Communities are the future of growth
How do you stand out in a crowded market where everyone is doing the basics of product driven growth and sales? Build your own market. Building community isn’t new but what has changed in recent years is that it’s not enough to just build community among your existing users, you have to build your target market through community too.
I’m excited to share that Mind the Product — the global product community I co-founded and led as Executive Chairman — has just been acquired by leading product software firm Pendo.io.
On the face of it this might seem odd — Pendo already has a thriving community and an incredible conference called Pendomonium. The secret is that while their own community and events are excellent — and will continue independently of Mind the Product — they’re focused on engaging their existing customers and users. And that leaves their target market underserved. And even more importantly it can’t help grow your target market.
Growing your TAM sounds like a magic trick but it’s a reality for many high growth businesses who serve customers in fast changing industries (like product managers). So Pendo’s real rationale for the acquisition basically boils down to this: the more people that care about building great products (which is what Mind the Product does well), the more potential customers Pendo has. Turns out growing your market helps grow your business.
And Pendo are far from alone — there are more and more examples of leading businesses across the spectrum of B2B and B2C that have recently acquired communities in their verticals:
- Hubspot bought The Hustle, a leading business newsletter
- Stripe bought Indie Hackers, a community of bootstrapped founders
- Zapier bought MakerPad, a no-code community
- Robinhood bought Market Snacks, a financial newsletter
- Outreach bought Sales Hacker, a community of B2B sales professionals
- SEM Rush bought Backlinko, an SEO training community
- Digital Ocean bought Scotch, a web dev community
Hubspot might be one of the best examples of the tangible value of building a strong community. Long before they acquired The Hustle their growth plans all focused on community. For starters they coined the phrase “inbound marketing” — inventing a whole new category to contrast with old-school “outbound marketing”. Once they’d carved out their own category they started to build a movement around it with content, community, and events. This sense of being part of a revolutionary movement made brand evangelists out of every single person who joined their community or came to their conferences.
So how do you build a community and a movement around your product or market? There’s no easy answer I’m afraid. It’s really really really hard and it only works when it’s completely authentic. You have to be your community. Which is why we’re seeing more and more communities get acquired.
Or if you want more help on communities and building movements you can always come join us at EQT Ventures and I’d be glad to help out! ;-)