If you’re operating a financial planning outfit or creating a start-up, understanding who your clients are and what issues you can solve for them is critical to your business success. Marketers call this a “go to market” (GTM) strategy. Whether you’re selling financial planning services or apps, getting this strategy right from the outset will put you on the right course.

What is a go-to-market strategy?

A GTM strategy focuses on your clients, putting them at the centre of your sales and marketing efforts. Sounds like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how many businesses make the mistake of creating a marketing strategy first and then worrying about their clients’ needs later. For instance, you could argue that the collapse of Dick Smith came about because, after they were sold to Woolworths, they lost sight of who their customers were and why those customers bought electronics from them.

A strong GTM strategy ticks a number of boxes, from market research and charting current customer trends, through to strategies that target specific client groups. It is also based on the three-step “who, what and why” of your offer.

1. Focusing on the client: the “Who?”

Understanding your client could be as simple as writing a list of specific clients you want to target and their key characteristics. For example, as a financial planner, you might be considering targeting a specific age demographic such as accumulators or retirees. Or perhaps your focus is on customers of a certain income level such as high-net-worth individuals. Profiling your target clients, and their characteristics, will help you match them accurately with your offering.

2. Locating pain points: the “What?”

I’m not suggesting a bit of Abu Ghraib-style torture treatment here. Rather, when I talk about locating “pain points”, I mean focusing on the issues potential clients are trying to come to grips with. It might be that they are having trouble choosing between investing in shares or property, or are struggling to see the woods for the trees in a divorce settlement. By solving a pain point, you’re giving a potential client a reason to commission your services.

3. Point of difference: the “Why?”

The reason you hear marketers continually use the phrase “point of difference” is that standing out from the crowd really can help you generate leads and sales. As part of your business and marketing planning, do some navel gazing on why your offering would give a client a reason to work with you.

Once you’ve established the answers to the who, what and why questions, you’re at the starting gates to a good GTM strategy.

My advice, as a business owner, is to make a GTM strategy a priority. It’ll give you a blueprint for targeting your customers and will provide the groundwork for building a meaningful marketing and sales message that will generate leads.

Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry.
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