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From Community to Revenue: A Marketing Team's Three Orbit Journey

Marketing teams today face increasing pressure to balance company revenue goals with providing value to their community. It's a tough balancing act. 

In my book, Unfair Mindshare, I share a number of sample playbooks that guide teams from outer community-led Orbit 3 initiatives into lower brand- and product-led orbits. Let me summarize that journey for you here by imagining a marketing team's journey.

The Journey

In Orbit 3, the team focused solely on serving their marketing community. They compiled publicly available research into 21 marketing maturity models into a single deck, crediting each source in the community.

The team shared this deck widely across marketing forums and social media, no strings attached. They simply aimed to provide value to peers looking to evolve their marketing.

This community-first approach drove the deck to go viral. As marketing guru Laura Fitton says, "Helpful is the new viral." It established the team as an authority without any product pitches.

In Orbit 2, the team started incorporating the deck into their content strategy. They presented research at conferences and hosted webinars with experts to further boost awareness for the content and their company.

Moving into Orbit 1, the team began using the deck for demand gen. They gated access to a version of the deck in exchange for email sign-ups. The same deck was now playing a dual role: ungated in Orbit 3 and gated in Orbit 1 initiatives.

The sample playbook



The result? 

What the team started as an effort to better serve the community transformed over time into a demand-generation opportunity for their business that could pay significant dividends for years. The content delivered immense value to a community of practitioners looking for tips on getting started or validating their own tech stacks by comparing them to what others had put together. 

The 21 marketing maturity models presentation also boosted their brand awareness and generated thousands upon thousands of leads. Those leads could then be nurtured over time in motions that introduced more product-specific information. This enabled their sales and marketing teams to convert some of those community members into revenue. It’s where the've led people from Orbit 3 into Orbit 1.

One of the nice things about this approach is it didn’t start with pitching their products and services. This approach helped balance their portfolio of marketing initiatives to include a combination of helpful (community-led content) and promotional (traditional product-specific content). The community recognized they were doing their part to be good stewards of community growth while also supporting the company's business growth objectives.

The key takeaway for initiatives that will take people on a journey from Orbit 3 into Orbit 1 - always lead with community value creation. Build trust and awareness in Orbit 3. Then, map out your shift to demand gen in Orbit 1.

When crafting these integrated journeys, authenticity matters. When you start with value, revenue will follow.