5 Simple Steps for Growth Hacking Your Business
25th September 2016
Enterprise Lean Startup | Growth | Innovation | Agile Coach
Founder of Lean Advantage
Growth Hacking is becoming a definitive trend of the year, with meetups and conferences spreading around the world on this topic. Though it sounds like a set of tricks and hacks to grow your product, effective Growth Hacking is rather a process of hypothesis, experiment, measurement and learning, performed by a team of growth focused product managers and marketers together. My favourite video on explaining the definition of growth hacking is this one. Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor’s quick guide to growth hacking is another excellent resource.
In my work as an agile product development coach, the growth engine is unfortunately broken in two groups in most companies. While there are cross-functional teams building the next growth-enabling features in your products and they look brilliant on an agile product roadmap, the marketing team is often working in isolation, based on a marketing strategy developed and executed alone.
It’s time to bring all these talents — product people, UX, data analysts and marketers — all together. It’s time to replace the product roadmap with a growth roadmap. Or at least, a business roadmap. Something like this:
The growth roadmap not only revolves around next new shiny features any more but includes all business activities required to build-measure-learn and grow. First an foremost, you are not trying to grow everything in your business at the same time, but you align your teams and agree on the most important thing to fix right now. Thanks to Roman Pichler for introducing the basis of this idea, the notion of a goal-oriented roadmap (Go Roadmap).
So what goals should you focus on?
Understanding your user conversion funnel is at the heart of your growth opportunity. Increasing levels of user engagement with your product range from aquired visitor, engaged activated user, return user, users referring others and ultimately, revenue. The pirate metrics — apparently, a pirate says ‘AARRR’ — first coined by Dave McLure, 500 startup’s founder and VC, summarise this funnel idea (see headline picture).
One mistake I often see product teams do is to focus on growth in this order AARRR. The arrow shows the user’s journey of engagement with your product, whereas the actions product teams need to take to grow engaged returning users are best followed in a different order. The RARAR model typically works best — let me name this to tiger growth — i.e. focusing first on retention of a few pilot users, enthusiasts, then moving on to simplifying and automating the activation process, eventually banking referrals from these users, and if all this loop is working, starting to focus on growth — acquisition and revenue.
So assuming you agree to follow the tiger model for growth (just invented!) these should be the key milestones you would like to achieve and therefore are the goals on your roadmap. Regularly, your marketing and product team should come together and review your user’s engagement data with your product. You should always focus on the weakest links on your user conversion funnel that blocks you from achieving your goal.
Eg. the last month your focus was to hit your competitor’s benchmark in user activation. You have worked hard to make the first buying experience easier and automated for your users. Your weakest link has been the shopping cart check-out experience that you were aiming to improve. Your team is now reviewing the user data trends and analysing if all these efforts have made a difference. Growth roadmap meetings are great for this. The past period’s (week, month or quarter) experiment outcomes are evaluated together. Data on marketing actions, new live product features, A/B tests are analysed. The team decides how user behaviour changed and what it means in terms of where they should focus next. They collectively define and adjust the next period’s goals, define some starter assumptions, experiments and publish all this as a communication tool on their growth roadmap.
So, here are 5 practical steps for a great growth roadmap meeting:
- Review last period’s roadmap goal, assumptions, experiment outcomes. Summarise learnings and insights from experiments
- Decide if there is still work to be done on the same goal, i.e. activation for the next period.
- Look at our detailed user conversion funnel and define our next weakest link of user disengagement/churn. Decide this area as next focus goal.
- Collectively with marketers, UX and product managers, define our assumptions, experiments and metrics to measure pass/fail.
- Publish the updated roadmap to the whole organisation
The growth roadmap meeting can be a great way to bring your marketing, data analyst, UX and product teams together. To really focus on business growth rather than feature growth. To avoid getting into the build trap. To get into a fast cycle of growth-oriented learning and build-measure-learn experiments. Lastly, to enjoy innovating and growing your business as a team.
Enjoy your go at the growth roadmap and growth meetings and let me know how it goes!
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