Understanding the user’s problem: The smart way of starting your go-to-market strategy

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Hey, it’s that time of the year again, isn’t it? When you are chasing the Q4 results, your mind already making plans for 2024.

So I wanted to dedicate the next three newsletters to just that. Your strategies for 2024.

And I wanted to start with this:

Top 3 reasons why go-to-market strategies fail according to Harvard Business Review:

– Not understanding the problem
– Creating an unrealistic strategy that the company can’t execute
– Not understanding the time needed for execution

Today, we are going to be addressing the first one. Strategies failing because we don’t know our clients enough. Because it’s easy to assume people are excited about our new launch or a new feature, but the reality is… People don’t give a shit.

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People are busy. And so yes, we will be talking about customers again. All our business starts and ends with our clients, they are the ones that are bringing in the most money.

We are all busy

So in this newsletter, let’s take a look at why the way you start your strategies is wrong, how to do it better, and as always, I’m going to be sharing my experiences of what worked and what didn’t so you don’t have to do the same mistakes, and can create a winning strategy for 2024.

Why our tendencies are wrong

 So an interesting thing happened the other day, when a content creator Adriana Tica, posted a question on LinkedIn: ‘Let’s play a game, Let’s create a strategy together. You have 30 days to come up with 10 K of revenue. You have a decent following 5 to 10,000 followers. What would you do?

A product or a service? How would you market it? Etc.

And people answered: ‘Oh, yeah, I would start by creating a service because it’s easier, and it’s easier to sell. So, a high ticket service or something like that. And then I would market it to the my followers, get them to buy.’

This shows the tendency to start creating your strategy from a product or a service. Bu what I found when working with my clients is that it’s much easier and gets better results if you start with your custoemrs.

You have a decent following of 5-10k people, ask them what do they need and build your service on that. In that case, your product or service is a direct response to people’s needs, isn’t it?

People have more ears than mouth

How much easier would it be to sell that service if you went in, on day one of this strategy, and you would ask your 5 to 10,000 followers: ‘Hey guys, what do you need? Like, what are your pain points right now? What would you like solved?’

And then create a strategy from there and create a product or a service from there, based on those needs, right?

And so, Harvard says that number one reason for the go-to-market strategy to fail, is not understanding the problem that the users have. And it happens because we are putting our products and services at the center of our strategies, instead of putting our customer needs first.

Your product is worthless. Well not quite… (Case study)

You solving a person’s problem is where the value is. The value is not in your product. The product is just the tool to deliver the value. The value is in satisfying a client need or at solving a client’s problem.

Now, for example, with one of my clients lately – a B2B company was struggling to get more sales. And the clients are basically resellers of the product.

And so what we did was, we contacted a couple of good clients of the company, and we talked to them and we asked them “Hey, we want to serve you better, how can we do that?”

And the general answer was “whatever you can do to help me sell your products, because we suck at marketing”.

So, our go-to-market strategy was actually to create a go-to-market strategy for our clients. And that, you know, that gave them value.

So we packaged that into a deal. We raised our MOQs and added value to the offer by creating a GTM strategy for our customers.

Now the second thing you have to watch out for is timing.

Timing is a b/*tch

A good example of that is, when I was working at my last startup, we were creating a mobile app that helps dyslexic children learn to read and, end of August, beginning of September, we could have had the best go-to-market strategy in the world. Nobody would care because at that point people were busy getting adjusted to the school schedule again.

giph14y

They were busy getting kids to sleep early. They were busy getting kids to school in the morning and that overwhelmed them. And they just didn’t buy our product no matter what we did. So why would we create a strategy for them at that point, right? It makes no sense.

So… If we don’t know our customers, you know, in our case, our timing was wrong and we couldn’t do anything. If your timing is wrong, you can have the best product in the world. Nobody’s going to buy it.

To Recap

Harvard Business review says the number one reason why strategies fail is because companies simply don’t understand the user’s problems enough. So when you are creating your 2024 go-to-market strategy for your company, start with the customer pain, customer need. Put it front and center, figure out whether it’s relevant now. And then execute like a boss.

60-90% of strategies fail. Make sure yours is in that 10%.

Next time, we are going to be talking about the second reason why strategies fail, according to harvard business reviews, and that is Creating unrealistic strategies companies can’t execute.

Until then,may your customers love you and understand your product.

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