CMO Reception Highlights: “Customer Community is the New Marketing”

Ever wonder how some companies stand head and shoulders above their competitors–even though they operate in a highly competitive, if not commoditized, market sector? My clients and I found some answers on

December 2.

I hosted our 10th private CMO reception in Bethesda, MD entitled “Customer Community is the New Marketing–Are CMOs Ready?” Our special guest, Wendy Lea, is the Executive Chairman of Get Satisfaction in San Francisco, CA. Evergage, a real-time web personalization firm based in Boston, was our underwriter for the session.

Wendy and John Olenick

18 CMOs from top companies such as Hilton, Bozzuto, Walker & Dunlop, and Chevy Chase Trust gathered to learn:

  • The true definition of online branded customer communities–and why they are far more effective than social media platforms for innovating and growing customer loyalty
  • The six ways you can leverage a branded customer community
  • The qualities of companies that are “less than ideal” community candidates
  • The role of the CMO in designing, moderating, and nurturing communities
  • Examples of successful branded customer communities, such as Salesforce, Aerohive, P&G, and Hootsuite.

CMO Event Table Discussion

This topic is very timely, because more and more marketing leaders want to be known as innovators, not tactical order takers. For many companies, their customer community is their true differentiator. For other companies, they are completely ignoring or missing the opportunity to achieve dramatic growth and customer impact because they don’t treat their relationships as their true brand differentiator.


The trends in customer buying behavior support the growing trend towards these communities:CMO Event Discussion

  • 89% of customers surveyed say that testimonials from other customers are the most useful form of content.
  • 70% of customers surveyed rely on online customer reviews to screen products and services and build their “short list.”
  • Online customer community members spend between 54%-200% more on products and services than members outside the community.

Wendy has dedicated the past 20 years to customer-centric, cutting edge business models to grow customer mind share and loyalty.

In a future post, I will be outlining the 8 essential questions you need to ask to see if branded customer communities are right for you.

If you would like hear more Chip Coyle Jim Ivers & Lisaabout our 2015 live CMO events, visit this page and complete the brief questionnaire. Want to see more photos of this event? Connect with us on Facebook and see the event album!

Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Comments open: True

Related Posts

Fifteen months ago, I received an email that would forever change my business.

Marshall Goldsmith announced that I was selected into the 100 Coaches community. This is an esteemed global confab of business thinkers, authors, CEOs, and academic leaders.

My fellow 100 Coaches advise the titans of business, save lives (yes, really!), turn around failing companies, fuel entrepreneurship, lead nonprofits, and more. It is both humbling and energizing to spend time with them every week;…

Read More

As marketing leaders, you know that a strong company culture cultivates a workforce of powerful brand advocates who enhance marketing efforts. What can marketing do to navigate the culture war that ensues in the face of increased M&A activity? Here are three rules of thumb to consider as you evaluate an M&A deal on the horizon, and when you are in the throes of a post-deal journey.

Read More