To make the right choices in this complex and uncertain world, we need to recognise the world as it is, to the best of our ability. No matter what the field of work is, in most situations, there is no single big solution for all the problems that we face. Life and business are more complex than that. To create end-user value and business growth, we need to embrace different perspectives and to question as well as verify our assumptions. We need to create understanding through systematic analysis of empirical observations and data.
Utilising the full talents of the people in the organisation
In the day-to-day of growth team operation, you realise very quickly how differently different people think. Every competence has its somewhat “own” way of looking at problems. These differences are only natural since typically our work roles are specialised, and follow a certain set of routines and practices. Reducing ourselves to our job descriptions can work in some environments, but it is not enough in a growth hacking process. In a growth hacking process, the whole talent of the person matters.
However, it’s not only the thinking of the growth team that is important. Every person from customer service to the CEO has their unique vision and touch points to the business and customers. In fact, because customer service people are talking with customers every day, they might have a more realistic picture of the customers than the executives, for example. Thus, a well functioning growth hacking process draws power not only from the growth team members but also from the full set of talents of every person in the organisation. Utilising the full talents of all the people participating in the process is what it is all about.
In this world, there are few, if any, predetermined universal truths
Here are our five main takeaways from running the growth hacking process:
1. You need the right mindset in the growth team and organisation-wide.
A growth hacker knows that there are few, if any, predetermined universal truths. When it comes to creating value for customers, you need to learn by researching and testing. That is why the growth hacker knows that even though martech technologies, hacks and tips and expert opinions are sold with promises of delivering value, you can’t trust those promises.
A growth hacking mindset requires a fair amount of critical thinking capabilities and understanding, that when optimising multi-channel user experiences, the problems are more complex than in simple conversion optimisation. It is paramount to recognise the types of problems you are dealing with to understand what kind of solutions are viable for them. Sometimes machine learning might do the trick, in many cases, it won’t. On a strategic level, the potential solutions and ideas for solving these problems should always have an answer to both of these areas:
A. How do we create value?
B. How do we create growth?
Growth hackers aren’t obsessed with technology, tools or perfect systems. Growth hackers are obsessed with the customers.
People in the growth team need to have the skills that open up the whole customer journey to experimentation
2. You need to have the right people on the growth team.
The composition of a growth team reflects what kinds of problems it is dealing with. There can be lots of variation in the team’s composition, and it can evolve if the team jumps to new assignments. Our experience suggests that a growth team focusing on customer experience and retention requires: a growth manager, front-end developer, product person, designer, data analyst, web analyst and a marketing automation specialist. All of these roles are pretty self-explanatory except the “growth manager”.
Growth manager is a key role in the growth hacking process. She/he has the ownership of the growth hacking process. It is the growth manager’s job to continuously iterate the growth hacking process to make it run as well as possible. The growth manager also has an important role in spreading the growth hacking mindset across the organisation, and in getting people to participate in the growth hacking process. That’s why it is good if the growth manager is well connected and liked within the organisation. It is also advisable having the growth manager reporting straight to the highest levels of the organisation to get the mandate to work in full gear.
People in the growth team need to have the skills that preferably open up the whole customer journey to research and experimentation. That’s why it is necessary to have different competencies in the team. However, the results of a growth team rely heavily on how well the growth team understands the customer and the business. We recommend that from the inception of the growth team, there would be product people in the team who have insight about the customers and a strong understanding of the service. These preconceptions can then be verified and improved by experimentation as the growth team gets going. It is also very important to ensure that the hypothesis generation and experimentation, is done under the watchful eye of a data scientist. This way, the growth team can generate actual learning from the start.
The pressure to create, nominate, implement and analyse ideas and results based on a certain tempo is what creates the growth hacking competence.
3. You need to set up the tempo and a solid growth meeting practice.
Testing tempo and a solid growth meeting practice are super important for a successful growth hacking process. The pressure to create, nominate, implement and analyse ideas and results, based on a certain tempo, is what creates the growth hacking competence. Indeed, the growth team becomes better in its job every passing sprint. Growth meeting is the place where the growth team members discuss, pitch and analyse ideas and results of the current and previous sprint.
Our experience suggests that if the growth manager runs a tight ship, weekly sprints and 1-hour weekly growth meeting with all the members of the growth team present is enough to keep everyone on board. In this meeting, the purpose is to go through the KPI’s, a/b-test results, objective progress, key learnings, nomination of ideas and general discussion. This type of operation model takes it for granted that the growth team members communicate outside the growth meetings and that these growth meetings occur inside a system that nurtures the growth hacking process.
You need to have a testing management platform
4. You need to have a system that nurtures the growth hacking process.
When the whole organisation can participate in the growth hacking process, you will start scaling learning. For this, you need to have a testing management platform.
“Another tool? But we already have Jira!”.
Due to the dynamic nature of the growth hacking process, you need to have a system that lets you focus on learning through research and experimentation. The growth team can’t afford to spend any time struggling with stiff systems that aren’t created exactly to support the growth hacking process. You will need to have a zero friction way to let anyone in the organisation create ideas, like ideas, comment ideas and learn from the growth hacking process. Creating this kind of system where a customer support employee can challenge and improve the ideas of the CEO may sound utopian, but it is what the growth hacking process, obsessed about the customer and nurtured with good system, leads to. For the testing management platform, we recommend “Projects” from growthhackers.com. There are also other testing management tools out there, tailored to nurture the growth hacking process such as “effective experiments” and the Finnish “Viima”.
It’s not enough that we’re able to optimise on scale if the question “Why?” is missing.
5. Define your north star metric and make it available for the team since the day-one
Setting up the required technical solutions and testing platforms for the growth team are only matter of resourcing time and money. Once the team starts to investigate data they usually pretty quickly spot low hanging fruits and start discovering the weak points regarding e.g. retention. By utilising this data insight, analytical algorithms and technology capabilities, the team is able to target messages with high precision and make quick experiments.
For a growth hacker, this is just the start.
We have noticed that it is easy to get lost in growth and forget to pursue what creates value further. It’s not enough that we’re able to optimise on scale if the question “Why?” is missing.
“If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what the quality is.”
– Eric Ries, the Lean Startup
Define the North Star metric that measures your growth and indicates whether you’re creating value or not. Make sure you’re able to track and measure your key metric from day one.
In our next “Future” blog post, we’ll present the future from growth hacking perspective.
Read part 1 here
Growth Hacker at Avaus
Growth Hacker at Avaus