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Modern Marketing – part 3

Atualizado: 7 de nov. de 2022

Part one and two of Modern Marketing covered the need behind community led awareness, a brief introduction into why sales are essential for business success using conventional marketing – go-to-market (GTM), and funding which stimulates survival of the fittest while it introduced go-to-community (GTC), as more of a stimulator and technology spreader that leads to increased sales.

Again, I cannot emphasize more strongly that if a startup is underfunded then generating a revenue stream by GTM early on is paramount for operational costs and survival of a promising enterprise, as most startups are micro-entity (micro-companies) because they are very small, private limited, and therefore entrepreneurs must maximize focus and concentration levels, seek immediate sustenance to get the wheels rolling, and find a way to fund the business venture, or otherwise the aspect of failure is very real. Funding provides more time for the business to establish itself.

Great ideas need to be developed into faultless final products before going to market. If funds are not available then seed money from contacts who believe in the idea and are prepared to invest is fundamental to the projects short-term, middle-term, and long-term success. Speculation through go-to-community is a great method to build community awareness, as it increases trust between community members and company employees. A community manager’s role is to listen, learn, and connect the members, and sometimes, the appropriate experience is an introduction to a salesperson.

If employees are aligned around creating value for the community, then it liberates them to focus on positive-sum interactions, and doing what’s best for each person independent of targets like leads generated. As time elapses, then trust is more established, and that prospect will more likely enter into the funnel much more qualified in comparison to another lead source through conventional go-to-market.

Social media, forums, groups, etc., and associations offer likeminded communities that probably share common ground and will aspire to podcasts, informative blogs, related material, and knowledgeable while serious community members. The idea of community can take away the GTM strategy and introduce a more subtle while better long-term conversion rate.

The conversations, content, and connection that emerge from a community reveal what matters to them, what they struggle with, what they need to be successful, and what matters in their world. If you’re paying attention to the community and talking to the folks in it, you’ll have a clear point of view that can empower others within your company to act with conviction and clarity.

Each business has a specific niche which needs to be treated independently; allowing a specific manner that encapsulates best practice to promote consumer awareness and ultimately help in the company’s success. Staff members should be briefed before getting involved as an extracurricular activity; if they agree and want to be part of the company’s success. However, there should be guidelines as to how much they can say. By spilling all the beans, those new ideas and first to market features of the company could be jeopardized, as copycat rivals take an idea and run with it.

Insights from community conversations and discussions can provide critical information that can actually benefit a startup, as it feeds insights from the community back to the product, marketing, and sales teams. Even more so, as these insights are informed by the “natural voice” of the community. The key then is actually feeding those insights back into the company. This can be compared to receiving reviews which are coming from motivated reviewers whereas the silent majority doesn’t say anything.

The rest of the article is directly cited from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) original newsletter:

Community strategy can help with alignment

A go-to-community strategy helps align teams, as it brings clarity around organizational priorities and who owns what — who’s working on value capture, and who’s working on value creation? Today, the marketing team will likely have folks working on both, which can cause a mismatch between activities and their expected impact.

It’s hard to define success when everyone harbors differing underlying assumptions about what’s at stake. For instance, you wouldn’t ask an account executive to spend time chatting with community members on the forum, since they should be focused on closing deals and capturing value. And yet it’s not uncommon for someone to ask a community manager or developer advocate a question like, “How many leads did we get from the meetup last night?” That person is asking a value capture question about a value creation activity.

If you build it, will they come?

As we’ve seen, the conversations, content, and connection that emerge from a vibrant community often lead to improved awareness, adoption, self-qualification, retention, and ultimately, revenue for the company.

That all sounds great, but it’s important to note that these kinds of outcomes are only a second-order effect of building a high gravity community. You can’t just tie revenue, marketing, or product metrics directly to your community strategy. Instead, the goal is to nurture and facilitate fruitful discussions between community members, create value, and understand the second-order impacts of those activities on this business.

In other words, you can’t force a flower to grow, but you can create the ideal context for its growth.

Now one could ask, why do we even need “go-to-community” at all? Can’t we just call it “community”?

The challenge with the term “community” is its broad scope: Both Kubernetes and my local running club can be called communities, but they’re only similar in the most abstract ways, which is why I think we need a reframe. The concept and term “go-to-community” (hat tip to Sam Ramji, one of my early angel investors who sparked this phrase) is useful for a few reasons:

  • It borrows from the already familiar concept of GTM and frames the community discussion in terms of commercial impact. Historically, most community teams have struggled for budget and authority, leaving community programs underfunded and underutilized. If you’re convinced that community can drive value for your customer and your company, elevating community programs to a GTC strategy will help frame the strategic import of community and help guard against the common failure case of underfunding and lack of mandate.

