The Importance of Community in Marketing

Mark Schaefer

Today’s episode features a special guest, Mark Schaefer, a globally-recognized keynote speaker, futurist, business consultant, and author. Mark and Sarah delve into the significance of community in today’s world and its role in humane marketing. They explore the difference between a community and an audience, the importance of letting go of control as a community builder, the struggles of building a community, and the potential synergy between AI and human communities. They also discuss effective strategies for attracting new members, common mistakes made by community builders and how AI fits into the picture of community.

As entrepreneurs, understanding the essence of community building and the benefits it offers can help us create meaningful connections and grow our businesses sustainably.

"It's about building the connection between the audience members to create this community, because if you do that, it creates this layer of emotional switching costs." – @markwschaefer @sarahsantacroce #humanemarketing Click To Tweet

In this episode, Mark and I discuss:

  • Why community is more important now then ever before
  • The difference between a community and an audience
  • The role of the ego for community builders
  • The struggles of building a community
  • AI and human communities: can they work together?
  • And much more

Mark’s Resources

Mark’s Website

Find Mark on YouTube

Find Mark on Twitter

Find Mark on Facebook

Find Mark on LinkedIn

Sarah’s Resources

(FREE) Sarah’s One Page Marketing Plan

(FREE) Sarah Suggests Newsletter

(FREE) The Humane Business Manifesto

(FREE) Gentle Confidence Mini-Course

Marketing Like We’re Human – Sarah’s book

The Humane Marketing Circle

Authentic & Fair Pricing Mini-Course

Podcast Show Notes

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Email Sarah at

Thanks for listening!

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Imperfect Transcript of the show

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[00:00:00] Sarah: Hello, humane marketers. Welcome back to the Humane Marketing Podcast, the place to be for the generation of marketers that cares. This is a show where we talk about running your business in a way that feels good to you, is aligned with your values, and also resonates with today’s conscious customers because it’s humane, ethical, and non-pushy.

[00:00:23] I’m Sarah z Croce, your hippie turn business coach for quietly rebellious entrepreneurs and marketing impact pioneer. Mama Bear of the Humane Marketing Circle and renegade author of marketing like we’re human and selling like we’re human. If after listening to the show for a while, you’re ready to move on to the next level and start implementing and would welcome a community of like-minded, quietly rebellious entrepreneurs who discuss with transparency what.

[00:00:52] Works and what doesn’t work in business, then we’d love to welcome you in our humane marketing circle. If you’re picturing your [00:01:00] typical Facebook group, let me paint a new picture for you. This is a closed community of like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the world who come together once per month in a Zoom circle workshop to hold each other accountable and build their business in a.

[00:01:15] Sustainable way we share with transparency and vulnerability, what works for us and what doesn’t work, so that you can figure out what works for you instead of keep throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. Find out more at, and if you prefer one-on-one support from me.

[00:01:37] My humane business coaching could be just what you need, whether it’s for your marketing, sales, general business building, or help with your big. Idea like writing a book. I’d love to share my brain and my heart with you together with my almost 15 years business experience and help you grow a sustainable business that is joyful and sustainable.

[00:01:58] If you love this podcast, [00:02:00] wait until I show you my mama bear qualities as my one-on-one client can find out more at And finally, if you are a Marketing Impact pioneer and would like to bring Humane Marketing to your organization, have a look at my offers and workshops on my

[00:02:30] Hello friends. Welcome back. We arrived once again at the seventh P of the Humane Marketing Mandala. Today’s conversation fits under the P of. Partnership. If you are a regular here, you know that I’m organizing the conversations around the seven Ps of the Humane Marketing Mandala. And if this is your first time here, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but you can download your one page marketing plan that comes with [00:03:00] the seven Ps of Humane slash one page.

[00:03:06] The number one and the word page, and this truly is a completely different version of the seven Ps of marketing that starts with yourself. It comes with seven email prompts to really help you reflect on these different Ps. And so, like I said, today’s. Conversation fits under the seventh p the P of partnership, and clearly that’s a new P that I added.

[00:03:32] It didn’t exist in the original sixties version of the seven Ps of marketing. In today’s episode, I’m joined by my colleague and fellow marketer, mark Schaffer. Mark is a returning guest as I’ve spoken to him twice before, since we’re fellow introverts. And so he came once to speak on my. Previous podcasts, the one, two podcasts before.

[00:03:58] So not the [00:04:00] gentle marketing podcasts, but the one before that, and where I was mainly talking to introverts. I’ll dig out the episode. Link so you can go listen to that. So mark spoke to me about being an introvert in business and marketing, and then I had him come back also to talk about his book Marketing Rebellion which actually came out just before.

[00:04:22] Weeks before marketing like we’re human, which was then called the Gentle Marketing Revolution. So clearly we’re kindred spirits, not just personality wise, but also otherwise how we think. Again, we didn’t talk about this, but he came out with Marketing Rebellion and for me it was marketing Revolution.

[00:04:45] So I’ll tell you a bit more about Mark in just a moment, but. Since today’s topic is all about community, I want to take a moment to tell you about our community, the Humane Marketing Circle, and what we’ve been up to in the last [00:05:00] few weeks and months. So the Humane Marketing Circle is a growing community for quietly rebellious entrepreneurs.

[00:05:08] Here’s the theme again, with the rebellion or the revolution. So we’re a community for quietly rebellious entrepreneurs who are ready for something different, something fresh and new, a new way of marketing, and a new way of business building, and also a new way of being in community. We now have. Four monthly gatherings, two meetups in which we discuss marketing, one 90 minute business or marketing related workshop with an expert or someone from the community.

