Tips for effective platform marketing

Leveraging the network effect with platform marketing and using media correctly

If you want reach, you need good content. Platform marketing helps companies build trust in brands and gain a better understanding of the market through customer interaction and data analysis. Companies can learn to respond quickly to changes in their market and seize new opportunities.

Content First in the Platform Economy

Whether launching their own online platform or establishing a presence on a third-party platform, participation in the digital platform ecosystem has long been essential for companies as a sales channel. Platforms control customer access and user behavior in large areas of the market. What makes platform marketing so attractive? Platforms are an ideal environment for bringing together manufacturers and suppliers of products, resources and services on the one hand and the community of potentially interested parties and consumers on the other in a virtual marketplace.

The added value arises, among other things, from the high scalability of the platform model, the direct customer approach and the innovative potential that can arise through the community. Platforms offer a digital environment in which companies can interact directly with their target groups and achieve the greatest possible reach. In doing so, they reach customers along the entire marketing funnel.

If you want reach, you need good content. Content first means that companies must focus on creating high-quality content – information and context drive the design for formats such as text, image, video, or audio content. High-quality content is informative, entertaining, and relevant to platform users. It serves the basic needs of the platform customer: finding what they are looking for quickly, discovering discounts and recommendations, and checking user reviews. Good content also appeals aesthetically, inspires with unusual perspectives, and ideally triggers positive emotions.

Creating high-quality content offers companies a way to build a strong relationship with their target audience, generating more traffic to platforms and increasing conversions. High-quality media also serves to strengthen the brand, manage the customer journey, and better understand the market through constant customer interaction. Companies can thus learn to react quickly to changes in their market and take advantage of new opportunities.

Platform marketing is personalized and data-driven

In a highly individualized world, customers have different needs: Lifestyles differ according to values, preferences, use of digital devices, and social environment. Simple, simplistic subdivisions into segments such as gender or age provide rough clues, but are no longer sufficient to determine customer types. Customers must be continuously analyzed for motivational structures in order to achieve an optimal approach.

Platform marketing combines data analytics with interaction techniques in a smart way to continuously monitor and measure consumer behavior and take predictive action. This enables companies to learn more about their target audiences and develop tailored campaigns that can be monitored for success and adjusted in real time.

Collecting and analyzing data is an essential part of platform marketing. This includes information such as demographic and psychographic characteristics of the target audience, as well as their behavior on social media and other digital channels. By analyzing customer interactions with the platform, data can be collected on frequent purchases, conversions, clicks, or tool abandonments, thus identifying pain points and innovation potential for software development. Regular monitoring of feedback and customer satisfaction surveys across all touch points supplement the quantitative analysis with qualitative results. This enables companies to make better decisions and develop strategies for optimizing their user journey.

Marketing in the digital world is not limited to digital advertisements. Push notifications and direct messages directly to the smartphone can reach customers much more personally than mass campaigns. Platform marketing enables companies to build more sustainable relationships with their customers by sending the right messages to the right audiences through the right channels. By linking to social media platforms, companies can obtain valuable data about their target audience, allowing them to create and distribute personalized content. Personalized content drives better engagement because it is based on users’ individual interests and needs.

Crucial to a holistic view and analysis of the platform ecosystem are end-to-end scenarios that look at both the customer along the entire customer lifetime and the sellers, which can unlock a detailed understanding of actions and motivations of all platform participants. On this basis, enhanced services can be offered that are tailored to the individual needs of marketplace users. This creates potential for new sales, reduces marketing costs and generates customer loyalty.

Community: The experience counts, not the product

Today, advertising no longer takes place via largely anonymous brand messages, but via highly individualized authentic target group addresses in social media. Gen Z buys products from companies and influencers they follow on Instagram or TikTok. They expect regular engagement. The content creators of the Creator Economy produce their own content such as videos, texts, images, podcasts thanks to inexpensive digital production and distribution options, in which they write personal testimonials that are more credible and relevant for customers than perfectly staged agency campaigns. At the same time, they are much more critical of product or services and articulate their own demands and suggestions for improvement in an emancipatory way. These can be of great benefit to the company in the further development of products or services. Marketing and CRM departments of companies must adapt to this type of media change if they want to remain successful in the market.

Customer satisfaction no longer just means satisfaction with the product or service itself – customers buy a complete package consisting of a holistic experience that starts with the digital buying experience, includes support for the entire delivery and service process, and ends with the writing of a potential review. Good platform marketing should therefore be based on a vibrant and dynamic community that forms around a product or brand. The people who participate in this community are important components of any brand and are a key determinant of success or failure. The goal of platform marketing is to promote and strengthen the interactions between the members of the community, thus promoting the network effect.

