How many emails did you see today? How many radio, social, or TV promotions did you see or hear? According to PPC Protect, “the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.” But how many do we actually pay attention to, comprehend, and act on?
Traditional marketing approaches are becoming more and more difficult because they’re expensive and people are worn down by a deluge of advertising. But there’s also another issue—this marketing strategy is only a one-way communication flow, despite the fact that modern consumers want to interact with brands and feel like equal partners.
That’s why many companies are turning to community marketing for a smarter, more focused, and ultimately more effective approach to engaging and interacting with customers.
What Is Community Marketing?
Unlike traditional marketing strategies, community marketing is a growth strategy that engages an audience in active conversations and activities to cultivate a community centred around a brand, service, or product. It primarily focuses on building enduring relationships with existing customers by forging deeper and more personalised relationships. After all, 80 percent of a company’s future profits come from 20 percent of its current customers.
With community marketing, customers can interact with each other and with a brand through social media, blogs, message boards and other forums. People can ask questions, provide feedback and brands can respond to concerns, create competitions, and give first-to-know information to build loyalty and engagement.
Top Benefits of Community Marketing
The benefits of community marketing seem almost boundless. Here are the top four:
- Community Marketing Amplifies the Voice of the Customer
Community marketing encourages user-generated content (UGC). This is endlessly important because when customers share their experiences with a brand through photos or posts, a company can capitalise on that content, share it, and reinforce a positive, authentic brand image.
Companies can also use community platforms to glean valuable insights about what customers are talking about and what they want or don’t want. It’s a fantastic avenue for customers to be seen, heard, and appreciated—and for businesses to improve their product and service offerings so they can remain relevant.
- Reduces Paid Advertising Costs
Community marketing primarily focuses on pleasing and meeting existing customers’ expectations, not trying to attract new customers. For marketers, this is good news because it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. By focusing on community marketing, you can reduce your marketing spend and truly focus on brand growth rather than on pay per click (PPC) buys or “likes.”
- Boosts Brand Loyalty and Increases Retention
Again, by focusing your marketing toward building a thriving community of repeat customers, you not only improve experiences, but you also build lasting relationships with brand ambassadors who can boost your top line.
Additionally, creating a digital space for customers to share experiences—good or bad—improves trust. That’s important because 74 percent of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
- Improves Satisfaction
People are hardwired for connection. Communities, digital or otherwise, are huge contributors to our success and happiness. Through community marketing, you can continually tend to people and their happiness. It not only makes people feel good but also 84 percent of customers say they’re more likely to stick with a brand that treats them like a person, not a number.
Why Is Community Marketing Growing?
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people want to feel connected. People long to interact with others, particularly those who share their same interests, and community marketing platforms can give them a sense of belonging even while social distancing.
Another reason why community marketing is steadily growing is that people, particularly millennials, are buying more products from brands that align with their identity and values. As the 2020 Consumer Culture Report relays, “Eighty-three percent of Millennials say it’s important for the companies they buy from to align with their beliefs and values.” Today, consumers are more conscious of the brands they buy from and what they represent socially and politically. Companies that invest in community marketing will forge deeper, lasting relationships built on shared interests.
How to Get Community Marketing Right
For brands to get community marketing right, start with the right tools. Community platforms, such as Verint Community, offer a robust platform that pulls community channels together, allowing you to provide all the elements you need to create a thriving, vibrant digital community. With features such as Q&A and discussion forums, gamification, multimedia galleries, blogs, ideation, and more, you can encourage your customers to share ideas, get answers and connect with others who share their passions and interests.
For example, watch how Verint’s client, Olympus, a global leader in precision technology, uses their digital community to bring people together to share their love of photography, feel inspired, and get support when needed.
Additionally, you’ll want to find a platform such as Verint Community that’s equipped with a range of community management tools. This will help you better understand what your customers want to improve services and products and create lasting relationships.