A3 Mobile Niche / Community Marketing

Part of a series of Top 10 Branding/Pre-Sales Mobile Marketing Strategies

Community marketing involves the creation of, or participation in, online communities. The goal is to initiate and build relationships with your target market while providing exposure for your brand.

Proprietary Communities

One of the best examples of a mobile community marketing strategy is the Nike+ Running app, mentioned earlier. Runners can join a community of like-minded people locally or globally. This enables runners to connect with community members virtually or in the real world by finding runners in the same area with a similar schedule and skill level. Community members, friends and family can monitor your progress and even give you real‑time audio encouragement during your run – “Go Tom go!”[i]

QR NIKE APPWatch the Video: Community Marketing – Nike: The Nike+ Running App brings together a community of like‑minded runners.[ii] <goo.gl/16qK8> (Duration: one minute)

Harley-Davidson formed the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.®) with the tagline “Hit the road with nearly one million of your closest friends.”[iii] Harley was successful at forming 1,400 H.O.G.® community chapters around the world. Harley dealerships also create strong community ties to riders by inviting customers and prospects to opt in to a mobile text messaging club.

Customers receive text updates about community gatherings, rides, special sales, events and member-only deals. Following one mobile message campaign advertising a special sale, Central Texas Harley Davidson reported the best sales day in nine months.[iv]

Dole created an online community called the Salad Circle to provide exclusive offers and recipes to community members.[v] Prizes were used as an incentive for people to join the community.[vi]

Panera bread created an interesting strategy to try to build a community and engage with current and future customers. They actually create three branded radio stations on Pandora called “Cool it Down, Hot Summer Classics and Fresh Hits.”[vii] Such an interesting approach to building a community.

Another powerful approach to building communities is through the use of teleconference calls. Teleconference calls can be a great way to get people talking to each other – prospects, customers, employees and business partners. There are many free teleconference services that you can use to get started.[viii],[ix],[x]

Existing Established Communities

Many companies are capitalizing on existing community sites such as Craigslist[xi] or Kijiji[xii] that operate in cities around the world, or national community sites such as TradeMe in New Zealand “where Kiwis Buy and Sell.”[xiii] These community sites can be used to sell goods and services. Many other global, national and regional community sites exist for specific hobbies, interests, sports, product categories and demographic segments.

Mobile Niche/Community Marketing Step-by-Step Guidance

  1. Leverage existing community sites or create your own.
  2. Find communities relevant to your offerings and/or target market.
  3. Enlist your employees to play a leadership role in these communities.
  4. Participate as a valued community member and build your reputation and brand.

Mobile Niche/Community Marketing Best Practices

  •       Be authentic.
  •       Provide value to the community; don’t blatantly sell.
  •       Focus on meeting the needs of the community. Address this question for them – “What’s in it for me?”
  •       Focus on achieving objectives that make most sense for your organization such as education, generating donations for a cause, branding, moving people through the sales cycle, social media impact and sales.

Challenge Questions

Community Marketing Strategies: What niche communities could you build to position your organization as a leader with your target audience? What existing communities could you participate in to position your brand and offerings to gain visibility in the marketplace?

[i] Chantal Tode. “Nike+ expands mobile strategy with Android app.” Mobile Marketer. July 25, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/content/13173.html.

[ii] “Nike Plus GPS App, Athleticshop.nl.” YouTube. Uploaded by SneakertomWEBSHOP on April 26, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://goo.gl/16qK8 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV0VhMXZuTI.

[iii] “Harley Owners Group.” Harley Davidson USA. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US/Content/Pages/HOG/HOG.html.

[v] “Dole Salads.” Dole. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://salads.dole.com.

[vi] Lauren Johnson. “Dole bolsters email database via mobile ads.” Mobile Marketer. February, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/advertising/12162.html.

[vii] Rimma Kats. “Panera Bread taps mobile ads to drive YouTube page viewership.” Mobile Marketer. June 20, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/advertising/13138.html.

[viii] “FreeConferencing.com.” FreeConferencing.com. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://freeconferencing.com.

[ix] “Free, High Definition Voice Conferencing.” FreeConferenceCallHD.com. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.freeconferencecallHD.com.

[x] “FreeConferenceCall.com.” FreeConferenceCall.com. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.freeconferencecall.com.

[xi] “Craigslist.” Craigslist. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.craigslist.com.

[xii] ”eBay Classifieds (Kijiji) – Post & Search Free Local Classified Ads.” eBay Classifieds. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.kijiji.com.

[xiii] “Buy online and sell with NZ’s #1 auction & classifieds site – Trade Me.” Trade Me. December 9, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.trademe.co.nz.


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