min to LISTEN
February 9, 2021

How to Build a Genuinely Caring & Committed Community

Joe Glover
Joe Glover
The Marketing Meetup

Joe Glover is the kind of person who gives marketing a good name. While some may be guilty of aggressive marketing and using hacks to get as many members as possible, Joe uses an entirely different approach. He believes in leading with kindness. 

His tagline is Positively Lovely which might sound a bit crazy in the marketing world today, but not does he live by this, he does it with great success and has built a community of over 16,000 people in the UK and the US. I talk to Joe about his beliefs and how it all started with a small meetup.com group.

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Braeden Mitchell
Security Engineer

"When are you going to do something in French so I understand it?"

Mr Grenier
My Dad

We covered:

  • Examples of a community coming together to lift each other up
  • When is a community not actually a community, just marketing bullshit.
  • Three steps towards creating a community
  • Start by looking at problems in your own life and how to solve them
  • How Joe’s very first meetup.com meet up went.
  • Aligning yourself with people or businesses who have a wide network
  • What did Jow create that was so different to other events?
  • Create something that makes you different and unique
  • The benefits of having a really strong set of values
  • Consider your target market and who you are best equipped to help
  • Avoiding buzzwords in your marketing. Keep it simple.
  • Encouraging word of mouth activity


Full transcript:

Louis: Bonjour, bonjour and welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com. The podcast for people, sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I'm your host Louis Grenier. In today's episode, you learn how to think and create a community that matters. Members that love you in literally thousands of members.

So my guest today is I believe the kind of people who give marketing a better name while others would aggressively kind of market themselves and their community to get as many members as possible using any hacks possible my guest believes in a completely different approach. He believes in, in kindness and leading with kindness.

And that might sound a bit crazy in the marketing world today, but he does, he does that and he does that with great success over the last four years. I guess build a community of 16,000 people in the UK and the U S. Started as small meetups in the, in the UK and, and turned into massive community with virtual events and webinars.

So super happy to have you Joe Glover on board. Welcome.

Joe: Thank you, dude. I'm really, really thrilled to be speaking with you today, mate. Was a listener before I've taken opportunity to, to come on. So I'm buzzing,

Louis: But I'm buzzing too, because yeah, I've huge respect for you for what you've done.

I experienced first hand the power of a community of people who believe in what, in the same thing and who kind of. You know, support you in any way, shape or form. I've had the luxury to be able to speak in front of some of your community recently on radical differentiation and yeah, the, the momentum after it, the number of emails and LinkedIn connections and kind words and feedback I got was just enormous.

So yeah. I guess it's easy for me to just say, you know, in those podcasts interviews that people make them, you know, make their guests look very good and talk about huge fucking numbers. Yeah. 16,000 sounds like a lot and it is, but I think what is most striking in what you built is the. Is that those 16,000 people, if you put them in a, in the stadium, right.

Actually Claremont stadium from my end, from this roughly 16,000 occupancy, right in the stadium, and you can picture it. It's fucking gigantic, but those people give a shit like this. They really seem to care about you about the community, about each other. And so it's not just a random number that you could like, you know, generate through a Facebook group with some hacks and, and, and all of that, it's, it seems like genuine.

So today's episode, let's try to unpack what you've done so that others can learn from it and possibly do it. We talk about the C word a lot - community, and I know it's thrown out a lot in today's world marketing, so maybe let's define it a bit. What do you, what do you. Kind of mean by community.

What does it mean to you?

Joe: Yeah. So, you know, first of all, thank you for the piece about the engagement. You know, it is incredible with it, that people are as engaged as they are. When we sort of think about definitions of community. First of all, It drives me nuts. You know, that the community has become like a buzz word in, sort of lik, the commercial space because it's lost its meaning.

So I love that you started up here for from, with a definition. So for me, community is not a broadcast. It's a place where people come together, they can communicate with each other. So it's not me going out to the community and saying, here's a message. It's a bunch of people communicating with each other beyond just the organizer.

Secondly, it's a place where people come to benefit each other as well. So people come into this space and say, we're going to be stronger than we were alone. We're going to lift each other up and ultimately we're going to get better together. And then finally, there's just elements of like, You know, the impact of community is far greater than any one person.

So, you know, there's examples where for example, we launched out our sessions on Monday and we actually asked the community to help us launch it, launch it with us. So we had over a hundred people, sort of on that day, launched the event with us. And that was just an example of community in action, where folks had come together to make a message far louder than would have been possible.

If it was just me, if it was just me and my mates or whatever, you know? So I think there's a, there's a general sort of theme here where people are coming together, selflessly they're coming together to help each other, and they're coming together to communicate and sort of make each other better.

Louis: So give me an example of The community coming together to lift each other up.

I Mean, one example of supporting you, definitely like you, you have announced a new round of speakers for, for the next few for the next while. So that's, that's okay. That's, that's quite impressive, but I think, I think you have better, I wouldn't say better, but you have different examples of when each like other members help each other and you're not even involved.

Joe: Absolutely a hundred percent. So there's stuff like we did a one pound challenge a long time ago. And this was, we gave one pound to every attendee who came to the marketing meet up and prompted them to to go and make someone else's day with this one pound. So it was almost like a token And the next day we had like a tweetstorm of folks coming in together.

And you know, people have bought flowers for other people. Having topped up the one pound they're given that one pound to someone in the queue in front of them in the supermarket, they'd given the one pound to a homeless person or something like that. So that was a group of people who, outside of the marketing, you know, you and I are interested in marketing cause we bloody love it.

You know, but like this was people benefiting other people's lives, but you did actually ask the question like more about like not prompted. So the other example is stuff like the Facebook group. So we use a Facebook group. I'm not going to spend a lot of time speaking about the marketing meetup, hopefully in the session.

I want to sort of speak more generally about it, but we have a Facebook group and now it's really lovely to see. You know, people coming in, asking questions giving advice and stuff like that. And it's completely unprompted by, by me. You know, in fact, I had a guy the other day, you know, inevitably you get with these things, there's like the odd bit of spam from time to time.

