Community And Marketing Complementary Not Competitive

Marketing builds a brand. Community empowers people.” ~ Amber Graner

When I first learned about the job title of “Community Manager” I was intrigued and wanted to know more about it.  I wanted to become one. (Accomplishment Unlocked)

Last week I started a new job as the Community Manager for an amazing new networking startup in Silicon Valley—SnapRoute, Inc.  The new team is amazing!  Building an external and internal community is a team effort, one person can’t do it alone. I’ll be interviewing and introducing you to the team throughout the year.  However, as I was getting to know my co-workers and seeing what questions they had for me one question came up a lot.  “I know what Marketing is, but what is Community?” In this post I want to talk about the differences between Community and Marketing.

Leadership, collaboration, gate keepers, cat herders, organizers, coaches, mentors, social media management, communication skills and more. A little bit operations, a little bit marketing, a little of sales, your community manager sits in a very unique position.  As they must understand the goals of the corporation and also the needs of an entire community and then act as translator to all. It’s fun, exciting, ever-changing, educational and at times exhausting work.

Some community managers are driven by a passionate belief in the mission of the organization for which they work.  To a community manager it’s more than a job, it’s a lifestyle (Or at least for me it is, I want to live, breathe, eat and sleep everything about my organization, it’s products and how to motivate a community.). They learn how to move mountains if one is the way of their goals.  They share their passion with anyone who will listen.  If your Community Manager lacks passion, then they will lack the sincerity to represent the goals of your community and organization.  Your Community Manager must always be a passionate, sincere, force of nature that motivates both the internal and external communities to believe in your mission and either join the movement, help develop the software, or adopt the product. Community touches all areas of an organization. Sounds exciting doesn’t it.  Now you know why I love my job.

However, Community and Marketing have to work well together in your organization. Neither can build a healthy community alone.  Often times in smaller organizations one person does both, and that’s ok at first but it often doesn’t scale well and that person is at odds with what their priorities are as everything is priority.  When Community and Marketing have a united front there is magic. It’s like a well-oiled unstoppable machine.

I love Marketing, but it’s the people and their stories they motivate me. It’s the building of a community who want to belong to something greater than themselves and who share the belief in the organization and the change it is making  in an ecosystem that I am passionate about.  In the case of my new job, the networking ecosystem.

If you want to know more about building a community, open hardware or how SnapRoute via FlexSwitch is bringing about change in the Networking Ecosystem, please let me know.


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