Through brand communities, companies can gain loyal, engaged advocates and customer insights that are key to personalization. With the help of engagement service providers, enterprises can realize tremendous business value by using this marketing channel. To learn more about the value of ESPs in unlocking the full potential of brand communities, read on.
The hunger for social interaction and human connection that started during the pandemic has not subsided, fueling the continued growth of niche communities on social media platforms and offline self-help groups. Companies are realizing that strong brand communities can help create long-term brand advocates and have many other benefits.
Influencer marketing and social media marketing are proliferating – from thriving online blockchain NFT communities such as CryptoPunks to strong offline communities that are avenues for in-person events like fitness brand Gymshark.
With Google sunsetting third-party tracking cookies, marketers will need to quickly adjust their strategies to use first-party data directly from customers to champion true personalization.
Beyond solely capturing behavioral first-party data, brands have an opportunity to incentivize customers to voluntarily share zero-party data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a business, which will be paramount for personalization.
This is where brand communities come to the rescue – making highly credible customer data available on both an individual and aggregated cohort level, expanding the scope for effective customer engagement.
In addition to being a source of high-quality, sustainable customer data, let’s explore how communities also can help brands in several other enticing ways.
While communities bring a plethora of opportunities for enterprises to meet their personalization goals, brands struggle to extract tangible Return on Investment (ROI) from community engagements because they frequently lack a sustainable customer engagement strategy.
Also, when it comes to choosing the right technology platform for building communities, the extremely fragmented technology landscape makes it difficult for brands to evaluate the right fit for their custom needs.
This is where the role of ESPs becomes extremely crucial, as illustrated below.
Exhibit 1: The role of ESPs in extracting value out of brand communities
|Engagement strategy||ESPs need to devise a strategic implementation roadmap in collaboration with creators and influencers to create impactful communities for brands from the ground up. They also need to provide hand-holding support to brands who have been unable to scale their community efforts due to the lack of strong engagement strategies|
|Technology implementation||ESPs will need to either partner with existing community platform vendors such as Tribe and Vanilla Forums or create their own tech landscape for embedding data inputs from community platforms into customer data platforms (CDPs). They will need to meld insights from communities to continuously enhance the customer’s 360-degree profile for personalization|
|Managed services (experience operations)||Since communities take a longer time to generate value and need continuous content and security support, ESPs can provide the benefit to upstart communities of already having technology expertise and also deliver support services to brands with existing communities|
Investing in creating a new successful community might seem like a daunting task, but enterprises need to draw on learnings from leaders such as Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, Sony PlayStation, and SAP, which are already reaping significant benefits from their communities.
ESPs also need to spread their knowledge and educate clients about this largely untapped market and begin building their tech ecosystem for this opportunity to get ahead of their peers.
With skyrocketing customer acquisition costs, relying on growth through paid media to create truly personalized experiences becomes increasingly difficult. Adopting cost-effective alternatives for achieving sustainable customer loyalty is crucial for enterprises. Successful brand communities can become the secret sauce for gaining long-term competitive advantage in the race for hyper-personalization.
ESPs will play a crucial role in actualizing the returns from communities for enterprises. Providers need to kick-start the process by educating clients about the tremendous benefits of using this marketing channel while also building robust technology architecture to support long-term business outcomes.
Learn more about how to create hyper personalized customer experiences in our webinar, Strategies for Customer Experience (CX) Success in an Uncertain World, for recommendations on what to prioritize to deliver exceptional customer experience.