And there was a guy who sort of highlighted like a bit of spam to me for the first time as well. And like, you know, I hadn't been and into the group for a couple of days because you know, it's become, so self-sufficient on that basis. So, you know, It's a, it's really quite nice in that way that you can sort of see that activity sort of take place in the virtual world as well as the physical one.

Louis: Nice. Okay. So let's have fun a bit because recently I, someone messaged me on LinkedIn and said, Hey, I wrote an article like I wrote a top 10 facts about me type of article that he saw from a newsletter, like an automated email that goes after you subscribe after a while, it gives you the 10 facts about me anyway.

And he said that yeah, I had like a no bullshit style and that could come off as very breezy sometimes. Right. And and I took that as a massive compliment cause it's cultivating you, just who I am and I'm cultivating it. And the reason why I'm going back to this is because let's be abrasive a bit.

Or at least I'm going to be, let's let's let's let's name a few elements of the bullshit of community, like as a buzzword in today's world, let's name a few things that you hate about, about what it's it became.

Joe: I think, you know, the principle one is that it's being used as a word without any substance behind it.

So someone would say welcome to our community, but actually it's just the customer base. And that there's a big difference between people who use something and then people who use something and communicate with each other to make each other better at it. So I think that's my prime. We've got great because you know, like it's a very, very different thing to a customer base.

It's, it's a place where people come almost selflessly. To communicate to get better to learn. And that is not our customer base, you know, that is a very, very different . so I think, I think that's like the principal thing. But then of course, you know, the sort of second level things which go with that, you know, using the word community in marketing without any substance behind it, you know, welcome to our community.

And then you walk into a coworking space and everyone's a bit gruff and doesn't say hello and the coffee's not very nice and stuff like that, you know, that's not a community, you know, it is, it's a place which people want to be. It's not a place which people will have to be. So I think that's, that's probably to, to sort of like moments where I'm like, yeah, that's not a community.

That's, that's just, you know, marketing bullshit.

Louis: So we don't have to name names. That's something we want to blame, hate the game not the players. Right. But can you give an example of, of like, something that you've seen recently that just doesn't feel like a community don't have to name the company or whatever, but like maybe a specific

Joe: Yeah. So I think this was the pre COVID world, you know, but like co-working spaces quite frequently will use the term community. And even more than that, they will,so sell themselves on the basis of that, you know, come into our building and you will be amongst hundreds of people who are willing to speak to you.

You can network, you can meet, you can get coffee, you know, you sell this utopian dream, but the reality is you walk into these spaces and people who've got their heads down and their laptops and their headphones on, and they don't speak to you all day, you know? And, and while there are elements of this, which they do really well. So like events, they bring events into the space, which means that people do have those opportunities. I think it's a falsehood in many times to sort of say, this is a community spirit. No, this is a, this is a functional space, which people use because they like it. And they like the coffee that comes from the membership, but they don't necessarily have that tie into like a genuine community where people are like, you know, treating each other like colleagues.

And so, yeah, I I'd say like, There have been occasions where I've walked out of certain spaces and felt a little bit slimy for it. Which is a shame, you know, because it has the potential to be a community, but it's a lot of work to be able to get to that place.

Louis: Yeah, that's a great example. I used to be a member of a coworking space and the owner is very, very, very nice guy.

And he did his best to create a community .Fitting around it by first of all he would select the people coming in. He wouldn't just accept anyone who was willing to pay. He would always organize drinks on, on every last Friday of every month. And always be very nice and tried to include everyone and, and all of that.

So I think there was this feeling of community there, but I can definitely feel the, the opposite and yeah, I mean, to me online, what I see happening more and more that that is just very annoying is just. Leveraging algorithms and stuff like that to, to create a sense of, yeah you're part of a community.

When in fact you're not, you're just part of a group that got kind of hacked together by the use of external triggers to make you feel like you're part of a community that cares. And I can see it from, I have created a small group of people, like a small community in on Facebook. That is part of the way there, like stuff around the podcast.

And even though we are just a few hundred, I can, I know for a fact that those people give a shit because I make it very difficult for it, to, for them to join. Like I don't announce it very often. I only announced it in the email list and I can see the difference there in term of the E word, the engagement, you know, so yeah, there's a lot going on and I think, I think you've done it, so, so, so fucking well that I want to unpack it so that others can learn from it.

So let's, let's go back to the, to the beginnings. Like if you had to, if you had to advise a company or someone or a founder to actually create a community by the real sense of the word and the way you would describe it, how would you advise them to do so? And you can pick an example that is like a real example.

You don't have to name names, or you can just invent something that circumstance, that, that context that would fit, but what, where would you start with what would be kind of the first step?

Joe: Absolutely. So I think, you know, this is while though there will be people who don't identify themselves as marketers who listen to this podcast, I'd say the majority probably, you know, have, have at least a strong interest in it.

So I'd actually treat this a little bit like a marketing exercise and apply Mark Ritson's model, you know, so he spoke, speaks about market orientation, then strategy, then tactics. You know, I think about it in terms of those three steps. And I'm going to try and sort of retrofit my own story around these three steps, so to speak.

It wasn't presicely how it happened, but when you're trying to give advice, this is the most logical way to sort of speak about it. So in the sort of market orientation stage, you're just trying to understand what the market actually wants, what it needs. This could be down to you know, a gap in the market, but it could also be how people are doing it, why they're doing it, you know, and, and those can be real points of differentiation.

So for example, in my set of circumstances I'm far more introverted than I am extroverted, you know, and I was walking into networking events and. I was either terrified to say hello to people, or when I did say hello then people would sell, you know, and, and if they didn't sell then, they just wouldn't be interested because I didn't have anything, you know, I didn't have the fancy job title.