[00:05:40] So I always try to find experts within the community because we’re all experts. And then every now and then if I don’t find someone in the community, I’ll go and look outside. We’re also starting this month with an. Extra call we, that we call net weaving, so it’s not networking, but [00:06:00] net weaving which we focus on, in which we focus on forming friendships between members that then lead to new business op.

[00:06:08] Opportunities, collaborations, referrals, et cetera. But the main focus is to be human in these net weaving calls. Really just let go of the mask and show up as humans in our comfy clothes and on our couches and sofas, and just build friendships that then eventually lead to new business opportunities.

[00:06:31] Here’s how our community meetups work. So those are the two regular monthly meetings that we have. One of them I lead and one of them is led by one of our three community ambassadors. In the first half of the call, members bring their questions and we have a conversation about what. It works for us in marketing.

[00:06:54] For example, one of the last calls we talked about AI and we share [00:07:00] tools and discussed benefits, dangers, overall ethical questions. We also, just on the last call, we talked about the gentle sales path and what members are doing in terms of bringing new people into their gentle sales paths. And so we take turns, we raise our hands and take turns and everybody.

[00:07:19] Is really a leader in the, in their chair, and they get to learn from others and also share. And in the second half of the call, we go into breakout rooms and we have a more intimate conversation with other heart-centered entrepreneurs, which is super valuable because we don’t often get this, you know, brainstorming and kind of feedback from other entrepreneurs.

[00:07:46] And for example, this month our topic is the P of people. So I always bring a question for the breakout rooms and We discussed, for example a limiting belief that holds our people back. So [00:08:00] what’s a limiting belief that holds our clients back? And then we took turns in sharing that in the small breakout room.

[00:08:07] So that’s the format. Of our meetups. Then we’ve also successfully transitioned to our new community platform on Kajabi, and I have to say I’m super pleased with it. It’s such a lot of fun. We had our first live call directly. In our live room, in the community, so not on Zoom but directly within the Cajabi community, which makes it really safe and it feels like you’re really unique to us.

[00:08:37] So rather than being on Zoom, which we kind of all use, but it, it has become this tool where. We somehow we show up in our business mindset where if we’re all of a sudden in our own platform and we have a call, and it just really felt like, oh, this is, this is our [00:09:00] home. We’re hanging out in our home.

[00:09:01] And that’s what members also mentioned. There’s still a few bugs that were working out, but All in all, we love this new community platform on Kajabi, and we’re just truly embracing it. And then, as I said, Eddie, our community facilitator will lead his first NetWeaving call really a, a fun call to foster friendships between members that then lead to business opportunities.

[00:09:27] I’m super excited to have him on board. It’s interesting because Mark, you’ll hear him say in. In our podcast episode, you’ll hear him say that it’s good to hire the youngest member you can find, or the, the youngest person you can find. And so that’s exactly what I did with Eddie. He’s a millennial probably even.

[00:09:48] Younger than millennial. Millennials are now kind of like, oh, they’re, you know, they aged as well. So he’s, he’s 27 and he just brings such a new perspective, such a [00:10:00] different way of being in community, which yeah, which we all love. So it’s been great. So I created a, a special may coupon code for you if you’d like to join us now and save 15% on your monthly membership rate for as long as you stay.

[00:10:16] So if you feel like now’s the time, you can use the coupon code may gift. So, m. A Y G I F T on the checkout page by going to And this code is valid until May 31st, 2023. So with that, let’s go back to our conversation with Mark. About communities. But first, let me tell you a bit about Mark.

[00:10:46] So Mark Schaefer is a globally recognized keynote speaker, futurist, business consultant, and author. His clients range from successful startups to global brands such as Adidas, Johnson and Johnson, [00:11:00] Dell, Pfizer, the US Air Force, and the UK government. Mark is the bestselling author of 10 pathfinding books, including the first book ever written on influence marketing.

[00:11:11] Mark’s books are used as textbooks at more than 50 universities have been translated into 15 languages and can be found in more than 250 libraries worldwide. In today’s episode we talked about why community is more important now than ever before. The difference between a community and an audience.

[00:11:34] The role of the ego for community builders, the struggles of building a community, how hard it is really to get people together and host the space. And finally we also talk about AI and the role of AI in human communities and how they can work together, cuz that’s actually the third part of Mark’s new book, belonging to the Brand.[00:12:00]

[00:12:00] Let’s dive in with Mark.

[00:12:34] Court. Good to see you, mark. I, I just said, let’s just hit record because we’re already sharing all, all this, this good stuff. So we are, we are excited to have you back on the show here. Really looking forward to talking to you about community. Your latest book has a lot of bookmarks already.

[00:12:57] Definitely excited. Belonging to the [00:13:00] brand by community is the last great marketing strategy. So let’s dive right into it. Most people on, on my show already know who you are. So I’m not gonna go into tell me who Mark Schaffer is and all of that stuff. Why is community so essential and why now?

[00:13:18] Mark: I think that’s, that’s the question is, is, is why now?

[00:13:22] Because community has, has always been essential. There’s a great quote in the book. From a, there’s a great marketer. He was with Coca-Cola, he was with Airbnb, Jonathan Milton Hall, and Jonathan said, look, when our ancestors were gathering around the fire, it, it wa it, it was to create this sense of belonging.

[00:13:44] We’ve always longed to belong a lot of the social structures in our world today. You know, have, have just collapsed, especially here in America. A lot of the ways we used to gather and, and find that community are gone. A lot of that [00:14:00] was made a lot worse during the pandemic. Now I wanna go back a step and assure people this isn’t like a touchy-feely, fluffy book about, you know, You know why we should all be in a community.

