3 minutes

Community Led Growth: The cure for PLG-envy?

There is a lot of chatter about community-led growth. I am not the expert on this, but I wanted to share how I think about it.

First, what is community-led growth? It’s using a community of users and non-users to achieve business outcomes. This might be customer service (for low ACV or free products specifically), or it might be for content creation or customer acquisition.

Great examples are Inbound by Hubspot or Culture First by Culture Amp.

The way I look at it, a community can create an opportunity for every member to create word of mouth by inviting new members.

In this regard, it is very similar to PLG. Keep in mind, the purpose of PLG is not “low-cost onboarding.” It’s the “user-invites-user” fly-wheel.

So, if you have a product that is complex, needs a sales process, and costs 20k or more, it will be extremely hard to create that user-invites-user fly-wheel seen with PLG.

A community can be a way to create that for you.

You should look at the community as a smaller product with lower entry barriers, where you have people join, interact with the content, and ideally give a reason for others to join as well.

In turn, these community members get to know you as an organization.

In essence, they begin to know, like, and trust you. And chances are, if it’s your ICP, they might end up buying from you.

Great! Let’s start that Slack channel today? Well…

As I mentioned, you need to think about this community as a product, not as a marketing tactic. Would you launch a new product just like that? Without much thought?

A community can be seen as a funnel. (isn’t everything a funnel?) So you need to think about each funnel step.

Why should people join your community? How are you getting people in? How are you going to activate and onboard them? And how are you going to make them successful and feel like they get value from what you’re delivering?

Only by getting them to the end of the funnel will your members become advocates, and a portion of those will end up being customers.

It’s easily a small team on your side, it needs to have a clear purpose, it needs to have values around it, and it needs a unique content stream at the very least.

So, if you had PLG-envy the last year, consider CLG as the cure.

I would love some people here to challenge me, and call me out as the wanna-be expert on this I am. So reply back. I would love to hear from you.

Btw, if you want to follow a real CLG pro, find Leslie Greenwood on Linkedin.