customer service representatives or even outside stakeholders aren’t equipped with the purpose, then you risk losing your message. Anyone communicating about your product or service needs to be an outlet of the conversion experience that you artfully crafted.

This only scratches the surface of GTM planning; but don’t worry — that’s what The James Agency is for! We’ve worked with businesses across multiple industries to bring products and services to market. If you’ve been looking for an agency to help bring your next venture to life, we’re ready to talk shop and eliminate the marketing missteps along the way.

Author: Kelsee Gopp is Senior Project Manager at The James Agency, Scottsdale’s integrated strategic marketing agency specializing in all facets of advertising, public relations and digital. To learn more, visit