[00:14:14] This is a business book with, I think, a very strong business case of why businesses should view community as part of their marketing strategy. Community isn’t new from the first days of the internet. Businesses tried to create communities. Most of them failed because they were set out to like sell more stuff.

[00:14:39] People don’t really want to gather to buy more stuff, so they didn’t really work. Most of the communities today, about 70% of the communities that actually work today for businesses are focused on transactions, customer self-service, which is fine, but the point of my book is that. [00:15:00] The, the purpose of branding is to create this emotional connection with our customers.

[00:15:05] A feeling, a meaning that keeps them connected to us. And there’s no more powerful way to do that than community. And I show a lot of data. I have a lot of case studies in the book that kind of prove this while we’re focused on. You know, customer self-service, which is what most communities look at, look at today.

[00:15:28] We’re missing bigger opportunities like collaborate, collaboration, co-creation, customer advocacy, sharing information quickly. These are all massive benefits that are going away in other marketing channels. So number one. This is a business book about marketing that works. But I also point out this is marketing that heals, which is a unique aspect of this idea.

[00:15:57] Mm-hmm. Because as we talked about, we’ve got [00:16:00] this mental health crisis going. Everywhere in the world. I don’t know what it’s like for you in Switzerland, but here it’s in the news every day, especially with our young people today. And so we’re longing to belong. We need to belong. And if businesses would look at really effective communities from the brand marketing lens, it not only works, but it can actually have a very positive impact on our customers and even the world.

[00:16:31] Yeah.

[00:16:32] Sarah: And it’s so interesting because in our pre-recording talk, we, we discussed, You know, I, I mentioned that I was gonna actually go all in and create a live event, and, and I mentioned that I have a place in Sicily, and you were like, oh, I like Sicily. And it reminded me of one of the stories in your book, and I think it’s in the beginning of the book, where you talk about this store, this shop that I think it was actually led by a Sicilian, or [00:17:00] originally Sicilians, right?

[00:17:02] Yeah. Mm-hmm. That, and they still have this. Shop. Yeah. So tell us the story about, because it it, and I tell you what I told my husband and, and really that’s still the feeling that we get in Sicily. Like it really is still like that. Yeah. So tell us that story. Well, we don’t

[00:17:19] Mark: have that. It’s, we don’t have that feeling in a, in America or most places, so, yeah.

[00:17:23] So. You know, when when I was a little boy, it was always a special occasion when my grandfather brought something back from, he, he would call it the Italian store. And so I, I got to go back. This store has still been there since 1903. Three brothers. Came to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and they started making pasta, handmade pasta, and now they, it’s still in the same family.

[00:17:53] Mm-hmm. And the family members make a point to be there in the store, you know, interacting with [00:18:00] customers. Mm-hmm. If you, if there’s any, they, they also do like a lot of Shipping and stuff of their specialty products. And if there’s ever a problem, I mean, one of, one of those family members is paying attention to it.

[00:18:12] You know themselves, well, I, I, I was away from this store for like 40 years, came back, visited Pittsburgh and I, I went to this, this area. Which used to be like a, a, just like a warehouse area, you know, really kind of busy and, you know, dirty Now it’s a, it’s a big tourist area. Mm-hmm. And the store is still there.

[00:18:34] Same old wooden floors. This, all the signs are handwritten all over the stores and, And you know, I walk in and they’ve got this huge class case with 400 different kinds of cheese, just magnificent and smoked sausages and all these things that they’re bringing in from Italy and, and you know, most, mostly Italy, but some other parts of the world.

[00:18:58] And I go there and [00:19:00] the people at the counter. Know the customers and they’re asking about their, their family and their husbands. And, and one lady was there and her husband had had a health problem and the lady said, well, we just got his favorite kind of cheese. Let me wrap that up. Take it home to him, you know, that maybe this will make him feel better.

[00:19:20] And then the lady looked over to the corner and there’s some, some of her friends sitting there, she went over to talk to them. And I just felt so sad. Because I’ve never experienced this. Hmm. And I’m just one generational away, right from this is how all business was done. And I just longed to, to, to walk in a place where people would know me and connect with me and to me.

[00:19:49] Shopping is just anxiety. I, I, I don’t even, I don’t want to go anyplace. Right. You know, it’s just a process for me of being overwhelmed and disappointed. So I’m, you know, that’s

[00:19:59] Sarah: [00:20:00] the introvert in us, right? We’re

[00:20:01] Mark: like, no, thanks. Yeah. You and I, you and I had a special show on that a few years ago. Yeah. Right.

[00:20:06] Yeah. Yeah. After I shop, I just wanna go home and crawl under a blanket. Oh yeah. So so, so it, it’s this idea of. We’ve always had this inside of us. This it’s, it’s in our D n A, it’s this tribal sort of thing is on a deep psychological and sociological level. We have got to belong. And Sarah, this was one of the elements in my life that.

[00:20:35] Provoked me that drove me to write this book. A few years ago, there was a headline in the New York Times that said The Loneliest Generation. Mm-hmm. And was referring to Gen Z. And it just, it just broke my heart how our children and these teenagers, they’re just suffering. Suffering. They’re so isolated and lonely and depressed.

[00:20:59] And[00:21:00] as I said, look You know, this is a business book, but it’s also a way I think we can at least. Be aware of these issues in our world and think about how this can have a positive impact on, on, you know, everybody today, not just young people. Young people. They’re finding their own communities. I talk about this at the end of the book.

