In 1983, Harley-Davidson faced the fear of extinction. Today, the company is a brand valued at $5.1 billion. Harley's commitment to building a brand community was a big reason for this turnaround and success - a group of ardent consumers organized around the brand's lifestyle, activities, and ethos. Inspired by Harley's results and enabled by Web 2.0 technologies, marketers in industries from packaged goods to industrial equipment are busy trying to build communities around their brands.
Community is not just essential for marketing today but is also a necessary part of building the brand and shaping its identity in the market. People participate in communities for various reasons - to find emotional support and encouragement, to explore ways to contribute to the greater good, and to cultivate interests and skills, to name a few. People are more interested in the social links from brand affiliations than in the brands themselves.
The term "networked community" is created with the help of a network-based system (like the internet) or a set of strategies designed to meet the social and economic needs of a spatially defined community of individuals.
A community can be defined as an area where people share like-minded values and interests and feel a connection or belonging to something. Area, important for marketers, refers to an abstract idea of a shared environment. It can be online (like a newsletter or forum) or offline (like an office or apartment block). Beyond this definition, there are 3 markers that researchers say indicate a brand community:
The consciousness of kind - an intrinsic understanding that people in a community are connected, and different from outsiders
Rituals & traditions - specific acts and behaviors that solidify culture and meaning in a community
Sense of obligation to the Community - a sense of moral responsibility that drives community members to serve each other
The rise of brand communities marks a unique opportunity for brands to connect deeply with their customers. While communities have existed for as long as human beings have, brand communities are a relatively new concept. Customers are now creating deep connections with fellow supporters of a specific brand and even the brands themselves.
Web3 communities take this relationship even further by allowing customers to participate directly in decision-making by making them co-owners of a brand. In web2, brands build communities, i.e, the brand comes first and the community is built around a product whereas in web3, the community comes first and a product is built after finding the right product-community fit.
CRM in web2 stands for Customer Relationship Management and is a software system that helps business owners easily track all communications and nurture relationships with their leads and clients. A good CRM allows businesses to be better organized and efficient, and manage time and resources by tracking customer data and behavior across a platform.
A CRM consolidates all communications, user data, and leads to help you better manage and personalize user experiences. CRMs connect all the data from your sales leads and customers in one place.
A CRM is a tool used by businesses to manage their relationships with customers. This can include everything from storing information about them such as their birthdays, order preferences, email addresses, and phone numbers, to managing newsletters, SMS subscriptions, customer service requests, and much more.
CRMs allow brands to market and communicate with their customers in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands utilize CRMs to maintain data about their customers, as consumer behavior changes when macro and micro economic factors pivot. E-commerce CRMs integrate with all of the tools that a brand already uses which includes their website and e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify or Bigcommerce, Facebook and Google advertising campaigns, email and SMS campaigns, and much more.
For most web2 brands, a customer's journey is mapped using a sales funnel or a sales loop which outlines all the touchpoints your customers interact with your brand before they are ready to make a purchase.
A sales funnel is a pictorial representation of a buyer's journey right from their first interaction with the product till a sale has been made. A sales funnel is a multi-step process that converts leads into buying customers. This is what a typical sales funnel looks like:
The steps of a sales funnel include:
A sales funnel starts when a prospect becomes aware of your company, service, or product. The awareness stage is the widest part of the funnel - this may be the first interaction they've had, maybe with your website, reading your social media post, or even hearing about you from existing customers. To understand what marketing strategies are working best for your clients, you can look at your analytics for your website and the corresponding keywords that are ranking for your audience.
At this stage, a brand needs to leverage online marketing automation tools to gauge how well your audience is interacting with your product and the traffic it brings. This stage is very essential as it helps understand brands understand their product market fit.
Interest equates to comparing your product with your competitors, free trial, doing in-depth research, and mulling over their various options. Increasing a potential customer’s interest may start with online content describing topics relevant to your business's offer and, in turn, building authority and credibility with your brand. At this stage, prospects shift their focus by taking steps to follow your social media channels, subscribing to your email marketing list, asking questions, or even sending direct messages.