So for me, I knew that I wanted to create a space which felt safe and welcoming and that I could learn and not walk away and feel like, you know, I had a horrible experience. So right there on the market orientation element of things, we've identified that there's a, a need for an event, you know, a space which people could come to .We've identified that the, the difference, the market differentiation here is not going to be an event because everyone does events.

The thing that's going to be different is how we do it and why we do it. So how we do it, it's going to be, it's going to be friendly, it's going to be welcoming. It's going to be an informative place with short talks. And the why is, you know, that we want to base in kindness. So that's the first step.

You know, if I was advising someone to start a group, a community, I'd be saying, you know, what's the genuine need here. You know, are you going to be doing anything different in the market? Take the time to understand what's out there. And it's okay if you do something similar to someone else, as long as you do it in a different way with a different why or different how . Secondly, I'd then start looking at the strategy or you know,

Louis: Before we move on to strategy, there's a lot to unpack here.

So you're naturally kind of it's it's in retrospect, it's always easy. I think as people who've, who've achieved a few things launch a new project that works and whatnot. It's easy to kind of summarize. In, in very simple terms and it's just impossible to just advise someone to in the details of it, because you have to just fucking do it and get started and make mistakes and learn from it.

And it's the sum of all those very small decisions throughout the day, each day, for months and years, that that lead to that result. So obviously it's never fair to summarize it that. But I think this is a very important step. So it seems like there's two aspect to this market, an initial diagnosis part, understanding the market.

One is kind of the, the famous solving your own problem type of thing. Yep. And the other one is looking outwards, looking at what's going on there and potentially even talking to people to understand whether it's only you feeling this way or not. And I just want to make a quick note on this usually. I mean, maybe, maybe you have a different opinion on this, but I feel like when you have a pain point like that, when you feel you are more introverted, I'd like a different way to deal with events and whatnot. Usually it's very aware. I think there's 7 billion people on earth there is almost always other people feeling the same thing. Right. It's you can't just be that unique.

So do you agree or disagree on this statement first of all?

Joe: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. Yeah. You know, and I think for that reason In my particular scenario, I led with the challenge that I was, I was having personally and was working on the assumption that other people would also have that.

Louis: Okay. And how did you surface that? Like how, how, so it came to you after you going to networking events and did it come to you like that? One morning, waking up or did you just gradually come to this conclusion?

Joe: Well, it didn't come to me like that at all. You know, I, I didn't think of it like a business problem, you know, it's gotta be said that this started as a hobby.

It didn't start as a business. Didn't start with the intent of being a community. You know, we're even retrofitting that term onto something, which I kind of just did. You know? So when you were sort of saying, you know, you kind of just do stuff, you know, that's kind of what I did in this set of circumstances.

So I would actually say for folks listening to this, then if we're going to be cognizant of solving a problem, then it's far better to sort of start by just looking at problems that you've got in your own life. And just sort of saying, you know, what's going on. You know, and actually doing it, you know, having the conscious exercise of saying, you know, what's going on that I don't like, and I don't feel comfortable with.

I knew that I loved marketing because you know, for me, that's like meeting the needs of the customer. So it feels like it's improving someone else's life. So like, I knew that I loved that, but. And I knew that I wanted to learn more, but I knew that I was really, really uncomfortable walking into those rooms.

So like, I, it wasn't like a, I'm going to start an event or something like that. It was just like you know, I've got a problem. And actually, if you want the God honest truth, then I bought a subscription to meetup.com. And I wouldn't have any friends if it wasn't for playing football, like I literally wouldn't.

And so I started the Cambridge all abilities, welcome football meetup and, and sort of invited a bunch of folks down to there. But the subscription is like 50 quid or something like that for every three months or something like that. So I was like, I'm going to make the most of this. So I just started something else that I was interested in as well, which was the Cambridge marketing meetup, you know, and that's what it was called at the time.

So it was, it was very intuitive. We are now playing with the benefit of hindsight and sort of saying, you know, there was a problem that I was looking to solve. But I think intuitively I knew that I didn't feel comfortable in other environments. So I wanted to solve that problem. But it's only with the benefit of hindsight that I'm like, yeah, that was the problem that I was solving.

If that makes sense.

Louis: Yeah, absolutely. Which is why it's so important to speak with this caveat. It's so easy to interview people and you know, we tend to summarize and forget certain things and it's not as easy as it sounds when you have without the benefit of hindsight. So thanks for mentioning this.

So to unpack this a bit, it's very similar to my story where before starting the podcast I had, like, I did two small talks in the Dublin chamber of commerce interviewing founders of bootstrap companies. There was like 50 people or less in each. But yeah, the feedback that I got mostly was, yeah, they enjoyed the way I was interviewing people, but I, there wasn't a plan. And then I started to interview people online and then it turned into this. And so that's, I think that's the point, right? 

You just need to fucking get started and follow the, I know it sounds a bit spiritual, but follow this energy that you have, like to say that I really want to do this. And to unpack what you, what you did, it's it's very important here to say that what seems to be, yeah. What seems to be particularly important is to externalize those thoughts and those feelings, those emotions that you felt at the time, going through those events and not taking them for granted, you know, and I think that's a big mistake people do when they think of stuff, they don't want to challenge the status quo.

Well, every other event is the same shitty way. And so I must be feeling and thinking something, I must be wrong feeling this way. I must adapt to them. Yeah. Because everyone else is doing this way. And you said, no, like if you feel this way, then there's a reason for it. And don't take that for granted.

Don't try to fight it. You are the way you are. And I liked that part of your story for this. It's not about just accepting your fate and saying, Oh fuck. You know, I'm not, I'm not made for events. It's more, how can I, you know, fit the solution that would, that would fit my problem.

Joe: Sorry. But that's a great, great way of thinking about it.

You know, how, how can I find a solution to my problem? You know, now that of that, you know, if that's the first step, you know, I feel like that's probably it.

Louis: The people definitely take it for granted. I can tell you that. So just to speak to you directly, not you Joe, not you, the guest, but you listening. Don't take those thoughts for granted.