[00:21:22] You know, they’re, they’re, they’re moving into their own communities and to the extent that. Companies, and not just companies. Why I say companies. It could be a nonprofit, it could be a university, you know, it could be, you know, whatever. A, a un an insurance company, a symphony, whatever, a nonprofit the, I think the com, the, the organizations that are the most human, which I know is something close to your heart.

[00:21:48] The companies and the organizations that are the most belonging. How, how would it look like in your. Company in your culture, in your marketing, if you thought we’re gonna be [00:22:00] the most belonging company, it, it, it, it sort of, you know, presents an interesting idea of how you might approach marketing in a, in a different way.

[00:22:11] Yeah,

[00:22:11] Sarah: absolutely. So, and, and that story about this Italian shab, it’s not just a beautiful story, but it’s a, an excellent business case. Yeah. Cause. You know, how hard is it for a small shop like that to survive and them still existing after 40 years? Well, It has to have to do

[00:22:30] Mark: something. Community. It’s, it’s been well, they’ve been there since 1903.

[00:22:36] Oh, yeah. Yeah. Not just, I was Generat four. Yeah. It had been 40 years since I had been there. Right. Yeah. But it’s it’s the same store. Yeah. They, they, yeah. It’s, it’s bigger now, but yeah. It’s the same, it’s the same store.

[00:22:50] Sarah: Yeah. No, absolutely. I, I have a feeling like reading the book and I so resonate with this.

[00:22:58] Because just like [00:23:00] anything in marketing marketer, marketers have a tendency to grab the latest Conta concept. So let’s just say, okay, mark Schaffer, yay. He writes about communities, right? Yeah. And six months later, that’s the latest marketing thing, right? It’s like, just like we did with authenticity, just like we did with vulnerability, marketers are really good at jumping on these words and then abusing the crap out of them.

[00:23:30] Yeah. And so what I really liked about your book, and you mentioned it several times, is this concept of letting go of control that. You cannot control a community growth. You cannot Yeah. You know, somehow market or Yeah. Kind of manipulate a community. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, talk to us about that.

[00:23:56] Mark: Well, that’s probably something you’ve learned [00:24:00] firsthand in your community, but, you know, give you a story that so when I started my community, I have a community On Discord, which I didn’t really wanna be on Discord, but my community said, we wanna be on Discord.

[00:24:12] So I’m giving up control. So here we are in Discord, thought, well, this is a community. This is a community that, you know, I kind of brought these people together and they’re interested in the future of marketing. So they’re probably interested in things I’m talking about, like personal branding and being a professional speaker and writing books.

[00:24:34] So I created. My own little chat rooms thinking, oh, this is where we’re gonna have interesting dialogue about these subjects. Now those rooms are the emptiest rooms on the whole site because they, they didn’t wanna go there. They took it in completely different direction. They said, look, we wanna talk about the metaverse, we wanna talk about web three.

[00:24:58] We wanna talk about chat, [00:25:00] G P T and artificial intelligence, and. They were right. We need to be talking about those things, right? They’ve taken me a whole new direction. It’s, but that community has become my university. I’m learning from them. Almost every blog, post, podcast or speech I give the, a lot of the information and stories are coming out of that community, right?

[00:25:24] So they’re keeping me relevant because they’re spread out all over the world. You know, teaching me what they’re seeing is, is, is going on out there.

[00:25:33] Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So, so that, that letting go of the control and, and almost like letting the community taking over that is Yeah. That is so big and it’s, it’s so, I think against what a lot of us business owners or marketers have learned where we, and I, and I also.

[00:25:54] Remember you or mentioning that a community is definitely not an audience, [00:26:00] right? That distinction is so essential and yet, We see probably 90% of the people using the words interchangeably. They call a community, they, they say they have a community where they actually just have a free Facebook group where they sell their

[00:26:16] Mark: programs.

[00:26:17] Yeah. And I think the distinction is important because that’s where the real power is. Right? You know, when people have an audience, And they say, this is my community. I say, well, the do do the people in the AU in your audience, do they know each other? Do they connect to each other? And the answer is no, cuz they’re an audience.

[00:26:37] Now I’m not. I mean, an audience is really important. I mean, I have an audience, right? And those are the people who buy things from me. So, I mean, audience is great, but. When people know each other and they build relationships, connections, and they collaborate and they do things together in new ways, that goodwill and [00:27:00] that emotion transfers to the brand.

[00:27:04] This is one of the profound lessons I think in the book. I mean, I did a deep dig, deep dive on a lot of the psychology of community, the sociology of community, and almost suggests that, and this is hence at your point, that leadership in a community is like upside down compared to traditional marketing.

[00:27:27] Yeah. You know leadership. And so instead of building the connection between the brand, And our audience. It’s about building the connection between the audience members to create this community, because if you do that, it creates this layer of emotional switching costs. Mm-hmm. Like, these are my friends, this is my community.

[00:27:49] I can never leave this brand cuz I never wanna leave this community. Right. So it, it, it, there’s a lot of. Non-intuitive things about [00:28:00] community success That, that I’m, I’m learning firsthand. Yeah.

[00:28:03] Sarah: And, and that’s where I think you brought in the live event. And that’s when I’m like, I. I’m a hundred percent convinced because I’ve been, you know, I had my community probably two, three years now, and I, what I’ve been learning is that there’s a lot of unlearning first of all for the leader of the community, but then also for members of the community because I feel like as marketers we have kind of brainwashed.