At this stage, sales reps can initiate a discovery call, sales meeting, or a demo with the potential customers to identify their challenges and explain how the product can solve problems.
This stage is crucial for sales teams to push the lead to convert leads and make them into paying customers.
Consideration + Intent + Evaluation = Decision:
The third, fourth, and fifth stages of the CRM funnel involve decision-making by the customers. The prospect plans to purchase your product or use your services. They evaluate their options by comparing your pricing and features against your competitors’ offerings. This is an important stage as it may result in a win for your company or a loss.
As your customers know everything about your brand and its features, it is important to follow up with them and understand their needs so that you can provide them with better offers and services than your competitors.
This is the stage where a good CRM comes in handy.
This is the stage where a client has decided to use your products/ services and has made a purchase. Once the purchase is made, the sales reps move the deal to the won stage in the sales process and begin onboarding the new customer. It is important to have a smooth onboarding process to not lose the customer at this stage.
As a lead moves from awareness to purchase, CRM software gathers data that supports your sales and marketing teams’ efforts to convert leads to customers.
A CRM funnel can automate the closing process and help your company to increase its revenue stream. It can also provide the following benefits:
A CRM funnel can help your business to deliver its services in a way that better meets your customers’ needs. Since the CRM contains information on customers’ issues, you can use it to improve customer interactions and raise the level of your customer service.
Your CRM contains data that can help you to understand your customers’ behavior. You can then use a CRM funnel to introduce products or services to customers when they need them or when they are open to learning about them. This will help you to identify your most profitable customers and avoid spending time on less profitable customers or leads who are unlikely to convert, optimizing the sales process.
A CRM funnel can help your company to increase its sales using the information stored on current and potential customers.
Marketers often struggle to obtain a holistic view of how marketing activities contribute to ROI. An entire 63 percent of digital marketers don’t feel confident in their ability to measure it. This typically originates from a limited view of how customers interact along the purchasing journey, especially when it comes to lower stages in the funnel.
In many organizations, there is a massive disconnect between sales and marketing teams despite how interlinked their roles are. This creates blind spots for bottom-of-the-funnel stages in the customer journey, making it exceedingly difficult to see how marketing activities help secure sales.
If marketing teams want to prove ROI with confidence, they need to use both marketing and sales data to get a complete view of the sales funnel. Closed-loop marketing provides a framework to do so.
Marketing feedback loops are the process of using feedback to improve your results.
A sales loop is a feedback loop where outputs become inputs and vice versa.
As marketing receives input (feedback) from sales, the output (marketing strategies) improves.
Here’s what a typical sales loop looks like:
The first step of your feedback loop is gathering feedback. This process involves gathering feedback from both sales and marketing channels and using them to develop a more wholesome CRM solution. This might mean sending out employee and customer satisfaction surveys, Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, or gathering information from your CRM, emails, chatbots and live chat, your customer support system, review sites, and more.
There are also social media listening tools that make it easy to collect data from social media. Brands also send out regular employee and customer satisfaction surveys as well as regularly pulling and analyzing data from other sources.
Analyze and Prioritize Feedback:
The feedback that you'll be getting and dealing with is likely to fall into the category of qualitative or unstructured data. This kind of data is a bit difficult to analyze because it's not easily distilled into ratings, numbers, or percentages. However, it's also incredibly valuable because it gives you the context you need to understand what your employees and customers want so you're more likely to be able to successfully implement changes.
There are several tools available that can help you analyze your customer feedback like Feedback Loop, GatherUp, and MonkeyLearn. These platforms help you create a test, target the people you want to hear from, and get your data in the form of charts, text responses, sentiments, and machine learning-generated insights.
Decide and Take Action:
Once you've analyzed your feedback and have a better understanding of what it is your employees or customers want, it's time to act on that feedback. This means using the data to improve your internal business operations, products, and services.
