Justin Levy, Head of Influencer Marketing and Community, Demandbase [Podcast]

I’ve never met Justin Levy in real life, but I feel as if I have known him for years. Justin has gone through some medical trials and has been very public about it on social media and on his https://www.builtunstoppable.com/ website.

I can say, without a doubt, that the marketing community (at least the ones I know) all love Justin. I know this from the outpouring of support during those trials. I can also say that Justin knows his stuff. He’s on lots of podcasts and featured in many of the trusted best-of lists (not those BS lists that feature a bunch of people you’ve never heard of).

In this episode, Justin and I dive deep into…

  1. A Six-Month Check on Justin’s 2023 Predictions
  2. Surprising Digital Marketing Trends
  3. Staying on Top of Digital Marketing Technology and Staying Sane
  4. B2B Influencer Marketing
  5. The Role of Private Communities like Slack in B2B Marketing

It’s a good one. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Digital Transcription (Edited for Readability)


Jon-Mikel Bailey: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Wellspring Digital Chat. This is where through the use of various social media platforms we sort of stalk and collect data on various expert marketers for geez, 10 years – compiling data, building up, basically, our case, and then we, when it’s the time is right, we ponce and we get them. And we basically force their hand and forced them to come and speak to us on this platform and share all of their information with us.

Really, honestly, no harm, no foul, it works out great for everybody. So, that said, I’ve never met Justin in real life. But I feel like I know him very well. Specifically, because Justin has gone through some very public medical trials and has been very upfront and honest, and open about that.

It was interesting, and I can say, without a doubt that the marketing community, at least the ones that I know, and love, all love Justin, and we were all just collectively giving this outpouring of love and support to Justin as he went through his medical trials. And he can tell you more about that, if you want, but I think what I can also say is, through all that, that Justin definitely knows his stuff when it comes to digital marketing.

So much so that he’s on tons of podcasts, and he’s featured in a lot of those trusted, best-of lists, not the complete bullshit list that features people you’ve never heard of. But those lists that feature people where you’re like, “Yeah, this is a good list.”

Anyway. Justin, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us, please take a moment and introduce yourself to these fine, folks.

Justin Levy: Yeah, first of all, I want to say, of course, thank you for having me. And, you know, when I was going through everything, eight, nine years ago, I appreciated all the support that you provided any kind of check-ins as well as, like you said, the broader community.

During that period of time, it was actually really interesting because I shared my story publicly without ever giving it a thought, right? It wasn’t something that I debated though my wife really questioned it at times. It wasn’t something that I debated. My perspective was that I wanted to tell my friends what was going on.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It was very genuine. That was the interesting part about it, which made it so compelling. It’s such a weird word to use anything better to say.

Justin Levy: Yeah, and it was funny, like months later, you know, whatever it was two, three months down the road, Mark Schaefer, and Tom Webster, two phenomenal people who I’m lucky to call my friends, were doing an episode of their podcast at the time, on transparency, and they both talked about this kind of virtual waiting room when I was going through my brain surgery and how they were waking up in the middle of the night to check their phones and all this stuff that obviously I didn’t have a clue was going on, right.

And that the purpose of their conversation was to say that, if they were going through that, or anything remotely like that, they would have just kept quiet, they would have gone silent, essentially, and just put their best foot forward like most of us do through social.

Like I said, that was never even a thought for me. I mean, to the point that my wife really questioned why I wanted her to take a picture, you know, minutes after getting out of brain surgery, while I was in neuro ICU. So it’s been this evolution over, you know, over the years, I’ve been in social media professionally for 15 years, and have seen the evolution of these platforms and how both individuals, with the building of their personal brands as well as companies, right, take advantage of these channels.

And so I’ve led social globally for Fortune 500s. I’ve consulted with everyone from a startup to some of the biggest name-brand companies that we all know. And now I find myself at Demandbase. And I lead influencer marketing and community for the company.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Perfect, because that’s what I’m going to ask you about. It all works out. As I said earlier, I’ve been following you for years and I’m very excited to actually get to talk to you. And hopefully maybe someday our paths will cross in IRL, as they say, but I have no doubt that there’ll be some great information in this chat. No pressure. You ready?

