Outcome-Driven Growth Marketing

5 ways we learnt to grow faster by thinking slower

Experimentation is the defining virtue of Growth Marketing.

From “Hacking Growth” by Ellis and Brown

“The results came 100 percent from running cycle after cycle of growth hacking process as fast as we could, learning what worked and then doubling down on those winning tests to drive even more growth. “
— Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown

But fixation on experiment velocity alone can be dangerous

1. The Slowest Growth Comes From Wasted Growth Experiments

My Junkyard of Wasted Experiments. Image Credit

Avoid waste, plan slowly

When our startups have an expiring runway, the one thing we cannot afford, is to waste an experiment.

So what we learnt was to slow down and put the time into proper experiment design, so that we don’t waste time on experiments that deliver no useful learning.

Example experiment plan with description of hypothesis, method and variables

Learning: Always consider the total cost of a wasted experiment

2. Beware The Under-Funded Experiment

Under-funding an experiment be like: (credit)

Learning: Think about “Time to Good Data”

Specify the resources, time and especially budget that the experiment needs to succeed.

If the organic audience does not provide enough users to get a meaningful result in time, or if the burn rate of a slow experiment costs more than buying the audience quickly, then it is better to write the check to Facebook and be done with it.

Yes, this is basic stuff so far.

Think slower to go faster

  1. System 1 is our “Fast” brain,
    which quickly makes judgements based on intuition and other instincts. It can help us with fast decisions and reactions, but is susceptible to bias, and can mislead us when used to make certain decisions
  2. System 2 is our “Slow” brain.
    It allows us to carefully analyze, interpret and decide. With practice and effort we can make better decisions, but it takes much more effort, and is tiring mental work in practice.

3. Avoid Unsurprising Experiments

Err, yeah. I guess that was kinda obvious. (Credit)
For each possible outcome, consider why it could have happened, what the drivers were.

How to Pre-Mortem Your Experiment Outcomes

  • For each variable, consider what would it take for the variable to have “won?” What would the measure or signal be?
  • Now fix in your brain the idea that outcome HAS happened. Don’t try to debate whether or not it did, convince yourself for a moment that the outcome did happen.
  • Now ask yourself: Why did it happen?
    What are the plausible reasons why that outcome occurred?
  • Now consider: What does that tell you about this experiment?
    Is it something obvious and unsurprising? If so, do you still need to run the experiment?
  • Does this raise bigger questions about the design of the experiment, and in fact should you change or even skip the experiment?

4. Skip Underwhelming Experiments Completely

When you wanted 10X but you got 10% (Credit)

Any experiment that delivers 10% when you needed 10X is a wasted opportunity, and slow growth.

Challenge yourself to put a number to the target for each variable to win.

Learning: Estimate Maximum Upside Potential

5. Model The Outcomes And Actions

Oh yeah? Really?! And then what?

If this experiment created X result, what would we do then?

  • A few days of product design to change the UI
  • A two-week sprint cycle to develop and release the software
  • 5 figures of media spend to get enough audience exposed to the test
  • At least 10 days of experiment duration to give time for results to mature

So if there is only one viable winner, there is no need to run the experiment at all!

Adding “Next Action” to canvas to consider what we would do next if outcome occurred.

Conclusion: Thinking slow and growing fast

Do not focus on experiment velocity without equal focus on experiment quality.

  • The fastest experiment velocity comes from completely skipping predictable or underwhelming experiments altogether.
  • Upfront, slow, brain-taxing consideration of the outcomes and responses to experiment significantly increases the impact of growth experiments that we choose to run
  • Committing to ONLY running high-outcome experiments and THEN increasing the velocity of experimentation can deliver outsized growth returns for your business.

Thinking carefully about the outcome is the key.

Example experiment canvas. Click here to try it yourself.



Chief Marketing Officer @ Bryte | Market Creation for Tech Premium brands | @guesto

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Chris Guest

Chief Marketing Officer @ Bryte | Market Creation for Tech Premium brands | @guesto