Having a Community can be a powerful part of a startup’s strategy (see why we need go-to-community, not just go-to-market), but how do you as a founder or startup team effectively communicate this strategy with investors? In this workshop, we walk through how to add Go-To-Community strategy to your pitch deck in a way that compliments your Go-To-Market strategy.
In this session attendees will learn how to:
Effectively communicate your community strategy with investors
Create a Go-To-Community strategy in your pitch deck
Compliment your Go-To-Market (GTM) with your Go-To-Community (GTC) strategy
Jillian (00:09): This may or may not be the first time you've heard me say this, but I love ice cream. It certainly won't be the last time you hear me say that. I love ice cream not only because it's a delicious treat but also because the model for a community in organization or at a startup looks a lot like an ice cream cone.
Jillian (00:31): I'm Jillian Friot. I'm part of the Orbit team that's focused on ensuring that our customers love Orbit, whether that's through launching programs like our startup program or ensuring that our customers receive top-notch support. I have a passion for supporting others who are building meaningful communities like you are, if you're watching this workshop, and especially for founders and startup teams after being a former founder myself and realizing how helpful it is to have access to resources and to tools and mentors. My core belief is really that innovation is that catalyst that brings positive change into the world, so thank you for taking that leap and introducing your innovation to the world. I know it's not easy but it's definitely worth it and we're here to help through that as Orbit. I'm especially excited to host this workshop today because I believe that every founder and every startup really should have access and awareness to how to build a meaningful community and how that can help your potential customers and your business to grow and succeed.
Jillian (01:39): So, to dig into how community is like an ice cream cone... We are all familiar with the sales funnel. As Patrick Woods, our founder at Orbit often shares, the funnel actually represents the sales process. That was created in 1898, which is hard to believe: that it's been around for this long. That was back at a time when customers didn't have access to the information in the same ways that they do today. Really it's that kind of linear and binary process that often happens when maybe you don't have as much access to information. So as Patrick says, a salesperson, at that time, would see this perspective customer as valuable or not based on where they are in that funnel and that likelihood to purchase. This could work well for attracting sales and in certain sales situations, but it doesn't really work so well to understand the value of community or what that community can bring to the table.
Jillian (02:42): So where the ice cream cone comes in is at a startup or product-led organization, community and sales work together like an ice cream cone. The circles of the ice cream that you see at the top here represent the model for community building. We have our own called the Orbit Model that you have likely come across. This is intended to understand how you're creating value for your members through the activities that they're doing that create value and activities you're doing that create value back to the community. And for the community as a whole, as well as those individual members, the cone represents the funnel and how you're... the created value that you've added there, how that is being adopted by your community. It's representing the created value for adopting your product. That model for understanding how you're capturing value is intended to be in alignment with that value that you're creating.
Jillian (03:46): With the lens of helping customers adopt your software or business, we have to first create value for and with your community members before we capture that value. This quote... I really love this quote from Patrick Woods that we have to first create that value for and with them and then we make sure that aligns with the kind value that we want to capture. We call this value creation activities, all these activities... We call this your go-to-market... I'm sorry, we call this your go-to-community strategy. Your go-to-community strategy is all about value creation for your community and customers and it compliments your go-to-market strategy. When you think about your go-to-community strategy and those actions and activities, those are really the steps that you're taking to create value for the people who your product is solving a problem for. It helps to explain to investors how you understand your customer, because you first understood that real problem: first understood the community.
Jillian (04:50): When you think about that in relation to go-to-market and the difference there, your go-to-market strategy, that represents the steps that you're taking to capture value that's in alignment with the value proposition of your product. It helps you explain to investors how you sell to customers in a way that's in alignment with your understanding of it. So by first having that good community strategy, it helps you to gain that understanding that creates such strong alignment with your sales process and your go-to-market.
Jillian (05:23): You're likely really familiar with the go-to-market strategy already. If you signed up for this workshop, you're probably a founder or part of a startup team and you may already have a go-to-market strategy in your pitch deck. If not, it's likely on your long list of things to do. We understand for you as a founder or as a team that securing investment and translating your strategy and vision to investors and then growing are really among your biggest challenges. We believe that having this go-to-community strategy alongside your go-to-market strategy will help you to have that authentic growth that you're looking for and help you to create value for and with your customers.