Justin Levy: I am. You’re catching me at the start of my day. So hopefully I say something smart.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Coffeed up and ready to roll. All right!

A Six-Month Check on Justin’s 2023 Predictions

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So you were quoted in I think it was in January this year, or no, no. Last year? I’m sorry. You were quoted in an Onalytica post last December. I don’t know what that is. But I do now, talking about predictions for 2023. So I thought, we’re about halfway into the year, and I wanted to check where you thought you were. So your prediction was that the importance of video, especially in B2B marketing is going to increase this year. So here we are six months in. I wanted to hear your thoughts about that prediction and how you think it’s going.

Justin Levy: Yeah, I think it’s twofold. I think, like I said back then it’ll continue to increase. But when you look at what I think, you know, almost six months into the year we see is in some of it selfishly, right, because it’s things that we’re doing at my company at Demandbase. But we’ve seen on one side, we’ve seen the explosion of TikTok, and it was a thing last year.

So it’s not saying that they just came out in January or something like that. But we continue to see the growth of the platform last year, and it’s just exploded, even more, this year, especially for B2B brands, we’re seeing more B2B brands kind of dip their toe in it, see if how they could get involved. And if it makes sense for them.

I think previously, as with a lot of things, you saw B2C brands get in there because it made more sense if the connection points were easier to understand. Where the small wrinkle comes into play with TikTok, obviously is we’re seeing them called before Congress and states are banning them. And so that’s affecting the state, you know, things like state universities and government properties and what have you.

But even no matter what happens with TikTok as a platform, we’ve seen the shift to vertical video, right? It is because of our phones and the way they’re naturally oriented, Instagram reels continue to grow. TikTok, obviously, YouTube shorts is, you know, continuing to grow in popularity, it makes a lot of sense to be active there because of the power of YouTube.

So that is something I would see continue for the second half of the year. The second part, is video does continue to grow. And I think where we’re seeing more growth is, though, moving away from just talking head videos, we’re so used to in B2B. That style of interview and sitting down and having these questions in a podcast is one thing, podcast is a totally different beast.

But when it’s just like, a five-minute interview with our customer type thing, and well, we still have that at Demandbase and you have to have your customer testimonials and interviews with thought leaders and what have you. We’ve started to prove and make the case that B2B doesn’t have to be boring. And we do that with other content infographics and landing pages and whatnot.

But you know, for the launch of some of our products, we did a take on an Eminem video and we did, we’re filming a video right now we’ve just filmed the video that is a take on a popular TV show for a product launch and things of this nature that makes people laugh that brings an emotion out of someone. Not just sit here and watch this three minutes round.

Why are features the best new thing to ever happen? So I think that will continue. The smart brands will start to do that and that’s what will create separation between B2B companies in content creation are the ones that can break themselves away from thinking that they have to be boring because that’s what every other brand is doing.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s funny, it’s like, I almost feel like B2B is the US and B2C is Europe. You know, Europe does the cool hip things. And eventually, you know, the US will catch on, they’ll figure it out and go, “Okay, all right, I guess we’re gonna do that too.” But it’s just almost inevitable that the B2B is going to dip their toe in the waters that the B2C just do to full-on cannonball. So it’s interesting.

Surprising Digital Marketing Trends

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So yeah, like I said, You’ve been doing this forever. And I’ve been following him for quite a while. And I’m just curious, like, looking back over the 10 years, if there’s any, anything that really kind of surprised you, anything that kind of crept up on you that you really didn’t expect?

Justin Levy: Well, as we were talking about before we hit record. Yeah. You know, Twitter’s a dumpster fire now.

Facebook continues to be fined billions of dollars for their actions and take them to court and every other thing that you can imagine. And nowadays, when we see the decisions that have been, or lack thereof, made by the owners of those companies, they don’t surprise us anymore, right?

