- On January 31, 2020
“Oh, Community Marketing” you think to yourself, upon reading the title of this article. “Just the latest buzzword in the increasingly-crowded world of channel marketing terminology.” A fad, perhaps.
Quite possibly, however unlike other fads, this one is here to stay. Here’s why.
In order for channel partners to grow, stay, and remain successful, it is imperative they carve out a niche and foster it. No matter whether it’s by industry, customer size, geography or technology, channel partners must find gaps in the market that buyers are searching for.
As a vendor, your product range (hopefully) satisfies a number of different niches, all with unique communities surrounding them. It is up to you to grow and manage these communities, or identify nontransactional partners who can do it for you.
This leaves you with highly diverse partner ecosystems that must be managed. As Jay McBain of Forrester states, “With millions of potential partners flooding into the marketplace, those that can find, recruit, manage, and nourish partners at scale will determine future winners and losers.”
The partners managing your communities are probably completely nontransactional, meaning account managers used to judging partner performance on stats alone will need to alter their skillset somewhat.
Whilst managing transactional partners is still vital for the pipeline, the future of the channel will become increasingly based on how well vendors can recruit and enable nontransactional partners.
The Modern Community Manager
Transforming the traditional Account Manager role into a more encompassing Community Manager role can prove difficult for some. Not only must they manage partners effectively, but also ensure they have the available training and resources to be visible, every day.
You will need to provide them with the knowhow to effectively:
- Achieve and maintain community leadership
- Obtain overall feedback and gain insights into customer wants and needs
- Help drive innovation
- Reduce marketing costs
- Enable partners to inspire communities
Whether your community managers handle their own communities , or oversee partners managing their own, they must be in touch with the best ways to effectively reach their audience.
To this day, sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook remain the largest platforms to reach specialised audiences – whether CM’s are going for the hyper-focused B2B logic-fest the LinkedIn community provides, the more emotionally driven reaction-based Twitter audience, or the wide, seemingly all-encompassing grasp of Facebook.
What is important is that you are effectively adding to these communities, as anything that doesn’t add value to a community will be looked down upon. Too much spam and you’ll do more harm than good.
Train your Community Managers to effectively provide value to communities with your brand, and you’re already ahead.
Click here for more information on how to recruit, manage and enable every type of partner.