Follow up with the customers:
Acting on feedback will naturally bring up additional opportunities for getting more useful feedback. Reach out to your customers and employees after implementing changes to let them know about the changes that have been made. This lets them know that you've taken their recommendations seriously and that you're listening to them. You can even ask those who might have left negative reviews if they'd be willing to update their review with the new information. This builds a stronger relationship between brands and customers and makes them more loyal in the long run.
When it comes to your marketing feedback loops, listening to your employees and customers is key! Listen to your customers, sales teams, marketing team, and your data. Once you understand what you’re being told or shown, you can work to improve it. Implement changes based on the marketing feedback loops, try new things, hone them, get them working perfectly, update and try them again, keep trying new things until you know what works for you – and then add another new thing. Marketing feedback loops are all about taking the information that you’re given and using it to build your success.
However, the issue with web2 is that users need to create new profiles for every new platform, and we cannot rely on third parties to understand user behavior anymore. With major companies making a shift towards consensual data tracking and strict privacy policies, it has become hard to rely solely on third-party data.
First-party data is an asset companies own in this case and has been used for building effective web =2 CRMs. It’s unadulterated and can capture the entire lifecycle of a customer’s relationship with your company. Many companies use software solutions, like Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), to gather and organize first-party data from different touchpoints to build unified customer profiles. These profiles have been a boon for marketing and product teams everywhere to create high-impact strategies that power personalized and customized customer experiences.
This method works when all your customer’s interactions happen on platforms you own directly, like websites and apps. But what happens when most of your customer’s top-of-funnel interactions happen on Twitter? Your conversions on Discord? Or when all purchases are made on-chain?
Simply put, what happens when you own the customer relationship but not the customer data?
With the growth of web3 and community-centric models, companies that understand and leverage the true scope of their data will be better positioned to run effective personalization, customization, and go-to-market campaigns.
With web3, users are in charge of their data and can choose who to share it with. They also rely on using web3 wallets and social media platforms like Twitter, Discord, and Telegram for all communication with the brand. Most of the community engagement happens on these social media platforms, and not on the brand’s websites or apps.
Web3 gives communities direct ownership of their relationships and allows them to bring those relationships to any token-enabled experience. This redefines brand-customer relationships massively. With web3, a user owns their collectible and in turn is in charge of the growth of the brand.
Customer engagement is key to succeeding in a competitive market. However, web3 still does not have a tailored one-serves-all platform.
A web3 CRM should be able to track wallets and collectibles and interact with customers through airdrops, discord, Twitter, and more. This means a web3 CRM seamlessly connects community, social media, and on-chain data. The critical difference between a web2 and a web3 CRM would be that web3 CRM would be used to cater to communities of people with shared interests rather than individual users.
Web3 CRMs can be used to establish community and growth KPIs. We can create segments based on community or wallet activity and identify and reward top contributors accordingly. We can study on-chain data to analyze existing users and identify potential users. We can evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns for communities rather than individuals and target them accordingly.
When we target people connected in a network using such tactics, we notice a cascading behavior in user activity. People seem to influence each other's behavior.
Web2 = Market → Product → Channel → Model
Web3 = Community → Market → Product → Channel → Model
"This is one of the most common mistakes among founders when I ask, "How does your product grow?" The answer is typically a long list of linear tactics. It is typically because there is no hypothesis on what the growth engine is, and as a result, they are compensating by trying to cobble together a lot of little things."
- Brian Balfour (Founder/CEO at Reforge, Ex-VP Growth at HubSpot)."
Community models in both web2 and web3 are the new norm, and these unfold across many different platforms. Getting organized and usable data from these platforms is hard since they’re all scattered across different platforms and linking this data is even more challenging.
Web3 CRMs help unify all the data from these data points to give brands a clearer picture of how their customers interact with public blockchains, what DAOs and NFT communities are they a part of and how often they engage with them, how much money they spend on brand collectibles and how do they interact with them.
