How to Facilitate a Growth Hacking Sprint - The Big Bang Partnership

How to Facilitate a Growth Hacking Sprint

Growth Hacking Sprint

Growth Hacking Sprint – Introduction

This growth hacking sprint article gives you a deep dive into:

•What growth hacking is, how it works and how to get started

•An example agenda for growth hacking sprints, and what to expect from a growth hacking session

•How to set up and deliver a growth hacking sprint for your business

•How to use your first growth hacking sprint to accelerate and maintain momentum throughout the year – by working smarter, avoiding burn out and building a more resilient business

Video: How to Facilitate a Growth Hacking Sprint

What is Growth Hacking?

Firstly, it’s not about ‘hacking’ in the sense of too-good-to-be true short cuts.

Growth hacking means finding creative, low-cost strategies to help businesses acquire and retain customers, testing those strategies and learning fast.

Growth Hacking and Innovation

Growth hacking can really help you to accelerate and de-risk your business’ innovation strategy and implementation. This is because it allows you to test potentially useful ideas in a fast, cost-effective, low-risk and measurable way.

Hacking Growth Book by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown

In their book Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success, Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown detail the growth hacking methodology that companies such as IBM, Walmart, and Microsoft have used.

Hacking Growth Book

The methodology is targeted, data-driven, and involves cross-functional teams, rapid-tempo testing and iteration that focuses customers: attaining them, retaining them, engaging them, and motivating them to come back and buy more.  

Hacking Growth Book – Nine Core Ideas

There are nine core ideas in the Hacking Growth book. These are:

1. Growth teams use cross team collaboration and strong leadership to get results.

2. To develop a must-have product, you need to know your customers well.

3. Identify key data metrics to track growth-hacking progress.

4. Rapidly develop new ideas in the first two stages of the growth-hacking cycle: analyze and ideate.

5. Rapidly test new ideas in the last two stages of the growth-hacking cycle: prioritize and test.

6. Attract customers by creating a message that resonates and narrowing down your marketing channels.

7. Make it easy for fans to become customers.

8. Keep customers loyal and active by creating customer habits.

9. Understand your customers, and you’ll earn more from them.

Three Growth Levers

In addition to the nine core ideas, the growth hacking methodology focuses on three growth lever:

1. Acquisition – How do your potential customers find you and find out about you? How do they get in touch?

2. Activation – How do you turn your potential customers into paying customers – or not necessarily paying but active? What’s your conversion rate? 

3. Retention – How do you keep your customers coming back or re-engaging? How do you increase their customer lifetime value (CLV)?

Three growth levers

Growth Hacking Strategies

Growth hacking strategies focus on the science and art of customer development, which is the experience you create from onboarding your customers to getting them to remain loyal over the long term. It means finding ways to keep your customers engaged and motivated to buy your product over and over.

Some examples of growth hacking strategies include using web analytics to optimize the customer experience on your website, making it faster to load, easier to navigate and with graphic design and copy that appeal directly to your target market. You could gamify customer one-off activities, like onboarding, or repeated interactions, such as posting reviews, completing a course or process online, or learning how to use your product or service. Another growth hacking strategy is to create a sense of community for your customers. This is a great way of encouraging referrals, as people who are engaged in your customer community may be more likely to recommend your brand to others.

Here are some more growth hacking strategies from Neil Patel.

Tools for Growth Hacking

You don’t need to be an advanced data analyst to start growth hacking in your business. You can use tools such as Google Analytics for your website, track and analyze your social media stats, CRM and sales performance data to get started. If you’re looking for a more advanced approach, though, checkout this great article from Grow with Ward for more than 30 different growth hacking tools.

Growth Hacking Mindset

You could have growth hacking tools coming out of your ears, but you won’t get the most from any of them without having a mindset that is in the right space. That means being ready and willing not to follow the crowd and do things differently. It also means being prepared to experiment and learn, rather than expecting to get everything right first time. A growth hacking mindset also requires the discipline of looking to the data for insights and results tracking – not just relying on intuition alone. It’s also important to be consistent, and follow through on planned experiments, keeping budgets and time invested to a minimum – working smarter, not harder.

