Intelligence Report #4 – Accelerating growth through testing and learning.
Published: Mon, 09/12/22
Topic: Accelerating growth through testing and learning.
We’re discussing Accelerating growth through testing and learning. Growth can be defined based on marketing, customers, employees, and many key functions within a business. Our question this month provides findings from a different perspective.
Section II – What are the findings?
Business Question: How can we accelerate growth?
Overview: This is a common question asked by not only established teams, but also by new business teams. The growth question. It can be a conundrum that stagnates even the savviest CEOs.
Accelerating growth assumes growth is present. Analyzing current growth trends should come first to determine “why” growth needs to be accelerated. Next, which areas of the business need growth? Growth is not only in terms of dollars and customers, it can also be in terms of operational efficiencies, digital and e-commerce performance, or R&D (research and development) time-to-market outcomes.
You see, growth is important, however, you must ask the right questions to arrive at solutions that support execution.
Let’s understand how to answer this month’s business question, how can we accelerate growth?
We found an interesting combination of research, articles, and perspectives. If you haven’t read the “thinking and doing mindset” article on our website, I would start there. Growth happens through testing and learning. Reading books, taking courses, and documenting processes, all are effective when strategizing about growth, however, until you place those ideas, thoughts, and strategies into the marketplace, you will never know what works. Your business operations must support growth, for your customer, teams, and stakeholders.
To accelerate growth, we found that most research centered around testing, learning, and mindsets. Honestly, this was exciting because it’s what we teach and support for our 24EDU students. We start all new students with “how you think.” To continue our search for the findings, we found academic research on growth mindsets, learning mindsets, and innovation. From a practitioner standpoint, we found articles on the “test and learn” approach, growth mindset, and performance testing.
It is interesting to see the gaps between scholars and practitioners when it comes to growth acceleration. Both are discussing mindset, innovation, and KPIs (key performance indicators), however, the way they relate it to growth acceleration is different.
Research Article: Finding the best marketing mix.
Their findings: Accelerate growth through the marketing mix.
We like this research because it gets straight to the solutions. The premise is to identify the best marketing mix for growth. They state that leading marketers are actively pursuing new growth opportunities in more systematic ways. They are adopting analytical perspectives. Even though this article is dated, it is concise and still applies today! They identify six guidelines to identify and implement the marketing mix that will advance your company’s growth goals. Two of them mentioned rereferring to creating a “test and learn” culture. Simple and straight-to-the-point findings are presented.
Research Article: Innovation supports for small-scale development in rural regions: a create, build, test and learn approach.
Their findings: Accelerate business growth with a Create-Build-Test-Learn approach, it prevents teams from jumping into a solution too quickly.
The research states, “utilizing a described process for how to conduct work may be a question of resources, for instance, people and time, but also other factors play in. For many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) it is also a question of motivation and attitude.” It goes on to state a key problem for SMEs is that they experience challenges in turning ideas into concepts, and also that there is a lack of awareness of basic development models and descriptions (p850).
We like this research because it digs deep into the “why” we should incorporate a “test and learn” process for growth. And, it offers an interesting solution in the form of a toolbox that SMEs can incorporate into their growth strategy.
Research Article: Accelerate business growth by synergizing emotional intelligence.
Their findings: Emotional Intelligence is a critical success factor for sustainable business growth on which professionals need to concentrate.
The research states: “Experts opine that “People buy relationships, not products”. To accelerate business growth, professionals need to pay attention to the emotions of the clients. The objective of this paper is to identify the factors that affect business growth.”
We like this research for several reasons, and we’re sharing it because it looks at emotional intelligence as a factor for growth acceleration. This is unique and true. It is easy to only look at marketing when it comes to growth, but, as you know, we like to “get to the CORE.”
How important is the agile “test and learn” approach by Adaptovate is intriguing. It speaks directly to the “test and learn” approach. It discusses how test and learn is everything; the faster we can test, the more time and effort we will be able to save. One of the team members, Rachna Verma says “Crucial! Test and learn helps to de-risk the project in the early stages and enables a feedback mechanism to incorporate in the next iteration.” We love this statement.
How L’Oréal’s test-and-learn mindset has kept it on top of Hong Kong’s beauty market article on Think with Google explains why adopting a trial-and-error approach is the only way forward for brands to stay ahead in a hypercompetitive market. Per the article, their strategy started with a strong spirit of experimentation and a test-and-learn mindset that are deeply ingrained in L’Oréal’s DNA. It goes on to explain how they keep that mindset at the core of their marketing. We liked this article because it takes you through their process and outcomes – a good foundational case study.
By the way, Think with Google is a resource you may want to check out.
What do I think, it’s all relative! Our team consistently uses the “test and learn” approach to accelerate growth. In the early years, we spent weeks, months, and years perfecting our curriculum, our programs, and our strategies before we shared them with anyone. Once they rolled out to the marketplace, the response, growth, and other KPIs were a little different than we expected. This is normal for a small business, however, we found that the quicker we tested our models, and our processes live in the marketplace, the better our strategies became. And, our growth accelerated at a pace we could manage and support. We don’t roll out everything this way, but it is a key function of our development process within our intelligence system.
Keep in mind, you want to strike a balance between maintaining brand integrity and allowing your test results to drive growth.
Section III – Discussion
How will you accelerate growth? In what areas does growth need to happen in your business? Let’s converse! You can use the conversation café forum to share your perspective and join the next live webcast. See the community main page for details.
Section IV – Main Sources
Remember: We investigate research from all sources. Your goal is to dig into the findings so that you can create solutions.
Wise, R. and Sirohi, N. (2005), “Finding the best marketing mix”, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 10-11. https://doi.org/10.1108/02756660510632975
*Lugnet, J., Ericson, Å. and Wenngren, J. (2020) ‘Innovation supports for small-scale development in rural regions: a create, build, test and learn approach’, Int. J. Product Development, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp.30–42. http://ltu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1316587/FULLTEXT01 ;
*This article is open access, you can click the link above and download the PDF.
Subashini, K. K. P. (2018). Accelerate business growth by synergizing emotional intelligence. Research Symposium on Pure and Applied Sciences, 2018 Faculty of Science, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. p164. http://repository.kln.ac.lk/handle/123456789/19978 ;
How important is the agile “test and learn” approach, Adaptovate. https://www.adaptovate.com/product-design-and-management/test-and-learn/how-important-is-the-agile-test-and-learn-approach/
How L’Oréal’s test-and-learn mindset has kept it on top of Hong Kong’s beauty market, Luk, Larry (2022, March). https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/future-of-marketing/digital-transformation/loreal-marketing-tests-and-learnings-/
How to Develop Thinking and Doing Mindsets, Duncan, Sherese (2022, February 22). https://efficio.biz/develop-thinking-and-doing-mindsets-by-changing-your-perspective/
We have many more sources and insights on this month’s question. Additional findings will be shared during our live webcast.