All of this data can then be used to target customers from specific communities who are more likely to be interested in your brand, create targeted campaigns for communities, and automate personalized experiences. Collectibles can provide a more accurate picture of your customer by giving you a combination of on-chain third data and collectible first data.
Here’s how web3 CRMs can be used to grow your brand & personalize user experience:
Find your community
Finding the right communities to target within the web3 ecosystem and using effective tools to attract them to become members of your community is essential. But how do we find these communities and how can we create meaningful engagement between them and our brand collectibles?
With web 3 companies, these questions are answered through collectible-first data. Collectible-first data is gathered by understanding what communities could be your target customers and making campaigns directed toward those. A web3 native CRM could unify data across all touchpoints to create comprehensive customer profiles from these fragmented data sources. This unified dataset can then enable more traditional CRM capabilities like relationship management and member segmentation, using data collected from both on-chain and off-chain resources.
Product community fit
With web 2 we’ve all become familiar with the term product-market fit where brands gather feedback from potential users and market surveys to build a product that satisfies market demand. However, in web3 this is all replaced by product-community fit. We’re building collectibles for communities in web3 and finding the right community fit becomes essential.
Finding your target community and catering to their needs and wants will reward web3 brands generously because here, we're building for a group of people who share the same values, needs, and ideologies. Web3 CDPs and CRMs help find the right community fit for your product and target them in ways that have worked in the past for such communities. Targeting such a group using social media campaigns, airdrops, loyalty programs and more might prove to be more beneficial than spamming users with newsletters and emails.
Once we understand how our product grows and fits with our community/market, channels, and business model, we can define a sustainable and scalable go-to-market or growth strategy. This strategy can be developed based on observing how communities in web3 behave on and off-chain and target only those communities whose values seem to align with that of your product.
Building a Growth team and Collaborating with the right Communities
As more and more companies put together their teams to push for unique go-to-market and growth strategies, winning at growth will require you to not only have the best approach but the best team structure to deploy this strategy as fast as possible.
Growth strategies by most organizations in web2 are defined by large centralized products/services like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Twitter where the growth strategy is to invest significantly in sales and marketing teams as part of a traditional go-to-market (GTM) strategy that focuses on generating leads and acquiring and retaining customers.
With web3, we have seen projects investing more in community management, community building, and events - targeting people who come together because of shared goals, wants, and ideals. Using a web3 CRM would mean identifying these communities by analyzing on and off-chain data and making them feel a sense of belonging with your brand to convert them.
Collaboration with web3 communities whose values align with your brand is another way to grow your community in web3. A lot of web3 brands such as VeeFriends, BossBeauties, and RTFKT have done this by partnering with both web2 and web3 brands whose values align with that of their communities and have used this to grow their brands.
Web3 gives communities direct ownership of their relationships and offers them the ability to bring those relationships to any token-enabled experience. This offers tremendous incentives for builders to create an ecosystem of niche, interoperable experiences, and services for collectives that were previously not possible.
This also allows brands to create suitable incentives for building brand loyalty, better programs to reward their most loyal customers, build stronger products for their community, and in turn build long-lasting relationships with their customers.
Web3 has seen a massive explosion in adoption and engagement but projects and brands are still learning how to leverage this new technology to build and engage their communities.
We at Layer-E make this process easy for brands through our solutions which help brands mint, manage and monetize their collectibles.
Managing your collectible growth with Layer-E is made easy with our CRM solutions that help your brand engage with its community and build brand loyalty in multiple ways. Our solutions help brands:
Identify diamond-handed holders and reward them for their engagement and loyalty,
Collect relevant collectible first data from customers and personalize experiences by creating products and collaborations with the right partners to provide value to your community
Incentivize users to engage more with your brand through engage-to-earn campaigns and much more
Layer-E is the leading Collectible Relationship Management product suite in web3 built for creators, companies and fandom to turbocharge revenue and reach. Interested in being part of our exclusive club of launched brand including Coinbase, Flipkart, Mercedes and more? Get in touch with us here to build your Collectible Relationship strategy with us.