Drawing Board vs Consultative GTM
The two approaches to launching your products/services in the marketGirish Mahadevan
A marketing strategist at a company determines how to “reach” the prospect and “facilitate” the sale.
Most marketing strategists pen their strategy in the form of a Go-To-Market (GTM) plan; the plan required to successfully launch and market the products in the different geographies. The GTM plan answers some of the questions as:
What & where is the best product launch forum?
What outreach channels to utilize?
What features to highlight and make it most easy to use?
What to exactly tell to the prospect for them to make the buy decision?
How to tell it differently on the different touchpoints (ATL/BTL)?
In this article, I’d like to put some light on the way GTM plans are created and executed. At a tactical level, these are the two philosophies that GTM plans subscribe to; some strategists unknowing are inclined towards one of the approaches, however, it is always better to know the approaches and consciously utilize them in the multiple business contexts:
Drawing Board GTM
Analyze the product & market requirements from data that is curated from existing professional experiences and (online) market research portals. An insight is derived by reading the (online) material and seeking expert advice, and a fair bit of extrapolation/generalization. This approach will have the marketing & product strategist work from office; that is, it is a white-collar job done from the workplace/office building.
The GTM plan may hit the jackpot, or it can miserably tank due to a wrongly mined insight about customer needs. So, when faced with failure, the strategist gets back to the drawing board and comes up with a new strategy based on a new insight. But then again, this comeback can also tank as hard as the previous one unless the insight is from the customers.
Start by imagining that your product has already hit the jackpot (go in the fantasy land), and you have these 10 dream-customers who you are extremely proud of. Congratulation! Now, come back to reality, arrange a meeting with the 10 dream-customers to build and market your product only and only to sign these 10 folks as your customers. This approach has marketing & product strategist work from the field, that is, customer site/locations.
If you hit the jackpot, you would have made a consultative sale to these 10 dream-prospects while collecting all the possible insights about future opportunities. And, if things don’t work out; as in, these 10 brands (whom you built the product for) don’t buy your product, then at the least, you would know the actual prospect data to help you tweak your GTM strategy and re-launch the products in the market with a revised GTM plan.
The point is, if you fail, you’ll fail much faster than you would in the DRAWING BOARD approach. Failing fast and knowing what to do next is brilliant.
That said, both approaches have their own place. You need the drawing board GTM when you are pioneering a product; in such cases, your prospects and target audience won’t help you with meaningful interactions & insights. However, if you are not a pioneer, and are competing in an existing market with your product, consultative GTM is the way to go.
Vice President - Marketing Communications & People Operations (HR)