  • It provides a conceptual wrapper around previously seemingly different ideas and teams like community, content, and events. So what’s the ideal organizational chart placement for the community function? We’ve yet to see a clear consensus, but ideally, community teams — much like an Operations function — work best as a cross-functional multiplier, rather than as a vertical functional area with linear handoffs between teams.

  • It is pithy and direct. GTC is a meme the whole company can rally around, even the sales team.

But go-to-community is more than a concept; it’s also a roadmap to incorporating one’s community into one’s strategy. It transforms questions like “How many leads did the forum generate last week?” into questions like “How many people did we help”? Again, the key difference between go-to-community and go-to-market is the focus on value creation vs. value capture.

Ideally, GTC and GTM plans should complement each other. By clarifying the GTC alongside the GTM, and describing both plans in detail, companies can reduce their coordination costs and enjoy all the benefits of both.

Although community building may be as old as humanity, the practice of GTC in a commercial context is relatively new; modern GTM has had many decades to evolve and refine, but the GTC journey is just beginning. There’s no playbook yet, so I think it’s helpful to start with having the conversations. To help make the concept more concrete, here are some questions to add more nuance and rigor around the potential for GTC in your company:

  • Who is in our community and why are they here? Who is not in the community?

  • What value will we create for the community, whether or not they are paying customers?

  • What value will the members provide each other?

  • How will we listen, talk to, and be directed by our customers?

  • How and where will we deliver insights from these conversations to the rest of the company?

  • How will we incentivize, recognize, and reward participation?

  • What values and norms will we model and do we expect of the community?

  • How can we make our community smarter, happier, wealthier? Through what programs, which channels?

Based on the questions above, the next step is defining and testing hypotheses about how the GTC plan impacts GTM as well:

  • We think active community members will retain 50% longer than non-members.

  • We think we can double the output we get from our existing blog by generating four community-created posts per month, resulting in a 20% increase in trial signups.

Hypotheses are a good place to start, primarily because communities should be understood as complex systems, which means the connection between efforts and results may not show up for a long time. But the act of discussing and debating these hypotheses, and questions, will bring more clarity and alignment about the purpose and impact of the GTC and GTM teams, as well as engage everyone in a creative discussion about how to create value in different forms. The value creation mindset has implications for every area of the business, benefiting customers, non-customers, and audience members alike — it’s ALL community, and community spans the customer journey from beginning to end.

A first-class competency in a non-zero-sum world

I believe the relationship between companies and customers is trending toward a positive-sum orientation, versus one that’s focused only on one-sided value extraction. Companies with a go- to-community strategy will be more incentivized and equipped to participate in this kind of relationship, ensuring that they deliver consistent value to their communities (while also benefiting from the second-order upside).

There’s upside for everyone in a company’s orbit, not just for “leads”. And by creating, not just capturing, value, companies earn the trust to enter into those conversations and build relationships with anyone interested in what they’re building: current customers, potential customers, or just folks driving by to learn something new. By giving value first, these companies position themselves to be ahead, compared to the companies who are still playing a more extractive zero-sum game.

So does having a go-to-community strategy mean only the company benefits from an active community? Hardly. The good news for the community is that when GTC is elevated to a company-level concern, the community members themselves will see more benefits: more regular and high-quality events, education, training, and opportunities to connect with others.

It also means the community members themselves are more empowered to co-create the community and culture they want to participate in. The company can also deliver a higher-quality, safer, and higher-gravity community experience, since the community team will be resourced with tools and staff to onboard new members, moderate the community and deal with toxic behavior, and facilitate connection between members.

This means that go-to-community needs to be a first-class competency: one with the team, budgets, tooling, and a spot at the leadership table. When companies create more value than they capture, people learn new things, meet new people, and discover new opportunities — and of course, the company enjoys the benefits as well.

I trust the idea presented to you enhances integrity within your organization while paving the way to a more proactive level of commitment.

Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Get the wheels rolling (idiom) = the same as get the ball rolling which means set an activity in motion; make a start.

Is not rocket science (idiom) = When someone says that something is not rocket science, it means it's not difficult. In other words, it's easy to do or understand. This idiom is probably inspired by the study of rocket science which isn't exactly easy.

Extracurricular activity = Also known as extra-academic activities, extracurricular activities include sports, student government, community service, employment, arts, hobbies, and educational clubs. Extracurricular activities all complement an academic curriculum.

Spilling all the beans (idiom) = Disclose a secret or reveal something prematurely, as in, “You can count on little Carol to spill the beans about the surprise.” In this colloquial expression, first recorded in 1919, spill means “divulge,” a usage dating from the 1500s.

Hypotheses (n) a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. "Professional astronomers attacked him for popularizing an unconfirmed hypothesis." PHILOSOPHY: a proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of its truth. "The hypothesis that every event has a cause."

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