We decided to take a different angle than usual for discussing growth strategy insights in this article. With a selection of growth hacking related graphs and visuals we want to highlight different thought leaders’ growth insights. Explore our top picks of the month:
1) Growth prism – Growth strategy requires alignment of product and marketing (and other functions)
Applying growth strategy implies holistic and growth-oriented user experiences. In order to deliver such experiences companies have to move away from classical silo org structures and have to make sure that customer facing functions (e.g. marketing, sales, and support) and product functions (e.g. product management, engineering, and analytics) work closer together.
2) River problem – Growth teams need coaches that provide direction
The quadrant in the lower left, low autonomy and low alignment, is basically a micro-management culture. Low autonomy and high alignment is characterized by leaders who tell folks what to solve, and how to solve it (for example simply instructing their team that they should “build a bridge to cross the river”). Moving to the lower right, high autonomy and low alignment means that basically everyone does what they want and leaders are helpless.
The goal is to be the upper right, high autonomy paired with high alignment, where leaders focus on identifying problems that have to be solved, but let the teams do the solving part, as well as come up with solutions. Similarly to coaches telling their team “why they have to cross the river, but not that they have to build a bridge”. With that guidance motivated growth teams collaborate and find solutions.
The only potential downside here is that there isn’t much room for standardization so you need processes that enable the sharing of knowledge and best practices. This basically creates an informal-but-natural convergence of processes and tools used. The ideal result is enough flexibility to get things done, without teams reinventing the wheel.
Spotify’s growth team definitely pays attention when it comes to developing a growth culture and structuring their growth teams.
3) Build with creativity – Growth is about connecting the dots
This insight is very important when it comes to growth strategy. Based on previous discussions above, the mere existence of knowledge and experience in silos or individuals does not suffice to solve today’s growth challenges effectively. Growth companies have to provide the right organizational ingredients that allow for new combinations of knowledge and experiences.
This means establishing an agile growth culture with cross-functional collaboration and leadership as coaches become necessary hygiene factor for creative problem solving. Since there are no copy-paste-blueprints or silver bullets when it comes to growth strategies, teams have to work closely together across functions to come up with creative solutions. To enable the creativity required to solve growth problems at scale modern tech companies usually create agile team structures and institutional mechanisms for knowledge exchange (e.g. cross-functional meetings and targets, or design thinking methods) but also foster informal growth communities and culture.
4) Speed over perfection – Make decisions once you have 70% of the data
It makes more sense once you have learned about the dominant characteristics of most digital products. One big advantage of internet and technology products is that you can easily collect real customer data, which allows you to rapidly optimize the product experience and even product-market-fit right after launch.
Additionally, compared to traditional products, technology products usually have inherent network effects, i.e. the individual value of a product increases the more customers are using it. Once these network effects kick in, they exponentially attract customers and therefore often create winner-takes-all situations, which also means high barriers to entry once a player reaches a greater size. This does not mean you cannot enter this market anymore, but you should focus on a slightly different segment than the dominant player.
Looking at the graph above you can see how WhatsApp generated tremendous growth without being necessarily the best product in the market. The one thing they did well was solving a key problem (free texts!) before others and on a global scale. Also TikTok was able to penetrate a social market that most people thought was already taken. But they were able to find their ‘social entertainment’ niche first and rigorously applied growth strategies to expand internationally.