01/11/21 Jack Foster

The Marketing Meetup: The Power of Community

If you’re in the digital space and haven’t heard about The Marketing Meetup, you’ve either not opened up LinkedIn over the past few years or you’ve been living under a rock — either way, today is your lucky day!

TMM was founded by Joe Glover back in 2016, and has since scaled to a community of over 26,000 members. The community offers a space to watch, read, listen and learn with weekly content in the form of Webinars, Events, Jobs, Blog Posts and Podcasts — which is all wrapped up in a regular newsletter.

I’ve been a member of the Facebook community since the start of the year, and it’s incredible to see how helpful a group of 2.8k marketers (who some have never met) can be. In a cut throat industry, Joe has managed to create an incredibly positive environment of peers continuously helping each other with insights, career growth and advice.

So just how did Joe create this? Here goes.

What was the reasoning behind launching TMM?

Five years ago I was the guy who was too shy to speak to people at networking events. Even when I did pluck up the courage, it felt all people valued was my job title or my budget, rather than me as a person.

But I knew I wanted to meet other marketers and learn about marketing in a space that felt safe. So I did something about it.

The rest, as they say, is history :)

What tips would you give to someone wanting to build an online community?

For me, the biggest thing is realising it’s not about you. 

So many companies are jumping on the communities bandwagon without really understanding what it means. A community is not a sales funnel - it’s a human experience where people come together to get better, be stronger, or make a greater difference than they would alone. 

The best bit of advice I can therefore give is to make your community one that truly lives in service to it’s members. Only then do you start reaping any kind of benefit yourself, too.

For a deep dive in to the question, I gave a full talk on the topic here.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to scale a newsletter?

Make it good!

As simple as it sounds, everyone is running a newsletter that offers you the latest ‘tips and tricks’. 

Actually understanding what your audience want is the first step, then positioning the newsletter to be useful to those needs is the next. That immediately makes you stand out and gives you the point of differentiation from the rest. 

Two more tips are: 

  • Make sure your newsletter sign up is visible on your site. If noone knows it exists, thats a problem!
  • Turn up consistently. Far too many people give up after a couple of editions and then lose all momentum. We called our newsletter the ‘wednesday at two club’ for a long time because it got me in the habit of turning up every week at the same time. Be accountable to yourself!

I could give you more tips, but the real king of newsletters is Harry Dry. He gave a great talk for us which is well worth a go.

How can an online community benefit an online business/brand?

There are some obvious ways. A great community will: 

  • Improve awareness of your brand, because people will let each other know about it
  • Reduce churn of customers (or increase retention), because people are engaged in a different way
  • Increase advocacy because people are having a positive experience of the brand
  • Reduce support costs, because the community help one another

However, the REAL currency of community is opportunity. 

I’m a bloke sat in a home office, and you’ve asked me to write this because I am part of a community. I’ve given talks. Been flown across the world to run events. Met amazing people. Things that could never sit on a spreadsheet, but have a sincere life impact. 

Most importantly however, these benefits are not just for my benefit, they’re for the benefit of the entire community. Each individual within the community has these opportunities. It’s not a broadcast. It’s not something that just benefits the brand. Communities win when everyone wins!

How can you successfully monetize an online community?

Don’t worry about monetizing it. Seriously. 

Focus on making it great. Then earn the right to monetize it. By the time that time comes, it will be obvious the ways you can help people that they will be willing to pay for.

Jack Foster

Head of Brand with over 10 years experience delivering campaigns across a range of channels including; web, social, email, print + video.