from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Growth is a grid search to find the right combination of creative and messaging that resonate with your target audience. Think of it like playing the board game BATTLESHIP. You're trying to sink your opponents ship, but you can't see where they are. You only see what squares on the grid you've fired at previously, and if they hit or missed.
Most companies land on their initial winning combo by intuition and luck. Attempting data-driven decision making in this stage is a mistake. There’s more noise than signal, and you’ll suffer from analysis paralysis. No amount of staring at the board will reveal its secrets. Just start firing and once you find something that works, cluster your guesses in that area until there’s nothing left.
As you scale, the game changes. If guesses weren’t documented, the organization forgets what worked (or didn’t). Winning tactics are accidentally abandoned and failed experiments unknowingly repeated. If early insights weren’t statistically valid, some misses will be miscategorized at hits (Type I error), and some hits as misses (Type II error). If there’s no process for systematically exploring the grid, you have to get lucky again and again as the board expands.
In this game the pieces move! Democratise access to data, and take questions seriously regardless of source. Experiments show if you spray monkeys with water when they reach for bananas, they’ll restrain new monkeys that join the group. Even when the original group is replaced, still nobody goes for the bananas, yet no individual monkey knows why. “That’s just the way we do things here.”