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Effició Intelligence Report – Accelerating growth through testing and learning.

  • 9 min read

INTELLIGENCE ISSN 2834-6238, Report #4 Published: Friday, September 1, 2023, 8:00 AM Eastern.
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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 I – Report Format

Getting to the CORE is about a digging process. Our focus is to excavate relevant business questions investigated in academic, practitioner, and industry research that provide direction, sources, and opportunities that small firm leaders can use in their strategic planning and execution.

Our objective is to find impactful questions answered through research and real-world application. The goal of our CORE inquiry is to share findings on key business questions that are compelling, and relative to business operations, systems, strategy, and marketability.

To find these questions, we collaborate with stakeholders who align around common goals, metrics (ways of measuring achievement), theories of change, and areas of practice. And, our most valued collaborator, you! We want our community to thrive through discussion and participation.

Each issue will have a questionthe findings, and a list of sources. Each quarter, we host a live discussion to review and share strategies for how to apply the findings to your business.

I hope you’re ready to push yourself, move yourself, and achieve extraordinary results. We’re ready to inspire you to high achievement and help you excavate your Red Diamond Business!

Section II – CORE 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 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?

Section III – CORE Findings

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 customers, 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 students. 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 regarding growth acceleration. Both discuss mindset, innovation, and KPIs (key performance indicators), however, the way they relate it to growth acceleration is different.

Academic Findings

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 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.”

Practitioner/Industry Findings

How important 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.

A must-read.

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 is 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.

Section IV – CORE Discussion

What do we 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, that you want to strike a balance between maintaining brand integrity and allowing your test results to drive growth. How will you accelerate growth? In what areas does growth need to happen in your business? Let’s converse!

We have many more sources and insights on this month’s question. Additional findings will be shared during our LIVE dialogue and conversation about “the CORE findings” webcast for network members. Webcasts are held on the third Thursday of each quarter in January, April, July, and October. If you’re a network member, no need to register, set the reminder on your calendar. We’ll send the link to join one week before the event.

If you want to subscribe to email updates only, use the form below, it is free.

Section V – CORE Sources

Remember: We investigate research from all sources. Your goal is to dig into the findings so that you can create solutions.

Academic Articles

Wise, R. and Sirohi, N. (2005), “Finding the best marketing mix”, Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 10-11.

 *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. 

 *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. ;

Practitioner/Industry Articles

How important is the agile “test and learn” approach, Adaptovate.

How L’Oréal’s test-and-learn mindset has kept it on top of Hong Kong’s beauty market, Luk, Larry (2022, March).

How to Develop Thinking and Doing Mindsets, Duncan, Sherese (2022, February 22).

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