Observations on go-to-market strategy around the world and on why most global companies need to upgrade their capabilities and approach.
Miki is the global leader for the Marketing and Sales practice and has been with BCG since 1984. Before BCG, she was a summer associate with Goldman Sachs and a consultant with International Consulting of Japan. In 2005, she was named one of the industry’s “Top 25 Consultants” by Consulting magazine.
What is go-to-market strategy, and why is it so difficult yet important to get right?
Essentially, go-to-market strategy consists of thinking about marketing and selling together. In fact, at BCG we call it “Go-To-Market Advantage.” The challenges are threefold. First, quite often companies are not thinking through the whole value chain. Second, companies may not start a project or campaign from a consumer or customer perspective. It is really easy to fall into the marketing or sales silo, and yet in the end there is always a customer one is trying to serve. Third, in light of the economy right now, a major issue is cost effectiveness. Marketing and sales typically account for about 35 to 40 percent of a company’s cost structure. Proper go-to-market strategy can easily add 10 to 15 percent to the bottom line.
What kinds of trends do you see in go-to-market strategy today?
The most common thing we see in most sectors and economies is too much money being spent on traditional (above-the-line) marketing. Nonetheless, today money is being shifted to nontraditional marketing—and then spent at a much lower level.
Are there unique aspects to go-to-market strategy in the Asia-Pacific region?
There are degrees of differences and commonality in the experience and history of companies that operate in Asia as a foreign market. This fact affects the global go-to-market strategies of foreign companies and makes them distinct from local and Asia-customized approaches.
How should companies think about best practices in go-to-market strategy?
Very few companies utilize best practices in every step of a process, and we would argue that one does not need to have best practices in everything. There are certain things a company has to be good at and certain things it does not have to be good at, and it all very much depends on what sector it is in.
Managers look inside their company—and maybe at competitors—for best practices quite often, but they rarely look outside their own industry. I think there is tremendous value in a functional expertise like marketing and sales researching way beyond one’s own segment, one’s own sector, for the best practices out there.