Jillian (06:07): How do we then implement these actions and activities that help us to get there and help us to build this go-to-community strategy? There's a couple of ways we need to think about this. To help you to navigate to the right answers for your specific case and your startup, we can ask ourselves a couple key questions that will drill in and identify the actions and activities that you'll need in order to share that back with investors and to really strengthen your pitch deck when it comes to expressing the value that community brings.
Jillian (06:40): For go-to-community in particular, let's start with that one on the left there. We can ask ourselves, "What steps are we taking to create value for the community of people who our product solves a problem for?" Let's unpack that question a little bit further. As we look into that it brings us back to the why behind the community. The community exists as a group of people who share a common goal or interest. This could be anything from the community of people who are passionate about cybersecurity all the way to a community of people who are passionate about taking care of their house plants, for example. In either case, they've identified a problem or interest that they're looking to collaborate with others on in order to make progress towards their goal, or they can help others to understand that problem set better and they can share that expertise with others that are part of the community. Help the community as whole and benefit individuals and the entire community. Knowing what that why is helps us to understand how we can create value in ways that best serve what the members of the community are working towards.
Jillian (07:59): Now, if we shift to the right side, to the go-to-market, we can ask ourselves, "What steps are we taking to align with customers' needs when we are capturing value for them?" So that comes back to that kind of key philosophy of we have to first create value with the community and then align it when we do understand that we want to capture value. As a startup, it's likely that you are trying to build revenue so that's where the value capture piece comes in. It doesn't make sense for every community type but certainly for somebody who's looking to raise money and a startup that's looking to grow, then that's something to consider.
Jillian (08:43): Other ways we can kind of ask for self that question is, "What steps are we taking to capture value for customers who are aligned with the value proposition of our product? And what steps are we taking to align with the kind of value that we want to capture?" As we unpack this a little bit... and in this case we're focusing really on that sort of community that's aiming to raise capital and they are likely to need to sell a product. That represents that value capture: the sales funnel. They need to prove that they have revenue or that there's an opportunity for revenue there in order for investors to know that they're worth investing in.
Jillian (09:25): For you or for startups who to have a go-to community strategy and are community led, there is this greater opportunity to create an experience for customers that's fair when it comes to the value that they receive for purchasing your product and allows them to purchase less customers: allows customers to purchase in ways that they prefer because you have listened to them. And since purchasing decisions move at the speed of trust... and especially these days where people are informed... It doesn't go back to 1898 when the funnel was created, but it's in a day where people have access to information, and so they move at the speed of trust: at that pace that they gather information. The community allows your potential customers to build trust at their own pace and then for you to understand that pace and align your sales process in a way that serves your customers best and also serves your business really well. Just to be clear and reiterate a bit here, I'm certainly not encouraging you to sell into your community, but rather I'm encouraging that you create value for the community without any expectation of a sale or obligation to purchase and then listen to the community to gain that stronger understanding of their needs and translate that back to your go-to-market into a sales process that is really customer-centric.
Jillian (10:54): If we drill in a layer deeper to those two questions, we've got your go-to-community actions and go-to-market actions and there's questions to ask yourself for each one of those. When we think about our go-to-community actions, to help us answer that question, "What steps are we taking to create value for the community of people who our product solves a problem for," we need to first start with some community discovery to understand the needs of our community and we need to activate the community by enabling contributions and rewarding members. Then we need to maintain the community by facilitating conversations and creating workflows that will continue to bring benefit back to the community and back to your business.
