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The Best Way To Come Up With Creative Growth Hacking Experiments To Test

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Easily one of the best answers to how teams should go about coming up with & testing growth hacking strategies that will work.

By Sean Ellis (the creator of the term Growth Hacker)

Honestly, I’m not sure how much we can really help each other. Every opportunity is unique and in my experience total immersion in the customer base is a critical part of coming up with effective growth ideas. You test a bunch of stuff and some of it works.

So a lot of it comes down to idea generation. Studying the growth engines of companies has always been an important source of ideas for me. For example, my first growth hack was inspired by Amazon’s newly launched affiliate program (way back in 1997) and syndicated content I saw working for other companies. My idea was to combine an affiliate program with syndicated content. It worked really well and our gaming content spread to 40,000 websites. This was key to building the biggest game site in the world at the time (from a tiny player before we innovated this distribution channel).

At my next company we combined the growth engines that I saw working for open source projects, with the low friction onboarding and direct marketing that I saw working for GoToMyPC. Again, worked like a charm and this company (LogMeIn) also listed on NASDAQ.

Six months after I left that company, I joined Dropbox and one of our key growth programs was inspired by the referral program we saw at PhoneTag. I knew the PhoneTag CEO and he shared the testing process they went through to figure out the power of a double incentive referral program with built in product reinforcement rewards.

I think if you are hoping to generate ideas by brainstorming with people that know very little about your customers, product, market, etc, that you’re likely to be pretty disappointed with the result.

My recommendation is…
1) Study the growth engines of successful emerging companies
2) Learn about emerging platforms and best practices
3) Talk to 100s of your customers in a relatively short period of time

GrowthHackers can help with the first two.

Exclusive Bonus: Download my Growth Guide: The Top 7 Apps I Use To Growth Hack My Startups.

Brainstorming with others might help a little bit. The best you can do with the community is to geek out about emerging channels and the unique opportunities they might present.

This reply is pretty much a stream of consciousness, because I should really be finalizing the slides for my board meeting tomorrow morning.

Of course, just my opinion. I’d love to be proven wrong if you can figure out some great ways to brainstorm ideas in the community.

Posted as a comment on GrowthHackers.com

I would also suggest leveraging the 5 day product design sprint outlined by Jake Knapp for executing on these ideas.  It’s what we use at Clarity and it allows for the most creative ideation (divergent) and fastest prototyping of ideas (convergent) to validate product ideas quickly.

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