[00:28:34] Clients and customers into these membership site type things where people just come to consume content rather than to actually show up and Yeah. You know, express themselves and say, this is what works for me, what works for you, and collaborating, and so I’ve been kind of like, Yeah. Empower, giving power back to the people and saying, no, I [00:29:00] want you to show

[00:29:01] Mark: up.

[00:29:01] Yeah, that’s a, that’s, that’s a really, really good point. You know, I, I had this conversation with a friend of mine last week. He has, has a community, but it’s really an audience. Because it’s, it’s the, you know, he’s, he’s like creating content and it’s premium content that you only get if you’re in this community.

[00:29:24] Right. And it, it, there’s not really a lot of focus. I mean, that’s a

[00:29:28] Sarah: membership site. Yeah, it is. I think that type, yeah, that those three words, they’re kind of like Yeah. Creating, yeah.

[00:29:35] Mark: It’s a membership site. Mm-hmm. You know, in my community. It is, it’s free, it’s open it, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s like, you know, everybody is welcome to, to come in and give it a try.

[00:29:47] You know, I, I do have like a, like a v i p section where it’s like a small amount of money every year. And then, you know, we get, we have meetings with like legendary, legendary marketing people [00:30:00] and And that’s a lot of fun. But I mean, at least 90% of the community is just there. It’s free and we’re just helping each other and it’s very generous and very kind.

[00:30:10] And you know, I made so many new friends and no many new connections. And of course, as I said, it’s just become my number one place to, to learn about what’s, what’s new. I mean, I was really early. In the in the AI generated content around art, like mid journey and I mean, it was like people in my community said, have you seen this?

[00:30:35] Get a membership, try this thing. And it was just like, oh my gosh. I mean this, like my, my jaw just dropped on the table. It was so unbelievable. And that, you know, I was early on chat G p t again because my community’s like pulling me into these things, right? And, and, and I think that’s a big part of being relevant today, not necessarily being an expert.

[00:30:58] In everything, [00:31:00] but knowing enough to at least ask the right questions about everything. Just, you know, dabbling in the metaverse and web three and all these new things, and that the community’s helping me remain relevant. What, what a gift is that? Now think about what that means to a big brand. Yeah. Is, is, is, you know Sarah, I saw this amazing quote.

[00:31:21] Oh, I, I, I got hung on this. It was probably four years ago now. There’s a quote by the C m O of Pepsi and he said the days of the big brand are over the big brand campaign. Campfires. Bonfires are over. And today it’s about. Being relevant in cultural moments. And I thought that is fascinating, but what does that really mean?

[00:31:54] How does that show up? And if you watch what some of these brands are doing now, they like, if there’s like a [00:32:00] big award show like the Grammys or the Emmys or the Oscars and or, or there’s like big festivals. One of the things Pepsi did for example, was there was some big like cultural festival. In, in New York and they created a soft drink, especially for this festival.

[00:32:22] It tasted like zindel or something, right? I mean, I can’t imagine how bizarre that would be, but it was a in a pink can. But you know, if, if you play this out, how can you be? What would be the platform to be relevant in these cultural moments? What would be more powerful than a community that’s taking you into these moments?

[00:32:45] Mm-hmm. Exposing you to these moments. Yeah. And, and I, I, so I think big company, small company solopreneur it, it, it, it’s something that must be considered really for any kind of business right now. [00:33:00] Yeah,

[00:33:00] Sarah: I absolutely agree. And, and, and I think one y you did say, okay, this is a business book, but business is so human today to come back to my favorite topic and, and yeah.

[00:33:12] And so those are those humanizing moments, right? It’s like, we’re not, and that’s why the. Let me build a community so that I can sell more stuff. Doesn’t work, because that’s not why humans gather. They don’t, right. They don’t come into a community to buy more. And so I think brands need to be super careful with that, you know, thing they, they can go completely wrong if they start selling into the community.

[00:33:41] Mark: Yeah. That, that’s the number one. Right. Reason why communities. Fail Yeah. Is because they say, okay, well, we’ll start a community, but you know, this is gonna help us meet our, our quarterly sales numbers. And, you know, a company has to do that. I’ve, I’ve been in that world for a long time, but that’s, that’s gonna [00:34:00] drive your community away.

[00:34:01] And it, you know, I, I think one of the gifts of this book, I hope people see this as a gift, is in chapter 10, I look at measurement. In an entirely new way. I mean, community and measurement. This has been just a, a thorn in the side of communities forever and. I give a case study in the book about these big sports drink brands, Gatorade versus Powerade, and I show the power of brand marketing where you sponsor events and you’re, you know, you get connected to cultural moments and you know, maybe you sponsor the World Cup.

[00:34:44] Well, okay, so if you sponsor the World Cup and your brand is everywhere. Does that sell more products? Yes. Can we measure that? No, [00:35:00] probably not. So I make this distinction between brand marketing and direct marketing. And what I’m showing is that almost every community is trying to manage it and measure it like direct marketing.

[00:35:16] But if you do that, you, you miss the whole thing about trust. And loyalty and emotion and love and co-creation, collaboration and advocacy, you’re missing the main event. Mm-hmm. And so you, if, if, if the community reports to the marketing department, which understands what brand marketing is, we kind of take that pressure off and, and we look at other measures.

[00:35:43] That may not necessarily be directly tied to the bottom line, but we know it’s a leading indicator of, of the bottom line. One of the biggest communities in the whole world is Sephora. Now Sephora is a cosmetics company. Do you have [00:36:00] Sephora over there? And We do. Yeah. They’re, they’re, they’re based in Europe, I think.