Jillian (11:38): Then as we switch and we look at the go-to-market actions, those are kind of back to that question around alignment. To align with our customers needs, when we do need to capture value for the community that we are solving the problem for through your startup or your innovation, we need to raise awareness and we can do this through things like marketing, messaging, and communications that are aligned with this understanding we have of our customers and community. We can do it through things like earned PR and media, through social media, through referrals, advertising. We can help through evaluation and walking your customers through that evaluation process that they go through as they're thinking back on the speed of trust, that helping them to evaluate all around, and then by aligning our go-to-market with an acquisition and a sales strategy that makes sense based on the type of customers that you have, based on that speed of trust, and at what point they are making the decision to actually purchase your product.
Jillian (12:42): When we think about these, there's a whole list of specific actions and activities that kind of fit into each of these categories: for go-to-market and for go-to-community. As we look in a little bit deeper here in go-to-community actions, within discovery, that's really all about starting with the end in mind. Just as you would with kind of traditional customer discovery in the initial stages of building a startup or concept, community discovery helps to discover why your members are there in the first place. This could be as simple as... just to give you some examples... asking your early members, even if you only have a handful, why they choose to be involved and why they're contributing to help others: what it is that they would be struggling with on their own that's brought them to this community center instead. Knowing this helps you to make other decisions and managing the community. It all comes to be a little bit easier once you have that initial understanding.
Jillian (13:50): Making those kinds of decisions... that could be something like you choosing the right community tool set and the cadence that you gathered in order to communicate. You can ask your community where they want to interact and this will help their team to do some of that. In some cases, they may or may not have a preference and some tools may lend themselves more naturally to those certain types of community engagements. For example, if you're looking for moderation tools... let's say assigning roles based on emojis or ensuring that members opt into the code of conduct before entering, things like that, then maybe Discord is a good choice. That, again, goes back to why they're there and how they're interacting. And maybe you're choosing a tool for more of a forum-style type of conversation. Discourse could be your community tool for that. You could also choose multiple. We do have this core belief that community doesn't live in only one place and it does exist in multiple places. Just as you hang out with friends in person as well as in a group chat, communities for business work in the same way where they're existing in these multiple different places. Just things to think about as you're going through those GTC questions: thinking about the discovery and why the community exists and where it should exist.
Jillian (15:11): When it comes to activating your community, this can include things like inviting new members to the community and just making sure that you have this pathway of welcoming them and practically inviting them in. Enabling the contributions by asking questions and thinking about those right questions that make it easy for your community to respond rather than maybe broad questions that are overwhelming and impose too much of a challenge for people to answer but something that is really tailored to back to the why they're there and helping them to get to the answers that they came to the community looking for. Also things like hosting events in person and online to bolster the activity and interest for new members as well as increase the love of existing members... love being that kind of rate of change of then how quickly they joined the community and are moving from one concept to the next or from that initial early exploring into actually contributing to the community.
Jillian (16:19): Then maintaining your community is really crucial to include and to think about when we are bringing together a go-to-community strategy. This is important because you want to know how you're going to keep up this initial momentum that you've built and bring people together in the first place and continue to serve their need. Every community looks a little bit different in what they need to maintain that and to continue to fulfill those needs, but it can be things like how do you monitor members contributions and establishing those benchmarks for interactions and activity. For every community it looks different, so just knowing what that benchmark is for you is really important. It can be helpful and important for investors to understand how you're working to have that maintenance through it and then how you're working to automate in order to kind of maximize your effectiveness. Especially being a small team, probably slim on resources, so not to automate to remove the human element but really more so to increase the human element, so automating things that are not necessary for somebody to do but allow you then to have more time with that one-to-one attraction with your members. Things like creating workflows and creating flywheels that can then improve the community as a whole and parts of the business.
Jillian (17:41): I wanted to spend some time there just drilling into those examples a little bit more and sharing some thoughts on those, and all kind of in preparation for how we think about reactions and go-to-market interactions in your own experience. Just some thoughts to get you thinking and in the mindset here.
Jillian (18:08): With that said, let's put GTC in action. We are going to put ourselves in someone else's space suit or someone else's shoes. We'll walk through how a fictional startup... a couple fictional startups could create their own GTC. Then as we do this I'll share the story of the fictional startup with just enough context to kind of set the stage. Then I'll ask you to put yourselves in the shoes of that startup. I'll share those two key questions back on the screen so we can think about those as we go through this and help us identify our actions and activities for GTC and for GTM. Just jot down your thoughts for each and then I'll review some of those things that came to mind for me and help to kind of solidify the differences there and between GTC and GTM.
