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The "think bigger" mindset of community-led marketing

“Would we be doing anything different today if we wanted 15,000 people to participate?”

That question changed everything when jumpstarting engagement for the ADDO community. The original path we embarked on was incremental, not monumental. If we continued to pursue our original goal of 1,000 people engaging with us, we would have easily achieved it. At the same time, if we were honest with ourselves, 1,000 people would not have moved the needle. We were not thinking big enough in a global community with tens to hundreds of thousands of people clamoring to learn more. 

When it comes to planning community initiatives, it is important for marketing leaders to challenge their teams on their priorities and measures. Aim low, and you’ll strike low. Aim high, and at least you are pointed in the right direction.

The incremental effort to attract 30,000 people was not much greater than the effort to engage 1,000. We had a strong value proposition for anyone in the community. If we wanted to move the needle - in short order - we needed to think much bigger. 

This same rule applied to the All Day DevOps program itself. It would not have attracted much attention if we were to host an online conference with 5 or 10 speakers. The program was not audacious enough. When Mark developed the original idea for 15 hours and 57 speakers, it felt ludicrous enough that people signed up to see if we could pull off the feat. When we changed the format to 24 hours and 180 speakers in year two, it triggered the same reaction from the community: “This is either going to be epic or an epic failure. Either way, I’m showing up to see.”

Marketing leaders should challenge their teams to focus beyond goals like “what can we do to get the first 10 or 1,000 people engaged in our community”. Instead, aim at a larger, more audacious target and ask, “what would we be doing differently today if we wanted to achieve that goal?” You might find a way to attain it.