Skip to content
All posts

Community-led growth: time to scale

Community-led marketing requires you to think of yourself first as gathering, supporting, and empowering people to be active. In this orbit, you are not a primary creator of content people will consume. You are a facilitator of connections and trusted conversations. Sometimes, you are a content creator; at other times, you are a cheerleader of content creation. It’s less about you engaging with your community and more about community members engaging with each other. 



It is worth noting that the smartest marketers play a leading role in their external communities and connect their orbit 3 motions with internal initiatives. They will build feedback loops that help others in the company better understand what is happening in the market. They will also look for opportunities to connect community-led motions with brand and demand generation initiatives that support their business’ continued growth.


Don’t worry. We understand you were hired to promote your products and company.

You are not alone if you tell yourself that pursuing a community-led marketing initiative will feel awkward. Engaging in the market and not talking about your products or services is the antithesis of marketing.

Let’s face it: as a Chief Marketing Officer, you’ve made your living promoting and growing your business by doing the opposite. Like your colleagues in sales, your unspoken mantra is “always be pitching.” But if we are all honest with ourselves, we understand that it is more difficult to form trusted relationships in the market when your audience assumes that you are only engaging to benefit yourself.



Additionally, your CEO, CRO, and Board all want you to be promoting the business to accelerate growth. If no one talks about your business, you’ll have no business. 

As mentioned earlier, the best marketers operate in all three orbits. I would not tell you to stop investing in product and company go-to-market initiatives for your business. That would result in the end of your CMO stint. The journey we are taking here is about expanding your approach into the market by reaching new people and offering even more value in ways that can differentiate and distance your business from the competition.


The best marketing strategies incorporate all three orbits.

Community-led marketing strategies complement product- and brand-led initiatives by engaging a community of practice with similar interests to your business. Where your Orbit 1 and 2 strategies promote your products and services to target businesses, Orbit 3 aims to unite people with the same specialization or interest. 

You and your team spend most of your time in Orbit 1: product-led marketing. You describe your product, address customer pains, and highlight how your company and solutions can improve the customer’s world. Orbit 1 is required of all marketers.

You also invest time and effort into Orbit 2. Brand-led marketing supplements product-led efforts by inviting external voices within your community to reinforce Orbit 1 promises. Here, customer and partner voices reassure buying and renewal behaviors while celebrating wins they’ve achieved. 

Orbit 3 strategies play to a much larger community than the ones you’ve built around your product and company. The strategy requires your marketers to lead in facilitating communities of interest, connecting people, exchanging knowledge, and helping them level up their current practices. 




It’s important to recognize that just as product- and brand-led orbits are not mutually exclusive, the same goes for community-led orbits. Community-led marketing acts as a multiplier on top of product- and brand-led marketing. The best marketing leaders integrate all three orbits in their go-to-market plans.