Things haven’t been easy for marketers lately. With a much slower-than-expected post-pandemic recovery, coupled with a struggling global economy, it’s no wonder the results haven’t been good for many organizations.
It’s easy to blame marketing efforts that are struggling due to the pandemic or tight marketing budgets as companies tighten their wallets. But there is another obvious reason behind the bad results we have to accept.
The truth is that some marketing tactics are becoming outdated, ineffective, and in need of a refresh. Is it time for you to see what McKinsey calls the “big idea” in marketing this decade?
What is Community Marketing (CBM)?
For a long time, marketers have devoted a lot of budget and resources to account-based marketing (ABM) – a targeted approach in which sales and marketing teams work together. to identify and nurture potential customers.
When done right, ABM can be extremely effective. It can be used to target leads throughout the marketing and sales funnel, delivering the right message at the right time through multiple touchpoints. What about ABM’s stable partner, Community-Based Marketing (CBM)? What is it and why are marketers around the world raving about it?
It works because it provides the ability to build closer and more valuable relationships with prospects and customers, along with access to a wealth of audience insights, data, and insights. first party and zero data.
This makes community-based marketing extremely valuable for attracting customers into the business. It’s more than just creating a container for your content marketing or ABM.
It’s about building a lasting connection with prospects and customers throughout their customer journey, from abandonment to promotion.
It also allows prospects and customers to engage and engage with others like themselves in a community. When individuals are brought together by a collective passion, practice, or area of expertise in a community they value, brands and organizations can leverage it to forge closer relationships. , more valuable to prospects and customers.
You can see more and more clear examples of this. Big and small tech brands like Salesforce, Hubspot, and The Happiness Index with their customers and community of thought leaders/potential customers. Professional services or consulting firms, such as legal organizations, digital agencies and PR consultants, bring together potential clients to solve their problems and secure with them that they are a great choice because they are doing wonders for the community.
Why should marketers prioritize CBM?
Think about the amount of marketing content you are exposed to on a daily basis.
Companies send promotional emails, inviting us to connect and interact with them on social media, creating countless offers, giveaways, webinars, guides, white papers, podcasts and articles blog posts, as well as targeting us with Internet advertising.
There’s no denying that these tactics still play an important role in the marketing mix. But they focus on talking to customers rather than listening to them.
Online communities address this by providing a central place to share ideas, ask questions, get help, and build relationships. This pulls and pushes marketing, much better suited to building valuable brands and reputations than performance marketing.
Planning a community marketing strategy
Community marketing is well-suited to the Interests, Considerations, and Desires stages of a marketing funnel, but it also works well during the Loyalty and Advocacy stages.
Throughout the marketing funnel, online communities can be used to showcase expertise, promote USPs, share knowledge, gather feedback, reward customers, and deliver content. exclusivity, beta access or free samples.
Additionally, the community provides broad access to first- and first-party data, with the added benefit of user-generated content and interactive actions/behavior generated in an exclusive space. permission. The type of data hidden by social media platforms is extremely valuable and can be collected in a compliant manner through certain community platforms.
Planning is involved when launching a community.
The community shouldn’t be a tick-box exercise, it shouldn’t be a campaign and it shouldn’t be a silver bullet.
Online communities take time and patience to build and it is important that time and energy be invested in creating a space that delivers something of real value to the company. and members of the community – otherwise they wouldn’t have wasted their time participating.
Think about the community’s goals and how to achieve them.
Here are some goals to think about:
- Lead generation opportunity/higher return on investment
- Increase engagement
- Improve brand recognition
- Build trust
- Better access to conversational intelligence, insights, and audience feedback
- Less pressure on customer service
- Improve communication efficiency
- increase innovation
- Data Ownership
Along with determining the goals of a community, some other factors that need to be considered are budget, industry sector, target audience size, brand and organizational governance, and culture.
There are hundreds of options when it comes to choosing a platform to host an online community. While social media platforms can sometimes feel anonymous and impersonal, other than not really being “owned” by the brand, if that’s where your audience interacts with you the most, it makes sense to create a community there.
However, there are many trade-offs and limitations with many social media platforms, including the inability to customize the platform to match your brand, lack of monetization options, and poor integration with other social media platforms. the fact that community-style features can be closed at any time.
For those of us with enough memory, we’ve seen LinkedIn Groups gradually fall out of favor with the platform and data and moderation features removed. And who knows what will happen to Twitter under its new ownership?
For startups and entrepreneurs, there are specialized platforms for crowdfunding, such as Patreon, Ko-fi, and Substack. For those who want to start small and then scale up, there are a number of community platforms available, many of which are free to a certain number of members, offering the option to pay Low cost, no risk to grow your community. work.
For established and enterprise-level businesses, there are highly customizable online community platforms that often provide additional features to help build engagement with members and advanced analytics. high to report on community success.
The community manager role spans many different areas and is an important part of your strategy. This person will act as the voice of the brand, so they must match their reputation and be resilient, but also be able to show a lot of empathy.
As in the early days of social media, don’t expect success if you hand this important role to an intern or low-level employee.