Don't take those emotions for granted. If you're feeling this way, like externalize them, write them down and you'll see that it starts to become something quite tangible and not everyone thinks the same way. You have a different context, different life experience that makes you unique in this, in this way.

So don't take it for granted. Okay. So. We have this kind of introspection side in the sense, like, you know, whatever happens like you feel, ah shit, I wish there was that. Or I wish I could wait if there was an event where I would feel comfortable as an introvert, that kind of stuff. Right. The other is the market orientation towards, actual other people.

So did you. Did you just take a bet and just say, yeah, let, let me, let me make the most out of those 50 quid and launch the Cambridge marketing meetup, or did you ask a few people around, like how did, what was the thought process there?

Joe: The thought process, the validation actually came from establishing the group on meetup.com and then seeing within, I don't know, three weeks that there was like a hundred members or something like that, you know, there was an interest there.

So the process, when you go about setting up a group on meet up and you know, this is far more tactical, but you know, you're, you're asked to provide the description, you know, like a group sort of name. So the description I wrote was something along the lines of the Cambridge marketing meetup is a friendly, informal place where people come and don't sell, or something like that. You know, it was an externalization of the things that I was feeling internally. You know, that, you know, you, you go to these places and not feel safe or you feel like you have to wear a suit or whatever it was. So it was In effect capturing those, those emotions and then writing that down.

So, so yeah, you know, those were the first steps and the validation actually came in the following three weeks. There was a hundred people in the group, so I was like, well, I better organize something then. So really that's how that started. Yeah.

Louis: Yeah, to go tactical a bit meetup.com as of the day we are recording this episode, they do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to all getting [inaudible] for free for you. Like as soon as you create a group, they want to make sure you get the members. So it's kind of a freeway to, to get the first few members, it reminds me of the guest I had Tommy Griffith, who's selling like SEO courses and stuff like that.

And same, he started with a meetup using meetup.com and and that kind of promoted the event for him. Okay. So you took a bet, like you, you just went for it. You had nothing to lose in a sense. You didn't listen to the voice in your heads that told you, yeah, you're an idiot doing this. Like, don't do this.

There's a reason. There is a reason why there's no marketing meetup coverage. Like, am I right to assume that there were some, some of that self doubt?

I don't know, actually, you know, in that moment I was probably too stupid to realize, so I just did it

Louis: Good, that's even better. So you just did it, you didn't universally overthink it.

And how did the first night go then? How did the first meetup go?

Joe: Well, that was, that was the moment of, of, you know, pure encouragement. So like 50 people came to the first event, which was like, it was bonkers, you know, I would say, you know, that with meetup.com, you know, it was right time right place. But I do think there's ways of means about going about this still, but like right time, right place 50 people came to their first event.

It was like, well, yeah. Okay. You know, we're onto something, but again, it wasn't. Because it wasn't run for profit, you know, it was just run as a solution to a problem. You know, it was, it was just a really nice night, you know, we had a couple of speakers and you learn stuff and people came along and that was just really, really nice.

I mean, one thing I did do there, was, you know, I spoke with a couple of, of local organizations who would have access to other marketers. So I got in touch with a recruitment company and in brand recruitment and then came to Martin College, who do like CIM stuff. And like I said to them, you know, would you mind covering the buffet?

So we put out like, you know a very, very average buffet in return for being treated as sponsors. I just got in touch with their MDs via LinkedIn, you know, and asked them whether they'd be interested. And I do remember in a meeting that I had with somebody right at the beginning. I think it was the first meeting I ever talked about the marketing meetup and, you know, as a 24 year old kid at this stage, you know, and I sort of went up to this, you know, the guy and sort of said, I've got this idea and this is what I'm going to be doing.

And the event's going to be run now. And he said "There's been a few people who tried this before, but, you know, whatever, we'll put 50 quid behind the buffet, you know, and we'll see where it goes", type of thing. And like, he was very dismissive in that, in that moment. You know, probably cause he had like 50 different things going on that day.

And he was actually a really, really good guy, you know, but I just thought that that was really funny as well. So on a very tactical level, I think there's something to be said for aligning yourself with folks who have access to a large amount of people that you would like to be reaching as well. So that was a very, very crucial part of finding that initial momentum.

Louis: Yeah, interesting. I wouldn't have thought of recruitment agencies and what's the other company you said?

Joe: So they do like CIM qualification for like...

Louis: So maybe I would have thought of that, but maybe not even, but the regular record man agency. I, yeah, I've never thought of it about it, but makes sense, especially if they specialize in like the brand marketing side.

Joe: absolutely.

Louis: Interesting. Yeah. So you borrowed other people's audiences and, and funnily enough, the, the other guests where we talked about community a bit, we rarely talk about that topic, but mentioned something similar, like borrowing other people's audiences that align with you and reaching out. So going back to the initial question to ask you, ask you about, like, how would you advise someone else?

You mentioned something briefly that don't want to come back to. You mentioned. Okay. You know, what is the thing that you're going to create that is different from, from the rest? Like you can't just be yet another events. There's plenty of that. So putting your kind of marketing consultants, hat on and that particular process, like how would you advise someone who's hell bent on creating a community, like in the real sense of the world, like to, to do this?

Joe: Yeah. I, I think you have to go down to what makes you. I don't, I always hesitate to use the word but unique, you know, and, and, you know, with the caveat that nobody's unique, unique, but you know, what makes you different? So in our example, it was the values you know, of the event, the, the reason why we set it up, but, but for you, it might be that you're the best.

People in the world for you know, making widgets and, you know, there's a prestige involved in being in part of that community or, you know, I think Microsoft do quite a good job of it with their MVP program as well. You know? And so they've. Their MVP program is like they reward and sort of encourage a sort of real community spirit around their various different programs.

