According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report[1], “84 percent of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.”

The internet has allowed for the creation of new methods of marketing, such as digital marketing. Community Marketing is a new form of marketing that directly engages with customers. It can helps you understand your customers needs while promoting your brand and fostering brand loyalty within a community of like minded individuals. 

In this article, we discuss what community marketing is, compare it with other forms of marketing[2], examine its importance and how it works and what the benefits are.  

We will also provide tips for how your business can use community marketing to increase your brand awareness and create loyal customers. 

What is community marketing?

Community marketing[3] is a marketing strategy for engaging and building lasting relationships with existing customers in a community environment. 

Community marketing primarily takes place online and uses digital marketing tactics, particularly on social media platforms. These communities are places where potential customers can interact with one another and discuss issues or subjects important to them. 

From a business perspective, brands can campaign for social issues, or solve problems that a specific community is passionate about. 

A perfect example of community marketing is Patagonia[4]. Patagonia has always been a political brand. The Patagonia brand is associated with climate change and advocating for politicians and corporations to take climate change seriously. Patagonia is an apparel company that exclusively uses recycled materials. The marketing team at Patagonia are vocal when it comes to climate change. By visibly advocating for the environment, they positioned their brand into a place where like minded individuals (their target audience) become loyal supporters. 

Small businesses can also use the power of digital marketing to engage with community marketing. For example, a small bakery that also sells baking supplies can create content online with recipes. They can promote this content online and in-store. This will maintain customer relations and, if done correctly, can create a community of loyal customers. 

What is the difference between community marketing and other forms of marketing?

There are many differences between community marketing and traditional forms of marketing.

  • Audience: In community marketing, the target audience is existing customers, whereas other forms of marketing target potential customers. Community marketing turns existing customers into loyal supporters, who advocate for your brand to their like minded friends, family etc. 
  • Purpose: Usually, the goal of marketing aims to attract new customers to a brand[5]. Community marketing aims to retain customers and enhance their user experience and customer satisfaction.
  • Engagement: While marketing normally addresses the masses, community marketing occurs on a more personal level, with individuals directly engaged with one another.
  • Relationships: Traditional marketing seeks to establish a relationship between the brand and the customer. Community marketing seeks this too but also encourages relationships between customers.

What are the benefits of Community Marketing?

Community marketing can provide value for both a brand and its customers. When community marketing is implemented correctly, it’s a win-win situation.  

Increased customer loyalty and retention

Customers who feel valued are more likely to remain loyal to the brands that value them. This can allow brands to retain their customers. Retaining customers is much more cost efficient than trying to attain new customers. Loyal customers are also likely to become ambassadors to the brands they support. This could result in your local customers recommending your business to their friends and family. 

Reduced overall marketing costs

Maintaining a community of customers who provide frequent voluntary insight about a brand and its products can allow you to spend less money and effort on market research. As mentioned above, maintaining customers and nurturing relationships is cheaper than attracting new customers.

Greater innovation

Loyal customers provide you with better insight and suggestions. Customers can help guide innovation by providing suggestions, new ideas and more detail about their needs. Local customers will want to help support your business and see it grow.

Improved branding

A well-moderated and nurtured community can be an additional face for your company, contributing to the overall brand identity. For example, let’s look at Patagonia’s loyal customers. What is the one thing they all have in common? They care about climate change and the environment. Patagonia is now a global brand closely associated with the environmentalist movement. It’s highly unlikely someone that is passionate about the environment and sustainability is unaware of Patagonia, even if they are not a customer. 

Tips for Getting Started with Community Marketing

Community marketing can be used by both small and big businesses. For big businesses, community marketing helps them stand out from other big competitors. For small businesses, it also helps elevate them above their competitors. 

Here are some tips for getting started with community marketing:

Research your existing customers

Typically, businesses and marketers will research their target audience. Why not start by researching your current customers? Can you see anything that groups your customers together? In order to use community marketing for your business successfully, you need to first understand your current customers in depth. 

Become an active participant

Odds are, your customers are likely a part of a community already. Try to find out where your customers are hanging out online and become an active participant within the community. In order for your brand to become associated with a community, you need to start contributing to discussions and familiarising yourself with other community members of that community. Your brand must be in a position online where the community can interact with it. 

Inform colleagues

Introducing your colleagues to the customer community can be an effective way to help promote your brand within it. Increasing the number of brand representatives within a community can help increase your brand’s exposure. 

Be authentic

This is arguably the most important point of community marketing. It’s important to show that those who represent the brand are people who care about their customers. If members express complaints about the brand or its products, strive to engage with them sincerely and empathetically. Your goal is to represent the brand principles you want to be known for. Brand perception is based on actions, not words or intentions.

VIMAR Digital Marketing

VIMAR Digital Marketing 

VIMAR provides a full circle digital marketing package and can meet all your Digital Marketing needs.

Commercial Marketing is becoming increasingly popular for businesses when communicating its brand to the public and customers. High-quality content product and video production allows a business to engage with customers while building brand recognition. 

Contact VIMAR for a free consultation. Let’s use the power of community marketing to transform your business and increase your brand’s awareness today!