Joe Glover, Founder of The Marketing Meetup, here 🙂
Since day one, The Marketing Meetup has been based exclusively on Meetup.com (Meetup). Meetup is an incredible due to its key strength: discoverability – there are a whole load of people on Meetup just waiting for great events in their local area to spring up to attend making it an ideal place to grow a community from scratch.
And while Meetup has been a great home for The Marketing Meetup for the past three years, lately it feels like by basing the community on the platform, we’re missing a trick or two to make this the best community possible. So, I’m doing something I’ve spoken and thought about a lot, and trialling some new ways to get you signed up for events – first through Eventbrite, with the overall ambition being to make this a better experience for you and the community as a whole.
This is something I’m doing with both a sense of fear as it’s a new thing, but also excitement at the thought of being able to help people better. There are two main reasons for the shift today:
1. Getting to know you better
We’re all marketers here, so we know marketing can be loosely defined as ‘meeting the needs of the customer’.
One of the biggest problems with Meetup.com is often I only get the first name of who you are.
While I’m not in the business of capturing data for the sake of it, a complete lack of data means all decisions come down to gut feel. By asking a few more questions about you at the signup stage, the organisers and I can make more relevant decisions on how to help you because we can understand the challenges you will face.
This’ll impact everything from speaker curation, to which workshops we put on next and the topics of the wednesday @ two club. It can’t be said enough how much this community solely exists for your benefit so to know a little more about you will be invaluable in making sure we’re doing the best we can for you.
For what it’s worth, I did consider whether something like a survey would also do the job just as well, but often surveys are filled out by too small of a sample, or people with a certain kind of disposition. Capturing more details at the point of sign up makes sense, and will ultimately lead to better events and content from us for you!
2. Never Build On Rented Ground
Remember when Facebook used to be the most impressive thing in the world? When everyone loved it and spent all their spare time on it? Remember when businesses could fully be built upon having a really impressive Facebook page?
Well, that was only 4 years ago.
Today, there is no way in hell you’d consider having a business purely run off Facebook, and the reason? They’ve moved the goalposts so much that it’s almost impossible to do anything of significance without paying for it.
While I’m not saying Meetup.com is the same as Facebook, I do think it’s foolish to put all the Marketing Meetup eggs in a basket we don’t own.
The truth behind The Marketing Meetup is that in our hearts we’re just trying to create something that will be as valuable in 50 years as it is today. To be able to do that, we need to be able to stand on our own two feet and not rely on a third-party platform to manage our community from.
As I say, I’m approaching this change with fear. Fear that everyone will stop coming to events. Fear that people will think all I want is their data. More than that, fear that people will think I want their data because I want to sell it.
The second and third reasons here couldn’t be further from the truth.
That’s because, as mentioned, I’m also approaching this change with excitement. The excitement of being able to create events that are more targeted. Excitement on getting to know the community better. The excitement of not being beholden to someone elses platforms and the limitations that come with it, but most of all… Excited by the thought of helping you become a better marketer, better than we’ve ever done before.
On a practical level, I’m going to be trial getting event attendees signed up through Eventbrite in the more established communities. First Cambridge, and then if it doesn’t bomb completely – Norwich and London. The important thing here is to note all this is just a test: it’s important I look to innovate otherwise The Meetup will definitely lose, but the team may decide that the experiment is a failure and just continue to use Meetup.
We’ll also continue advertising and posting the events on Meetup with a link to the Eventbrite page, as well as emailing through there. It’s a little extra work at the moment but we don’t want to lose people who would have come otherwise. Eventually, we’ll commit to using one or the other full time.
So… that’s the change we’re going to try. It might work, it might not, but it definitely wouldn’t if we didn’t give it a go. Hopefully, you understand the reasons, but if you have any concerns or just an opinion, let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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