- Experiments are there to validate if your ideas work, not to prove that they do. You need to detach yourself from “My idea is so great; I hope it works” and be as objective as possible.
- Data on its own, without any analysis, is useless – it’s just numbers. Research tells the story behind the figures and points your business in the right direction.
- Agility and innovation should be the core tenets of your day-to-day operations, no matter how big or successful you become.
Combining the power of marketing and engineering skills
My first thought is always from a marketing perspective. What can we do to attract more customers, make existing customers’ lives easier, and build a strong brand? Implementing these ideas is always technical, so I put my engineering hat on to see my plans come to fruition.
I’m aware that my engineers’ time is precious, so I always come up with a proof of concept and learn as much as possible before coming to my engineering team with an idea.
There’s lots of additional evidence you can (and should) collect before going to your engineers: surveys, analytics, customer interviews, and more. You want as much proof as possible to support your ideas.
I’ve found that engineering and marketing teams can come into conflict because engineering teams are increasingly demanding more evidence before they build anything. This makes sense because it must be frustrating to pour your time and effort into making poorly thought out and without any tangible impact on the business.
5 steps to leverage the power of data through experiments
There’s a great quote “You’re not data-driven if you’re not experimenting.” Data shouldn’t just be something that you look at because it’s interesting.
Instead, the moment you have insights at your disposal, you need to go through a 5-step process:
1. Look at the data
What does it tell you about your business? What does it show about your users? What are the areas for improvement?
2. Make a hypothesis
Imagine your data tells you that only a fraction of people who download your app use it daily. Perhaps it’s showing you that your app doesn’t provide immediate value because you’re asking users to jump through too many hoops at the initial stage.
3. Make a decision
Using the example above, you might decide to remove your app’s initial questionnaire. You included it to learn more about your users and personalize their experience going forward, but instead, it seems to be putting people off.
4. Run an experiment
You could launch a 30-day experiment and altogether remove the survey/questionnaire to see if your churn rate will improve. There is no point in having a hypothesis if you don’t run experiments to back it up. You need hard evidence to make the right decision.
5. Measure the results and iterate
Let the experiment run its course and gather evidence along the way. Once you get the results, tweak and fine-tune your strategy to make it as effective as possible.
Remember: not all experiments will prove the point you were trying to make. But even if your experiments don’t support your hypothesis, you have a ton of data that explains why. As long as you gain new insights into your customers’ behavior, your experiments are successful.
Don’t continue with an experiment just because you’re emotionally invested in it. We naturally tend to strive for perfection because we want our ideas to work and be successful. It is hard to make the call and kill something you’ve poured lots of time, money, and effort into.
Experiments are there to validate if your ideas work, not to prove that they do. Detach yourself from “My idea is so great, I hope it works” and be as objective as possible.
Developing a data-driven culture
The most important thing to become a data-driven company is to get closer to your customers. The easiest way to do this is to pick up the phone and call them. I’m always surprised how few people do this. It seems like the simplest thing in the world, and it brings such great results, but so many marketers waste countless hours in front of an excel sheet, bending numbers instead of just talking to people.
In parallel, you need to have excellent internal analytical capabilities. Data on its own, without any analysis, is useless – it’s just numbers. Research tells the story behind the figures and points your business in the right direction.
It’s essential to build a solid, repeatable process to ensure that your business constantly receives a steady stream of data-driven insights.
Creating the future of money
Bitpanda is a digital investment platform. We offer fractional investing for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETF), but we mainly focus on cryptocurrencies because we believe this is money’s future. We’ve also transitioned over into gold, silver, and so on.
We’re mainly based out of the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), with our headquarters located in Vienna. We also have a presence in the UK, France, Turkey, Poland, and Spain. We’ve been profitable solely through bootstrapping, but we’ve just raised our first round of financing worth $52 million. So far, we have around 2.5 million users, and this number is steadily increasing every month.
Bitpanda’s main challenges
Our next big challenge is effectively scaling the company. We need to reproduce what we’ve done so far across other markets and verticals. We have something that works, but do we have to reinvent the way we communicate, acquire, and engage with new types of users? Only time (and plenty of experiments) will tell.
Our company no longer consists of a core group of talented individuals who want to bring their ideas to life. We’re beginning to grow, and sometimes you can stifle the original spirit that has served the company so well so far. We should find a way to preserve the company spirit and encourage ongoing innovation.
Agility and innovation aren’t just useful tools to get your company off the ground. They need to be the core tenets of your day-to-day operations, no matter how big or successful you become.
Assembling the team to achieve goals
We have a multidisciplinary team that works together to solve particular problems. This is key for promoting fast growth, especially when you’re small, scrappy, and don’t have as many resources. In these environments, everyone is forced to stick in and get their hands dirty.
Make sure your team is chasing tangible goals. I’ve always worked in startups, so I’m used to meetings where the founder says to the team, “Hey, we’re running out of money. We need to hit this target in 4 months, so we have something to show investors”.
100% of the time, we’ve hit that goal. These sorts of goals bring teams together as everyone is focused on achieving the same outcome. It’s important to have priorities and motivation. This enables people to focus and gets the best out of individuals.
Never underestimate the power of having a single focus. In a world full of distractions, endless options, and diverse opinions, you’re rarely able to unite people to achieve one single goal.
Biggest failure and lessons learned
My first startup job was for a company called Brave New Talent. We grew quickly, and although everything was going well, we weren’t solving a core user problem for a massive segment of our customers.
This is the part when I learned about the growth methodology and have been following it ever since. The main lesson was: you should continuously experiment and get better all the time.
An experimentation mindset based on data will help you develop solutions that stick with your users. By being able to test your hypothesis, discovering what works with your target audience will improve the customer experience and the overall business growth.
Milena Grncarova, Technical Integration Consultant at Massive Rocket
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