However, if you were to rewind back 10/15 years, when these platforms were just launched, and our people were developing their personal brands or getting to know people, I think it is surprising for those people to look back and see something that was so good for so long, you know, change.

I met some of my closest friends, through Twitter, I have friends that have met significant others through Twitter and things of that nature. You couldn’t do that today. You know, I met, I started the whole medical journey on Facebook from the first night that I got to the hospital and I checked in on Facebook.

That’s what started literally the entire journey, right journal in what was going on with me. And I did that for over 500 days and close to 200,000 words.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And Facebook.

Justin Levy: Yeah, as well as the website that spun off of there. But none of that I think can happen successfully now. And so if you had asked me a prediction 15 years ago, or even 10 years ago, I could have never imagined kind of being in this place with those platforms.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: I think that a cynic would have been like, “I saw it coming, everybody, everybody’s greedy, and evil and wants, wants to make money and blah, blah, blah.” But I agree with you, you know, I’ve met tons of people through Twitter and through Facebook and have become friends with a lot of people through those platforms.

But all of that happened between the years of whatever, 2007 and 2013, 14, 15. So, you know, after that everything kind of just went downhill.

Staying on Top of Digital Marketing Technology and Staying Sane

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So we’re, as we’re talking here, you know, we’re constantly facing a new influx of technology and trends. Now, everyone can’t help themselves and have to talk about AI. It’s like every other word in a marketing sentence. But, you know, in your opinion, how can we effectively navigate this ever-changing landscape while ensuring meaningful progress?

Is there any advice you can give on striking the right balance of not giving in to the shiny object and sort of staying focused and staying you know, progress-oriented in your work, while not completely ignoring the new trends and new technology? How do we live in this world? Help us!

Justin Levy: Well, there are plenty of people that are far smarter than me when it comes to AI. People like Paul Roetzer, and Chris Penn, who is always smarter than pretty much everyone.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: He was our first podcast guest, by the way.

Justin Levy: Not surprising. But, you know, I think that AI is here, and it’s not going to go away right now. So it is a shiny object. I had a friend the other day, predict, not publicly and it’s not someone that studies each trend but just said, “You know, we’ll probably see an AI bubble similar to what we saw with the internet bubble.”

Whether that’s true or not, I’m not putting a stake in that. But, my response to that was you’ll either see, it’s possible to see something like that just because of the run on every company coming out as an AI company. Or you’ll end or you’ll see acquisitions, right, you’ll just see consolidation.

And we saw that with social. It had every platform imaginable, either some went out of business as these wars between Twitter and Plurk and Friendster, and all that happened in Twitter. And some of these platforms acquired some of them, right, gobbled them up, or they just made their own features, and the other ones went by the wayside.

So I could see that happening in AI and with AI technologies or platforms, that the caution that I think in, you know, I’m part of a broader content marketing team here at work. The area that I caution people on, and I think is very dangerous is thinking that AI is going to just take over for you.

Like, here, I’m going to tell ChatGPT that I need a 500-word blog post on social media, or on influencer marketing, and it’s just going to spit back something and I’m going to turn that over to my boss and say, “Hey, I wrote my blog posts for this week.” Right? What it’s meant, for one, it’s only, and I’ve learned this from Chris (Penn), you know, it’s only as smart as the prompts you give it.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Also any information it has access to.

Justin Levy: Yep, so if you say, “Write me a blog post on social media,” it’s gonna give you what it can tell, it doesn’t know that it’s a, it should write it from a B2B marketer thought process that has experienced and A, B, and C. And you want it to have a tone of educational and it shouldn’t be readable at this grade level, and it doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, therefore, it’ll spit back something that’s probably incorrect or far off base, and takes you more time to correct.

But I think where it really helps you is as a thought starter, right? So, you know, you might be tasked with, and just kind of staying on the blog post theme, with maybe to have to kick out a blog post, or two or three a week, or whatever your company kind of has in place.

