Adrian Speyer

Community-led Marketing Leader

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My Story

Adrian Speyer

Community-led Marketing Leader

Experience: 10+ years

Colour: Blue

Book: In Search of Friends by George B. Sigurdson. It’s a book that changed my life in how I viewed the world. I had to read it for a job when I was 20.

Pets: Yes. I have a Cat and Dog. People who have pets get it – they are family.

Inbound Marketing, created by Hubspot, is a people-first, value-driven methodology that aligns with my view of community.

How did you start into community management? What was your career path across the years?

As I share in my book, ‘The Accidental Community Manager,’ I started in the community space at a very early age, running hobby communities. My professional career was that of a digital marketer until my hobby became my profession, and then I fell in love with it. In 2013, I was the first marketing hire for Vanilla Forums and established the foundation of their marketing programs. Eventually, I became the Head of Community, focusing on advocacy, thought leadership, and evangelism for the industry.

What have been the main challenges of your career?

I think the main challenge is caring too much. It’s something that requires vigilance to ensure I protect my mental health and well-being. It’s very easy for me to get too passionate on the projects I am involved in. Thankfully with maturity, I have gotten better at knowing when to step back.

What has helped you develop yourself as a community professional?

It’s my love over the intersection of community and marketing, specifically Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing, created by Hubspot, is a people-first, value-driven methodology that aligns with my view of community. As my career as a marketer transitioned into a full-time community professional, it seamlessly merged into my approach to building community. I always believe that by building for people and value first, you start with a solid foundation for success.

What's your favourite community platform?

I decline to state a preference at this time – but I reserve the right to amend my answer 🤣

What is “community” for you?

I have written a lot about this, but this is my fave piece:
There are essentially 4 elements:
* A shared space for people to gather and connect
* The people share a common language (jargon), customs, interests, or passions
* The people share voluntarily and among themselves in this space.
* They feel a sense of belonging in this group and are genuinely interested in each other.

It comes in many shapes and sizes, but you know it when you see it.

What's one single strategy that you may suggest to increase value for the people in your community?

I’ve always disliked the word ‘engagement’. So, instead, I’d like to answer ‘how do you increase value for the people in your community?’ Focus on the needs of your community by listening to them. Deliver on and exceed these needs and wants. The community will repay you by sharing, being involved, and uplifting each other.

What would you recommend to those just starting into community management?

Be kind to yourself and understand that failure is part of the process. Be bold and try new things. Most importantly, do not be afraid to share your successes and the impact your work is having with stakeholders. If you can tie it to financial outcomes, even better.

Building community should never be solely for the purpose of generating leads or revenue, but it is undoubtedly important to your bosses and those above them. They will ask at some point about this, so it’s better you control that conversation before it happens.