How to Get Started on Your Growth Machine

Clemens Ristl
Do you want to automate your marketing activities and optimize them for growth? Here is how to start.
How to build your growth machine

Building a Growth Machine is one of the ultimate goals of the growth marketer’s efforts (if you have no idea what growth hacking is, check out this post for the basics first). The aim is to reduce marketing expenses and manual work while maximizing results and revenue. This will effectively lead to an increased Return on Marketing Investment. But reaching this point seems easier than it is. It involves a complicated process – after all, it’s the culmination of all marketing activities. So, how can you really start building your Growth Machine?

What is the Growth Machine?

To understand how to pave the way for your company’s Growth Machine you must first understand what this exactly means.

The term “Growth Machine” describes the status of your marketing activities reaching a point of high automation and internal feedback loops. This is the stage in your marketing lifecycle where your audience, users, or buyers (depending on your service) feed into themselves, become “evergreen” and grow by themselves.

This effect requires a significant amount of people to reach the stages of retention and revenue. And thus it highly depends on broadening your funnel or reducing your friction in-between stages. At a high enough referral rate, your loyal users will maintain a steadily growing user flow towards your top funnel.

Pirate Metrics (AAARRR) by Dave McClure

What does your team need?

There is a substantial amount of work involved in reaching this point. A Growth Machine is not “constructed” overnight. Your marketing team will need time, support, and resources to be put in a long-term marketing strategy. They will as well need to have the freedom to test various channels and measures. This also means to accept failed experiments not as failures, but as learnings.

How to empower your team to start building a Growth Machine

1. Collect Ideas

Starting off, open the room for brainstorming. Get your whole team in a room together and take your time to brainstorm ideas for potential experiments. Think along the entirety of the Growth Marketing funnel, one funnel step at a time. Here are a few things to keep in mind when conducting your brainstorming:

– Create a judgment-free zone

There is no such thing as a bad idea – proposed experiments will be discussed at a later point. For the moment your goal is to provide a space where creativity can happen.

– Do strict time-boxing

While we do not want to put restrictions, setting a timeframe for each funnel step fosters creativity and gives a sense of urgency. Our recommendation is to take a maximum of 10 minutes for each step’s open brainstorming, although 5 minutes suffice in most cases.

“We need to first be limited in order to become limitless”.

Phil Hansen

– Don’t elaborate on ideas just yet

The time for questions and elaborating comes later. For now focus on getting as many ideas on the board as possible, especially when sticking to a set timeframe.

– Note down everything

In order to have sufficient topics to expand upon, have every participant note down their ideas in the same space. (We tend to work with post-its or Miro). This allows you to easily move them between funnel steps and into your backlog at a later stage.

2. Prioritize

Now is the time. Open the room for discussion on individual ideas, allow for questions and remarks and elaborate on the proposed topics. Stick to your goals, be constructive and non-judgmental – questions should come from a place of understanding.

Finally, prioritize the individual ideas for every funnel step. While the system of prioritization is your decision (we tend to use dot-democracy or ICE-score), the process should involve everyone that was part of the brainstorming.


When going about implementation, stick to the growth marketer’s mantra. If it is not worth measuring, it is not worth doing. Only concrete data will help you improve upon your experiment learnings and will reduce friction over time.

Ideally, you don’t apply this only in experiments, you can also use it to measure your processes. How many experiments does your team run per week, how many learnings do you document, how much time do meetings take, etc.

4. Adapt

At this point, you know the drill. You and your team document outcomes and learnings and adjust the next steps accordingly. Your goal is to improve until you reach a point of satisfaction. Whether this point exists is another question, though.

5. Scale

Did you find a momentary point of satisfaction? Let’s scale!

Whether you are increasing budgets, loosening target CPAs, or expanding on keywords – our goal is to extend our satisfactory amount of friction to a broader target audience.

Will these numbers hold up and you won’t have to take any more measures? No. But that’s what scaling is about. It’s about moving from general, high-level bottlenecks to more in-depth bottlenecks. It’s a never-ending process.


Irrespective of the services, vision, or target audience of a company, the ultimate goal will be to expand eventually, ideally at a minimum cost. Setting yourself up for growth is an intense, cost-consuming process, though. And working towards building your Growth Machine sooner rather than later will save you a lot of headaches. So, get your team together and start with the construction!

Do you need support with building your Growth Machine? Get in touch.


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