Growth Marketing

Experiments: The backbone of Growth Marketing

The word growth marketing is gaining a lot of popularity these days. It’s like a cool buzzword around the startup industry.

The term was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010. This term emerged when companies like Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, etc. didn’t follow the conventional way of scaling and skyrocketed their growth. They didn’t only grow their customers but also generated millions in revenue.

There are two main differences in what these companies did which others failed to do.

Firstly, all the other companies focused more on the top of the funnel, i.e. the awareness and acquisition stage whereas these fast-growing companies focused on the whole funnel, i.e. awareness, acquisition, activation, revenue, retention, and referral (A3R3 model)

Secondly, these fast-growing companies focused more on small experiments. Their marketing was more data-driven marketing, whereas other companies’ marketing was more of intuition-based.

Traditional Marketing is like putting all of your chips (capital and human resource) in a single game, whereas Growth Marketing is like playing slowly and gradually and observing which strategy is giving us desired results.

Growth Marketing is considered to be only for high traffic websites as they require more capital and human resource. Which is wrong.

Check out some growth strategies which you could implement for free.

What is the experimentation process?

The whole process of

  1. Setting a high impact goal.
  2. Execution of the goal.
  3. Analyzing the result.
  4. Scaling the experiment.

is called experimentation.

We’ll now discuss each of them in detail.

STEP 1: Setting a high impact GOAL

Choosing the correct high impacting goal for your company is very important. It is the make or breakpoint in the whole process. While deciding a goal one should keep two points in their mind

  • The goal should be very specific
  • It should include all people in the company (depends upon the size of the company. If there is a large organization, they should have one person from each team)

The points mentioned above reduces the confusion within the teams and help the organization to achieve the goal they’ve set

After selecting the goal, the whole company should brainstorm and come up with ideas for achieving the goal. As the entire organization is involved insights from different spectra come in. People from different teams understand what problems others are facing and hence come up with an overall acceptable solution.

A good example of a high impact goal could be increasing customer retention by 10%

The next step is the execution of the experiment.

STEP 2: Execution

Once, we’ve set a high impact goal, and have brainstormed various ideas around it; One needs to see which ideas could be executed right away, which would need a lot of human power and resources. This could be done with the help of the ICE framework. This framework was developed by Sean Ellis and with a small update, the new framework TICE is much more accurate in determining which idea should be given more importance.

The ICE framework is:-




The TICE framework is:-





Here, ‘impact’ caters to the percentage of customers this idea would influence. Whether we would be running this idea on everyone or only on a specific set of customers. Then we look over how confident we are in this idea. Efforts account for the human powers and capital needed. Lastly, I would like to add the factor time in it as we should also consider the time required for this experiment to be executed.

We need to give ‘time’ particular importance. There could be an idea that has a high impact, and all the team is highly confident that the concept would help achieve the objective. Still, it requires 1 month for execution. In contrast, another idea may have some less impact. Yet, it could be executed in a day with minimal efforts and should be given a higher priority.

A good practice I used to follow with my team was each person in the meeting rated every idea, and then the average score was calculated. Finally, each member of the team would have to choose 2 ideas in which at least one should be someone else’s idea.

Even though the objective would be the same for everyone but every team would be given a specific task to perform. There should be someone from each team solely responsible for measuring and handling the specific idea selected for their team.

After choosing the ideas, one should specially design the experiment very carefully.

Once we’ve designed the experiment, now is the time to put it into action and analyze the results.

STEP 3: Analyzing the Result

You’re done with the hard work and now is the time for analyzing the results. The process depends differently on different channels used. There are various free and paid software for analyzing social media and search engine experiments. Google Analytics could be used for seeing how your Google Ads is performing and Softwares like HootSuite or Buffer could be used for analyzing one’s social media platforms.

If we running an email campaign, MailChimp could be used for analyzing how your email has performed. Hotjar could be used for getting the heatmap for your website.

Analyzing the results and moving ahead with the help of data makes a growth marketer different from any traditional digital marketer. A growth marketer should know how to work and play with data.

“Half of the money is generally wasted in marketing, you never know which half” John, CXL Institute tutor, ex-Lyft

But in this data-driven world, it’s always best to know where we went wrong and what things shouldn’t be done in our future campaigns.

STEP 4: Scaling the Experiment

Once we’ve analyzed the result and found it to be a success; Success could be in the way that there is an increase in people buying your product or people are talking more about your product, then you automate it. Automation is an overlooked but essential part of the process. Because everything you automate means that the value that you just delivered to the business, says that incremental 5% in revenue, doesn’t need to be maintained by a person. You don’t need to waste your human resource on sending an email every week. It frees the person involved in doing this redundant work. It utilizes them more in an important task such as brainstorming.

Let’s take an example of a grocery delivery company to understand the whole process

Goal: Increasing customer retention by 10%

The marketer in this scenario chooses email marketing for increasing retention for his customers. Here’s a short article on how to optimize your email campaigns for more clicks.

A normal marketer would just send out a few emails mentioning the features of the product, with a good subject line, and hope it succeeds. Let’s assume that it does increase the number of orders or the time spent by the customer on the application. The question is, how do we know that people actually liked the product and didn’t just use it because they were feeling bored or maybe because it rained and they were feeling lazy. This is where the testing comes in. Growth Marketer would do an A/B testing. They would design a proper email with a hypothesis, dependent and independent variables, and send it out to a specific set of audience. Then they’ll measure the increase in orders to the people whom the email was sent in comparison to people the email wasn’t sent. Rather than having some random email sent throughout the course, a growth marketer would experiment with 8–10 different types of emails, with topics like “Save 20% on your grocery” and “Save 1 hr per week”. They would see how the customer reacts to the different subject lines and then focus their future experiments accordingly. If they’re able to increase retention by 10%, then they would automate the email sending process. You could also run this campaign along with your Facebook ad campaign and reach out to your potential transactional customer more.

Secret Tip: The number of email open rates largely depends a lot on your subject line and pre-text. You could try selecting the headlines for your emails by observing the headlines of your good performing ads.

Hey, I am Shreyansh Goel, a growth hacker by profession and entrepreneur by heart. Connect with me on LinkedIn —