The Spark List of Go to Market “Intangibles”

October 15, 2015

in Plan Your Expansion

Authored by Zubin Mowlavi

The Spark List of Go to Market “Intangibles”

“Go-to-market” is hardly a new term. It’s not even a revived buzzword. But thanks to the rapid digital broadening of the commerce landscape, what was once a staid way to define a business strategy is now more customer-focused, and more adaptable to the changing needs of small to mid-sized companies.

And, in a questionable global economy, businesses in the U.S. have managed to not only stay afloat, but are flourishing, thanks to their investment of time, money, and resources into digital growth. But given the evolving requirements to go to market in such a diverse economy, it’s important that businesses understand their needs beyond a basic business plan—the intangible details that can mean the difference between launching in a new market, and dominating it.

Here’s our take on three key intangible elements crucial to your Go-to-Market strategy for maximizing your presence with U.S. customers:

Understand your new U.S. audiences

As we’re fond of saying,

in the United States, there is no ‘online’ or ‘offline’ business. There’s just business. Digital IS business.

And it’s true. From the ways we travel and commute, to the ways we consume media, and even the way we make purchases, digital has disrupted the entire U.S. business landscape. That’s why it’s easier than ever for small and mid-sized businesses to break into new markets like the U.S. But it’s also why a concrete Go-to-Market strategy needs to go beyond a rote and repetitious business plan, and become something entirely more meaningful.

Today, your Go-to-Market strategy needs to be the intent behind HOW you will deliver your unique value proposition to your new U.S. audiences, while also serving as a road map for bringing your company to the market. It can have many components including sales coverage and process, operations, customer service, and pricing, as well as more tactical things like messaging and marketing campaigns that, together, reinforce a unique position to awaiting customers.

To achieve success, a company must align its Go-to-Market strategy with the evolving needs of its new audiences, and answer strategic questions such as:

In the end, a solid Go-to-Market strategy should be seen as a long-term plan—not solely to increase revenues, but rather to build, nurture, and grow loyal customer relationships.

Demonstrate content authority

Whether you’re a salesperson, a national brand, or a single mom and pop shop, you can have authority. It starts with a strong opinion, even if it upsets larger brands. No one wants to buy or work with someone who isn’t quite sure what they stand for. And the best way to do this is by producing and curating content that speaks to your brand, your beliefs and your values.

Content marketing is extremely important to your sales funnel. This is your opportunity to introduce potential customers to your knowledge base and demonstrate your expertise in your industry. In fact, 83% of companies indicate that lead generation is the most important company goal that content marketing contributes to.

Customers become advocates for brands that stand for something larger. Content marketing helps brands achieve that “something larger.” Brands that are successful at creating impactful, engaging content are the ones most likely to win and retain loyal customers.

Planning your content strategy might just be the most important thing you do all year. The Content Marketing Institute found that in 2015 only 35% of companies have a documented content marketing strategy—but, this 35% who have documented their strategy are more effective in all aspects of content marketing than those who have not.

While 78% of companies in the UK have indicated they are using and creating more content in 2015, 86% of companies in the US have indicated the need to create and use content marketing.

While you’re creating your winning content, consider curating content until your Editorial Calendar is up and running. You have the opportunity of identifying influencers here—these are the people who will become advocates for your brand.

Stay true to core values

Trust trumps price and people trust brands that are, at once, both strong and human. Your persona should include a strong dose of authenticity. When you are authentic people don’t question your messaging; they trust it because your brand represents that to them.

When rhetoric gets out of sync with customers’ actual experiences, the brand’s integrity and future effectiveness suffers. Don’t expect anyone knows what you want them to do. Your voice requires conviction, because people respect conviction. It’s important that your messaging has clear calls-to action. Advertising should clearly tell the consumer what you want them to do and email follow ups should be explicit in what action you want your customer to take.

Your brand is your identity, and what U.S. audiences will connect to most. A strong brand helps you negotiate your unique value offering in an increasingly diverse economy. Your messaging must be genuine and purpose-driven for the best results.

In Deloitte’s 2013 Core Beliefs & Culture survey, 87% of respondents indicated business should place equal weight on societal interests as they do business interests. Yet, only 20% of worldwide brands were viewed as positively impacting people’s lives.

The idea isn’t to dilute your brand message, but to understand where some specificity might make the most impact across different U.S. regions.

You’re close to expansion. You have your details carefully mapped onto a rock-solid business plan. By all accounts, you’re ready to enter the U.S. market. Just be sure you’ve covered all areas—both the bottom line details, and the gray areas in between that can cement your company as a future U.S. mainstay.

Only then will your company be fully primed to go to market on profitable U.S. shores.

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