Growth marketing is all about incorporating design thinking into the marketing realm.
It's a simple framework to help you accelerate growth in a structured way through agile thinking and creating shorter feedback loops in your marketing efforts.
This is exactly how the fastest growing companies around the world like Nike, HubSpot, Airbnb, Uber, and more continue to grow, month on month.
Best part? It can be used by any company. No matter the size or resources.
Today you'll learn exactly how to apply this mindset and grow the business even faster.
Growth marketing is built on the lean start-up foundations:
Build: This is done through creating and launching a marketing experiment without clear outcomes you want to achieve.
Measure: Then we measure how well the experiment went compared to what our goals for that experiment were.
Learn: Finally, we review what went well, and what can be learned to ensure the next experiment will be even better.
Ready to jump into the the foundations?
Experiments Over Activities 🧪
One important change we're making is swapping the wording of marketing activities to marketing experiments.
Marketers have an unfair amount of pressure put on them, usually by managers who don't understand that you really can't know what results you'll achieve until you give it a go.
Talking to my group of Facebook ad specialists who have launched a collective $200m+ in Facebook ads, they usually find that 1 in every 10 ad campaigns are successful and can scale.
They're some of the best in the world, and they have a 10% success rate.
And I've also talked to managers before who expect every ad campaign to be successful.
So, we use the term 'experiments' because all we can ever really do is launch what we think will work, and test to see if it does.
I.C.E. I.C.E. Baby 🧊
Okay, while we all have that song stuck in our heads, how does this relate to growth marketing?
Once you come up with a list of experiments, you need to quickly figure out how effective each experiment will be.
We do that by giving each experiment a score on the main three factors which make up the acronym I.C.E. - impact, confidence, and ease.
Each of these will be rated out of five. Five being the best, one being the lowest.
Impact - How much value is this going to add to that North Star metric you're attempting to improve?
Confidence - How confident are you that by launching the experiment, you'll be able to achieve the impact above?
Ease - How easy will this be to launch?
These numbers are used to help you quickly gauge which experiment you should launch next. You take the average of all these numbers, and you end up with an I.C.E. score!
Then you prioritise the experiments for deployment in order of highest score to lowest.
Growth Marketing In Practice🌱
Okay, now we know the foundations, let's put it all together!
Here's typically how this would look at an innovative company.
1. Create Some Experiments 🧪
First, you need to create a list of experiments!
An experiment is anything that requires some time, effort, and could potentially help you achieve a defined goal.
You probably already have a few ideas you want to try next.
Usually, marketers will keep these either in their heads or in some sort of to-do list style backlog.
Examples of ideas could be:
A/b test the headline of the next email marketing campaign
Try Linkedin ads and see how they compare to Facebook
Launch a blog
Hire an influencer for our influencer marketing campaign
Redo our local SEO
Set up a remarketing campaign for the new sale
Test a new look-a-like audience of purchases for Facebook
Revamp the onboarding flow
Test a new price
2. Move them into a shared backlog 💡
Start by creating a shared board that everyone can add their ideas too.
We use Notion to capture our team-wide backlog of experiments.
If you want to use the template above, click here, and simply duplicate the page 😍
As you can see, on the right we have the 'no status' board. This is where everyone will put their ideas.
We always encourage our wider team to submit ideas since they will have a way of looking at the same problems with a different view and can come up with ideas we can't!
Customer service reps will be talking to the customers daily, so might know things about our customers we don't know yet.
Salespeople are always trying to pitch to customers, so they'll have ideas on what customers are responding to.
When you add the idea, it's crucial to have a title, and a rough version of this in the description:
Problem — The idea or something we've seen that motivates us to work on this
Solution — What we think this could look like, use images and screenshots if you can
Success — If this works, what does success look like?
3. Pitch the experiments🎉
Once a week, or once a fortnight, depending on your speed, you get together with the team to vote!
Whoever wants to pitch their idea from the backlog can.
Pitching needs to be as concise as possible, best under 2-minutes, keeping as close to the problem, solution, and success points you outlined in the card.
If you can, have one person read all the pitches, this removes any bias and ensures that each pitch needs to have a clear problem, solution, and goal.
By allowing people to read their own pitches, you potentially allow opinions to be skewed. You'll notice that CEO's tend to get more votes, even if their ideas aren't as good, for example.
The goal of this is to get the best ideas onto the next phase, not the best-presented ideas.
Give everyone 2 minutes to ask questions before the voting begins.
4. Begin the voting 👍
Once you've read the first pitch, you vote before moving onto to the next pitch.
Just like a giant game of paper scissors rock, you all shake your hand twice, and at the same time, on the third count, you present your number, between one and five.
Start with impact.
You take the average of all the numbers, rounding up for ease and simplicity, and add that score to the card.
On the Notion board above, the impact is represented by 🚀, confidence by ⚡, and effort by 🥱.
Work your way through all the pitches, and then order them by the highest cumulative score.
As you can see, on the board, writing this post had a score of 11!
Whereas giving free pizza to everyone only had a score of 6 :(
Hence why you have this post instead of delicious pizza. 🍕
Running The Experiment 🔬
Okay, now you have a prioritised list of experiments to run next week, how do you best work on it?
Thanks to our own awesomeness, with each experiment, you already know the problem we're trying to solve, the solution, and the result you're trying to achieve.
Now simply fill out an experiment sheet for the experiments you're going to run next week.
An experiment sheet is made up:
The experiment's name
The start and end date
The overall goal
The metric you're going to use to measure the goal
What the metric needs to be for this to be a success
What the metric needs to be for this to be a failed experiment
Adding these extra pieces of the puzzle helps you understand what exactly you're trying to achieve before you start and will help you build a database of lessons.
Spending 2-minutes upfront will save you hours down the road.
Below is an example of an experiment we ran recently.
And below are the four experiments we launched this week to grow smarter.
The point of this experiment sheet is to:
Know whether the experiment succeeded or failed.
Make the riskiest assumption super clear.
Time-box ourselves, so we know when we need to measure whether the experiment worked.
In the example above, we have achieved success if we reduced our cost-per-acquisition of ads by 20%. If we do, we can proceed!
If our CPA doesn't change at all, we've failed, and we should try something else.
And finally, if we get a result between 20% and 0%, we know that we're onto something, but it's not quite getting the traction we need so we are going to optimise until we are in the green!
That's All Folks! 🥕
With just a few structures and adjustments, we're now super aligned on what we're doing, we know what success and failure look like, and we know what to do if whatever the outcome is.
We've also aligned everything with our north star metric (the most important metric for your business), so the whole team is now pointing in the same direction.
And most important of all, we're tracking it all.
Whether you wanted to improve the results you're delivering, align the team, get buy-in, get more resources for your team, or even get a promotion, hopefully, you can see how doing the above will help you do that!
Next Steps ⚡
If you want even more amazing resources, we're building out a bunch of free experiment ideas and guides that you can check out to get inspired and take your team further, faster.
We also have the the Marketing Jam which you can run yourself for free! This will align your team and create a clear road-map of experiments & action items you can deploy to double your growth rate over the next month. 🚀