[00:36:03] Yeah. And they’re French, right? I think maybe French. Yeah. They’ve got brick and mortar stores. In, in many, many countries, every major city in America has just a forest store, but 80% of their sales come from their online community. And their number one measure in their community is engagement because they see engagement as the leading indicator to to sales.

[00:36:34] Mm-hmm. So it’s, again, this goes back to what we were talking about earlier. It’s like, This turns the traditional marketing mindset kind of upside down. But this, I think this is where the world needs to go. I think 20 years from now, maybe 30 years from now, we’re, we’re gonna, the, the young people leading businesses today are already moving this direction.

[00:36:59] They’re [00:37:00] already moving to community. 85% of startups today are leading with community as they’re. Main marketing idea. 30 years from now, the world’s gonna look back at the period we’re in now. And we’re gonna say, remember those days we used to spam people. We used to interrupt people, intercept people. We used to bother them.

[00:37:22] We used to fill their mailboxes with all this direct mail that wasn’t even relevant to them anymore. What were we thinking? Okay. I’m so happy we read Mark’s book 30 years ago.

[00:37:36] Sarah: No, I, I have to say, like, I, I really feel like you pivoted or you kind of. Created this new path with Marketing Rebellion already.

[00:37:46] Yes, exactly. Right. And now this is like, you know, for whoever is ready for the next. Paradigm, basically. I’m, I’m glad you picked up. I’m so glad to have you kind of, you know, forged this [00:38:00] path for people like myself, because that is the, I wanna cry, like, this is the biggest pushback I always got is like, you can’t measure it.

[00:38:08] You can’t measure humane marketing. Yeah. And I felt like saying, so what? You know? Yeah. Right. This is the only way we gotta go. Yeah. And, and so now to say, well then if you don’t listen to me, listen to Mark

[00:38:21] Mark: Schaffer. Right? Yeah. I mean, it is, it is. And look, I’m like, I’m a measurement junkie. You know, I’ve, a lot of people don’t know this about me, but I actually have the, the equivalent of a master’s degree in statistics.

[00:38:33] So, I mean, I’m all about the numbers. But you know, there was a very powerful quote from Marketing Rebellion that I actually repeated in, in the new book, and it’s this idea. That you can either keep, keep pace with the, with the pulse of our culture, or you can measure, you probably can’t do both. I mean, I, I, I, I think Sarah, there, there’s [00:39:00] no business leader.

[00:39:01] Anywhere right now that can’t be feeling a little overwhelmed by the by the amount and velocity of change. Mm-hmm. And so, you know, you, you’ve got to, to, you’ve gotta make that leap at some point to say, We’ve gotta go to market a different way. We can’t keep holding. It’s, it’s a sickness. It literally is a sickness that we’re holding on to this scaffolding of the old ways, you know, our, our relationships with ad agencies and producing, you know, glamorous television commercials.

[00:39:35] Cause you know, cuz we can win an award for this and, and, and, and it, it’s hard. To change our, our, our, the culture of our company to start embracing these new things. I think every company today should be taking at least 10% of their marketing budget and experimenting maybe on things you can’t measure.

[00:39:58] You have no, have no hope of [00:40:00] measuring to move more toward this human-centered. View of, of marketing. Because just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. I mean, there’s a lot of things we can’t measure. We can’t measure, you know, wind, we can’t, me, well, we can measure, we can’t measure love, right?

[00:40:19] We can’t measure love. We can’t measure. How good we feel on a, on a sunny day. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go to the beach, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fall in love. We need to take advantage of those things. And there are many things in marketing today, you know, we are in the early days, in the early stages, and especially young people today have entirely different expectations and of, of what they want from businesses and what they want from marketing.

[00:40:47] And we’ve gotta start moving that way now. Gen Z. They’re not babies. We just had the first member of Gen Z become elected to the United States Congress. Mm-hmm. [00:41:00] They’re consumers, right? In the next five years, they’re gonna be our leaders, right? And our procurement managers. So, and, and, you know, great entrepreneurs.

[00:41:10] So, I mean, we need, we need to wake up. We really do. Yeah. We need to get rid of this, these sick, these sick, antiquated practices and, and wake up to, to, to deliver. You know, we’re gonna stop doing things that people hate. Just stop it and then double down. How do you feel?

[00:41:29] Sarah: Yeah. How, how do you feel about, so these, you know, the marketers that are out there now in, in, let’s say in bigger companies, but even entrepreneurs, like, besides you, you reading your book, how are they, how are we gonna get them up to speed with these skills?

[00:41:48] Because unfortunately, Unless they have the luck to have you at their, at a lecture in their university, they’re still being taught marketing from the sixties. Yeah. [00:42:00] It’s, it’s such a big mismatch. And, and I see that in, in the online marketing sphere as well. We’re still being marketed to like 20 years ago with all the shaming and manipulating and

[00:42:12] Mark: on the lot.

[00:42:13] Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting, Sarah, that a lot of the problem right now is actually even in the universities. I mean, the universities many universities are so far behind. Mm-hmm. You know, it, it, I, I think I. The slowest moving. Most bureaucratic organizations I’ve ever worked with are, are universities and these are the institutions sad that we’re, that we’re counting on to, to keep our, our students relevant.

[00:42:42] And there’s many young people coming outta universities that are, you know, connecting to me saying, I’m totally unprepared for the world. All this stuff I learned, nobody’s even doing this stuff anymore. Yeah, so there’s a lot of problems. There’s a lot of issues. But here’s the thing that gives me a lot of hope.

