The go-to-market formula

Here’s a clever method to approach your distribution plan with an easy method to conceptualise “go-to-market”

One equation captures the entire concept, and it is immensely potent:

Distribution = Eco-system Participants + Incentives

Draw a picture of your customers’ ecology. Place your goods to the side and consider the environment in which your consumer lives. Who or what are the individuals, locations, and businesses that they deal with on a daily basis? In whose “field of view” are they?

  1. Start by listing every participant on a piece of paper. The following are some broad categories, although you’d be looking for a much more exhaustive list.
  • Offline services for media
  • Online offerings
  • Events\Networks
  • Banking and finance training and education
  • Shops
  • Shop employees
  • Advertisers
  • Social media leaders

2. Sketch influence-pointing arrows. Who affects whom, you might wonder? I’m not simply referring to Instagram users who continuously post selfies. Who currently has access to your consumer and, if motivated, could advocate for you by introducing them to your product?

To illustrate the relationship’s strength, draw arrows; the thicker the arrow, the greater the influence. If more people who “influence” the key influencers are needed, include them. Customer ecosystems are frequently quite complicated.

3. Create incentives for significant ecosystem players. As Warren Buffet’s business colleague Charlie Munger puts it: “Show me the incentive and I will show you the result.”

By providing incentives to the most prominent players, a strong distribution strategy encourages others to promote your product to your target market. Financial incentives and non-financial incentives are the two categories into which incentives may be divided.

Financial rewards

Financial rewards are typical. For instance, if you give Facebook money, they will display your product advertisement. Salespeople will close the transaction for you if you pay them a commission. Giving your current clients bonus credits will encourage them to refer their friends.
However, non-financial incentives are often underutilised by most businesses.

Non-monetary rewards

Consider ways to motivate the key influencers without spending money in order to expand more quickly and for less. What can you provide someone who already connects with your clients for nothing?

Here are some suggestions to spark your imagination:

Are there any other features or services available?

Can you divulge titles or status? In order to promote its dating service, Tinder employed “ambassadors” at colleges and paid them money for parties.

Can you offer free or early access? Before releasing their new AR platform, Facebook granted early, “exclusive” access to a restricted group of developers.

Can you host a successful event or gathering? At its New York launch party, YPlan secured a performance from its adviser Pharell.

Can you distribute goods? In order for others around to see them, Apple designed their recognisable iPod earphones white.

Do you have a good tale to tell? In essence, PR rewards journalists by providing them with a compelling narrative that they may use to boost their page views.

Consider distribution first.

The more time you give yourself to consider distribution, the more room you’ll have to include it into your product design and business plan. Once you’ve identified the important players in your customer’s ecosystem, talk to them right away to see what drives them.

You have other resources besides money. Non-monetary incentives with a creative twist may be just as effective and far more scaleable. Give individuals something that is both beneficial to them and simple for you to deliver.




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Nik Nicholas

Nik Nicholas


Venture Investor @ Elbow // Practice Lead @ Radically Digital // Web3 Enthusiast