Community Based Marketing - A new arrow in the B2B marketer's quiver
We have traditionally used ABM (account based marketing) for B2B to good effect. Now, there is a new form of B2B marketing called CBM (Community based marketing) which is giving better results. In the broad sense we define “community” as follows:
"A community is a social unit or group of people who share something in common, whether that is an identity, values, location, religion, a shared goal, roles, or interests. Communities share a sense of place. Whether that's a geographical area or a virtual or digital platform."
In the case of B2B marketing these communities are a) professionally focused and b) serve a marketing purpose.
“Community-based marketing brings professionals together around a shared practice or area of expertise to create closer, and more valuable, relationships with prospects and customers.”
Why is it relevant now?
1) Larger organizations, undergoing a digital transformation, are getting used to ways of working that are less hierarchical and monolithic and more networked, more part of an ecosystem, more ‘hub and spoke’, more fluid and agile. Traditional command and control approaches are breaking up to be replaced by fluid communities of interest.
2) COVID-19 has forced us to distance ourselves from one another. As a result, there has been a big increase in the desire for a sense of belonging, of connection, of a sense of self as part of a group. We have learned new virtual ways to communicate and collaborate with our colleagues and customers, but we also want to be connected to our professional peers – to learn and share, to give and receive support and encouragement, to help each other out. As we go into a period of great economic uncertainty, with higher levels of redundancy and unemployment, we know that our professional networking and tapping into our professional communities is more important than ever.
3) The final factor in the rise of CBM is that it is just getting much harder to cut through in existing marketing channels. There is so much noise. So many webinars, ebooks, white papers, email newsletters, Inmails, events, podcasts, blogs, social media. If you can create a more emotional bond, and some connection, with your prospects and customers through effective CBM then you have a much better chance of getting their attention, their action, and their loyalty.