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Building Obsessive Brand Evangelists

Welcome to the very first edition of M.I.X - Marketing Insights eXchange! 

This is where we’ll explore some of the coolest, most effective B2B marketing strategies out there. Think of this as your go-to spot for insider tips on how tech and creativity are changing the game. Whether you're looking to geek out on marketing tactics or find new ways to engage with your customers, you’ve come to the right place. So, let’s kick things off and see what’s brewing in the world of B2B marketing. Ready to jump in?

I've always been in love with Pune. Born here, schooled here, and even pursued my grad. Though I did post-grad from the University of Manchester, landed my job in Pune, got hitched, and settled down here.

The best has been cool, breezy weather. But things have changed for the worse. I had never thought we'd be roasting like this. It's downright crazy!

So let’s cool off and chat about some cool strategies B2B companies are using for shaking things up, getting down and dirty with their customers, and using all kinds of tech wizardry to make it happen.

In this exciting #1 edition of Vik’s MIX, get ready to dive into...

  • How Airtable Became a Reddit Marketing Sensation

  • Turning customers into a community of obsessive brand evangelists

  • Proof and authenticity Vs fluff and hype

How Airtable Became a Reddit Marketing Sensation

You know, when it comes to cutting through all the noise out there in the B2B world, the Airtable brand really knocked it out of the park with their Reddit strategy. Let me break it down for you!

So there's Airtable, this project management software trying to make a name for itself amongst all the other tools vying for attention, right? They could've just blasted ads everywhere like most companies, but nah, they got way more creative than that.

Airtable's big brain move was realising "Hey, our customers are already hanging out in all these niche online communities on Reddit. Why don't we just...join them there?" Genius, right?

They jumped into over 20 different subReddits focused on stuff like freelancing, productivity, and team collaboration - any space where their target users were kicking it.

But get this - Airtable didn't just barge in trying to sell their product. They became genuine members of those communities. Hosting AMAs, dropping knowledge bombs in discussions, just straight up being helpful guides.

Airtable embedded itself as the kind of brand that provided real value, not just a pushy salesperson. And you know what happens when you build credibility and trust like that? People can't get enough of you!

Airtable rapidly cultivated this massive army of die-hard fans and power users across Reddit who didn't just use the product - they lived and breathed it. These super users were invested in Airtable's journey, constantly feeding them insights to make the tool better.

Top 7% community on Reddit

And of course, they were Airtable's biggest evangelists, spreading that word-of-mouth love to every related community they could find. In an age where people are so distrustful of disruptive, interruptive tactics, Airtable showed that sometimes the best marketing is simply being genuinely helpful and becoming ingrained in your audience's communities.

They ditched the hard sell for actually adding value and connecting. That's the kind of authentic relationship-building that sticks with people nowadays.

So think of how you can build authentic connections and add real value to your audience's lives. Whether it's through online communities like Reddit or other channels, prioritise genuine engagement over overt promotion.

I believe, in 2024 and ahead, that’s the key to building trust, loyalty, and long-term success.

Turning customers into a community of obsessive brand evangelists

You know, when it comes to retaining customers for a SaaS company, there's one creative strategy I've seen work brilliantly: tapping into the power of community.

When it comes to building customer stickiness through community, only a few companies do it quite as well as Notion.

Now, Notion started out as a cool productivity tool and document collaboration workspace. However, over time, the company recognized the immense power in rallying their user base into an engaged community.

For starters, Notion has this incredibly active community forum that's essentially a melting pot for power users to inspire each other with novel use cases and workflow templates.

People get super creative sharing different ways they use Notion for task management, wikis, databases, and more.

But Notion doesn't just let the forum run itself. Their community team is constantly jumping in to spark discussions, answer questions, and really make users feel heard and invested in the product's future.

On top of that, Notion hosts these regular community events called "Notion World Tour" where their team travels around doing meetups in different cities.

It's a chance for users to connect face-to-face, get hands-on training, and nerd out over Notion together.

The events have become these epic gatherings, with people travelling from all over just to immerse themselves in the Notion community vibe.

You know you've got something special when customers go that far for your brand!

What's really clever about Notion's approach though is how they incentivize participation. They gamify community engagement by giving out badges, perks, and public recognition for being an active member.

It's like being in an exclusive club.

At the end of the day, that's what keeps users so hooked on Notion and loyal to the brand.

They've made it about way more than just productivity software - it's about belonging to a passionate community of uber-users and brand evangelists.

By cultivating that devoted community experience, Notion has tapped into a powerful retention force that goes far beyond just having a "good product." When customers feel that invested, they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Can you build a vibrant and engaged community around your product or service just like Notion?

If you can create opportunities for users to connect and contribute, and incentivize their participation, you can create a sense of belonging and loyalty.

That’s your passkey to turn your customers into passionate advocates who will stick with your brand.

Proof and authenticity Vs fluff and hype

Here’s a fantastic marketing move of IBM getting super creative in showing off their amazing Watson AI system.

See, when you're a big tech company like IBM, simply telling people "Hey, our AI is really advanced!" doesn't quite cut it.

People want to see real proof, you know? So IBM cooked up this genius idea to truly showcase Watson's abilities in a fresh, unfiltered way.

Here's what they did - IBM took Watson onto Reddit and hosted this thing called an "Ask Me Anything" session. Yeah, on REDDIT!

Where anyone could just walk up and fire any question they wanted at this AI. No script, no rehearsed demo, just Watson engaging with people directly.

Now, you might think "Reddit? Those folks are gonna tear this AI apart!" But that's exactly why this move was so brilliant. By putting their AI out there in a completely open, uncontrolled environment, IBM was essentially saying "We have full confidence Watson can handle whatever you throw at it."

And you know what? Watson absolutely crushed it! Handling over 6,000 comments and questions from Redditors with incredible context understanding and nuanced responses. The Reddit crowd, usually pretty cynical about corporate stuff, was straight up in awe of Watson's skills.

Rather than a dry, pre-packaged product demo, people got to directly experience and be impressed by Watson's capabilities through real interactions.

It was marketing through proof and authenticity instead of fluff and hype.

You can see why this creative Reddit activation was such a smart play by IBM.

They ditched the typical self-promotional tactics and instead brought their product directly to their audience's turf for an honest, unfiltered showcase. That's how you build real credibility these days!

So major props to IBM for thinking so innovatively about how to market complex tech like AI in a way that felt fresh, transparent, and actually got people excited.

I’m excited to see how these big giants will use unconventional and transparent ways to showcase their products or services capabilities.

How are you going to bring your product directly to your audience in authentic and unfiltered ways?

Can you use interactive sessions, live demonstrations, or open forums that allow your audience to experience the value of your offering firsthand?

This is how you can build genuine connections and demonstrate confidence in your product in a highly skeptical market.

That’s a wrap for this week! If you enjoyed what you read, show some love with a thumbs up and leave a comment. Your support fuels my writing passion and helps the algorithm spread the word to more readers.

Appreciate you spending your time here!

If we haven’t met, my name is Vikramsinh Ghatge.

I help B2B companies use the most effective marketing strategies to grow and expand without spending an arm and a leg. 

I’ve spent over a decade setting up marketing systems—from content creation to building lead pipelines and driving demand generation. Now, I’m excited to integrate AI to enhance our collaboration, aiming to share richer insights and foster creative synergy.

Need help with your marketing or branding? Reach out to me for advice, partnerships, interviews or podcasts. 

Meanwhile, subscribe to my newsletter on LinkedIn for the most potent and latest marketing tips straight to your inbox.


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