21 Feb Community Marketing
Community marketing brings the unique opportunity to put together the best bits of thought leadership, content marketing and social media, with a real focus on people. Community marketing is a strategy that involves forming an engaging brand presence in order to interact with a community of existing customers. This type of marketing occurs in places like enthusiast groups, Facebook groups, online message boards and Twitter accounts. These communities give members a place to make their needs known and give companies the opportunity to respond and make them feel important – which they are. While other areas of marketing, like advertising and public relations, generally focus on adding new customers, community marketing emphasizes the relationship with the customers that a brand already has. According to Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer is cost six or seven times more expensive than retaining an existing one. By focusing first on meeting the needs of their current customers, corporations can avoid spending money on advertising to attract new customers.
Community marketing is a strategy to engage an audience in an active, non-intrusive prospect and customer conversation. Community Marketing focuses on the perceived needs of existing customers. This accomplishes four things for a business:
- Connects existing customers with prospects
- Connects prospects with each other
- Connects a company with customers/prospects to solidify loyalty
- Connects customers with customers to improve product adoption, satisfaction, etc.
Community-based marketing is an organic system, that works mainly through word-of-mouth from customer-to-customer. By actively acknowledging, interacting, and respecting your customers online, you gain their loyalty. In the terms of internet, word-of-mouth means getting re-posts on social media accounts, getting positive reviews online and developing an overall larger internet presence.
The more you empower your customers and make them feel like an integrated part of your businesses’ community, the more they will empower the growth of your business through community-based marketing. By keeping current customers pleased, you can spend virtually nothing and get a huge turnout from it.
There are two types of community marketing:
- Organic or natural marketing occurs without the assistance of the company. Organic marketing is word-of-mouth marketing and is one of the most effective marketing methods.
- Sponsored community marketing is promoted by company through activities like investments in the local community improvement initiatives or corporate social responsibility.
- Community Oriented Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Enlightened Business Development by Ian Bryan (February 2004 – ISBN 0-595-30881-3)