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BUILDING A GROWTH MACHINE
THE METHOD BEHIND THE MACHINE
!
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
WANT TO KNOW THE #1 QUESTION I’M
ASKED ABOUT GROWTH?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
WHAT TACTIC WOULD YOU USE TO GROW
MY COMPANY?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
4
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
ONE…
TIP…
SECRET…
HACK…
TACTIC…
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
THE ANSWER TO…
IS NOT WHAT MOST THINK IT IS
WHAT TACTIC WOULD YOU USE TO GROW
MY COMPANY?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TACTICS
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH PROCESS
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
PROCESS?!?!?!
WHAT CAN BE SO SPECIAL ABOUT PROCESS?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
4 REASONS TO FOCUS ON
PROCESS FIRST, TACTICS SECOND
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
12
1. WHAT WORKS FOR OTHERS, WON’T
WORK FOR YOU
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
YOUR AUDIENCE IS DIFFERENT
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
YOUR PRODUCT IS DIFFERENT
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
YOUR BUSINESS MODEL IS DIFFERENT
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
YOUR BUSINESS IS DIFFERENT
PLAIN AND SIMPLE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
18
2. GROWTH = SUM(1, 2, 3, 4….X)
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
What happened here?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
20
SILVER BULLETS DON’T EXIST
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
21
3. RATE OF CHANGE IS ACCELERATING
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
SEO No Keyword Data, Author Rank, Content
Freshness, Social Shares, Search Result Format
DISPLAY RTB, No Cookies, Mobile
EMAIL Tabbed Inboxes, Inbox Actions, Unsubscribe,
Mobile
FACEBOOK
Newsfeed Ads (4 formats), Video Ads,
Optimized CPM, CTA Format, Custom Audiences,
etc, etc
CHART CREDIT: JAMES CURRIER
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
24
4. YOU NEED A MACHINE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
A MACHINE IS…
1
2 PREDICTABLE
SCALABLE
3 REPEATABLE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
THE MACHINE PRODUCES THE TACTICS
THE PROCESS MAKES THE MACHINE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
SO LET’S SEE THE PROCESS…
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
THE GOALS OF THE PROCESS
1 RHYTHM
Momentum is powerful. Establish a cadence to fight
through failures, get to successes, and find
momentum
2 LEARNING Constant learning of our customer, product, channels
and feeding that learning into the process to improve.
3 AUTONOMY Individuals decide what they work on to achieve the
team goals.
4 ACCOUNTABILITY
With autonomy, comes accountability. You
don’t have to be right all the time, but there
is an expectation to improve.
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
THE FIRST STEP: KNOW WHERE
WE ARE GOING
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
HOW WE SET GOALS
OBJECTIVE: Qualitative statement
!
TIMEFRAME: 30 - 90 Days
!
KR1: Measurable Goal 1 (Hit 90% Of Time)
KR2: Measurable Goal 2 (Hit 50% Of Time)
KR3: Measurable Goal 3 (Hit 10% Of Time)
!
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
ONCE WE KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING WE
HIT THE ROAD AS FAST AS POSSIBLE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
6. Systemize
(Playbooks)
1. Brainstorm
(Backlog)
2. Prioritize
(Experiment Doc + Backlog)
3. Test
(Experiment Doc)
4. Implement
5. Analyze
(Experiment Doc)
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
FOUR KEY DOCUMENTS
1 BACKLOG The backlog of experiment ideas.
2 PIPELINE Experiments that were ran or are currently running
and the highlights of their results.
3 EXPERIMENT DOC Objective, Hypothesis, Experiment Design,
Results, Analysis, and Learnings
4 PLAYBOOKS Step by step guides for successful
experiments that should be repeated.
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM
BRAINSTORM ON THE INPUTS
NOT THE OUTPUTS…
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM
ACTIVATION RATE = STEP 1 CONV * STEP 2 CONV * STEP 3 CONV
IF WE WANT TO
IMPROVE THIS
WE BRAINSTORM ON THESE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
4 WAYS TO GENERATE GROWTH IDEAS
(Read The Innovators Solution)
1 OBSERVE How are others doing it? Look outside of your
immediate product space. Walk through together.
2 QUESTION Question brainstorming. Why? What is… What if…
What about… How do we do more of…
3 ASSOCIATE Connect the dots between unrelated things. i.e What
if our activation process was like closing a deal?
4 NETWORK Growth mastermind groups. Build your network of
growth people. I’m on the phone every day for ideas
STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM
CREATE A BACKLOG
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE
1
2 IMPACT
PROBABILITY
3 RESOURCES	
LOW - 20%, MEDIUM - 50%, HIGH - 80%
Comes from your hypothesis. Take into account
long lasting effects vs one hit wonders.
Marketing, Design, Engineering
1 Hour, 1/2 Day, 1 Day, 1 Week
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE
CREATING A HYPOTHESIS
IF SUCCESSFUL, [VARIABLE] WILL
INCREASE BY [IMPACT], BECAUSE
[ASSUMPTIONS].