If you’re stuck, or you’re wanting to have a thought starter to then build off of that, that’s perfectly acceptable and a good use. I had one of our executives at work, gave a speech and got the transcripts, it came out to be something like 100 pages long, just because it was an hour-long speech. And by the time you take all that, and turn it into just text, it was long.

He had ChatGPT help him and of course, it took a lot of feeding into it just because of the character limits and whatever, but he was able to get that down to like 15 to 18 pages, that’s manageable. Now you have a document that you could probably consolidate more if you want to, or you could rip three or four blog posts out of it or content for an e-book or an infographic or what have you.

That was from something that he had already done so it’s not net new. It was clean it up for grammatical issues, make it more readable, because you know, talking versus something that you can read and thought leadership content. That’s pretty powerful.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s his original thoughts.

Justin Levy: Yep. And you’re just asking a tool to help you. You know, combine it and consolidate it and things like that. But we still have a blog editor that’s going to go through it and clean it up for tone and voice and all that good stuff.

B2B Influencer Marketing

Jon-Mikel Bailey: So, another shiny object recently in at least the last I don’t know five or so years is influencer marketing. It’s definitely gained a lot of traction. But honestly, I’ve spoken to a few people on this podcast about influencer marketing and I still don’t think the broader public really understands what it truly is, especially when it comes to B2B. So I was wondering if you could explain how influencer marketing can work in B2B. And maybe if you have some success stories or best practices or just some anecdotes on how it’s working in the wild, and maybe what people don’t really, truly understand what it is, if that makes sense.

Justin Levy: Yeah, sure. So I think, one of the things that people don’t realize is, we talked about how long some of these platforms have been around. B2B influencer marketing has been around in some form or fashion for 10-plus years. Sure, you know, some of the top thought leaders in the space have run thought influencer campaigns, even if they weren’t called that, right?

You know, I recall, Chris Brogan and I used to work together and run an agency together. And we worked on a campaign where that client asked us to source people that had an influential voice, to help them bring attendees to a webinar where they could communicate a key message.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: That sounds like influencer marketing.

Justin Levy: Well, but back then you would have never called it that? It was a social campaign because that’s the agency we had, that’s how their thinking was rotated at the time, right? Over the years, as we’ve gotten closer to now, as we’re recording this, 2023, it just continues to increase more funding, and more people, like myself, are being hired by companies for full-time roles.

And I think that’s one of the major differences in why it’s becoming more top of mind for folks. You have people, or some of the largest companies in the world, that are hiring people whose sole position is influencer marketing. And that’s where I think it’s starting to turn heads.

Similar to when people start up, brands start to hire people, to solely focus on social. People stepped back, and we’re like, “Hmm, there must be something to this. This B2B brand is now suddenly hired someone full-time for social and they have their social platforms all over the place.”

So, if you look at some of the stuff that I do and our team does day by day, and then certainly other companies do. I would look at it in a couple of different ways. One, when you look at why influencer marketing, it’s kind of simple, in a way. It’s that humans don’t trust brands anymore, right?

If you consider it, we have very little trust and need to trust a brand. But we trust other people, and we trust people who have over time created content in a form in a fashion that we identify with, and that we have aligned values. And maybe those people we’ve seen at conferences, or read their books, or subscribe to the podcast or whatever that may be, the format that they choose to create content for their audience.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Like Chris Penn.

Justin Levy: Like Chris Penn, or Jay Baer, Ann Handley you know, any of those folks, but those are folks that are kind of mega influencers, right? They tend to operate across the whole industry, say all of B2B marketing or AI or, you know, whatever the case is. But then you have these other tiers of influencers, all the way down to someone that might have 1000 followers on LinkedIn, but that audience is very specific, and very influential in that topic.

So ABM (account-based marketing) or email marketing or whatever your company focus area is. And so we do a couple of things, mainly to help drive relationships with influencers because it’s something that I strongly believe in is that influencer marketing is not a one-way street. It shouldn’t be something that brands just take advantage of, you know, “hey, I’ve paid you Jon, X amount of money. I want you to do A, B, and C and I’ll see you later.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: “You’re not wearing my shirt.”

