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What is Go-to-Market

An overview of go-to-market or go-to-market strategy from a product perspective.

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What is Go-to-Market (GTM)?

There are many definition of go-to-market and, unfortunately, the term is used in an inconsistent way by professionals in organizations of all sizes and types. In this post, I’ll try to provide an intuitive and product-management approachable definition and a bit of helpful context.

Resource: What Is a Go-To-Market Strategy? And How to Create One

The Shelf Analogy

In product development, imagine a team working tirelessly to get a product "on the shelf" – this involves everything from designing and testing to manufacturing and packaging, ensuring the product is ready for market. On the flip side, getting a product "off the shelf" refers to the marketing, sales, and distribution efforts needed to bring the product to consumers. Using off-the-shelf solutions for go-to-market efforts can be a smart move. It allows companies to leverage pre-existing components to speed up the launch, reduce costs, and focus on their strengths. However, this approach might also mean less customization and reliance on third-party suppliers, potentially limiting how unique the product feels to the market. Balancing these factors is key to a successful product strategy.

Why is GTM important to product managers

Go-to-market (GTM) strategies are crucial for product managers for several reasons.

If you can’t sell it, don’t build it

First and foremost, expending significant effort to build something that doesn’t sell makes no sense. No matter how innovative or technically superior a product is, it must resonate with the market to be successful. Without a well-thought-out GTM plan, even the most promising products can fail to gain traction, resulting in wasted resources and missed opportunities.

Building for and selling to the right people

Another key reason for a robust GTM strategy is the need for alignment between "on the shelf" and "off the shelf" professionals. This alignment ensures that the product development team and the marketing and sales teams are on the same page regarding target segments. Such coordination helps in creating a cohesive strategy that resonates with the intended audience, addressing their specific needs and preferences. By working together, these teams can ensure that the product not only meets market demands but also reaches the right customers effectively.

Improving time-to-product/market fit

Moreover, a strong GTM strategy helps in building a competitive advantage. In today’s fast-paced market, being first or early can be a significant advantage. A well-executed GTM plan can expedite the product launch, allowing a company to capture market share before competitors do. This strategic timing can create brand loyalty and establish a product as a leader in its category.

Getting Market Feedback

Additionally, GTM strategies provide valuable insights into customer feedback and market trends. By engaging with the market early and continuously, product managers can gather essential data that can inform future product iterations and improvements. This feedback loop ensures that the product remains relevant and continues to meet customer expectations.

Building the Brand Lifts All Boats

Finally, a well-defined GTM strategy can enhance brand reputation and trust, which translates into easier sales down the road for all products. Inconsistent or even contradictory GTM approaches across the portfolio can easily result in the opposite: a fractured brand identity that is avoided because it seems complex or chaotic.


Go-to-market (GTM) strategies are crucial for product managers to ensure the successful launch and adoption of a product. GTM involves both "getting a product on the shelf," which includes the development and preparation of the product, and "getting a product off the shelf," which encompasses marketing, sales, and distribution efforts. A robust GTM strategy aligns product development with marketing and sales, ensuring the product resonates with the target market, improves time-to-market, and gathers valuable customer feedback. Ultimately, a well-executed GTM plan builds brand reputation and trust, enhancing overall sales effectiveness.

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Marketing Overview


  • Imprecise Definitions: GTM strategies are often defined inconsistently, but generally involve planning how to sell and distribute a product effectively.

  • The Shelf Analogy: GTM includes both "getting a product on the shelf" (development and preparation) and "getting a product off the shelf" (marketing, sales, and distribution).

  • Importance for Product Managers: A GTM strategy ensures that a product resonates with the market and prevents wasted resources on products that don't sell.

  • Alignment of Teams: GTM strategies align development, marketing, and sales teams to target the right customer segments and meet market demands.

  • Competitive Advantage: A strong GTM strategy helps launch products quickly, capturing market share and establishing brand loyalty before competitors.

  • Market Feedback: GTM strategies enable early and continuous market engagement, providing valuable customer feedback for future product improvements.

  • Brand Reputation: A well-defined GTM strategy enhances brand trust and consistency, leading to easier sales and a stronger market presence across the product portfolio.

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