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE
JUSTIFYING YOUR ASSUMPTIONS
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
1
2 QUALITATIVE
QUANTITATIVE
3 SECONDARY	
Previous Experiments, Surrounding Data,
Funnel Data
Surveys, Support Emails, User Testing
Recordings
Networking, Blogs, Competitor Observation,
Case Studies
STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE
CREATE EXPERIMENT DOC
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP THREE: TEST
WHAT IS THE MVT
(MINIMUM VIABLE TEST)
TO UNDERSTAND OUR HYPOTHESIS?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP THREE: TEST
WRITE THE EXPERIMENT DESIGN IN EXPERIMENT DOC
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP FOUR: IMPLEMENT
GET SHIT DONE
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP FIVE: ANALYZE
1
2 ACCURACY
IMPACT
3 WHY?	
How close to your hypothesis?
The most important question you can ask. Why did
you see the result that you did?
What were the results of the experiment?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP FIVE: ANALYZE
LEARNINGS + ACTION ITEMS IN EXPERIMENT DOC
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
STEP SIX: SYSTEMIZE
1 PRODUCTIZE Productize as much as you can with technology
and engineering.
2 PLAYBOOKS For the things you can’t productize, build into step
by step playbooks to make them repeatable.
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
6. Systemize
(Playbooks)
1. Brainstorm
(Backlog)
2. Prioritize
(Experiment Doc + Backlog)
3. Test
(Experiment Doc)
4. Implement
5. Analyze
(Experiment Doc)
REPEAT
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
WHAT A TYPICAL WEEK LOOKS LIKE
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Growth Meeting
- Personal Learnings
- Goal Review
- Experiment Review
- This Week’s
Experiments
Predicting, Prioritizing, Implementing,
Analyzing, Systemizing
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
ZOOM OUT (set OKR’s)
ZOOM IN (4 - 12 weeks)
ZOOM OUT
ZOOM IN
ZOOM OUT….
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
MACRO OPTIMIZATION
QUARTERLY REVIEW
1
2 ACCURACY
BATTING AVG
3 THROUGHPUT	
How many successes to failures? Is it improving
over time?
Are your hypotheses getting more accurate?
How many experiments are you running in a
given time period? How do you do more?
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
THANKS!
MORE ON MY SITE: HTTP://WWW.COELEVATE.COM
Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
BRIAN BALFOUR
VP Growth @ HubSpot
Previously EIR @ Trinity Ventures, Co-Founder @
Boundless, Co-Founder @ Viximo (acq by Tapjoy)

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[500DISTRO] The Scientific Method: How to Design & Track Viral Growth Experiments

  • 1. BUILDING A GROWTH MACHINE THE METHOD BEHIND THE MACHINE ! Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 2. WANT TO KNOW THE #1 QUESTION I’M ASKED ABOUT GROWTH? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 3. WHAT TACTIC WOULD YOU USE TO GROW MY COMPANY? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 4. 4 Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 5. ONE… TIP… SECRET… HACK… TACTIC… Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 6. Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 7. THE ANSWER TO… IS NOT WHAT MOST THINK IT IS WHAT TACTIC WOULD YOU USE TO GROW MY COMPANY? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 8. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TACTICS Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 9. IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH PROCESS Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 10. PROCESS?!?!?! WHAT CAN BE SO SPECIAL ABOUT PROCESS? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 11. 4 REASONS TO FOCUS ON PROCESS FIRST, TACTICS SECOND Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 12. 12 1. WHAT WORKS FOR OTHERS, WON’T WORK FOR YOU Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 13. YOUR AUDIENCE IS DIFFERENT Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 14. YOUR PRODUCT IS DIFFERENT Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 15. YOUR BUSINESS MODEL IS DIFFERENT Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 16. YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 17. YOUR BUSINESS IS DIFFERENT PLAIN AND SIMPLE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 18. 18 2. GROWTH = SUM(1, 2, 3, 4….X) Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 19. What happened here? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 20. 20 SILVER BULLETS DON’T EXIST Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 21. 21 3. RATE OF CHANGE IS ACCELERATING Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 22. SEO No Keyword Data, Author Rank, Content Freshness, Social Shares, Search Result Format DISPLAY RTB, No Cookies, Mobile EMAIL Tabbed Inboxes, Inbox Actions, Unsubscribe, Mobile FACEBOOK Newsfeed Ads (4 formats), Video Ads, Optimized CPM, CTA Format, Custom Audiences, etc, etc
