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Exit Five Newsletter #82: Building a community vs. building community

Hello and welcome to the Exit Five Weekly Newsletter - read by 15,000 B2B marketing professionals around the world. Exit Five is a membership site designed to help you build a successful career in B2B marketing. Join 3,000 other members at exitfive.com.

(psst.. we're running a 24% offer for one more week, more about that at the bottom of this email).

By the way - this email was designed in Knak which helps you create email and landing pages in minutes without having to write code. Learn more about Knak here.


Today's newsletter is sponsored by Navattic

Thinking about launching an interactive demo in 2024? Or already using interactive demos and want to benchmark them?


Navattic just publicly released their State of the Interactive Product Demo '24.

(Psst.. it's ungated, no forms to fill out, just click the link above)

They looked at the top 1% of customer interactive demos and found on average:

  • 60% engagement rate
  • 38% completion rate
  • 32% click-through rate

(which is 10x the average click-through rate of a B2B SaaS video)

See what those top-performing demos had in common by reading the full report or attending our Exit Five Live Session with their Head of Growth, Natalie Marcotullio.

She manually reviewed the top 1% of demos for this report and will go over her takeaways on how to build a successful interactive demo.


Building a Community vs. Building Community

Hey, Dave here.

Outside of talking about AI, “community” seems to be one of the hot topics among marketing teams and startup founders these days.

And rightfully so: building a community means build an audience of your dream customers. People who know, like, and trust you before they buy. People who will say nice things about your company. Read your content. Show up at your events. And you don’t have give more money to Google or Facebook to reach them.

This is why I’ve been obsessed content and community since the early days of HubSpot talking about “inbound marketing” - creating content that attracts people to your business. This will always be the best form of marketing.

But there’s one detail that I think gets jumbled together when people start talking about community:

Should you build “a” community? or should you “build community.”

(There’s a difference — and it has an impact on your marketing strategy).

Here’s what I mean:

  • Community by definition is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” So you can go and build a community - a Facebook group, Slack group, Circle, in-person events, local meetups, etc.

  • But you can also “build community” by becoming a resource for people (your ideal customers) that have a particular characteristic in common. In a B2B context this means some shared identity at it relates to work: marketers, sales people, product people, designers, HR pros, developers.

  • You attract those people to your brand through content: writing here on LinkedIn, articles on your website, online and in-person events, maybe a book you wrote, a talk you gave, a podcast you created, t-shirts and socks you sent out to VIP customers … all of that also “creates community.”

  • I think dedicated community spaces can work (like how we’re using Circle for the Exit Five community) but this is very hard to do and get right and keep people engaged and active over time — and it’s even harder to do inside of a company.

Most often the better “community building” approach for your business is going to be the one that happens through creating content for a particular group of people.

I also like this approach first because it then allows you to add on the “private community” piece after. It’s a much easier second step.

Just something I’ve been thinking about and wanted to try and articulate for this newsletter.

- Dave

P.S. What's your POV on community building? Which path are you exploring with your business? Anyone have experience deciding between building a community or investing in "community" here? Reply back and let us know.


🎧 Podcast #114: Mastering Short Form Video and Social Media (with Alex Minor)


This week my guest on the podcast is Alex Minor; he’s a music producer and audio engineer turned video and podcasting expert.


Alex joins me to discuss:

  • What's working on LinkedIn for videos
  • Which channels you should pick for building your brand: TikTok? YouTube? Instagram? LinkedIn? Can you do them all?s
  • Scriptwriting and simple editing techniques that anyone can follow (even if you're not a video pro)
  • Why you need to be a broken record if you want to get good at creating content for your business
  • The ideal length for short form videos today
  • Video podcast trends and benefits of starting a video vs audio podcast
  • Ideas for starting your podcast or YouTube channel
  • Ideas for generating content ideas using tools like Chat GPT

Listen to the Episode Now on Spotify

Or find it everywhere you listen by searching "Exit Five" podcast.


📺 Upcoming Events (443 marketers already signed up for this)


On January 31st we're hosting a live conversation with Natalie Marcotullio on "How To Improve The B2B Buying Experience With Interactive Product Demos." Natalie is the Head of Growth and Operations at Navattic, an interactive demo platform.

In 2024 buyers no longer trust traditional third-party channels like ads or white papers. Instead, they want to get first-party information upfront on your product - before jumping on a live call or setting up a free trial.

Learn how to build buyer trust through more hands-on product content, and how to tell a personalized, compelling story with those interactive demo assets.

Reserve your spot for this Exit Five Live event now.


Join us in Exit Five

Because no one goes to school for B2B marketing. 

We have a private community + content site for marketing pros like you and me if you’re looking for a peer group and discussion forum to help you grow your career in B2B marketing.

Get feedback, campaign ideas, browse templates, videos, guides, get recommendations on agencies and vendors, find contractors and freelancers, vent about your boss, find new jobs and more.

We have a 7 day free trial so you can join 100% risk free. And right now we’re running a special offer for January. Just click here and use the promo code "2024" when you signup and you can join for 24% off - which saves you $72/year on an annual subscription.

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