Jillian (19:02): All right, let's get started. GTC for a cyber security SaaS product. I'll share the story with you. That startup security first began as an open source project to fight against cyber attacks. This was a passionate group of supporters that really began contributing to a GitHub repository in a project that ended up growing in popularity because of this passion for fighting against cyber security. So the founders launched a commercial product then based on the initial project. They started out with a strong community in GitHub and also communicating through Slack and they hope to translate this value of the community back to their investors. As we think about this community, what's the, putting ourselves in those shoes, put yourself in the space suit, if you will, of startup's security's CEO and CTO. Let's think on, first, who are they creating value for? And, second, how are they doing it? How are they creating value for them?
Jillian (20:17): Jot down your ideas. Think through this bit on your own. Going back to the key points of the story, they began as an open source project. They were fighting against cyber attacks. They have these passionate supporters of the project. They've got people contributing to the GitHub repository. The project's grown now in popularity. It's grown organically because of these members that are involved. The founders launch a commercial product based on the project now and those current customers of the product because of the popularity of that original project. They now believe there's this huge value in the community. The founders see it. They want to make sure that the investors see it too. They started out strong and now they're really hoping to translate this back and explain to the investors why their GitHub and their Slack community are so important and crucial to the business and to their go-to-market.
Jillian (21:20): We've had a minute or so to kind of think on this. Jot down any ideas here. Like to share with you some thoughts that I have. There's no specific right or wrong answers here. There's a few different ways we could approach it, but just some ways to help you differentiate GTC and GTM. Since GTC is really all about that value creation, we need to first know who we're creating value for. In this case when we ask ourselves, "Who are we creating value for?" it's likely internet users: people who need protection from cyber attacks on the internet. It's developers, maybe, who want to help others protect their digital assets and have an awareness of how to do that. It's something to contribute there. And CIOs who are likely faced with these challenges at a corporate level, or security leads and teams of various other organizations just wanting to make sure they protect those digital assets.
Jillian (22:20): With that group of mind, how are we doing this? How are we creating value for them? We are first discovering what they need by engaging with these early contributors on GitHub and Slack. For this community we're thinking about understanding what it is that brought them to this in the first place. So through Slack, in addition to GitHub, we are connecting with those people. We're engaging with them. We're learning from them and seeing how they interact with others who maybe aren't contributing to the code but are contributing in other ways to the discussion that's occurring in Slack. We are also collaborating and sharing on, maybe, recent malware attacks and things like that. We're providing value back through understanding recent events of our world today and what's happening in cyber.
Jillian (23:14): Then we're activating through education and relationships. We're educating our community on newsletters, maybe on the latest tech. We're pulling in that information, things we're hearing, because we're in the space and we have this knowledge. We're also in creating white papers on cyber security research thanks to those relationships that were built with CIOs or those early adopters that came in and had an interest in supporting the project. Working together with others to create white papers that are going to be high value for newcomers that are trying to also learn more about the topic. These people likely have access to resources like that that can support this, so it's a great way to work together with them. Maybe we're also activating through sponsorships and being active at events for cyber security and continuing to build on more of those relationships and ensure that others can benefit from the community and that they're just aware that it exists as a whole. Also, either through other kinds of events, maybe things like that.
Jillian (24:14): Then we can maintain by supporting those core values that we had. We can maintain people being engaged in the community and wanting to be part of it because we are continuing to host an open source project and encourage others to be participants in it through having somebody who is dedicated to actually interacting with others and staying on top of who's contributing to the open source project and being able to thank them and reward them for those contributions, and then creating flywheels for feedback, for product development. So tying back into what the community's saying about the work that's being done and using that to help shape other ways that can benefit them.
