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Why community feedback loops are important

Community-led marketers can play two important roles in a business: being a voice to the market and a voice of the market. 

As a voice to the market, community marketers can drive increased understanding and awareness of trends in the market that are worth paying attention to. Those trends might represent changes in industry practices, shifts in new roles being created to serve an industry, new investments being made, changes in the vendor landscape for a market, or methodologies being adopted. 

Community leaders sharing these perspectives can quickly help assess if the concepts resonate with the audiences they touch, if the market at large is not yet comprehending their importance, or if they are perhaps addressing those trends differently than they were suggesting. 

Community marketers might also be able to share their insights with top industry and community influencers to see if concepts resonate with them. These tech enthusiasts and visionaries often lead the earliest adoption of new solutions but also might share alternative paths to address a given problem or challenge. 

This is where the voice of the market comes into play. The more marketers can bring feedback from the community to internal teams, the more valuable they become as allies of business strategists on your executive team. 

Not all feedback is created equal

The more quantifiable and data-driven the feedback is to internal teams, the more influence it will have in changing minds. For example, survey data or sentiment analysis from large audiences can be more difficult to challenge when others do not have more prominent data sources to rely on. By comparison, opinion-based feedback is more easily challenged by other individuals and their experiences. 

The voice of the market and voice to the market complement one another in the form of feedback loops that serve the business.





I should also add that community-based feedback is generally less biased because it is not collected through vendor-specific outreach, which may taint the audience selection or questions targeted for a response. Asking customers or active prospects in your pipeline for feedback will likely elicit many different responses than when you ask the same questions in a vendor-neutral community.

Example: product engineering feedback loops

Let’s look at how Orbit 3 marketers can play a critical role in feedback loops between the community and product engineering organizations. Spending so much time in the community enables marketers to see and hear of trends that may impact the long-term direction of the business. For example, they might report on their analysis of :


  • top priorities for a specific target persona that they have heard in the past quarter from conference attendees, industry influencers, or community members
  • community surveys where people indicate various needs, requirements, or challenges they were facing
  • discussions trending in Discourse, Discord, Twitch, Reddit, GitHub, or Slack workspaces serving the community 
  • Registration data from community meetups, conferences, webinars, or live discussions that provide insight into refining ideal customer profile (ICP) targets


Feedback from the community represents an important voice of the market that might not be captured by others through other feedback channels the product development organization has established. The engineering organization can use this feedback to validate new features, expand the product portfolio, determine pricing options, or eliminate offerings that are not resonating with the market.

Mary Thengvall, the author of The Business of Developer Relations, agrees. During my recent conversation with her, she shared an experience of a time she was working closely with software engineering communities in the DevOps space. The core product she was working on, Chef Software, had its roots in the Ruby on Rails programming language. She noticed a growing trend in her community where more Python developers appeared. Her reaction was spot on:

“Hey, I see the Python community is engaging more in our community. I wonder who we know there that could engage with our product team to help inform potential changes in our roadmap.” 

Mary spotted the trend and was, in essence, bringing the voice of the market back to her company’s internal engineering team.

The same holds true for feedback loops in product-led growth organizations. A blog post shared by CommonRoom states, “A key component to running a community of products is soliciting, listening to, and responding to user feedback. Communities tied to products often allow users to make feature requests, test new features early, and provide feedback on existing features. This allows for real-time product development and creates a closed feedback loop between product teams and their users.”

Completing the feedback loop to the community is also important. Strategic directions being taken by product engineering teams can be introduced by Orbit 3 marketers as trends worth paying attention to in a market. The feedback loop into the community does not have to be company or product-specific. Even broad statements can provide insight as to what is resonating in the market. 

For years, I would present state-of-the-industry reports to conferences where I often addressed patterns and anti-patterns of behaviors and needs that we observed in the community. Feedback from the presentation audiences was gathered and shared with the product development team, our executive leadership committee, and our sales teams to help refine our go-to-market focus and planning priorities.