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Community-led growth: Spotting the imposter

Example: “community conference”

It’s sometimes easiest to demonstrate the “don’t talk about yourself” rule by offering a couple of examples that break the rule.

First, imagine you are invited to attend a “community conference” for marketing executives. The program offers experts to discuss topics including conversational marketing, personalized content experiences, experiential marketing, social media trends, and artificial intelligence. 

The topics sound promising. The event is being held at a prestigious venue. And you have that time open on your calendar.

Now imagine you review the speaker roster for the event:


  • Bill Stout, CEO at Pipeline Corp.
  • Mary Rishi, CMO at Pipeline Corp.
  • Dwayne Barron at SVP Customer Success, Pipeline Corp.
  • Heidi Klaus, CTO at Pipeline Corp.
  • Bruce Mittwoch, Director of Product Marketing at Pipeline Corp.
  • Jane Green, CMO at Drummer (a Pipeline Corp customer)
  • Scott Simple, VP of Marketing at Holding (a Pipeline Corp customer) 


We’ve all seen this game before. The promise of community pulls us in, but the organizers can’t help but position themselves at the center of it all. This type of event is not an Orbit 3 gathering and would be better positioned as a brand-led marketing effort in Orbit 2.


This blog is an excerpt from Derek Weeks' book: Unfair Mindshare, a CMO's guide to community-led marketing in a product-led world.