Justin Levy: Yeah, exactly. So you know, we have worked on campaigns in two different ways and continue to. One, you mentioned that in kind of the intro, and it’s these types of lists. We will work on a top list that focuses on a specific area that might be a persona fit for us for the given time, or something that we’re trying to drive influence around.

But we’ll do our research based on a basic methodology that we’ve developed. And it’s things like, yeah, reach matters, you know, your followers. But that’s not the only number and or only factor. And you see, some brands literally develop their list, the top 50x, and they’ll use followers, but it’ll throw back people that literally have nothing to do with that industry, or they’re kind of untouchable.

An easy example of that is, you know, Gary Vaynerchuk, will hit a lot of lists, right? And he is super influential in the space. Is Gary necessarily going to be influential for a series B startup? On AI? I don’t know. But unless he’s an investor or knows someone, the founders or something like that, that’s a personal thing for Gary, he’s probably not going to be connected to the company and help communicate the message.

And they don’t have access to him because he has a team around him, right? But if they reach out to that individual that maybe has 500 followers, but they do have reach, they have engagement in not only do they have engagement, but they have engagement with the right community.

So they actively, if you look on, say, LinkedIn, you know, if you’re looking there, they have engagement on their content that they’re creating, but they’re also going and engaging with others that kind of look like them, right? Other sales executives, other marketing executives, AES, email marketers, or kind of whatever the focus area of your list is.

So where the big opportunity here is, it’s not just, and what most brands screw up on, is just create the list, publish it, and move on. What we’ll do, and other brands do this, too, is we’ll develop the list, which takes a lot of hours for us to do. We’ll develop the list, we’ll develop individual cards for each one of those individuals. So let’s say, for example, it’s 50 people aren’t going to be on that list.

We develop 50 custom cards, and reach out to them one on one. “Hey, Jon, you’ve been named to, you know, top 50 marketers list, here’s a custom card with your face, and you know, title and all that good stuff on it. Here are some sample posts, if you want to use them, if not, you know, just congrats. You may or may not communicate it out. Obviously, we hope you do.”

But then we’ll go back, say two or three weeks later, and we’ll reach out again, and let you know that we want you to be featured in an ebook. So now we’re deepening that relationship or reinforcing that maybe we already had. So you might say “yeah, sure. I can give you, take two minutes out of my day and give you an answer to this simple.”

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s a total win-win.

Justin Levy: Yep, we’ll take that and we’ll create an eBook out of it. Create multiple blog posts out of that. And when we reach back out, we’ll reach out with a quote card for you now to use because obviously, the hope is that if you communicate it out, you’ll say Demandbase included me in this awesome eBook, here’s my quote from it, they made me this card.

So now that and then we have for us other opportunities. We have our podcast, we have our blog, and we have DBtv, which is our streaming video network. And we have all these other touch points that we can co-create content with our influencers. So I think that’s one bucket. And that’s something that a listener literally could take the blueprint and start tomorrow as soon as they hear this podcast.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And it’s this, what you just described to me makes perfect sense. And it’s what I think of when I think of influencer marketing, but I can guarantee you that the average you know, 2, 3, 4 year in, you know, marketing person, whether they’re a coordinator whatever, may or may not be thinking of it that way. They’re thinking of just the Gary Vaynerchuks or just the whoever’s who are these mega influencers.

And they’re not thinking about, maybe they are I don’t know, but the ones I’m talking to aren’t. So, you know, I think that’s fantastic advice to really reframe your thinking. And to take that different look about, you know. I had Neal Schaffer on here, and he was talking about micro and nano influencers and that sort of thing. And that’s basically the same concept.

And but the way you all have gone about it, really kind of it makes me smile because that’s the same advice that I give people. So it’s kind of good to know that I think I’ve been right.