[00:42:59] I. [00:43:00] First of all, there is change happening. Absolutely. Sarah. There have been people that have taken my Marketing rebellion book and said, this is the new framework. This is the way we’re gonna go forward, not just small companies. There’s a Fortune 100 company that, that contacted me and said, this is the way we need to go forward.

[00:43:20] You know, how can you help us do this? So that’s number one. Number two. I think the best leaders today, they wanna stay relevant. You know, to, if you are managing a brand, here is your mission. A brand is a never ending journey of relentless. Relevance, relevance, relevance, relevance, relevance to now, to this moment, to this year, to this culture.

[00:43:49] That’s it. That’s your job. Yeah. And, and to be relevant, you, you, you, you, you’ve gotta move away from some of these things that people just see are [00:44:00] not relevant anymore. They don’t even work anymore, right? So we’ve got to start reaching out. We’ve got to start experimenting. And I think what gives me hope is that, look, any, any.

[00:44:12] Great professional today. They know this. They wanna be relevant, they wanna be relevant in their careers, they want their companies to be relevant and, and so I think my message is, is is gonna connect because it has to connect.

[00:44:26] Sarah: Hmm. Yeah. I do feel also always come back to Covid, but I do feel like it has helped with human evolution and of consciousness and people like, you know, never.

[00:44:41] Like before they, they’re like, we’re done with this spammy marketing stuff. Like the, the kind of, I call it the bullshit The word is escaping me, but, but like the trigger, you know, is likes meter. We know, we can tell that this is all fakes and that that’s so, [00:45:00] so I do feel, yeah, there’s this gap between consciousness that has risen and some of the, the marketing stuff that is just so outdated.

[00:45:09] But yeah, like you, I totally believe in humanity and, and I be believe that people. Feel it, like you could just feel it that there’s this craving for, for belonging and, and so

[00:45:21] Mark: I’m just Yeah. Oh, that, I mean, you talk about measurement that is documented. I mean, it, it, it’s, it’s just coming at us in every, every day, in every way.

[00:45:32] It’s, it’s all over the news here in America. And I mean, just like two weeks ago I saw this statistic that was just incredible that. Of the young people aged 18 to 24, 50 1% of them had sought medical treatment for a mental health issue. Hmm. The average for every other generation, including, you know, my generation is 24%.

[00:45:59] [00:46:00] Wow. Yeah. For young people today, it’s 51% and the average for every other generation is 24%. There’s something really wrong here going on. Mm-hmm. And you know, look, my book is not Pollyannish saying, Hey, start a community and change the world. I’m saying, look, There’s a, there’s a real marketing urgency to consider new ideas like this.

[00:46:26] And oh, by the way, it’s, it’s gonna do some, it’s gonna do some good for the people in your community.

[00:46:33] Sarah: Yeah. I, I really feel this more so than in other, in, in the other books that, that you come from this place of. Let go of the ego and tap into the love. That’s there’s some warmth, you know, even though it’s a business book, I feel like there’s some warmth reading this.

[00:46:51] And then, yeah. And that’s also the, the thing that we need. Now it’s like, you know, how can you have a community that is Cold and [00:47:00] based on Eagle. Well that’s not gonna work. So there definitely has to be yeah, the warmths as well. I wanna tap into also kind of the bridging it to the technology piece to, to wrap up, because it could almost be like a paradox, you know, it’s like, wait, wait a minute, okay.

[00:47:18] We have this problem with technology, young people, too much technology, and yet, You are talking about technology and AI and in web three in the last part of the book, so draws this picture, how do they fit together?

[00:47:35] Mark: Well, first of all, thank you for reading all the way to the end of the book.

[00:47:40] Sarah: That was a test, you

[00:47:42] Mark: know?

[00:47:42] And you know, I’ll tell you some of the, some of the most interesting. Things I have in the book are at the end and, and I thought, gosh, maybe I should put this up more towards the beginning so people can make sure I make sure they see that well. So there are [00:48:00] two big issues I, I talk about at the end of the book, technological changes and sociological changes.

[00:48:06] They kind of go together that. Are suggesting there are gonna be very new kinds of communities in the future, and businesses need to be waking up. Whether you have a community or you just want to tap into a community, a certain demographic of consumers, you’ve gotta be aware of what’s going on. Number one, on the technology side.

[00:48:31] We hear these mysterious words like Web three and NFTs and Metaverse, and the irony is there isn’t really a good definition for any of those things. Maybe NFTs come, come closest, but you know, people have really wild, wide, varying ideas of what the Metaverse is gonna be or what Web three is going to be.

[00:48:52] But when you cut through all the jargon, What you really end up with is new ways for [00:49:00] people to belong and especially young people today, are just surging into these areas. So we’ve gotta be aware of what’s happening, what’s going on there, how these communities are being created, and consider if that’s one of the ways we need to be relevant.

[00:49:18] On the sociological side, young people today, they want to be. Invisible. They don’t wanna be found, they don’t wanna be discovered. They don’t wanna be criticized and bullied and and marketed to. So today, much of our marketing is dependent on social listening platforms that tap into Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook.

[00:49:45] Well, guess what? Young people today, they’re not there. Mm-hmm. They’re not there at all. It’s amazing to me. Sometimes I do guest lectures at, you know, universities. Even like people in graduate school today, they’re not [00:50:00] on LinkedIn. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s crazy. So where are they? They’re on Discord, they’re on maybe they’re on TikTok.

[00:50:10] They’re on you know, communities in the Metaverse, they’re on Fortnite, they’re on Twitch. Guess what? Social listening platforms aren’t there. The, you know, millions and millions of people are having brand conversations in places we can’t see, right? So, Just like you mentioned, marketing Rebellion was a bit of a wake up call.