Jillian (25:01): Now when we think about... Those are those community actions. Those things are about value creation and really strong on things that we're doing to create value for others and others are doing create value for the community. When we think about that, the go-to-market activities... Now we're taking those community activities and we're aligning it back with the sales process piece, the group to say, "Now that value's been created, where is it that we should be capturing value from there, and maybe who should we be capturing value from?" When we think about those we want to ask ourselves, "Who are we aligning our product value proposition with based on that? And how are we aligning with customers' needs when we are going to capture that value?"
Jillian (25:49): So first, who are we aligning our product value with, or value proposition with. That's going to be with either... could be internet users who need protection from cyber attacks and we're taking a bit more of a bottom-up approach and we're making sure we are serving those who are... want to be citizens of the internet and using that with... and knowing they can do that safely. CIOs, companies that have a security team, maybe with a go-to-market we want to focus in on teams of three or more people that have over 50 million dollars in revenue. In a real situation, we tie that back properly to some of the data, but we take the assumption here that our data from our customer discovery and our community discovery has proven to us that this is really the people that are going to best benefit from our value proposition there.
Jillian (26:44): Then when we align our needs... those needs of those two kind of personas, either internet users who probably just need a simple solution, low cost, and then CIOs who need this more customized solution from cyber attacks, we align with that value capture for them. We want to first raise awareness to the right people. How are we going to do that? We are going to do that by things like PR. Maybe it's PR from credible sources and that's happening because of the community efforts that were done, which... This is a great time to, in the example, to show that your GTC really compliments the GTM because of what... a lot of the GTM strategy wouldn't be able to exist without that initial go-to-market value creation that occurred. PR from credible sources, that can exist because you have created this really strong foundation and community and you've grown this popularity so people want to support it. They want to understand how you're going to continue on.
Jillian (27:46): Also by doing things like sharing tips and tricks that maybe we understand from the community about our key customers: usually people that are engaging some of those early CIOs who are part of the project and we can work with them to share the tips directly back to others that are also in that same type of persona. Rather than just bombarding with general messaging, we're able to tailor the messaging to that customer. That's another thing that community can do really well, is help you to have this tailored, customized messaging because you have such a deep understanding and you've been there listening to your customers.
Jillian (28:27): We can also support our customers through their evaluation of the product, so tying back to that speed of trust. As we think about their journey through the funnel, this is... community efforts really help to support that because we're kind of collaborating with partners for the process so we can collaborate on things like to produce white papers and have a deeper understanding, generating case studies with those that are using it, and sharing that out with others so that they're gaining that understanding and building trust with you and with the type of work and content that you're producing and really learning that from the community and then launching pricing and external ways for them to learn about your sales process and hearing from your ideal customers in the community about what it is that they need there, so whether that's the price itself and learning from them on where the real value is in the product so that you can make sure that your pricing and packaging makes sense with that for them and you're not charging for something that really doesn't provide value but that you're able to have this alignment back to the pricing of the customer.
Jillian (29:40): And last but not least, that you're acquiring customers and that the sales strategy of adoption there is in alignment with how that trust has been built so that the conversion is really seamless and it makes sense for everybody and you're not... Your sales team is there to support them, to be this consultant, not to be there to push anybody into the funnel that doesn't want to be there. We want to let them be a part of the community, create value for them, and have no obligation to be part of a sales process if they don't need to be.
Jillian (30:13): We're planning to sell, in this case, through direct sales because of that level of trust in access that's needed to... say the product team or directly back to that founding team, starting probably with strategic companies that exceed maybe a certain amount of revenue because we know that they're targeted most by cyber attacks. We have a solution that can help them and be customized for them. Rather than focusing on all companies or companies maybe of a smaller midsize, we understand that it's best for these larger enterprises and we can take this more narrow approach, targeted approach, to how we will go-to-market.