So they've got like a directory on their website of people who you know, sort of like held up as examples of people that can help you out in various different cases. So like, you know, in, in all of this stuff, I think you've just got to go back to, to what makes you unique. And if you're doing this from a company perspective, then hopefully you've already done that exercise because you know, you're a marketer, so you should be leaning into those kinds of things anyway, but you know, if you're doing it in their personal capacity, then it's just about thinking about the things that you stand for as a human being.

You know, do you, you know, for you, it's fighting no bullshit. And I love that, you know, bullshit marketing, fuck that, you know, let's, let's do something different, you know, and, and for me, you know, for me, it's the type of thing, which turns some people off, you know. But I, I speak about kindness and love a lot, you know, because of a genuine belief that that's the way that we should be trying to live our lives.

You know, it's just looking after each other. So, you know, even though we are the marketing meetup, we are a group of people that come together to make each other better, and that was the set of values. So going back to the question in an advisory capacity, I would just be asking the question, what makes you unique?

You know, whether what makes your company unique or what makes you unique as a human being? And really that's the starting point for me.

Louis: And that's very tough to do. I know that people are very uncomfortable with that step because yeah, it's, it's a big struggle. They could, they would come up with the same, the same bullshit.

Joe: Yeah. I think with that, you know, there's also that doesn't need to be a limiting factor so you can do the thing, the first thing, and then figure it out. So, for example, we speak about three values, every event listen, say hello and be positively lovely. And those only came about as an organic process, about six months into the marketing mirror, running events every month, you know, so we operated without those values, without that uniqueness verbalized for quite a long time.

But had we not taken that first step of running the event, then we wouldn't have got to that place. So I think, you know, it's really, really important that when you're growing a community and you're making sure that you're doing it. That gets to a place which people genuinely care about. I think you do come to that place eventually, but if you don't start in that place on day one, it's also absolutely fine.

You don't need to be like kicking yourself and saying, you know, I'm on crap, you know, and stuff like that. It's a process and, and that's absolutely fine.

Louis: Yeah, I'm nodding like an idiot cause you're listening to the podcast, but that's the key right there. That's one of the major, major insights. You're never going to have something that is perfect with the radical differentiation, like strategy and everything is perfect.

Everythings unique until you fucking get started and do something and it's not going to be perfect. Never will be. The key is exactly, as you said, is going to come from the people that you attract and in marketing, that's what it is like. They going to recognize a few things that they like about what you do, that you have no clue about.

They gonna start saying the same words. They're going to start remembering certain things that you say, and it's going to crystallize your own thinking. And this is why it's so important to externalize your stuff. Like where there it's like, you know, writing on LinkedIn, writing a blog, doing podcasts, whatever the feedback loop that you get there is so valuable.

And just to talk briefly about like me, for example, it's a small thing that just cracked me up at the start. Whereas I don't know where, why I started to talk about to say bonjour, bonjour at the start of every fucking episode I just did. And I did it just, I don't know why he just did it. And then people started to remember it.

Just sending me emails with it. And then I was like, okay, I need to say that every time that's a small, tiny example. It doesn't have anything to do with the fucking, the podcasts or the values, but I think it's a good point. Going back to the three values you mentioned.

Joe: Yup, yup. Absolutely. Well, exactly the same happened to me, you know, exactly the same, you know?

So I think you're spot on you, you, you notice these things when people have these conversations with you and you just keep on saying them, you lean into them spot on.

Louis: Yeah. And that's what marketing is all about. So, so you can't just, you can't have the perfect line in your head. Like you absolutely must get the fuck out of the building literally or not, not so literally at the minute, but you have to fucking put something out there. See how people react, adjust it. When you have to let go of the perfectionism, the maximizer mindset that makes you think it needs to be perfect before I ship it. Never going to be perfect purely because you need this exposure to other people to make it better as you go.

Joe: Absolutely mate, absolutely spot on. Yeah, I'm learning as we go.

Louis: Right. So that's it then it's 30 minutes. We don't need to talk more. I think…

Joe: I think also something that you did incredibly well in, in your session with us was you also confessed that there are days where it's incredibly hard. You know, to actually leave the building, you know, and, and, you know, there are days where you don't feel confident or, or, you know, you, you feel anxious or whatever it may be.

And it's also, you know, really, really important to know that, you know, some days you're not going to have the strength to push yourself like that. And that's also okay. But when you can just do it. You know, because when you're in that head space, it's a magical thing. And like the, literally the only thing holding you back is yourself in those circumstances, you know, but if you don't start it, you really have no idea where it's going to end up.

Louis: Absolutely. That's the key. I mean, when you're the founder of something, when you're an entrepreneur or a CEO, like you are the DNA of the, of the company and you are kind of, you are, you are the person and you squeeze through and you're going to feel like shit sometimes. I mean, I think since I went on my own with Everyone Hates Marketers as a business, not just as a podcast, I would say I would, I would say around a third of my days were shitty days where I did almost all the work, but that's the beauty of it. Now I can do fuck all.

Joe: Yeah. You'll probably have like those other days, which are like, you know, I sort of agree with you and sort of share another experience. I think I only have two out of 10 days or 10 out of 10 days. I think I rarely, rarely have anything in between, you know, but almost 10 out of 10 days, you know, I'll probably get the work done of five people, but on those two out of 10 days, exactly like you say, you know, you wake up out of bed and you don't do anything.

Louis: Yeah. And you have to just have to recognize that and just be at peace with it. Don't try to force it. And it's fine. Just talk to someone else and fucking go watch Netflix and then go for a walk and come back.

So going back to these, to this advising on creating a community, so the first step, just fucking. Like, look at, look at, look in yourself and the type of things that you hate that you don't like, or that you love about specific stuff. Like the problem is you're suffering yourself, shift some things, see how it goes.

Right? So then what's next? What happens next? Once you have that done?

Joe: So we've kind of, we've kind of touched upon this, but I think it's, it's really important to, to re-emphasize it. And that is the sort of strategic aspect of things, which is, you know, what's the tone of voice going to be?

