Peanut Butter Versus a Lightning Strike

Peanut Butter Versus A Lightning Strike

What’s Your GTM Strategy?

Which camp are you in?

Do you spread your marketing efforts and resources evenly throughout the year? Is this influenced by different members of the team asking to be at multiple “key industry events”? Or meeting requests across the various product or regional groups? This is the inertia and the constant gravity of the business that pushes you to spread your efforts (and budget) over the course of the year. That’s the Peanut Butter approach.

In a noisy, attention-deficit world, this can be the kiss of death for your marketing. It spreads your investment and activity so thinly, that you never really move the needle in terms of cut-through, awareness or customer engagement. It also has major implications for team dynamics, behavior, as well as the quality of your Go-To-Market (GTM) efforts.

What’s the alternative? The Lightning Strike strategy means that you have a concentrated burst of activity over a defined period-of-time, usually for two to three weeks in duration, with likely two of these peaks per year. This cuts through the noise of the market and truly moves the needle for your awareness, and drives clear, measurable impact on pipeline and business impact. It makes media and analysts sit up and notice you. It shows your channel partners that you are on the move and shaking up the market. It rattles your competition.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have any other marketing activities throughout the year – this is your “Rolling Thunder” where certain company news, announcements, campaigns are executed to feed the business with leads and awareness.

You can however mindfully break the Peanut Butter cycle and commit to a Lightning Strike (“Strike”) GTM Strategy. This is more than a change in tactics. It has deep implications for team-behavior and leadership:

  • The Strike drives alignment and shared purpose across the entire company. While marketing plays a large and central role, the Strike is intended to give everyone a role to play. It is not just “a marketing thing”. The Sales team must make customers show up. Channels and Alliances needs to deliver partner support. The CEO must be personally involved with the Strike and communications and execution around it. This drives alignment and shared purpose, but it also means a multiplier effect of the Strike. It means that the team, and the Strike, are viral. It means that every scrap of resources and energy across the company are being fully harnessed.
  • The CEO and top management love the Strike concept once they understand it. It creates a platform and initiative for the CEO and management team to get their arms around the entire organization. It enables top management to prioritize and challenge the team to deliver on key components of the Strike across: key products being ready; enhanced channels and alliances; key account and customer targeting; media coverage; or analyst commentary/rankings.

To fully execute your Lightning Strike, you will need to consider these critical elements and drivers:

Your “Strike” has at its heart a compelling Point-of-View (POV). This problem-led story and narrative draws your audience in with a description of a problem that is relevant to them. It’s in a conversational tone but is compelling and motivational. It then leads into the solution that is required. And then, and only then, can you mention your product and differentiation. Having a clear, compelling POV is critical to your Strike. It weaves throughout your announcements, presentations, media pitches, analyst presentations…. There’s an art and science to creating a truly great POV and you must have this asset in place for an effective, kick-butt Lightning Strike.

What is your Category strategy? Given that we are always in a Category, are you following the existing description? (not recommended). Or are you re-defining the Category? Or creating an entirely new Category? This can and should be a critical element of your POV. Tell us about the problem, the solution, and what this new Category is.

You need a “big idea” to also help drive your content and creative elements in the strike. What creative twist and set of taglines can you create? What guerilla marketing event can you stage? Is there a creative, high-impact direct mailer / item that can be delivered to your key customers or alliance partners?

Is there new data and research that can be created? This can factor throughout your promotions, presentations, and media pitches. It gives your customers and partners data that they in turn can use. Media love fresh data and will publish it in their story.

Is there a third-party event during the Strike that you can leverage? The Lightning Strike rule for this, is that if you are going to be at an event, then dominate it. Don’t just do the standard dog and pony show with a booth and speaker slot. Do something creative that dominates the event.

How will you leverage Channels and Alliances? What can they also announce during the Strike? Can you distribute joint press releases? How can budgets be combined?

How can you have analysts (either technology or industry) release an update about your organization and set of product announcements? To align this timing, you will need to pre-brief them four to five weeks in advance under NDA.

What creative media pitches will you create? How will you bundle all your announcements and new research / data for a high-impact pitch?

There are other tactical components to include, but the above illustrates how you must bundle together an intense set of content and assets to drive a truly great Strike. Companies that adopt this strategy usually run two Strikes per year. This five to six-month period means that you have some updates and tweaks to your POV, new announcements to bundle together, new channels and alliances, new customers and logos to show, and other factors that have changed over this timeframe.

As further context, the Lightning Strike is the GTM step in the broader design-thinking of Category Design.

“Politeness is the poison of collaboration.”

As you consider the Lightning Strike strategy and execution it becomes clear it is also very much about commitment and courage.

It’s the courage to have shared responsibility to deliver across the team, from the CEO, to sales, to product, to channels, to marketing. It breaks the cycle and mentality that go-to-market is always “marketing’s responsibility”.

Some members of the team may not like the visibility and commitment that the Strike brings. Members of your Sales, Marketing, Product, or Channels teams may want to go back to Peanut Butter.

The question then becomes:

In this noisy, chaotic environment, do you want a homogenized, washed out “same old, same old” approach? Or a Lightning Strike that will cut thru the noise; scare your competition; and deliver measurable results?

Do you want to aggressively position, or be positioned by the competition?

Boom! Execute your Lightning Strike and Out-Position the Competition!


The Out-Position team has experience and a track-record that you can leverage and catalyse for your category strategy and design.

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We work alongside you for this design-thinking process, from the problem clarity and category defined, to a powerful point of view.