What is a Sprint?

An innovation sprint is a short, focused, purposeful event designed to achieve solutions to a specific challenge or opportunity.

If you’d like to know more about how innovation sprints work, have a look at my article here.

In an innovation sprint, delegates from inside and often outside an organisation will collaborate to collectively define what success looks like for a challenge or opportunity, generate and develop ideas to achieve that success, and create early prototypes and plans for action.

What is a Growth Hacking Sprint?

A growth hacking sprint is an innovation sprint that is specifically designed to focus on identifying and designing growth hacking activities.

It is an approach that helps businesses to scale by combining powerful data, technical expertise and marketing flair to find and test promising new ways of driving growth.

Example Agenda for a Growth Hacking Sprint

Here is an example of an agenda for a growth hacking sprint that we run here at the Big Bang Partnership. If you’re thinking of using this agenda for your own business or facilitation practise, allow 2.5 to 3 hours for the session.

Example Growth Hacking Sprint Agenda

Welcome, Introduction, Sprint Objectives

Welcome everyone, introduce the session and let people know what to expect. Make sure that everyone is clear on the purpose of mission of the workshop. You might want to use an icebreaker or warm up to help get everyone started.

Business Anchors and Drivers

Now it’s time to get into the sprint proper. Ask your sprint participants to work in breakout groups on the Sailboat Activity. This is designed to identify the driving forces that help the business to achieve growth, and the ‘anchors’ that stop the business from moving forward towards its growth goals.

Sailboat Activity

Delegates should capture as many driving forces and anchors as possible on sticky notes, one item per sticky note. I suggest that you use one color for driving forces and another color for anchors.

Acquisition, Activation, Retention

The next step in your growth hacking workshop is for participants to sort their sticky notes into the themes of acquisition, activation and retention – per the definitions above. Doing so will help you all to see where in your growth process the issues and opportunities are.

Acquisition, Activation, Retention

How Might We…? Questions

How Might We…? is a brilliant innovation question from design thinking. They create a bridge to the up-coming ideation stage of the process.

Brief your sprint participants to come up with as many How Might We…? questions as they can, again on sticky notes, for each of the driving forces and anchors in the acquisition, activation and retention themes.

How Might We…?

Map of the Company

The next step is for the facilitator to create a map of the company by placing all the How Might We…? sticky notes onto the business’ sales funnel.

I use the graphic below, which is our copyrighted creation, and overlay the sticky notes onto the relevant areas, with input from the participants as I go. This gives a really clear view of where the problems and potential growth areas are.

Map of the Company – graphic copyright The Big Bang Partnership Ltd 2022


Delegates will then work in breakout groups to come up with ideas for potential solutions to the key How Might We…? questions.

Have a look at my article here for potential ideation activities that you can use, and for how to get ideas flowing in your session.

Gather and Select Ideas

Ask each group to present back their most promising ideas based on their potential impact and ease of implementation.

Then invite everyone to pull out important points from all the ideas they have heard that stand out to them. You could do some sticky dot voting at this stage to gain consensus on the highest priority ideas.

Gather and Select Ideas

These ideas will inform the next important step – designing the growth experiment. 

Design a Growth Experiment

Participants will again work in small groups to design a growth experiment that will test the idea quickly, efficiently, cost-effectively and measurably.

Ideally the experiment would last no less than four and no more than six weeks to balance getting sufficient data for decision-making and agility.

Design a Growth Experiment

Each selected idea needs to have a growth experiment outlined as follows:

•Experiment Name 

•Explanation / Hypothesis 

•Action Steps  

•Success Criteria  

•Length of Experiment 

Next Steps

Once the wider group has agreed on the design experiments that will be carried out, the final step for the growth hacking sprint is to build a clear action plan of who will do what and when to make sure the experiments happen. Also, before the sprint ends, ensure that a follow-up workshop is scheduled to review the results and maintain momentum and accountability for action.

Work with Us

If you’d like us to work with you to run a half-day online or in-person growth hacking sprint for your business, we’d love to help. Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to hop on a no-obligation Zoom or Teams call.

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