Chapter 7: The Integration Phase of Growth Marketing

Once the execution phase is complete, we will have data and learnings to move to the next steps of the growth experiments.

The execution results will tell what what worked well and what didn’t.

What we’re looking for at this stage is to take things that worked together and ‘integrate’ them.

Integration can refer to:

  1. Integration of the experiment execution cycles within the business process
  2. Or Integration in terms of putting together a scaling process to repeat and get more results from the growth campaign further.

We will be going beyond the experiment blueprint and combining different ways to take the experiment forward. This is why I’ve called this stage ‘Integration’.

Integration, in general, is defined as the process of combining different elements in a more effective way.

The combination for us could be:

  1. Successful experiments + More manpower
  2. Successful experiments + More budgets
  3. Successful experiments + Scale with tech
  4. Successful experiments + Business processes

The exact steps in this phase would hence differ based on how we decide to Integrate the experiment. However, they would usually include the following:

  • Creating a blueprint system of the successful experiment
  • Assigning a team to study the blueprint
  • Deciding repetition frequency and budgets against ROI
  • Using tech to scale the components of the system that can be automated
  • Integrating the blueprint into your business process

Important points to note:

  • Integration includes the Scaling phase as a part of it and the new Integration phase has a scope much bigger than just scaling and automation.
  • Integration is the final stage of growth marketing.
  • Note that Analytics is not a separate phase in the process but a part of each phase. Analytics starts from Day 1 of growth marketing and continues until Integration and beyond.
  • Post Integration, you can go back to the idea bank (option 1) or go back to the research phase (option 2) if there have been major changes to the data collection.

Chapter 6: The Experimentation Phase of Growth Marketing

The next phase is the execution or experimentation phase.

The steps in the experimentation phase include:

  • Shortlisting ideas (from the Ideation phase we discussed in the previous chapter) and moving them to the experiments list
  • Defining the duration of each experiment test which will be the initial cycle of execution
  • Ranking the experiments in order of priority – usually using a framework like the ICE score to do this however, I have personally stopped using the ICE score
  • Decide a success score for each experiment that’ll help us decide if it’s successful or not
  • Execute the experiment initial cycle
  • Analyze the success score at the end of the test cycle

The Experimentation Phase is where all the hustle happens. At Mapplinks, I usually assign a team of 3 people for each execution cycle. We keep our execution cycles up to 45 days per growth marketing experiment. The team is put together based on the requirements of the experiment.

The team is also assigned so we have the right marketing, tech, copy, and analyst skills as needed. T-shaped marketers are selected based on the level of skill needed for the experiment.

The execution review happens daily and weekly.

Each week, we discuss how the OMTM is improving.

For example, here’s a screenshot from the weekly OMTM tracking for an influencer outreach campaign and the ratios we measure:

growth marketing experiment analytics
growth marketing experiment weekly analytics

During all the weekly review sessions, adjustments are made to the experiments to improve results and fine-tune the process.

It’s essential to review data often in this phase as the initial experiment cycle is the most important one to make future decisions.

As you have observed, Analytics is not a separate phase in Growth Marketing put a process that is put into practice in each phase of Growth Marketing.

In the next chapter, we will discuss the Integration Phase of Growth Marketing.

Chapter 5: The Ideation Phase of Growth Marketing

As briefly explained in Chapter 3, the steps in this ideation phase include:

  • Using the data from Phase 1 to list growth marketing ideas
  • Fetching ideas with past data available from my database of growth marketing ideas
  • Brainstorming the ideas internally and externally
  • Assigning supporting data points to each idea
  • Mapping each idea to the target growth metric

*Note that if you’re an experienced growth marketer, it’s very important to maintain a database of growth marketing ideas and to assign a score to them based on how they worked for you in the past.

Of course, the implementation will be different for new businesses or startups you work with but this will give you an idea over time how your ideas performed.

If you’re new or want to boost your growth marketing idea bank, you can get the 101 growth ideas ebook here.

Next, the supporting data points must be assigned to each idea as shown in my template below:

growth marketing ideation

As you can see in the ideation template, we have the following columns in this phase:

  1. IDEAS

The output of this phase is coming up with the first set of growth experiment ideas.

You can start with as many ideas as you like – I usually like to work with 10 ideas in the first cycle of Ideation.

