Last week I wrote about Communities of Interest and how they could potentially replace demographics as a means of identifying an audience. This post looks at the depth of the bond within a community and how that relates to marketing.
There are three layers to this onion:
In the outer and loosest layer people can been tagged with an interest in a topic. Typically sourced from attributes, lists and inferred activity these individuals may not know each other and it is the marketer's role to leverage them accordingly. These consumers would be appropriate for awareness and acquisition programs where reach is most important.
In the middle layer consumers did something explicit thru either self-selection or self-expression to join a community. In short, they have knowingly raised their hands as members, e.g. signing up for a newsletter or posting a recipe. These individuals would be appropriate for feedback and opinions as well as the foundation for loyalty programs and word of mouth.
The inner layer represents the truly committed where personal relationships between brand and individual are sustainable over the long term. They participate in the conversation over time. These consumers are your most likely ambassadors where you are requesting credentials and need influence.
This suggests that there are three steps to take advantages of communities:
- Determine the appropriate topics for your brand.
- Identify the levels of commitment related to a topic and assign each individual to one of them.
- Deploy role-appropriate marketing programs that align with topic and commitment.