The Case for Community-Based Marketing in 2021

It would be easy to blame B2B marketing efforts for the pandemic or the tight budgets that accompany it, but the inconvenient truth is that traditional marketing tactics are becoming obsolete and ineffective and need to be updated.

When every B2B marketer follows the same tutorial, it’s time to develop a new game. Community-based marketing (CBM) can be the centerpiece.

Digital communities have resurfaced in the past few months, so by introducing CBM into your strategy, you can capture the attention, action, and loyalty of (potential) customers.

What is community-based marketing and why is now the right time to do it?

Now that we all know the concept of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), where does CBM fit in?

Community-based marketing leverages the shared connections you find in a professional community. People in these communities are united by a collective practice or area of   expertise, and CBM uses these connections to create closer and more valuable relationships with potential customers and customers.

At a time when we all have a certain desire for human commitment in our personal and professional lives, the need to be part of a group is stronger than usual. Digital communities offer a place to share ideas, ask questions, get support and build relationships when needed.

When you also think about how saturated channels are, like email, social ads, and paid search, it’s easy to see why it’s time to explore a new path. And because the desired clickthrough rates are increasingly difficult to achieve, ad spend is getting more expensive.

Where does CBM fit into the marketing law?

The interest, consideration, and pleasure phases of the marketing law are especially useful for community marketing.

CBM offers the opportunity to interact even more with potential customers who have already shown an interest in your offer and to develop their experience, authority, and credibility with their target audience.

Part of that comes down to scale. While B2C marketing can work well with larger numbers, B2B relationships are generally smaller in volume, but larger in value. It is important that your community has enough members to get a natural boost, but you should not make them too difficult or anonymous.

There is also an option to introduce CBM during the Loyalty and Defense phase. Identifying your primary accounts and providing concierge and support services can encourage customers to stay with you longer and can also trigger referrals.

Make your CBM strategy a success

Several factors play a role in the success of your CBM strategy. Here are some points to consider.

  • Choose the correct group host

The importance of choosing the right community leader cannot be overstated.

To attract and retain the right members of the community and encourage the right kind of conversation, you need someone knowledgeable and influential. But do not soften the softer skills. Your driver must be resilient and confident, show great empathy, and know when to enter and when to retire.

It’s also a good idea to choose someone who feels comfortable with the technology you’ve chosen, which brings me to the next point.

  • Choose the right platform

There is no right platform, but the factors to consider are your industry sector, the size of your target audience, the size of your business, and the type of culture you are trying to cultivate.

For example, large platforms like LinkedIn may seem anonymous and impersonal, while niche companies may want to explore specialized models like Substack (for writers) or Patreon (for artists).

For midsize communities, open-source software and ready-to-use mobile platforms provide an economical and risk-free option for managing your B2B community.

  • Heal, don’t dictate

There is a fine line between a well-organized and a stuffy environment. The most successful communities feel that they “belong to the community”. It is good to conduct the conversation when you need to, but it is vital that you do not try to dominate it.

This balance occurs over time, not overnight. When the right people are involved, you should see members of the community present their ideas, questions, and opinions.

  • Be consistent and persistent

Getting into the rhythm is consistent in your community, especially in the early stages. For example, dedicating certain days of the week to specific functions, welcoming new members, or conducting interviews or

Above all, persistency is a tool you’ll want to keep in your armory. It can take a while to get a group off the ground, because you must build trust and make people comfortable and confident enough to open up.

But investing that time and energy will create a truly valuable community—both for you and its members.