Marketing and community: The infamous love story
Community Assemble is a bi-weekly newsletter about creating and growing communities that add value to both customers and brands the right way. We feature tweets, quotes, blogs, and ideas from our experts and various community leaders across the globe.
It’s amazing what love can do to people right? Now imagine this love-hate relationship shared by two verticals in a business.
Yes, “the never-ending love story” between community and marketing has been the most talked-about relationship in this industry.
I would like to think of it as the famous love story between the sky and the earth. They do not have any purpose without each other, yet function so separately — never being able to meet common ground. But in the community-marketing love story, their common ground is hard to ignore!
This week we are going to understand and explore the truth behind their relationship and put things into perspective because we all need some closure from this love story!!
Well first, what do we know about community? And how does marketing fit into all of this?
In simple words, David Spinks quotes, “Marketing is how you get them in the door. Community is their experience once they’re in the door”.
No matter how much people debate about which one is more essential, the fact remains that the two of them are at the core of customer relations.
They are two aspects of brand communication that cannot really replace each other but often have areas of overlap.
To simplify things,
Marketing can be considered as all the processes that go into promotions, advertising and sale of a brand’s product or service. Most of these activities are targeted toward customers — to create product awareness and attract new customers.
On the other hand,
A community can be considered all the actions that a brand takes to build and improve relationships with their customers or any audience that’s related to the business —such as employees or even vendors. These activities are focused on engagement and providing auxiliary value to customers, increasing the average amount of time they spend interacting with the brand.
While marketing results in an increase in awareness and acquisition, when customers are satisfied with the value of a community, they naturally invite their network to join.
On the other hand, while the community focuses on relationship building, a large part of the audience are brought in from marketing activities.
That’s why there is a term that has been coming to the forefront, community marketing.
Confusing the two can be devastating as businesses potentially waste a tonne of resources on the wrong activities.
The Ideal Order:
Marketing is the ideal method to spread awareness. They can act as usher in customers to the figurative door. At the same time, marketing can also be used to bring customers to the community, ensuring that the customer journey is flawlessly smooth.
Community takes over from there — engaging customers and guiding them through a drafted roadmap. Creating a strategy is essential as aimless activities will just be tossing effort and resources down the drain. Community can be used to show customers that the deeper the bond they have with the brand (i.e. the time they spend on the community), the more benefit they receive. This can be achieved by providing them exclusive information, competitions, deals or even elaborate guides on the usage of the product/service.
You can have one person take on both — the roles of community and marketing, especially with startups. But it is important to distinguish the goals, objectives, and also track the metrics separately.
Whatever you call it in the end, even if it’s called “Community Marketing”; it does not change the fact that they are separate verticals and should be given due credit for their roles in business.
I’m looking forward to the day when this debate is no longer needed and people start understanding that community is on equal terms with marketing and will soon be an equally important vertical as marketing.
This is only my opinion about the difference and overlap between community and marketing. What’s yours?
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