What's the target market. Can there be, you know I never actually personally put any goals around it, but if you're doing this in a corporate context, you may choose to do the goals and objectives as well. But I think so the thing that has always stood us in a much better stead within anything, you know, and that, that include COVID as part of this is that we had a really strong value set and we had very honest tone of voice.

So for us, you know, it was always about looking after people and there was no shame in saying we're figuring this out, figuring this out as we go along. So I think if we're going to translate this into a useful sort of piece of learning for other people, I think it's just really important to know the reason why you're doing things and how are you going to then communicate that to your community through your key messages?

So this isn't necessarily tactics at this stage, but this is like the consistent themes that you're going to be putting across over the course of time. You know, so for us, it was always, you know, the kindness angle was, was something that was really, really important, but the three things that we reiterated time and time again, were listen, say hello and be positively lovely.

And going back to your point about the things that people recall to you over the course of time, that be positively, be positively lovely. It wasn't a thing until people started saying it back to me and then it was like, okay, let's, let's keep that. You know? So I, I think from a strategic point of view I think it's just really, really important, you know, your target audience.

And I think this is something that we could make our entire careers, how of going into businesses and saying, what's your target market? And people sort of shrugging their shoulders and going well, everyone. And then you go, well, it quite clearly isn't everyone who are your ideal market and, and like who are the people that you can help the most?

And that's, that's the way that I love to think about things is it's not necessarily like, you know, who's your target market? Who do you need to nail to sort of like become your top 10 customers. 

It's like, literally who are the people that you can help the most, who are the people that you are equipped to, through your personality through your life view, through your offering, who are you equipped to help improve the lives of the most?

So target market, values and, and..

Louis: [crosstalk] I've forgiven myself a long time ago for doing this. The reason why I cut you right there, because that's a key it's, it's, it's a tiny little sentence, but to me, that's the way you actually quote unquote, pick a market.

So who can you help the most? It might sound extremely simplistic, but that's the fucking key. It's not about what is the demographic, you know, what is the industry that you feel have the highest profit margin and definitely you need to be in it like the SAS industry at the minute has a huge profit margin.

Every copywriters in the world want to work in SAS for SAS companies. It's about who can you help the most? Exactly who has the highest pain who suffers the most? Who can you help the most with the skills that you have as a founder in the company and it's the intersection of those things, right? So when you think about it, this way, marketing becomes very interesting because it starts from the very, very start of it.

Like the market, the problems it suffers from the pains they have, who suffer the most. And. Just going to give you a quick example to illustrate it to people and understand. I talked to Adele Revella a few years ago at this stage, who's the CEO of the Bayer Breslin Institute. Don't get me started on fake fucking Institute names.

But anyway, she's a smart lady. And anyway, she, she talked, she, she told her story about this accounting software company that they, that they helped a long time ago and they interview people and their client is to understand, okay, the segment and to understand who who would be the most important market segment.

And they realized that there was one particular segment that was particularly in pain, more than others, because they were afraid of going to jail if they weren't filing their taxes. While the others, bigger companies that had an accounting team didn't really give a shit. They knew that it would be done. So the thing wasn't as much, even though they needed the software, they didn't need it as much.

Then the companies didn't have accounting in house and we're really afraid that shit, if I don't do that properly, I'm going to end up in jail. And this right there to me is a huge, and like a big summary of, of this small sentence that you described that is to me incredibly important. If you understand that, then things get a bit easier.

Joe: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. No spot on. And you can lean into that. You know, that's a real tension point as well. Isn't it? You know, don't go to jail.

Louis: Yeah, you can play with it without being sleazy, but exactly. Once you understand your target market, that well. And you have like a coherent segment that you should ship.

Actually, they, they all seem to have this disappeared from the same pain point. They don't have the same industry or the same roles, but they all, you know, have the same pain point, then you can use that in your marketing message. And exactly, as you said, like, it's so easy to think of campaigns now you don't have to come up with a fucking message.

Joe: No, I mean, it's there, you know, and I guess, you know, so that, that kind of goes back down to our conversation about market orientation as well, because it depends. If you're starting from a place where you're solving your own problem in those instances, the messages become super easy because you, you kind of.

It's not a way of, like, I like to think about it too much because it feels quite selfish, but like, you know, you can almost write the message that you would like to see yourself, you know, because you know the problem better than anyone else. But in the context of working for a company or being, solving a problem for a market that isn't, you, that's a spot on way of doing it, you know?

And you only find that out through speaking with people. You know, and, and actually, you know, observing what they do, where they do it, how they do it. And using that language.

Louis: I actually struggle with that. Not the, not understanding others, but I actually struggle when I suffer from the problem myself. I sometimes struggle to externalize it to the point that other people understand it, or you always, I almost feel more comfortable. Yeah. I have a hint of a problem that I can see people suffering from including myself, but I find it much easier for me to lean on other people than what they say rather than my thoughts.

Joe: That's interesting,.why do you think that is?

Louis: Don't know, because I'm French. I can't speak English properly, maybe…

Joe: You know, but that, that's a really interesting sort of marketing problem in a sense really, isn't it, you know, that you, cause it, it probably isn't the identification of the problem that is, is the difficulty, is it, is that a language thing, which you should…

Louis: not if it's the language per se, but I, to me, I mean, I personally believe that the laziest way to actually do marketing is to, to lean on other people. I don't know. It's, I think it's easy to take a lot of things for granted, even though, you know, that consciously you shouldn't, then to externalize your thoughts and your fears and whatever, but I find it much easier when I have like a few more people that say the same things in different ways.

I can lean on that much easier than just my own thoughts. I mean, like the podcast started with just me, I didn't fucking ask anyone like, whether you felt most market marketing podcasts were bullshit or whatnot. So I, I suppose I did it this way. Yeah. Yeah. I wouldn't say it's difficult, but it's not as, I don't consider it as easy as just talking to three other people and they all said the same thing, and I just used their words.