Jillian (30:55): Now we're going to move on to our example number two. Switching gears, taking ourselves out of the shoes of that cyber security startup, putting ourselves into some new shoes: into a new space suit. We are going to look at a startup called Language Love. This is an app that helps people to learn a new language and to love the process of learning by using psychological discoveries to build these lasting habits of language practice. The founders here, they set up a Discord chat with some beta users and early fans of learning new languages to gather feedback and share resources and mostly to also foster this mentor-to-mentor... sorry, member-to-mentor mentoring kind of situation because we know that language often takes two people to do that practice with. Their Discord was able to facilitate some of that and help people find the right members to be matched with. They began to grow there largely because of their community efforts and they embraced their series A and they want to invest more in the community to show the power of the community and how this is really helping to support their product's launch.
Jillian (32:07): So, that in mind, founders, founding team of Language Love, let's think to ourselves on putting ourselves in those shoes. First, who are we creating value for? Second, how are we creating that value for them? First, who are we creating value for? Think back on some of the facts here. Language Love. It's an app that helps people learn new language. It's using psychological discoveries to do that. Founders that have Discord. They've got beta users. They've got early fans. They are gathering a lot of great feedback from those early users and fans. They're sharing resources. They've got a lot of good focus on member-to-mentor mentoring so they've got people that are reaching out and helping others and connecting through through Discord. They've now began to grow a bit more because of these community efforts that they've got going on. They're seeing members stick around more. They're seeing these mentoring relationships really working and helping people be successful in their language journey. They're raising some money. They're trying to grow. They want this to become the next way that people learn a new language and they want to invest more in the community and they want to show that power and show why it's so important.
Jillian (33:39): Ponder on that for a minute. We can think about who are they creating value for, how are they creating value for them. Jot down your ideas. Now let's take a look at some examples. We think about this value creation focused... Who are we creating value for? Probably people who wish to be educated on a second language: people that are interested in that. Also language teachers who can benefit from these new discoveries that are going on and people that are on the cutting edge of language learning and want to make sure that they are able to teach in the best ways and have successful students. It's likely that's a good group of who we're creating value for.
Jillian (34:24): How are we doing it? How are we going to create value for people that want to be educated on a second language? And how are we creating value for these teachers who are looking to learn from new students? First, in that discovery, we're going to start with discovering what the community needs by engaging with those early users in Discord: having conversations and having that place... in the first place, having a Discord for people to engage on... with each other. We'll also activate by creating these helpful resources, so things like blog articles or guides, videos, that are easy for members to share with others. As they're going down their language journey, maybe there was something that helped one person to get over a certain hurdle in their learning and they want to be able to quickly share that tip with someone else. Creating those kinds of resources that they can easily share from one place to another. We've got a lot of member-to-member things going on, help going on, there. So easy to share resources can be really great for this community.
Jillian (35:30): We also probably want to do some education: tips and tricks for building habits to learn language and things that are coming from the community managers themselves. Psychology of learning a new language as if it's kind of... Based on these new discoveries, we want to share those resources and share the science behind it: what we're learning there. Just some examples of what kind of topics to learn about facing fears with learning a new language. We also want to create those meaningful connections between members that maybe are closer to your center of gravity. In the Orbit model of concepts, we may call this Orbit Level One. Those are people who are helping you build those really early adopters and maybe making connections between them and somebody who's new. We call that Orbit Level Four. They're new and exploring. Maybe it's that we want to foster those kind of relationships and see if that type of mentoring... member-to-member mentoring... works or if we want to pair people up who are... sort of been part of the community for similar amount of time and see if there's some parallels they can draw and help each other in.
Jillian (36:36): We can also do things like sending out swag to language mentors: the people that have volunteered and stepped up to help others. Maybe those are those teachers that are there who are trying to learn about this new concept. Sending out swag to some of those language mentors to thank them for their contributions. And hosted meetups: getting people together in person so they can practice or maybe getting people together online and helping them practice their language skills there. We can also create value by maintaining and understanding these segments of the community and the resources that are shared among them and then encouraging this member-to-member mentorship, having those different segments of the community identified. There's students, there's teachers, there's different types of languages people are learning. Just gaining that full understanding and then making those matches and creating resources that benefit each of those segments. And then, of course, and continuing to encourage kind of that mentorship piece as well, so facilitating those relationships in many ways that we can and providing those paired matchings likely based on that segmentation understanding.
