Over and over again in modern marketing operations, the question of customer needs arises. How do you find out what your customers need and want? The obvious answer is to ask them. You don’t necessarily know who might buy your products or services in future—but you do know who has bought them in the past.
One area often seen in modern marketing operations is community marketing. Working closely with those responsible for customer service, marketers can help to build a community of customers and even potential customers. This, in turn, helps to build relationships and make connections. Why involve customer services? Because they are often the ones in contact with customers after purchase, and therefore have existing relationships with them.
The idea behind this is not to sell aggressively to this group. Instead, the purpose is to have high-quality conversations about wants and needs: to get a better understanding of how people use your products, and what else they would like to see from you. This allows you to become more innovative because you can see untapped needs. You can also use the community to test out ideas for new products or services, and see if they would be marketable.
Essentially, the idea behind community marketing is to co-create more value for both customers and business. It follows that you should focus limited resources on what actually creates that value. By all means add technology to the mix—but don’t forget that communities are about people.