The Rosieland crew was chatting in our internal Rosieland Slack, when Rosie captured and tweeted one of my off-the-cuff comments:
Since this was shared, I've been mulling it over, wanting to fully articulate exactly why and when I thought this was a good idea.
So here how I think about marketing and community, and when we can do the reverse, and have the marketing team report up to community leadership.
First, this is how I think about marketing a mission-driven brand:
I absolutely respect the marketing profession and have worked closely with a variety of marketers at Etsy, Airbnb, and Lyft. Crafting compelling narratives around a brand and mission is an art. Attracting the right people in, making sure they stay motivated and happy, and growing your user base is damn hard. Many marketers doing a fine job where they're at and shouldn't report to community. But read on to hear what I think about when they should...
This web of community bonds should be not only be between users, but a team should also feel connection and trust with their users and vice versa, especially when you have a mission-driven and community-led company.
This really is a bottoms up approach. Any change in direction, and all policy and product updates in a community-led company need to start from the conversations you have with your users, or by witnessing the stories they share with each other, the community. (If you think, "I know what's best for my community. I have the full context, I'm the visionary here." Well that is certainly a very common way to run your company, but that is not community-led.)
So should brand, growth, and marketing strategies and tactics, come from a team? Or should they stem from, and even have shared ownership (remembering to share the return, too) with the community? And if you're community-led, and the answer is, "Yes!" Then shouldn't the marketing team be led by a leader with community in their title?
Let me know if your team is getting creative with organization structure, company strategies, and shared ownership! I want to hear it!