Jillian (37:48): Those are all those value creation activities. A bit different than our go-to-market activities. Let's take a look at those. We think about go-to-market in relation to that and... How can we take all this incredible learning we have from this go-to-community strategy? We're putting so much great value out there. We're also understanding from customers in our community how they're interacting with that value that we're providing and they're providing for each other.
Jillian (38:14): Let's dig in a little bit here. When we think about that and mapping it back to the go-to-market strategies... ice cream to our cone here... we want to think about, "First, who are we aligning our product value proposition with from that community? And then how are we creating value for them?" Sorry, "How are we aligning with the customer's needs when we are going to capture that value?" In that first piece there, who we're aligning our product value proposition with, it's likely going to be people who wish to be educated in another language, probably at a global corporation because we've learned that there's corporate stipends that these corporates are eager to provide in order to encourage learning within the organization and help facilitate a more seamless culture in their team. And also people who identified as being bilingual because they... we want to focus on understanding that difference between maybe the old way of doing things and the new way of doing things and drilling into that a bit more. We understand those people are also comfortable with this member-to-member mentorship. Oftentimes that's how people learn their first language... sorry, their second language after their native language.
Jillian (39:32): We want to kind of focus on those two groups based on what we understood from the community. Again, there's no necessarily right or wrong answers here. A lot of it will come back to the data of what the community tells you. This is just drawing on some assumptions we could make about that initial story there.
Jillian (39:51): Then when we think about how are we aligning with customer needs when we're capturing the value, that ideal kind of customer persona, that's been derived from what we've learned from the community. Now we want to align that for those who we are capturing value for. We want to look at those three components of awareness: of their evaluation of the product, and then how they're actually going to acquire it and purchase it as part of sales process.
Jillian (40:26): First, creating awareness for them. Likely that's going to happen through things like earned media and influencers who are within a self learning language space. It could be people that have YouTube channels for those people that are identified as bilingual and maybe they're not corporate backed but this is people that are just trying to learn. They're interested in learning language and they're probably visiting these YouTube influencer channels to fresh up on their second language or to take on a new language. Working with those kinds of influencers and earning media through the fact that these influencers probably are also trying to educate themselves on the latest in language learning... working with them to create this kind of public content that would bring awareness to bilingual people. And also them partnering with corporations and associations, so looking to corporations who have these programs that support employees learning new languages. Likely they're going to be large global corporations that have many different employees who speak different languages, so a way for approaching them as a partner to say, "Let's help you to do this in a way that your employees are really going to love."
Jillian (41:43): In their evaluation process, we can help them through this assessment by... if you're providing some no cost options, or say self-serve trial type of option that gets them a taste of it before they actually buy... and also launching pricing maybe through an app store so those individual people who are bilingual and training themselves, they have an option there. For corporations that we... Maybe we're offering to corporate workshops or partnering with corporations to do that through their people team and human resources teams so that we're there and we're present to offer that support and give them a taste of what it's like to work with us as a direct client. That could be something that the customer success team offers once the deal's done.
Jillian (42:37): Then the acquisition and sales strategy in this cases could be that self-served through the app store for those individuals and maybe we've got in-app upgrades and things so that they first get on and they learn it and then as they need to upgrade... and maybe it's time based or module based, things like that... we can provide different upgrade options there. Then for the enterprises it could be through those corporate... working directly with the corporate clients by having a sales team built up.
Jillian (43:08): Those are just some examples. There's probably many more that you've thought of as well that are just in your own experience and your own unique ways of thinking through this. Hopefully these examples are helpful for you when you think about your own startup experience and who you're aligning your product value proposition with, how you're creating value, how you're aligning your customers to create this kind of value.
Jillian (43:33): Now that we kind of covered those two scenarios, we dug in a little bit deeper, we've looked at GTC actions and activities and GDM actions and activities, you have this distinction between GTC and GTM and knowing that GTC is really all about how you understand your customers and GTM is really all about how you align value for your customers. You are almost ready to take off because now you can share with your investors a plan of action to help support why you're investing in community and why you have community activities going on. I say almost because I want to revisit what GTC and GTM really does... it helps you to also do and show them, which is some metrics.