The ideas are documented based on past data, channel personas, and marketing ideas.

Channel personas are characteristics of the potential new channels we can explore for growth marketing campaigns as we start thinking outside of the most popular channels.

Growth marketing is effective when we execute creative experiments on popular channels and it’s also effective when we execute regular experiments on offbeat channels.

The reasons for going beyond the popular channels are as follows:

  • The most popular channels are expensive and saturated
  • There are higher chances for successful growth hacking experiments in channels that are in the early-adopters stage
  • A channel’s effectiveness typically reduces over time
  • Offbeat and new channels are mostly cheaper than saturated ones, thus reducing investment and increasing the growth marketing ROI
  • Multiple micro-channels mapped with the Target Audience are better than a single macrochannel with no TA focus
  • It’s easier to target the right user segment with micro-channels VS paying for targeting on Facebook or other larger channels
  • A new or offbeat channel probably has loopholes that Growth Marketers can leverage compared to a mature channel

A few questions to help create the channel personas business are as follows:

  • Q1. What kind of problem would the channel solve for a similar target audience as yours?
  • Q2. What are the other interests of your target audience? Where do people with similar interests hang out online?
  • Q3. What are some of the other brands, products, or tools your audience follows on social media?
  • Q5. What are the new channels which have been trending on Google Play or the App Store for the past few weeks?
  • Q6. What are the new communities or networks on ProductHunt or BetaList?
  • Q7. Which platforms and marketplaces have recently received PR or funding?
  • Q8. Which tools or networks are review bloggers in my network also writing about?

Though this is not an exhaustive list, it’ll give you an understanding of how to come up with growth marketing experiments.

In the next chapter, we will discuss the EXPERIMENTATION phase of growth marketing.

Chapter 4: The Research Phase of Growth Marketing

As mentioned in Chapter 3,

The Research phase should give us:

  • Metrics to be focused on
  • Data from any past experiments executed on those metrics
  • Target audience and user personas
  • List of competitors with similar marketing audiences
  • Potential growth marketing channels

To understand the above, we need to go through the following steps:

  • Deep dive into the existing data to find valuable data points
  • Questionnaires with the startup founders and teams to dig for both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Collecting all the data along with observations in a growth marketing research template

The Research Phase usually starts with a questionnaire.

This is a pre-growth marketing phase that involves a questionnaire to be filled by the founder or business owner or key decision-maker.

Questions vary from business to business and are designed based on the first interaction with the business. They may be different for each business based on their requirements and where they’re currently at in their startup or business phase.

growth marketing questions

With time, experience, and lots and lots of DATA, your gut feeling guides you to ask the right questions to your clients which then leads you to the right growth experiments.

A “right” growth experiment, here, refers to one that helps you achieve the desired OMTM and is scalable either by automation or by integration. (More on this in the Integration phase chapter)

One key output of the research phase is that it gives us the OMTM we need to focus on and some clarity on what data based research can help us get there.

In Chapter 5, we will take a deeper look into the Ideation Phase of growth marketing.

Chapter 3: The Growth Marketing Process

The growth marketing process can be defined in 4 phases:

  • PHASE 1: Research Phase
  • PHASE 2: Ideation Phase
  • PHASE 3: Experimentation Phase
  • PHASE 4: Integration Phase

Key Outputs of Each Phase

The key outputs that result from each phase of growth marketing are as follows:

  • The Research phase should give us:
    • Metrics to be focused on
    • Data from any past experiments executed on those metrics
    • Target audience and user personas
    • List of competitors with similar marketing audiences
    • Potential growth marketing channels
  • The Ideation phase should give us:
    • List of ideas for growth marketing experiments
    • Some ranking for prioritization of ideas (one popular framework for doing this is called the ICE framework)
    • List of channels and tools needed for the execution of the potential ideas
    • Feedback of key stakeholders on the growth marketing ideas
    • Final shortlist of the idea(s) to be executed
  • The Experimentation phase should give us:
    • Data from the executed experiments
    • List of learnings from experiments
    • A set of useful resources that can be used in future
    • Final shortlist of experiments that can be scaled or integrated as a process
  • The Integration phase should give us:
    • Scaled experiments that lead to compound growth results for the key metrics
    • Workflow integration of the experiments as a process into the startup or business for long-term results for growth.

Those 4 phases, repeated again and again, is what makes companies grow.