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Pete - 13 / 03 / 2024
Pete - 13 / 03 / 2024

What Makes An Effective Go-to-market Strategy? The Investor’s Guide

By Guy Remond with Katie Street

Particularly aimed at founders, the go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a (rightfully) hot topic within entrepreneurial and investor communities. An effective GTM strategy is just as important to the success of a startup as adequate funding, or a pragmatic founder. 

And like these two factors, it affects everything (and everyone) within the business – including you, the investor. 

That’s why it’s critical for investors to understand and be actively involved in shaping the GTM strategy of their portfolio companies.

Fortunately, in the latest episode of Fast Growth Funding, I was able to fully explore this topic with an expert – Katie Street.

Is there a market opportunity for early-stage startups?

Katie is the founder of Street Agency, a firm that helps businesses grow by building scalable, marketing-led sales programmes. I am fascinated by the work Katie does because it fills a vacuum within the startup community.

EHE Ventures is a community of Entrepreneurs Helping Entrepreneurs and since our inception, we (alongside The Startup Factory) have worked with multiple tech startups, providing them with advice and the tools they need to secure funding.

One common problem we’ve pinpointed along the way is that 80 per cent of founders lack a credible marketing plan. 

They may have incredible ideas and equally great products, but things often start to go downhill when it comes to translating those ideas into a solid plan and actually connecting with consumers.

It gets even worse when you realise that these startups have a better opportunity for fast growth than some of the bigger players. A lot of this, Katie points out, boils down to their content and the way they choose to show up.

Katie: I think early-stage startups have a better opportunity for faster growth when it comes to their GTM and overall marketing strategies because the big players are scared. Many businesses out there are scared to show up in a fun, engaging and human way for some reason. They stick to the old-school traditional methods, creating hefty content that takes quite a long time for people to digest.

But we live in a TikTok generation where everyone is busy, and no one has time. So, the average tech startup needs to show up like a real person. This means the content needs to be quick, punchy, human and exciting. 

It’s taking a long time for the bigger businesses to make this change and adapt. So, I think there’s an opportunity for the smaller up-and-coming tech companies to show up in a much more fun, engaging way because they have the agility and the bravery to pull it off.”

What’s content got to do with it?

From an investor’s perspective, seeking out founders who already have a robust content marketing approach in their GTM strategy could yield better outcomes. 

It means that the founding team has a comprehensive understanding of how to connect with their audience, drive engagement and convert interest into loyalty and sales, which are critical components for startup growth.

When I started my previous company, Cake Solutions, we were in a niche industry with no sales team and no account manager. However, we still generated interest in the company and built a solid reputation by creating powerful content and engaging with user groups.

Over time, we started fielding numerous inbound inquiries, doubled our day rates and increased our margins within two years. In a nutshell, we eliminated the need for cold calling and accelerated our sales process by prioritising a content-led approach to our GTM strategy.

Katie identified three content pillars that could help tech startups engage with consumers and drive sales. 

As an investor, understanding these three pillars allows you to not only assess the potential of a startup’s GTM strategy, but also guide your portfolio companies to create a more engaged customer base and, consequently, achieve higher growth potential.

The three content pillars

Katie: “The first pillar is creating insightful, helpful educational content delivered in a human, engaging way. This might be a podcast, video recording, webinar or even an in-person event. Founders can pull people into the funnel with this pillar and then continue to create that same educational, helpful content throughout their journey. 

Case studies are the second pillar of content.

Finally, the third pillar is to make it easy for people to buy from the business.

Founders need to make sure that they have content around all of these three pillars. Essentially, they’re bringing people in, they’re proving they can do it, and they’re making it easy for their audience to buy from them with a clear call to action.”

In a nutshell

For investors, spotting a startup with a solid GTM strategy means looking for those who can do ONE thing well. Effectively leverage content (and other marketing channels) to create an engaged user base and position themselves within even the most saturated of markets.

These startups often have a leg up over the rest. 

Beyond identifying these qualities, you also need to actively support your portfolio companies to enhance and execute their GTM strategies. 

This support can take various forms, including leveraging your networks to foster strategic partnerships, providing expertise and resources to fine-tune marketing efforts, and helping your founders develop scalable sales processes.

To find out more about the work Katie does to help businesses build scalable, marketing-led sales programmes, visit her website

If you’d also like to learn more about our new EIS-qualified fund for UK early-stage and growth AI investments, register your interest here.


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