Jillian (44:23): Now that you have this distinction, by having a GTC you can confidently point to the cost associated with building your community. That's kind of crucial... and why it's crucial in supporting your GTM. We talked about that complimentary nature of it, is that a lot of those GTM actions that... some of the ones we discussed today and likely ones that you have as well... can't exist without the community first being in place. That's why GTC and GTM are so complimentary. By having that strong GTC it really opens up and expands your options for GTM. If we want to translate that back into metrics and explain a little bit more on... Maybe it's in your unit of economic slide or metrics slide in your pitch deck. We can drill in by looking at it. Typically GTM we look at as what is your customer acquisition cost. For GDC we can think of it as your community investment cost.
Jillian (45:22): To help you get here, we can kind of reverse engineer. Take your list, those actions and activities that we covered in the outline today... There's a lot of text on a slide, more than I'd like to use, but it's a good way for you to see that kind of exhaustive list of things that you're doing in your community and in your market strategies so that you can reverse engineer back and say, "These activities are... that's how this flows over to go-to-market and here's the cost associated with each of those over the time span of a year, or acquiring how that ties back to that customer reposition piece." For GTC, we think about it as your CIC, or community investment cost. GTM, we can think about this as your CAC, your customer acquisition cost.
Jillian (46:13): You now know how to document and share how you are first creating value for your customers and then how you're aligning with their needs to capture value for those who are best aligned with your value proposition, which is amazing. This is the keys to success for startups. So got your value creation, GDC, your value capture with GTM. And for community like growth startups, the acquiring customers... it can kind of look something like this. It's kind of this continuum of love for growing your customer based on the products. And so the way that this works, if we kind of walk through this, is that it takes us on this journey that our customers experience. It goes from, first, that awareness of your product through marketing efforts or being part of the community, which are some of those things we talked about and kind of that initial reason awareness piece.
Jillian (47:13): Then it moves. They move through this acquisition phase where they're nudged by resources like community members to try the product. They're learning, experiencing, and they have the ability to try the product. They enter into this activation phase where... and that's really when they become an active user. That's kind of actually like a point in time of becoming a user of your product. They enter into retention. Now we're focused a bit more on maintaining usage of the product, maintaining their activity, increasing their knowledge or level of expertise, and building deeper connections in the community of users leading to adoption of that product. That kind of is also in this space that we can think about as... refer... sorry... as referrals of it where we kind of... Referrals happen to follow that positive retention. Once they are retaining then they're continuing to refer other people into the community. Members want to tell others about your product and service and that helps you to grow your customer base. These people will become your word-of-mouth advocates.
Jillian (48:39): That flows into the last-but-not-least sort of piece of this cycle, which is product feedback. That's really coming from your innermost advocates and they want your product to work better for them so they're willing to share that product feedback back with you, which can be a really high love, high intensive energy activity, but it helps to shape the future for them and for you in a way that works together. Just have such a community-centric, customer-centric thought.
Jillian (49:08): This continuum is sort of what happens when you have a strategy and GTM that's working together in flow. When you visualize your ice cream cone of community and of the customer love continuum together, you get more ice cream. What that really represents is this community that's full of love. The customer love continuum helps your community team and those behind your GTC and your sales team, which are those behind your GTM, to then seamlessly work together and ensure that your customers achieve success. We put those together, we get that complete customer love continuum, and you get customers who are loving your product and that's what every founder needs. We need that alignment between their product market fit and their customers' needs. When you have product market fit that is so strong, you have love from your customers. Having a GTC strategy alongside your GTM really helps you to accomplish this.
Jillian (50:08): I hope you enjoyed. I hope you can take some benefit and value from learning about how GTC can complement your GTM and help you to grow. Again, I'm Jillian Fria. I'm part of the Orbit customer love team. I'm happy to support any fellow founders building meaningful communities and help you to think through your GTC strategies. Feel free to contact me with any questions and thank you so much for spending time and building your startup and vision for the future.