Joe: We can use that as well though, can't you? Because you know, I, I love the thought that you can use, you know, LinkedIn or Twitter as a test bed for these messages as well, you know, and you put something out into the world and it's sort of quick easy, and if people don't resonate with it, they forget it within five minutes.

But if it gets a lot of engagement, you're like, yep, that's the message. It works. And we can carry on with that, you know? And, and if that is the problem, then you can sort of test it in that way. I guess

Louis: I'm going to give you an example of something that happened recently that you described. You mentioned these a few minutes ago, when, when I taught that the marketing meetup, like one of the webinars, right at the end, during the Q and A, I just. I think, I don't know you made me say it in a sense of, you asked the question cause you knew or whatever. And I just, I just, I just said, you know, yeah. I feel like shit very regularly as well. Like, you know, just like, let's be honest, obviously, you know, I took it for granted there. Fucking like people loved it to hear that.

So then I sent an email about it. I put a few LinkedIn messages, a few LinkedIn publication about it as a way to just to see what was going on. Yeah, I got a lot of people and a lot of people and, and, and this topic of mental health in security for marketers and the confidence aspect which is to me, linked to the ability to do good marketing.

Because if you don't feel confident, you shut yourself up. If you don't, do you copy what others are doing? Because you're afraid of doing your own thing and whatnot. That's a massive problem that I absolutely want to solve soon. And I don't know how exactly, but I know this is one, but that's a very, very, to me, very good example of what we're describing here.

You shift something like yesterday. I talked about how I do organize my week and no one gave a shit because, it was on Twitter and no one gave a shit. Could be wrong timing, whatever, but you can sense the response of the market by doing it quickly like that. Right?

Joe: 100% and you know, and, and it was, it was really quite amazing in that moment, actually, you know, in that particular session, you know, the, the comments lit up when you, when you sort of opened up like that, I think there is a lesson here as well, which is when we're building communities as well, it's about that. It's about the humanity aspect of it. You know, people engage with people, you know, there isn't actually a term that I hate more in marketing other than human to human marketing, because it's like, what else would you be doing? You know? But, but, the essence of it is true in a sense, you know, I mean, if people are forgetting that they're marketing to humans, then there's a really big problem there.

But you know, as human beings, we all share of anxieties and, and, and lacks confidence and stuff like that. So, I think what you did in that moment was that you were brave and you just spoke about it and, you know, you got the response that you did. So I think there's a couple of things that, you know, first of all, you know, there's the anxiety confidence thing.

None of us are superhuman. Secondly, there's the testing of the messages, which, you know, really, really worked. So, you know, I saw your LinkedIn for the next couple of weeks as well afterwards. And, you know, there was some really, really sort of well engaged posts on that topic, you know, I think that will become quite an important thing for you in the future, you know, and then in the context of building the community, 

I think there's an honesty, there's a transparency, I also hate this word, but authenticity. I mean, why wouldn't you be authentic, you know, but you know, just being, being, you know, valuing humanity amongst, above any other thing in this process is, is literally, well in my experience, at least is the most important thing.

Louis: There is a few, I had a few conversations recently with people who feel like if they don't use complex words, buzzwords, they, they feel, they feel like they sound stupid and people are not going to take them seriously. What'd you say to that?

Joe: I don't know whether I have like a, a particularly strong reaction. I mean, I think. I'm privileged. I think, I think I'm privileged to be in a position where I feel comfortable in that space personally, you know, but I think that's the process. Right. You know, and, and if you're on your journey of becoming comfortable with yourself and what you stand for and using buzz words is a way for you to get comfortable then, you know, albeit, you know, it's probably a good thing.

I think. We have to find the best solutions for ourselves at any one moment in time. That being said, it's not something that I choose to engage with because I don't feel like a need to use the word authentic to describe being myself necessarily because, you know, it it's just not required. You know, I don't need to describe myself as authentic I'm just a chap, you know, and stuff like that.

So it's a journey everyone's on their own journey and whatever stage you're in at the moment that's okay. And if you're at the buzzword stage, that's okay. But I would probably be looking to strive for a place where buzzwords is not something you have to hide behind as well.

I had Hiten Shah on the podcast recently, we're talking about value proposition and the how to, how to create a, how to write something that people understand and so that they buy from you at the end of the day. And you made a good point about buzzwords specifically when it comes to trends in general, like, you know, big data, not a few years ago. What is it he mentioned it. I forget. Anyway, does kind of industry trends that come and go, and he says, be very careful picking words like that when you describe what you do, because every two years we're gonna have to change it.

And you're going to sound like it's going to sound outdated too much faster. So you made a good point of when you use very simple words that can't get out of fashion because you're describing problems and describing very you know simple terms that means complex things in a sense you avoid that problem, I hadn't thought about that before.

Joe: No, I love that. I love that. And I actually think has a lot relevance for this conversation as well, because you know, if, if, if I think about the situation that when, when COVID hit, you know, we, we. Because we identified ourselves as a community first and not an events company, then it was actually relatively easy to make a switch over to, to the virtual landscape and stuff like that.

But had we identified ourselves as the events company, then it would have been very difficult. So the context of why that's relevant for this is that you kind of take things back to the first principles, you know, the most important core value of whatever anything is, you know, rarely that is a description of what your company does.

And rarely is it a buzzword, you know, it' s you know, those are descriptive terms for a core principle. So if you can lean on those core principles far more, I think you do allow yourself far more longevity, but also flexibility. And that, you know, but I wouldn't say you make yourself bulletproof, but you certainly make yourself a lot more resilient in a marketplace that does change.

Louis: Yeah. And it doesn't mean that you shouldn't describe what you do. Like if people put you in a category, let's say you sell email marketing software, I'm losing to remove that. But because people understand that as a category, but you can look at it from a historical standpoint and see, okay, email marketing is nowhere, it's not going anywhere. And so you can lean on that as almost foundation, but be very careful of those trends that come and go. That that could actually, that could bite you in the ass.