Justin Levy: And I think, I’d say the other opportunity and some of this takes some creativity, and depending on the type of brand and access to things this kind of this may or may not be applicable. But we’ve started to do direct mail campaigns.

And the reason why was I wanted to do something more tactile. We can create lists, we can ask you or pay you to be part of a video or podcast. And all of that is phenomenal, co-created content. But I wanted to do something that someone could hold and touch and do something with.

So we just got done something that gained a kind of a lot of notoriety or a lot of content was we were talking that we wanted to talk about our ads solution more, right, the Demandbase ads solution? Well, no one cares about a product feature, no one is going to talk about your new shiny product or how you think people are going to perceive your product.

So we took a step back, and I said, like I said, I want to do something tactile, but how can I pull together a campaign that will best represent our ad solution, but in a fun way? Like I said, our mantra is, you know that B2B doesn’t have to be boring. And so we ended up coming in, if I would have thought about I pull it off, but it’s on my shelf behind me. We came up with a unicorn.

So a unicorn pinata. So we sent this to about 65 people that we had identified that met the persona, that we cared about demand gen. Decision maker, so director plus and typically most companies in the message that went along with it when I reached out to them was around having a unicorn ad solution.

Because in our viewpoint, naturally, our viewpoint is we have the best ad solution. Well, we’re so used to SaaS and in Silicon Valley, you know, unicorn companies. Well, unicorn, you add a solution, those in my mind went together. So that’s what we went with.

And if people, the kind of carrot of that was that if people shared it, we would send them Sprinkle, Grove Cookie Company cookies. And Grove right now, if you’ve paid any attention on LinkedIn, Grayson, who’s one of the co-founders, he’s everywhere. I mean, people will do anything to get these cookies.

So I knew the likelihood would be that one, you’re gonna get this unicorn pinata. It’s gonna be pretty fun, maybe you’ll share it. You’ll also share it because you want the damn cookies too. And, so it was a fun campaign to work on.

But we had a lot of people come out and say, Demandbase thought outside the box, they had a relevant call to action. And we even had some people say, now I’m considering this solution, I’m gonna reach out to, if there were a customer, like my AE or my CSM, or what have you.

But that was trying to think differently about how to build an influencer campaign for a product launch or focus on a feature in a different way. So again, it doesn’t have to be you know, “Jon, you and I built a relationship because maybe we put you on this list or I know you and I want to pay you to go, you know, shill for our company. And so, you know, make this video or be on our podcast or write this blog post and say how great our solution is.” You’re the records

Jon-Mikel Bailey: For the record, I’ve received zero cookies to date. Just want to put that out there.

Justin Levy: We can solve that. But, you know, you would look at it and go either No, or you take the money and your community sees right through it, right? Or maybe you get an email that says, “We want to send you a unicorn pinata.” And you’re like, “wait, a B2B brand wants to send me a unicorn pinata, they want to send me sprinkle cookies after the fact. Sure, that, like, wow, this sounds cool. Yeah.”

And that’s kind of what that campaign did. And, you know, it ended up having an influence on the pipeline, it obviously drove a ton of brand metrics, you know, reach and engagement, all that stuff. All because we tried to think outside the box as a brand, not the usual guardrails that we’ve been told have to exist.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s fantastic. And, you know, it’s funny, because there’s so many things that are happening, especially in B2B marketing, that I’m not certain most of the smaller companies are even aware of. And I believe that that’s going to change.

The Role of Private Communities like Slack in B2B Marketing

Jon-Mikel Bailey: One of the things that’s happening quite a bit, and it’s kind of part of your role as well at Demandbase, is private communities, like Slack, are playing a very significant role in fostering collaboration, and engagement. But, what are some commonly overlooked or underestimated elements within private community-based strategies that you think deserve more attention for enhancing collaboration and engagement among these B2B professionals?

Because this is not something I’ve really talked about a lot or looked heavily into. I’m really curious about what you’re doing with it. And you know, how it’s working, and what you think is gonna happen in the future with it?