[00:50:34] I think this book, you know, part of it is a solution and part of it is a. You know, knock on the head as well to say the world is changing in rapid and unexpected ways, and we don’t have all the answers right now, but be aware of what is going on. And, and like I said, gen Z, they’re not babies. They’re consumers, right?

[00:50:56] With growing, growing, you know, [00:51:00] economic power. So this, this is not something to put off and we really need to think about this now. Yeah.

[00:51:07] Sarah: Yeah. And, and, and I do also see this theme of letting go of control, right? The, the Gen Z doesn’t want control, and so they want this connections of trust with the, with the not Bitcoin.

[00:51:21] The other one. The, the NFTs blockchain. Yeah, the blockchain, you know, kind of like, okay, I can trust this connection because it’s decentralized and, and so all of these topics that for us right now, I. They’ve most markers I would assume kind of sounds like Chinese. And so they have to, really, what you’re saying is basically almost, you have to have one person per department stay on top of the new stuff, right?

[00:51:51] It’s like, yeah, yeah.

[00:51:52] Mark: Go. Yeah. I, I, I, I think, you know, if you’ve got that kind of luxury, I mean, Sarah Wilson is someone I feature in my book. [00:52:00] She is former Facebook, former Instagram writes for Harvard Business Review, sort of looking at Gen Z culture and Zen Gen Z marketing strategies and, and she says rather boldly in the book, she said, I think it’s time I.

[00:52:16] Just to find the youngest person in your marketing department and say, pay attention to this because I don’t understand it.

[00:52:23] Sarah: Yeah. I saw that quote and I was like, lucky me. I have two sons, 16 and 19. They tell

[00:52:29] Mark: me all the insights. Well, yeah. I, I, I, I mentor my, my kids are grown, but I mentor young kids. Yeah.

[00:52:36] And I mean, I’m always asking them, what are you doing? What are you seeing? Exactly. Let me, Let me watch you play Roblox. Why did you do that? Yeah. Yeah. Why did you buy that?

[00:52:47] Sarah: Yeah. And all the ad blockers, just like you said, right? It’s like everywhere. Yeah.

[00:52:51] Mark: I wanna, I, I gotta watch my, my kids I mentor play Fortnite cuz I die every time I can’t.

[00:52:57] It’s like, what’s the use? I die [00:53:00] immediately, which makes them laugh, but, you know, so I’ve gotta watch them. I gotta watch them do it. Yeah.

[00:53:06] Sarah: Yeah. Wonderful. Well, I really appreciated this time with you, mark. I, I’m totally with you. Community is, is the way to go and I think we have a lot to learn from the communities, especially the marketers who think, you know, you just throw up a website and a pay button and then there you go.

[00:53:26] You have your community. I think it’s time to step back and come. Yeah. Step back from the ego and come with this humble learner approach to say, okay, what can I learn from this community? Yeah. That’s the way I look at it. And it sounds like you do too.

[00:53:42] Mark: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Sarah. It’s always delight.

[00:53:46] Yeah, likewise talking to you. It’s nice to find such a, I, I think we’re of one mind and one heart when it comes to marketing, so it’s for sure good to find. It’s good to find an ally out there.

[00:53:58] Sarah: Thank you. Thank you. Do you [00:54:00] mention the names of your books again and your website so people can

[00:54:03] Mark: find Yeah.

[00:54:03] The books we talked about today are marketing Rebellion. We didn’t mention known, but you know, we, the book on personal branding I think is extremely relevant today. I think personal branding, when you get down to it can be. It’s, it’s everything in, in many ways when it comes to our careers and marketing.

[00:54:23] And then my new book is called Belonging to the Brand. My Community is the Last Great Marketing Strategy and you can find my blog, my podcast, my books on my social media

[00:54:39] Sarah: Wonderful. I always have one last question. Mark, what are you grateful for today or

[00:54:43] Mark: this week? Right now.

[00:54:46] Well, I’m grateful for so much. I’m grateful for, for my, for my health right now. I’ve, I’ve gone through a, a, a week of of of illness here and I’m I’m grateful for we talked a lot about community, but I’m also really grateful [00:55:00] for the, your audience, my audience, the out there that, that supports me in so many ways.

[00:55:05] That’s, that’s just incredibly humbling just to be interested in my work and support my work. So I’m grateful for, for you and your listeners today. Thank you,

[00:55:15] Sarah: mark. Always a pleasure to hang out.

[00:55:18] Mark: Yeah. Thank you, Sarah.

[00:55:27] Sarah: Whether you are a community member or are thinking about creating your own community, I hope you found this episode with Mark. Really, really helpful. I know I did find out more about Mark and his and check out my two favorite books from him, marketing Rebellion. And belonging to the brand.

[00:55:49] You can find them on his website or directly at Amazon. And if you’re looking for a community of like-minded humane marketers, then why not join us in the Humane Marketing Circle? [00:56:00] You can find out more at Humane. Dot Marketing slash circle. You find the show notes of this slash H 1 64, and on this beautiful page, you’ll also find a series of free offers, such as my Saturday newsletter, the Humane Business.

[00:56:19] Manifesto and the free, gentle confidence mini course, as well as my two books, marketing like we’re Human and selling like we’re human. Thanks so much for listening and being part of a generation of marketers who cares for yourself, your clients, and the planet. We are change makers before we are marketers, so go be the change you want to see in the world.

[00:56:43] Speak soon.[00:57:00]

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