  • 23. CHART CREDIT: JAMES CURRIER Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 24. 24 4. YOU NEED A MACHINE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 25. A MACHINE IS… 1 2 PREDICTABLE SCALABLE 3 REPEATABLE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 26. THE MACHINE PRODUCES THE TACTICS THE PROCESS MAKES THE MACHINE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 27. SO LET’S SEE THE PROCESS… Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 28. THE GOALS OF THE PROCESS 1 RHYTHM Momentum is powerful. Establish a cadence to fight through failures, get to successes, and find momentum 2 LEARNING Constant learning of our customer, product, channels and feeding that learning into the process to improve. 3 AUTONOMY Individuals decide what they work on to achieve the team goals. 4 ACCOUNTABILITY With autonomy, comes accountability. You don’t have to be right all the time, but there is an expectation to improve. Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 29. THE FIRST STEP: KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 30. HOW WE SET GOALS OBJECTIVE: Qualitative statement ! TIMEFRAME: 30 - 90 Days ! KR1: Measurable Goal 1 (Hit 90% Of Time) KR2: Measurable Goal 2 (Hit 50% Of Time) KR3: Measurable Goal 3 (Hit 10% Of Time) ! Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 31. ONCE WE KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING WE HIT THE ROAD AS FAST AS POSSIBLE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 32. 6. Systemize (Playbooks) 1. Brainstorm (Backlog) 2. Prioritize (Experiment Doc + Backlog) 3. Test (Experiment Doc) 4. Implement 5. Analyze (Experiment Doc) Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 33. FOUR KEY DOCUMENTS 1 BACKLOG The backlog of experiment ideas. 2 PIPELINE Experiments that were ran or are currently running and the highlights of their results. 3 EXPERIMENT DOC Objective, Hypothesis, Experiment Design, Results, Analysis, and Learnings 4 PLAYBOOKS Step by step guides for successful experiments that should be repeated. Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 34. STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM BRAINSTORM ON THE INPUTS NOT THE OUTPUTS… Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 35. STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM ACTIVATION RATE = STEP 1 CONV * STEP 2 CONV * STEP 3 CONV IF WE WANT TO IMPROVE THIS WE BRAINSTORM ON THESE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 36. 4 WAYS TO GENERATE GROWTH IDEAS (Read The Innovators Solution) 1 OBSERVE How are others doing it? Look outside of your immediate product space. Walk through together. 2 QUESTION Question brainstorming. Why? What is… What if… What about… How do we do more of… 3 ASSOCIATE Connect the dots between unrelated things. i.e What if our activation process was like closing a deal? 4 NETWORK Growth mastermind groups. Build your network of growth people. I’m on the phone every day for ideas
  • 37. STEP ONE: BRAINSTORM CREATE A BACKLOG Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 38. STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE 1 2 IMPACT PROBABILITY 3 RESOURCES LOW - 20%, MEDIUM - 50%, HIGH - 80% Comes from your hypothesis. Take into account long lasting effects vs one hit wonders. Marketing, Design, Engineering 1 Hour, 1/2 Day, 1 Day, 1 Week Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 39. STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE CREATING A HYPOTHESIS IF SUCCESSFUL, [VARIABLE] WILL INCREASE BY [IMPACT], BECAUSE [ASSUMPTIONS]. Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 40. STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE JUSTIFYING YOUR ASSUMPTIONS Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com 1 2 QUALITATIVE QUANTITATIVE 3 SECONDARY Previous Experiments, Surrounding Data, Funnel Data Surveys, Support Emails, User Testing Recordings Networking, Blogs, Competitor Observation, Case Studies
  • 41. STEP TWO: PRIORITIZE CREATE EXPERIMENT DOC Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 42. STEP THREE: TEST WHAT IS THE MVT (MINIMUM VIABLE TEST) TO UNDERSTAND OUR HYPOTHESIS? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 43. STEP THREE: TEST WRITE THE EXPERIMENT DESIGN IN EXPERIMENT DOC Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 44. STEP FOUR: IMPLEMENT GET SHIT DONE Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 45. STEP FIVE: ANALYZE 1 2 ACCURACY IMPACT 3 WHY? How close to your hypothesis? The most important question you can ask. Why did you see the result that you did? What were the results of the experiment? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 46. STEP FIVE: ANALYZE LEARNINGS + ACTION ITEMS IN EXPERIMENT DOC Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 47. STEP SIX: SYSTEMIZE 1 PRODUCTIZE Productize as much as you can with technology and engineering. 2 PLAYBOOKS For the things you can’t productize, build into step by step playbooks to make them repeatable. Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 48. 6. Systemize (Playbooks) 1. Brainstorm (Backlog) 2. Prioritize (Experiment Doc + Backlog) 3. Test (Experiment Doc) 4. Implement 5. Analyze (Experiment Doc) REPEAT Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 49. WHAT A TYPICAL WEEK LOOKS LIKE Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Growth Meeting - Personal Learnings - Goal Review - Experiment Review - This Week’s Experiments Predicting, Prioritizing, Implementing, Analyzing, Systemizing Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 50. ZOOM OUT (set OKR’s) ZOOM IN (4 - 12 weeks) ZOOM OUT ZOOM IN ZOOM OUT…. Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 51. MACRO OPTIMIZATION QUARTERLY REVIEW 1 2 ACCURACY BATTING AVG 3 THROUGHPUT How many successes to failures? Is it improving over time? Are your hypotheses getting more accurate? How many experiments are you running in a given time period? How do you do more? Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com
  • 52. THANKS! MORE ON MY SITE: HTTP://WWW.COELEVATE.COM Brian Balfour :: @bbalfour :: http://www.coelevate.com BRIAN BALFOUR VP Growth @ HubSpot Previously EIR @ Trinity Ventures, Co-Founder @ Boundless, Co-Founder @ Viximo (acq by Tapjoy)