Justin Levy: Yeah, absolutely. So we have a community called Revenue Circle, and it’s a community specifically and exclusively for VPs and above in sales and marketing roles, right? So VPs up through CMOs, CROs, CSOs, you know, whatever the title is at the C suite for your company. And that’s, we built that community, not as a customer community, not to try to sell any of our product features.

All that’s walled off, and I ensure that. But it’s a community for like-minded folks to get together to have a little fun, to provide job opportunities or ask for help, to share research, to just have a kind of watering hole to spend a few minutes out of their day in.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: It’s almost, it almost reminds me almost of the good old days and social media, except it’s private, private. Yeah. But which almost makes it much better.

Justin Levy: Yeah. I think that the big opportunity for brands though, besides the consideration of building your own community, the piece on that, just on the side is that if you’re gonna do that, you have to realize that you’re committed for as long as you can have someone focused on it because you can’t just neglect it next week.

It’s not a shiny toy for this week, because then you’ll damage trust.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And you’ll look like a fool.

Justin Levy: Yeah, and you’ll damage trust. But in all the broader communities that exist out there, conversations are happening every day about your product, the features that you offer, or about your competitors. So these conversations, these references, and everything like that aren’t happening on Google anymore. They’re happening in these private communities.

So someone might say, “Hey, do you have, does anyone have any experience with, you know, Salesforce versus HubSpot?” Or, you know, “We’re looking for a new CRM that has these features” and the community is going to naturally provide their opinion.

You know, there’s one community called MoPros, it’s for marketing and operations professionals. So people in that community talk about tech stacks and ask for feature sets. I can guarantee you that anyone that offers any type of tech stack, or any type of  SaaS platform that might be listening to this, a conversation is happening in that platform.

And if you’re not present, you can’t, you know, give an opinion on your brand. You can’t showcase thought leadership on the topic. Or your competitors are in there. Now, of course, there, you don’t want to just come in there and say, “I’m from this company, and, go get a demo, and we’re the best known to mankind.”

Where you’re really smart, if you do this, is you’re just active, you’re contributing to the conversation. And by default, as a personal brand, people know who you’re associated with. So people know me, being Justin, they know that I work at Demandbase.

And if they have a question, maybe they associate that with me. Even better, is to go one step further, and work with your customers to activate them in these communities to help source.

So what we’ve done is working with our customer marketing team, we look for opportunities for them to engage in these communities. And so if for us, it’s on, while us versus a competitor, or on techno graphics, or firma graphics, or ABM, or, you know, these different features that we provide within the product, or you know, within the product tha you can have activated, right?

They’ll go into these communities, sometimes more than one, and they’ll say, “Yeah, I evaluated these vendors, and we chose to go with Demandbase because they provided me with A to Z.”

And sometimes, you know, maybe that peels off into a private conversation or someone says, “Oh, yeah, great, like I’d love to chat more.” That’s where this power of private communities really comes from for, these third-party private communities, come from for brands.

It’s personal branding for those that want to and can be involved. And also the conversations are definitively happening in those communities in the right ones, because there’s 1000s of them. But in the right communities are where conversations are happening about your brand.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: I’ve seen it also on Discord. There’s a lot of chatter and private communities on Discord. And you know, high-security leaks of government documents, but that’s a little thing. That little snafu.

Justin Levy: I’d say the best community on Discord if someone’s looking for it is Joe Pulizzi’s The Tilt. Joe has built a phenomenal community on Discord. Yep.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: And, you know, this is the type of thing that I think a lot of smaller companies are maybe not yet aware of. And they probably don’t even realize what is out there and what they can get access to. So just you shining a light on that I think is important.

You know, everything you’ve basically described in this chat I think is kind of actionable and probably will be very eye-opening for people who watch this. So Justin, this was great. This was a lot of fun. I absolutely appreciate your time. And yeah, thank you so much for doing this.

Justin Levy: Thank you for having me.

Jon-Mikel Bailey: Have a great day, everybody.

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