A pilot to "go to market"

Ships need a pilot to get out of port – your product too!

The port pilot is the captain's adviser when a ship arrives or leaves. He knows perfectly well the ships, the manoeuvres, the navigation areas and the organisation of the port. It is an unknown profession but essential to the functioning of the maritime industry.

Likewise, launching a new product or service is a delicate manoeuvre, even dangerous for the brand's reputation or the company's profitability. The investment in developing a new product is like a new ship going to sea. Piloting product development and management is one thing. But to launch to the market requires specific skills, although these are only required at a specific point in time in the history of the product for 5 reasons:

First, to set the strategic course. As for a ship, changing direction is complicated once the product is launched. It is important that from the first few months, the product or service is well focused.

Second, to align all launch parameters. This implies the consistency of all aspects: strategy, brand, value proposition, channels, communication, internal organization and systems. Should there be a deviation or a delay in one aspect, and the whole project may fail.

Thirdly, to look beyond the needs. Of course it is crucial to know and analyze the market, investigating the needs of potential customers. But often, what determines the purchase are more emotional triggers, such as desires or fears. Even the segmentation of target audiences has to take these aspects into account.

Fourth, to define a communication strategy. In many companies, this aspect is underestimated: a lot of investment goes into development and little is devoted to making it known to the market. Here, the work consists in defining the messages we want to take to our audiences. And then to choose the channels, adapting the messages, as well as the investment levels, to their specificities.

Fifth, to find the motivations of each distribution channel. Whether they are digital channels or not, each small or large channel has its own business model. Communication towards each of them as well as, their remuneration should be thought of separately.


The consultant's intervention can begin with an audit of the works already done. It is not a question of reinventing the wheel, but of using the existing material.

Recently, I intervened in a company in Spain that had already worked on the design of a very innovative offer but did not know how to put it on the market.

In 2 weeks, I audited the project and highlighted all that remained to be improved.


Summary table of the audit of the new offer's definition project.

In a second phase of only 3 weeks, I defined a marketing strategy ("Go To Market"):

  • Context and vision of the market entry in question
  • Market research summary
  • Definition of target segments
  • Definition of the offer
  • Positioning of this offer and the brand
  • Recommendations for the communication strategy

Extract from the final recommendations (anonymized).

In 5 weeks, even if intense, it is not possible to carry out end-to-end design work. However, I was able to analyze the work done so far and provide my external vision, as well as my experience to lay the foundations for a comprehensive and coherent strategy... and prepare the new boat for its voyage.