Entering a new market can be a serious ordeal for marketing teams. Even if we ignore the obvious obstacles such as the language and cultural barriers compared to a brand’s home market, there are so many moving parts required to pull off the impossible – an integrated marketing campaign in entirely unfamiliar terrain.
So, here’s a list of the five questions tech startups should always ask themselves at the outset of such a task. Before you put pen to paper – or more likely, before you put that first table on your Google Slides – check that you first know the answers to these key questions.
What problem does your technology solve?
This is a gut check to make sure you really understand the value you’re offering your target audience, not to mention your fundamental product positioning. This is equally valid for consumer tech and SaaS alike.
Step one is to understand the value your product brings to potential customers – the user benefits, not just the features. What are you helping your prospects solve? This will help you figure out how to position your product or service in the competitive market landscape.
Take for example our recent USA product launch for Nreal Air AR Glasses. We knew Netflix binge-watchers and Steam Deck fans would love this cinema-sized display that fits in your pocket. From there, we could target our messaging accordingly.
Where is your target market, and who are your prospects in that market?
Most likely you already know the markets you want to target, e.g. the USA and Europe for higher-margin electronics. Maybe your SaaS platform serves the wider APAC region, and you’re starting off in one specific country first.
Identify the market size and demographics, as well as the pain points and needs of your target customers within those markets. There is always a market for any kind of product, as long as you can identify the segment with which your product’s key selling points resonate.
What is your product-market fit?
To succeed in the market, your product or service must align with your target customers’ needs and preferences. Conduct market research and user testing, and get customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. SurveyMonkey is a straightforward and reasonably priced option we’ve used in the past.
For example, we confirmed our assumptions about our target demographics in the USA ahead of the Nreal Air product launch via SurveyMonkey. It provided invaluable intel on which cities to target our media buy budget.
“To succeed in the market, your product or service must align with your target customers’ needs and preferences. Conduct market research and user testing, and get customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.”
It also reconfirmed for us which user groups would be most receptive to AR glasses, so we could identify the best-fit influencers to work with. Conversely, if the responses to a survey or focus group surprise you, it’s better to find out first, so you can correct course before you’ve committed your budget to an unsuitable strategy.
What is your go-to-market budget?
It’s essential to define a realistic budget for your go-to-market strategy. Consider the costs associated with product development, marketing, sales, and distribution to determine your budget and optimize your resources.
If you have any benchmarks from previous campaigns, that will help to figure out the estimated budget and the following results. Alongside a realistic budget, it’s also key to target realistic sales goals based on what that budget can achieve.
How will you measure success?
Defining and agreeing on key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential to measuring the success of your go-to-market strategy. Identify the metrics that matter to your business, such as sales, revenue, return on investment, customer acquisition, and/or retention. Each business will have their own priorities so it’s difficult to provide exact advice here.
Ensure you have internal consensus on what your ultimate goal is, so that miscommunication early on doesn’t undermine all your hard work later. Also, remember to establish a plan to track and analyze these metrics regularly throughout the campaign as well. That way, you can adjust your tactics as needed.
While every startup has its own unique circumstances, goals, and priorities, starting with these five questions should help you and your team set off in the right direction. Good luck out there!