Joe: No, it's a really good point. I never really thought of that before, but I like that a lot.

Louis: Is there, is there anything I didn't ask you that you'd like to talk about when it comes to building a community with a big C?

Joe I think there's, there's just like a big thing about tactics as well. Which, you know, we've got a relatively short amount of time. So, you know, I won't labor the point, but you know, there's a few lessons which, you know, I moved through very, very quickly. So the first is that the point that our community sort of took off so to speak was when we started capturing data for ourselves.

So we started owning, you know, own the space rather than allowing it to be held in, in meetup.com. So, that was really, really important. So it's just something. If somebody was to use meetup to build a community from the start that's, that's a drawback to be aware of. So we now hold, like we've now got a newsletter, you know, which is really, really important to our business and allowed us to continue to operate.

Secondly, I think there's something really important about attribution. So when it comes to getting involved with sponsors or people paying or whatever, they've got to be aware that a community, a sponsorship relationship is going to be a long game. It's not going to be something that turns around and drives a hundred leads for you in a day.

For that reason, when we have all our sponsor relationships we always have like a minimum term involved. And we always sell that on the basis of look, it's going to be a top of funnel sort of activity. So I think that's, that's really, really important because these relationships with people who help, you know, quote unquote finance the community Is, you know, is really, really important so that their expectations, that it's a long-term thing.

If we switch that context to a commercial context, so you are working at, I don't know, a widget company, and they're saying, look, we'd like to start a community around our, our goods. Then I would suggest that you're probably looking to build a community around stuff that the awareness stage, or maybe like the retention or advocacy.

I think it's fairly rarely that you're going to be driving people that like consideration or purchase That doesn't mean to say that you can't do that. It's just important to note that that's going to be a long sales cycle as well. So you're actually much better at sort of targeting your activity on the day to day level and sort of helping people out and sort of getting them to tell their friends about it.

And with that in mind, word of mouth is going to be your best friend. So do whatever you can do to encourage word of mouth activity as well. One thing that we did at one of the first events was that we printed out a bunch of tiny little business cards. And it said, I think you will really, really, really, really, really, really like this and the idea.

And we gave three cards to every person who came along to the event. And then we just asked them to give a card. So each of these three people with our, with our website address on, you know, so people could come to the next event. I think there's points on the tactics about you get what you get out, what you put in.

You know, I truly believe that if you lift the values that your community has then, or that you would like to see, then you get it back as well. So I think there's something about humanity here. I think. It's really useful in a community context context to have a, a human point of contact. So you know, whether that's Louis or Joe or James or, whoever, you know, like, I think it's just really important that people can see that human behind the thing.

Because they're engaging in it on that basis. They're engaging as human beings first. So it's important that you come that way first. And then the final point is that if you are a commercial enterprise and you are looking to start a community thing, you don't necessarily need to call it your, the company name.

You don't need to call it the widget company community. You know,On the Tools is a great example of a community that is run by a commercial enterprise. They're run by someone called Electric House, the company. But On the Tools is like a builder community. And like they've got a huge following on Facebook and stuff like that.

And, and what they've done incredibly well is that, you know, they didn't call it the Electric House Builders Community. They called it On the Tools, which was something that would resonate with their community. So there's a point there that when you go about sort of like naming and stuff like that, don't feel like you need to to name it after your company, do it something which will resonate with the community.

And you can kind of like, if you have to get a commercial element out of things, then, then do it on sort of like as a secondary thing, rather than the primary. I think you're far more likely to see success in that way.

Louis: Yeah. Very, very, very good tip. Thanks for mentioning that. I'm glad I asked, ask you the question.

Last question for you. I know we are a bit over time. I just didn't see the time. So what are the top three resources you'd recommend people today?

Joe: So I've spoken at length about one today. So, you know, I hope people take the time to check that out, but then obviously this podcast, like they're listening right now, but like genuinely mate, you've done an unbelievable job.

Like I hope you give yourself the chance to pat yourself on the back every so often, because like you're not in the long, so maybe they've been like, it's been. An invaluable resource. And I'd say, this is one of the highest, like the highest quality places, which people can get marketing content anywhere.

So honestly, like it's top of my marketing podcasts for good reason. Other ones I am part of the Dave Gerhardt marketing group. You know, like, I, I like it, you know, it's, it's a, it's a good space. So I'd recommend people check it out. Some people will like it. Some people won't, but you know, for me, I do like it.

So it's a good space, particularly if you like copywriting, they really like copywriting in there. And then and then the final one is actually a far broader one, which is LinkedIn. So I spent far too much time on LinkedIn. But that being said, I think there's. There's just the groundswell of people who aren't like massive names, but.

Providing really, really good content. So there's people like a guy called John Espirian who does great stuff on how to be really good on LinkedIn. We've got Mary Erusu who does SEO You've got the obvious ones, like, you know, Mark Ritson and Maury Sutherland. But then Mark Williams Cook is a guy that does SEO stuff.

Ash Jones is guy that does stuff about personal branding. You know, there's, there's like a real sort of like incredible bunch of folks out there. Who aren't like the hugest names, they haven't written the book. They haven't got, you know, massive publications, but they're putting out really, really good stuff.

So I'd recommend checking out all those as well. Yeah. Thanks.

Louis: Very good resources and thanks again man. So yeah, you didn't even want to mention the name, the marketing meetup.com, but please if you're listening to this still check Joe out, check what he's doing. Cause it's, it's nothing short of amazing and a very, very good guest for you if you want to do something similar Joe. Once again, thanks so much for your time.

We learned a lot from you. I know people will as well. Thanks for your generosity. Or even the authenticity, should I say? Yeah, you're a very nice guy and just very easy to get along. And which is where we are like an hour interviewing. Well, we should have stopped 10 minutes ago.

Joe: Thank you, mate. Thank you for having me and thank you for listening everyone.