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Experiments and channels: the CACTI framework

30 Apr, 2021 Marketing
Experiments and channels: the CACTI framework

Among the basic components of Growth Marketing, there are experiments: to choose and prioritize them, I propose my CACTI framework. Here's what it is. 

Why you need a framework

A structure, an instrument, a tool: a framework is a support that allows you to save time, simplify the process and get a better result. It is not a magic wand but an ally that, especially in the Growth Hacking approach, can really make your life easier.

There are so many in our world - B.R.A.S.S., PIE, ICE, the hook and bullseye, to name a few - precisely because they are perfect for tidying up, aligning data, and making decisions.

The first piece of advice to you is: try them out, fit them into your work routine and choose the ones that seem best suited to your goals. Always remember that the aim is process improvement!

Once you become experienced enough and have reached the right confidence with the Growth Marketing process, I am sure that new needs will emerge and you can try creating your own framework. That's what I did with CACTI. 

The CACTI framework

Yes, I know, I could have picked a better name, but don't stop at the first impression.

CACTI is a framework designed by me to choose and prioritize the traction and/or marketing channels where to perform Growth Marketing experiments, especially from an acquisition perspective.

It is an excellent work tool, born from its practical use and from what were my needs in this specific part of the process. In fact, I started from two Growth Marketer "commandments":

And in fact, my framework aims at transforming uncertainties into certainties and giving them priority. I'll explain how this works and what will be your advantages by using it.

How to use it

cacti framework

Here it is, the CACTI framework, with its 7 columns to be filled. How? Let me help you out.

Always start with the goal of your Growth Marketing process, that can be framed through the pirate funnel. When this will be clear, get ahold of all the traction channels available (I recommend you read Gabriel Weinberg's book Traction): from SEO, to display advertising, from fairs to unconventional P.R.

You will feel like you are lost among the thousands of possibilities that have opened up, but this is where the CACTI framework comes to help: select 3 channels you know well, on which you feel confident enough, and 3 that you have never used. This choice will allow you on one side to stay in your comfort zone, strengthening your certainties, but also to take a little step towards something new.

Start filling up the framework: you will need to assign a score from 1 to 10 in the five columns. 

  1. Competitor: how many already use that channel? If there is too much competition you give a low score, on the contrary, if you think you have a good strategic advantage go for a high score.
  2. Resources: what do you need? It is important, in this evaluation, to involve the Growth Team and reflect on the number of professionals, expertise, time needed and financial resources.
  3. Confidence: as in the ICE framework, also in this case we must ask ourselves how safe we feel to go down this path. We have the know-how, we have never used that channel, can we predict possible outcomes? In this column, if you don't have enough experience or objective data, try never to go below 5 or 6: if you don't know that world enough, you don't really know how your experimentation might go. Give yourself a vote of encouragement.
  4. Time: a column that is as simple to fill as it is important. If the timing to put together everything you need to do is extremely important, that needed to get the first answers are vital. Always reward the rapid response channels, we are in a Growth Marketing process after all.
  5. Impact: how powerful is a good result in this channel? What impact could that have on the metric you are working on? Also for this evaluation, it is valid what we have established for the Confidence: think positive, but don’t be irresponsible. 

After writing down the numbers, add or multiply everything and fill in the Result column, the last one. Usually, we continue with the sum: if the figures that come out are too close, you can multiply and you will see the result much more clearly.

Reorganize the channels, from the one that got the highest ratings to the lowest and select the top 3: they will be the ones you are going to work with your team, to get started. From this moment, we start brainstorming on the selected channels… and certainly with another framework!

My advices

The CACTI framework is now part of my Growth Marketing process and the methodology adopted in 20tab. For this reason, here are some ultrapractical suggestions

Last advice, the most important one: this tool allows you to optimize and achieve results without wasting time and money. Yes, time - and consequently money - plays a central role in the Growth Marketing process and must be organized, planned and put to good use.

I bid you good work with my CACTI framework: you can find it here!

Mirko Maiorano

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