The Power of Word of Mouth
Customer to Customer (C2C) is building community.
Brands and businesses are beginning to realize the power of the customer’s voices. Whether it’s online reviews, Word of Mouth recommendations, support forums, or field marketing events, through all of these channels, one voice is the most powerful – the customer’s.
Building a C2C community is about listening to your customer’s voice, and about building a space in which that voice is heard. It realizes the importance of taking the corporation out of the conversation and giving the torch to the customers. These companies are harnessing the power of human interaction, and using it as their most effective marketing, sales, customer success, and education tool. Instead of thinking about what to say to customers, C2C brands are thinking about what customers say to each other.
Community is not about the place, though, it’s about the people who are coming together to be a part of something larger than themselves. Traditionally, community is best built in person, face-face, but it’s not always possible to meet IRL. But that doesn’t stop the passion. Even when we can’t get together, we are finding ways to be together. Companies and brands are building C2C Event programs virtually!
C2C Community Event Programs
A Distributed Event program is the best way to implement C2C into your business. C2C Marketing empowers your greatest ambassadors, your Customers, to evangelize on behalf of your brand and grow your community. Being able to connect your Customers directly to one another (in-person or virtually) is a low cost, revenue efficient way to generate demand and build your brand.
The most powerful interaction someone can have is face to face. Whether it’s in person or virtually, we can all agree, a much more significant connection can be made in a 5 minute face-to-face conversation, than through a newsletter or a social media advertisement, and that’s why companies are opting to bring their communities together in real time at events – both in person and virtually. They are harnessing the power of human interaction, and are using it as their most effective customer to customer (C2C) marketing tool. Using the SPACE model to define a Community’s Business Value, here are some examples of incredible C2C community programs.
C2C community can be used as an extension of the customer success team. It can be a place where members can connect to the company. This builds a stronger relationship between the users and the company. The in-person community can also give users a chance to showcase their expertise on the product. This means other users will have answers to questions, and super users have a chance to share their knowledge. Users are excited to teach each other about products they love, and create content to help others fall in love too.
The Asana Together Community brings users together at events both on and offline to learn how to move work forward using the tool. Zendesk uses their community for customer support. They have forums, blogs, Q&As, and events!
Product Ideation, Innovation, Feedback
By bringing their users or customers together online (or sometimes offline), companies can leverage the collective insight of their community to get ideas for innovative features and identify the most important changes that will improve their products. Some companies take this even further that bring their community into every step of the product development process, from design to development, to ensure that the voice of the community is present in everything they create.
The Salesforce Trailblazer community helps users connect with their peers, build their network, and find mentors in the space. The Atlassian Community hosts user groups where people can come together to network, share ideas, solve problems, and get expert tips on their favorite Atlassian products.
Acquisition and Advocacy
C2C community can stimulate and increase customer loyalty and brand advocacy. Multiple companies use their in-person community to ensure their users are functioning on their platform to the best of their abilities. Other in-person communities are there to be supportive, because when a company invests in the development and growth of their community members, their relationship with the company is ten times stronger. It is encouraging engagement between current customers and prospective customers, and about letting your product join the conversation and speak for itself. Nobody knows the product better than the people who use it everyday. The most trustworthy recommendation doesn’t come from an advertisement, because nobody markets a product better than its users.
PulseLocal is the global network of community groups for the Customer Success profession. This community is hosted by Gainsight, but the events welcome all industry professionals to share best practices and connect with peers. The Mobile Growth Community is a community for app marketers, product managers, and developers. Mobile Growth is powered by Branch. CMX Connect is the C2C Community program from our organization, and is powered by Bevy! The CMX Connect program fulfils the need for community professionals to come together in-person and learn, grow, and, well… Connect! The events are open to anyone in the industry.
Content and Programming
C2C communities give customers an opportunity to share their knowledge with each other, to learn new things, and improve their skills together. Sometimes, the best way to learn new things is to teach and practice. A community gives users an opportunity to meet and connect with other people in their local community who may have the same questions or have answers to those questions.
Duolingo Events are C2C community events for Duolingo users to come together both in person and online, and give them an opportunity to practice their language skills in real time! CreativeMornings is the world’s largest face-to-face creative community, that brings creatives together in 214 cities around the world!
Building a community of people who have a common interest that is related to your brand or product. Some companies just get that if they identify the common interests and needs of their target customers, and build a community around that passion, that it will lead to increased loyalty, advocacy and – ultimately – sales. This can be a hard sell internally, but it’s working for a number of large brands today. Community is powerful because it gives people a common sense of identity and belonging. If the brand is the leader that gives them that sense of identity, it doesn’t matter if the community is focused on their product or not, members will feel a stronger connection to the brand.
Startup Grind is the community for the world’s entrepreneurs. Their events are hosted by volunteers in over 600 cities around the world. The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people driving dialogue, action and change. It is an initiative of the World Economic Forum.