MAD Perspectives Blog

 Benefits from B2B Communities

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 18, 2010

Community is a hot topic this week as we are amazed at the successful rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile.   They seemingly happily co-existed in extraordinary circumstances for 69 days.  They formed their own community based on their circumstance.  However, they were already part of a community when they went into the mine.   I celebrated a milestone birthday this weekend and was surrounded by a community of friends who represent different parts of my life. defines community as “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”

We live in communities built of houses, schools, shops, restaurants, roads and local government.  We work in communities defined by the structure of our respective businesses.  However, since the rise of the Internet, we also exist in many virtual communities.  What makes an online community? How do we develop, foster or join these communities? We join groups based on our desire for:

    •      - Shared experiences
  •      - Knowledge on products, services and solutions
  •      - Q&A with perceived experts
  •      - New, or insider, information and/or documents
  •      - Status, visibility, connectivity

Now, think about communities as it relates to your customers.  Where are they going to obtain information, share content or ask questions?  You want to be in the same places.  You can probably make some assumptions based on your industry.  However, you can also use some simple tools such as
Trackur to see what social sites your contact database is accessing.  Of course, the simplest way is to just ask them!

By participating in communities, your business will benefit from:

  •      - Live interaction with potential customers
  •      - Understanding customer concerns and priorities
  •      - Gaining feedback on product feature/ functionality
  •      - Brainstorming new ideas
  •      - Greater awareness
  •      - Better qualified leads

That said, is important to think of a community from a sense of participation and interaction.  The purpose of a community is not about marketing your business.  It is about learning, probing, exchanging, and listening.  Isn’t that what you do in your local community?  Why would it be any different for your business?

What’s your perspective?