Experiment-driven marketing & growth

About The Author

Ahmad Iqbal

Ahmad Iqbal

Co-founder and Product/Marketing at Shop Phone. Growth consultant. Every now and again I write about the small business advantage.

What is Growth Marketing?

You can call it Agile Marketing, Growth Marketing, Growth Hacking, or just Marketing. It doesn't matter what it's labeled, what matters is it's an experiment-driven growth framework for retailers. The framework has been developed by HMS., in house, over the past five years, through trial and error, and remixing ideas and other frameworks developed by digital marketers, entrepreneurs, agile practitioners, growth hackers, and emergent unicorn tech companies like AirBnB, Facebook, Twitter and Dropbox.

We at How Many Steps have taken the time to remix these several fields into one application; applying these ideas for Retail Entrepreneurs and marketers. Because at the end of the day, it's the marketing side of the Product-Marketing retail equation that is hardest to solve and scale for most of us.

Introducing the Growth Marketing Concepts

The Growth Marketing framework can be summed up with a simple four phase process illustrated by the Growth Marketing Lifecycle diagram below.

  1. Goal Orientation (1 week)
  2. Hypothesis & Ideation (2 weeks)
  3. Execution & Test (~10 weeks comprised of 1 week sprint cadence)
  4. Optimize (TBD)

1. Goal Orientation

As any plan should start, we begin by identifying the objectives of the retailer. More traffic? Greater average order values? Retention or referrals? More inbound phone calls? All of the above? There are key activities in this phase we need to accomplish, such as visualizing your existing funnel, deep-diving into your analytics, site traffic and engagement, as well as sales data and customer segmentation. Only after doing these things can we be confident that our goals are the right goals. We don't want to be guessing or "shooting from the hip" here because the rest of the Growth Marketing depends on us identifying the correct goals. The outcomes of this phase include:

  • Developed 1-page marketing plan
  • Visualize the gap between current state and future state
  • Identifying goals
  • Alignment of the team on what metrics we want to move the needle on
  • Framework training

2. Hypothesis & Ideation

After this, the next steps is to brainstorm ideas (Growth Stories) based on our collective experiences about what might drive our growth objectives. Each Growth Story is actually an experiment. For traffic, a partnership with a blog in our niche, investing in SEO, digital ads, or even smaller images for faster load times? There are countless number of experiments we can launch for inching us closer to our targets, so we list them at this point and prioritize them using the ICE scoring method. Here is an outline of some of the outcomes of this phase:

  • Visualize the customer journey via Funnel Mapping
  • Defined MVEs (Minimum Viable Experiments)
  • Prioritized backlog of MVEs/Growth Stories

3. Execution & Testing

Once we've spent several days in ideation, we organize ourselves into a weekly or bi-weekly Sprint cadence in which we execute on our top of the list Growth Stories. Not only must we execute but we also test and track each campaign to see if it carries a pulse and can help us towards the end goal. Not every experiment will work out, and it should be expected that the majority of them will not work, but that is the beauty of the GMLC. We only need one home-run to make it all worth while, and the most chances at bat (launched experiments) we give ourselves, the more chances we have at finding that home-run campaign.

  • Launched experiments
  • Live tracking of experiments
  • Re-prioritization of experiments

4. Optimize

What happens when we find campaigns with a pulse? Well, we move over to the Optimization phase of the lifecycle. The objective in this phase is to become more efficient and cost-effective at running this winning campaign. Perhaps we find a Facebook advertising campaign that drives consistent sales, but is very expensive to run. Well, in this phase the job then shifts from experimenting, to focusing on profitability.

  • After several campaigns are live, team will evaluate overall results and new opportunities
  • Focus on retention and end of funnel campaigns
  • Backlog of campaign optimizations for "home-run" campaigns

Hiring HMS. to help

Starting and hitting a stride in Growth Marketing can take a while to get right. It's entirely possible to do it yourself, and downloading our step-by-step Growth Marketing guide for retails will certain help. However, if your organization lacks a marketing team, and the required training in the field, it's recommended you hire some outside help to get your started and going. At HMS. we offer packages to work with you and your team, one-on-one, to make sure you've built a Growth Marketing capability inside your organization. Get in touch and we can get started.

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