The old-fashioned marketing method consists of talking to clients and is no longer effective in today’s linked world. Customers not only desire but also anticipate being included in a continuous discussion. Community marketing is such an effective strategy because of this very reason.
What exactly does “community marketing” mean?
Communities are social groupings linked with one another by something they have in common. Historically, communities have always existed in specific geographic locations, such as your town. Communities exist online nowadays, unrestricted by physical location. People from all over the globe come together to build online communities, which are tied together by commonalities such as hobbies, beliefs, values, and even goods and brands. Community marketing refers to connecting and engaging with customers, forming connections, and giving value to consumers via relevant communication that is not obtrusive.
In what ways does it serve a purpose?
To live up to the standards that consumers have set for modern organizations, more effort and dedication are required than ever before. The contemporary customer wants not just high-quality goods and services but also to feel as if they have a relationship with the company they are purchasing from. They consider the items they buy to be an extension of their identity, personality, and ideals. Customers also want to have genuine human experiences with your company that go beyond the typical touchpoints of marketing, sales, and customer support. According to research compiled by Salesforce, an astounding 84% of consumers believe that it is essential to a company’s success to treat them like individuals rather than numbers.
What distinguishes community marketing from other types of marketing, specifically?
Telling rather than engaging customers is the primary emphasis of traditional marketing methods. The client’s function in the communication process is that of an observer and recipient of the information being sent. Consider the use of conventional advertising, online platforms, posts on blogs, and brochures. The effectiveness of this kind of marketing is dwindling. People have become much more critical, discriminating, and even, to some degree, cynical throughout human history. It’s not enough to give them a list of why they should purchase your goods anymore.
Because of this, community marketing is such an effective strategy. It signifies a radical shift in strategy, which will transform marketing communications into a two-way street. The goal is to develop close relationships with consumers, begin dialogues with them, and get opinions and ideas directly from the most familiar with your goods. Community marketing, at its core, is designed to be unobtrusive. It is not about aggressive selling or other tactics from the dark ages of marketing; rather, it is about relationship-building and connection.
The difference between communities of practice and communities of product
Communities of practice and communities of the product are the two primary categories that may be differentiated when discussing marketing communities.
A community of practice refers to a group of individuals who have naturally gathered together to pursue the same interest or objective. A community of practice does not have a formalized hierarchy, but its members will organically arrange themselves into particular positions depending on several considerations.
A community that focuses on a product is less organic than one that does not, even though the two kinds of communities have many similarities. When you decide to cultivate a community around your product, you have direct control over how it expands, the locations in which it exists, and the modes of communication that its members use. You define the standards for the community, delegate duties to important community members, and in certain instances, serve as a gatekeeper for incoming members.
The communities that revolve around products should provide their participants with familiarity. To some extent, they should be allowed to develop and advance naturally. However, in contrast to communities of practice, they serve a broader objective – enhanced customer loyalty, increased customer retention, or any other commercial aim.
Are there any disadvantages?
There are obstacles to overcome while implementing any approach. To be successful with community marketing, even though it is a very effective method for building brand awareness, you will need to be aware of the following challenges and devise strategies for overcoming them.
It’s not an instant fix.
Community marketing is a strategy that has to be implemented gradually. You cannot anticipate fast results or effects from modern advertising and marketing initiatives in contrast to those of the past. You’ll need to be prepared to work over the long haul to create a community that contributes something of worth.
It is not always easy.
The concept of community marketing has been around for a while but is distinct from conventional marketing. It is unrealistic to believe that the skill sets and mentalities required for the latter can be successfully applied to the former and provide the desired outcomes. For example, when it comes to community marketing, you need to have a manner of communicating that is a lot more genuine. You will turn people away if you take a pushy, aggressive stance toward marketing it.
It demands support from the top levels.
You will need to gain clearance from the executive level before you can devote time and resources to community marketing. This may be difficult for a variety of different reasons. First, online communities may come off as ill-defined and difficult to grasp. Second, the fact that success is often achieved over a protracted period may discourage important stakeholders, who may seek quick victories.
Unlike conventional marketing, community marketing is a two-way street in which connections and dialogues are formed rather than hard selling. The practice of community marketing is an effective strategy that may provide a variety of advantages to your company. This long-term play calls for a certain set of talents to be successful. Depending on the overarching objectives of your company, you may use a variety of measures to evaluate the success of your community marketing initiatives. Having a specialized platform for community management enables you to consolidate data from several different sources and get insightful new information.