Written by: Aimee Meester
For many start-ups, scaling up often involves identifying and expanding into new markets in the United States and North America. While these markets are full of immense opportunities, they are also considerably varied and complex. Therefore, entry into these markets requires a careful, studied approach. Here are three steps startups can take to develop a successful North American go-to-market strategy.
Step 1: Understand and Segment Customers
Successful market entry requires a comprehensive understanding of customers and target audiences. By taking time to identify, understand, and segment their customers, startups can execute more efficient and effective marketing campaigns rather than wasting resources with a broad, misplaced strategy.
To develop a robust understanding of their customers, startups should collect a combination of quantitative and qualitative research. From here, they should work to identify, describe, and segment their audiences based on key demographics, psychological characteristics, and behavioral patterns. After segmenting key customer audiences, startups should then develop customer personas. Customer personas can be thought of as character archetypes that represent or describe a particular type of customer. Ideally, each customer segment has a corresponding customer persona. Like any real customer, each persona will have its own specific problems and needs. Startups need to understand these needs in order to show customers that their product or service is useful and valuable.
Step 2: Analyze Competitors
In addition to understanding their customers, start-ups must also understand their competitors. To do this, they should conduct a competitive analysis. This process involves identifying and categorizing competitors based on key characteristics. Often, the best place to start identifying competitors is a simple internet search. From here, startups can build their list of competitors and categorize them based on the level of direct competition. One of the best ways to do this is by using a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis or Porter’s 5 Forces model. Startups can also evaluate pricing, search ranking comparisons, social media, public relations, and customer reviews as part of their competitive analysis.
Step 3: Develop a Comprehensive and Cohesive Strategy
After conducting all necessary customer and competitor research, startups should incorporate it into a comprehensive strategy. To do this, they should first identify the key goals, benchmarks, and objectives for their marketing efforts. They should also establish budgets, outline resources and timelines, and identify key performance indicators (KPIs).
Once the overall direction and logistics of the strategy have been established, startups should focus on developing cohesion within it. This process usually includes developing consistent branding and messaging, creating integrated marketing content, and aligning sales, marketing, and customer success teams. By leveraging deliverables and processes to establish cohesion, startups can bolster their presence in the marketplace and improve their perception and brand recognition.
Scaling Up for Success
Expansion into U.S. and North American markets can be exciting yet complicated. Therefore, it’s imperative that startups looking to enter these markets develop a cohesive and comprehensive go-to-market strategy based on a robust understanding of customers and competitors. By following the steps outlined above, startups can create a North American go-to-market strategy that enables them to scale up for success.
Aimee Meester, CEO & Chief Marketing Aficionado at Madison Taylor Marketing.