Community-Led Growth Meaning
Community-led growth is a marketing strategy that relies on the inputs, influence and impact of a strong and supportive community of users as the primary driver of growth. The product’s most enthusiastic users become its primary advocates fueling customer acquisition, retention and activation. Examples of large organizations that use or have used community-led growth for their success include SAP, YouTube and Airbnb.
Community-led growth is not just useful for its ability to drive organic growth. Enthusiastic users are an asset due to their tendency to dive deep into the product and deliver real-time feedback. Community-led growth is sometimes considered an umbrella term for various growth and marketing techniques such as field marketing, event marketing, word-of-mouth marketing and content marketing.
The characteristics of the community-led strategy include:
- Viral, word-of-mouth referrals.
- User community magnifies product visibility and authority.
- Strong sense of ownership strengthens the relationship between users and company teams.
- Users possess and share deep product knowledge beyond what is in help docs.
- Continuous user feedback fuels product development and improvement.
Community-led growth strategy is dependent on the business’ community-building investment and activities. The gains from this investment are unlikely to be evident in the short-term. Community-building starts to pay off over the medium- to long-term. To build a thriving community, apply the following best practices:
- Ask yourself why people will join the community, how you meet their goals and where it will thrive.
- Find ways to reach new members.
- Encourage active user participation.
- Demonstrate you value user input.
Community-led growth and the more traditional sales-led and product-led techniques are not mutually exclusive. Businesses can use a combination for maximum impact.