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17 Examples of B2B Online Communities: How the Big Hitters Go About It

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Creating and develping an online community is a top prioirty for most event company CEOs and MDs, but where to start? Here's a list of examples we compiled to use as inspiration, and the nudge you need to get cracking.

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17 Examples of B2B Online Communities: How the Big Hitters Go About It

  1. 1. Examples of B2B Online Communities how the big hitters go about it
  2. 2. In the B2B events market, delegate numbers are decreasing and those elusive sponsors are looking to get more bang for their buck, and better exposure to highly qualified individuals. Creating an online community is top of the to-do list for CEOs and MDs of leading event organisations.The question they always ask us is: How are the big players in events doing it? If you as an event industry leader have asked yourself this question, here is a list of examples of companies who are getting it right. In addition it is important to highlight other, smaller organisations that are definitely worth a look. The aim is to give an overview of how budgets both big and small can deliver the same outcome: simply serve your community with good quality content.
  3. 3. IFSEC Global Serving the Security and Fire industry community. This is how they keep in touch with their market all year round. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  4. 4. TFM&A Insights New this year, TFM&A Insights is a community for marketers and ecommerce professionals, built around the TFM&A live event, Ecommerce Expo and Internet World. What we like: UBM is a really big organisation. These communities were created on the back of a big exhibition or within the same topical area. This is what we call 365 day marketing and engagement right after the event ends. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  5. 5. Informa This company needs no introduction - simply finding your way around their corporate website is a task in itself due to its sheer size. Previously, IIR had been extremely successful with its Telecoms events before Informa decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. What we like: This is simply a clear example of building a community. While there is no aspect that I would particularly highlight, it demonstrates a way of reaching your audience with a look and feel that is perhaps more corporate and rigid (though some may say dated). Regardless, it features here in order to show how an industry giant runs one of its B2B communities. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  6. 6. MEED • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  7. 7. Health Service Journal • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  8. 8. What we like: As we've stated previously as one of our event industry predictions, event organisers need to think as publishers and as an example of this, this company is certainly worth having on the list. Retail Week • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  9. 9. IQPC In my opinion IQPC are leading the way specifically from the point of view of a pure play conference company running online communities to drive revenue through advertising and promotion, as well as leads to their events. They run communities for most of their vertical markets with the “…IQ” theme as well as specifically branded ones. On the next few pages are, in my opinion, their strongest communities, and the ones that I personally follow: • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n • Online Communities from the big players with many events in many industries
  10. 10. Process Excellence Network Serves over 70,000 process improvement professionals globally. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  11. 11. Oil and Gas IQ Serves over 90,000 oil and gas professionals globally. What we like: They all share the same template; it is responsive and each community has its own approach to it. The content and editorial approach does vary from sector to sector. In addition, these are more mature community examples. They have other product offerings outside of events that serve the needs of the community, and leverage the communities to add value to sponsors and advertisers. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  12. 12. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n • Terrapinn Terrapinn has a similar approach to the branding of IQPC and other big players along with its “Total ……” communities. Some sites have their own branding too.
  13. 13. Total Customer Serving the marketing and CRM professional industry. What we like: This example is simple in its appearance. It is testament to the fact that you don’t need a huge amount of intricate functionality, you just need a place to share and host your content. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  14. 14. The Oil Council A community of 5,000 Oil and Gas professionals highly geared towards content and paid membership. It runs a series of very successful events for its community. What we like: The web layout is slightly different from the standard format. Clarion pay special attention to the content it provides, and the event was conceived with the community element in mind from the very beginning (or so we heard). • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  15. 15. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n • FC Business Intelligence They run a series of very niche online communities and serve the majority of these networks with events. The “Eye for….” communities have been in existence for a while now, and they have a wide range of these as well as other branded communities serving different markets.
  16. 16. What we like: Eye for Travel Eye for Travel is a community serving 80,000 members within the travel industry from hotels to airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more. This example particularly stands out, and its 60,000 Alexa ranking speaks for itself. I've been tracking FC Business Intelligence for over a decade; they existed as an online community while more traditional event companies were still booking many delegates from one single email. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  17. 17. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n • Online communities for events of varying sizes These are examples of smaller organisations that have caught on to the fact that something needs to change in the events industry, and have started to drive their own communities successfully.
  18. 18. sharedserviceslink.com A community of shared services professionals offering events and webinars. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  19. 19. Biotech and Money A start up online community with events and membership, innovating with inbound marketing as its core marketing strategy. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  20. 20. SmartRail World A community blog serving the rail industry on a global scale. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  21. 21. What we like: Osney HR A community blog to serve a division of events in the HR industry. The organisations behind these communities, represent the majority of the organisations in our industry. Some might not have implemented a full scale inbound marketing campaign and certainly don't have the budgets the big guys do, but they are certainly starting to develop some aspects of inbound marketing. They have taken steps to create a community and initiate discourse around their area of expertise, give value before they push and are led by CEOs and MDs that want change. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  22. 22. This is where things get interesting. Though you may not necessarily have heard of all the following organisations, in my opinion they're doing innovative, interesting things and leading by example. I frequently call upon these examples to illustrate precisely what an online community is all about. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n • Here are some very cool online communities serving the whole value chain within their industry
  23. 23. What we like: Econsultancy It serves the industry of digital marketing professionals and 250,000 members. An Alexa ranking of 6,000 proves they are the go-to resource in their industry. Econsultancy is one of THE most useful resources for marketers. If you are in the business of marketing this is compulsory reading, which is exactly the position any online community should aim to be in. They run various events, provide reports, consultancy and training, and post jobs. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  24. 24. What we like: Procurement Leaders Serving a community of 20,000 procurement professionals globally. As a community, we think they serve the whole value chain. They also have a publication, and from the point of view of sponsors, they are likely to have a product to meet their needs across multiple channels. • S h a r e C o l l e t i o n •
  25. 25. This is how some organisations are running their B2B online communities, how does your strategy compare or differ? I really hope this illustrates the fact that you don’t need to be a big fish with an editorial team behind you in order to drive and cultivate your own community (start with your customers and genuine prospects). If you have the budget, great, but if you don’t there is always a way to get cracking. All these companies started somewhere and your online community doesn't have to be in the thousands. You simply need a group of individuals who really value what you have to say and look forward to receiving, reading, sharing and recommending anything you do, say or launch.
  26. 26. BrightBull can help you build the foundations of your own community, and then drive it successfully. Get in touch to find out how we can help, and if your business is ready to take this step. Contact hello@brightbull.co.uk today to kickstart your community efforts, and start engaging, or call us on +44 203 603 8388. We'll review your existing strategy free of charge, or simply help you get cracking.

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