Online Marketing

How B2B Community Building Is Transforming Marketing

8 minute read

How Are Tough Mudder & Hubspot Alike?

How is a company that makes people run in the mud similar to one that creates marketing software? If you’ve ever met someone from the ‘Tough Mudder Legion’ or an ‘Inbound Marketer’ you’ll know that there aren’t many surface level similarities. Look deeper and you’ll know that Tough Mudder and HubSpot have managed to build a community of individuals who have a similar set of values.

Communities don’t emerge in days or even weeks. They take time to build. And they come together when they are able to reach people with a similar mission.

Can Marketers Build B2B Communities?

In the B2C world, we’ve seen communities built around brands. People give up their individuality for brands, be it makeup brands, energy drinks, or vehicles; those brands have often become synonymous with how people think of themselves. For an audience who loves the open road and biking, a brand like Harley Davidson has been able to build a relationship almost synonymous with their audience’s personality.

Tough Mudder Didn’t Build a Business – They Built a Country

Tough Mudder built a business which essentially got people to run through an obstacle course in the mud and pay for it. I recently finished reading It Takes a Tribe by Will Dean, founder and CEO of Tough Mudder. While at first they managed to attract people through novelty, Tough Mudder managed to scale globally because people who run a Tough Mudder just once become lifelong advocates of the product. Hell, some will even get Tough Mudder inked on their body! Tough Mudder built such a strong community of advocates by building a strong code of values that they then messaged out to every participant. They even have a pledge; it’s like they’re their own country!

While the Tough Mudder example is a B2C model, there have been companies in the B2B world who have successfully been able to build audiences and communities that swear by them (I’ve yet to see any tattoos but I don’t think we’re too far from that happening!).

HubSpot Became a Knowledge Hub & Empowered A Community

As a marketer who has lived part of his life in Cambridge near Hubspot HQ, I’m astonished to see the community they’ve built around marketers.

I’ve encountered marketers who use other marketing automation platforms, but the vast majority I’ve encountered who commit to HubSpot become lifelong advocates and refuse to switch to another platform (Talk to me if you’ve ever encountered a new hire who refused to learn a new automation tool).

Hubspot has become a knowledge center through the fun, enjoyable content they produce – ridden with gifs, videos and memes, Hubspot has imparted the message that marketing can be fun. Read: Content Marketing For Boring Industries

In their yearly conference, Inbound, Hubspot brings together thousand of marketers in a multi day event to bring together the community of marketers under their umbrella.

Even through their Academy, which is their knowledge house for how to be a marketer, Hubspot built a way for marketers to enter their community stating that there are no barriers to be be part of their country. You can also take the pledge!

How can you build a community for your B2B marketing?

  • Understand What Drives Your Audience
  • Keep Their Values in Mind
  • Build a Community Based on Their Goals

You can decide how you want to do this, whether it be by empowering your audience with a knowledge center to make them smarter or by connecting them to individuals that are similar to each other. There are a dozen ways to build a community but it’s really up to you how you decide to start building. The important thing is that you start!