A network effect occurs when a critical mass can be gained by removing barriers to entry and retaining users with added value for the platform: More and more customers join the community – either organically, through referrals, or through recruitment strategies – and interact. They share their opinions and ideas with other members, helping to build the brand. This growth generates new ideas and is a win-win situation for everyone involved: Customer, company as well as members of the community benefit equally from the network effect.

So the change in marketing can be promoted mainly by encouraging people to get in touch with each other instead of just providing information about the product itself. Community building is crucial for any company that wants to market its brand effectively on online platforms – it’s not just about selling products or services, but above all about creating an emotional connection and offering consumers an authentic experience with a company or brand.

Platforms should, above all, open up opportunity spaces so that partners can bring their services into the ecosystem. This includes providing the right tools to increase overall performance, content quality and user engagement.

Create customer loyalty through authentic media formats

High content quality and optimally aligned media formats are a great way to engage and retain customers for the long term. First, companies need to consider which media best suit them. Which media are frequently consumed by the target group? Which channels are most efficient? The closer the content is placed to the product, the more consistent messages must be. Repeated messages create recognition and trust in the brand.

Playing out ads is only one component of platform marketing. Companies must focus just as much on authentic media formats, dialog and interaction. The most important thing here is a balanced mix of editorial content and marketing content to give customers the best possible support without them feeling manipulated. Brand fans can be encouraged to be an active part of the community or to suggest new ideas. Targeted messaging or live chat sessions can strengthen connections with potentially interested audiences. In the sales environment, integrated media content such as live shopping, which promotes the seamless marriage of infotainment and the buying experience, is an innovative way to generate customer loyalty while driving sales.

By leveraging video, audio and text formats, companies can provide more insight into their products and services. Video formats are particularly effective on social networks. They help tell stories and add an emotional charge to the brand. They also allow companies to showcase their customer service or product, giving viewers a deeper understanding. Through interactive webinars, companies can impart knowledge, strengthen their brand, and gather valuable feedback directly from customers.

Audio formats have similar benefits to video, but with lower production costs. Podcasts offer companies the opportunity to present themselves as experts in certain areas or to introduce new ideas. Regular blogs or articles are a good and easy-to-implement basic medium for passing on relevant information to potential customers and positioning one’s own company as an industry expert. Platforms can help in this regard for smaller companies as a reach amplifier to reach a wide audience and draw attention to the content on their own website.

Leverage customer relationships to build market expertise

Customer relationships are an essential part of any successful platform marketing strategy. With the right tools and swarm intelligence, one can leverage existing customer relationships to build market expertise. Such expertise ensures that one can identify market trends and changes in customer behavior early on and align one’s business model accordingly. For example, campaigns can be developed that are specifically tailored to certain groups, addressing new customer segments or further strengthening existing segments.

The requirements of customers in the digital platform economy are diverse. Aspects of customer satisfaction include how inquiries and complaints are handled; response time; quality of the product or service; pricing; availability of information; and the overall user experience of the digital platform. If this data is continuously tracked, it is possible to significantly improve customer satisfaction, eliminate unsuccessful services, and explore new opportunities. There are many ways to create direct customer contact. Companies can offer a combination of online and offline promotions to engage with consumers. Examples include social media campaigns, surveys or events, and face-to-face customer meetings or phone calls.

Access to a large community facilitates game-changing collaborations for companies. By sharing information and resources, they can open up new markets in which to offer their products and services. The collective intelligence of the platform community pragmatically helps companies build market expertise by learning from testimonials, developing new ideas, or finding new strategies that can be critical to market success. Platforms contribute to this because their dynamic structure and fostering of alliances enable them to “model new markets and change existing mechanisms.” They bind innovative potential of the community and open up new interaction possibilities. This can lead to models such as self-directed DAOs or smart contacts to their own token economies, which arise from the needs of platform participants and increase exchange and efficiency.

However, platform dependency can be challenging for smaller businesses and self-employed individuals in terms of their own customer communications. If platform rules are adapted, they are forced to implement them and, if necessary, adapt their own services, conditions or prices. Companies should therefore try to establish a direct customer relationship in the long term that functions independently of intermediaries such as platforms.

Note: Use platforms to attract attention and generate new customers, but retain existing customers on your own website as early as possible.


Platform marketing is a powerful tool for leveraging the network effect and shaping the media of the digital age for your own business success. It enables companies to establish direct interaction with their target groups and offer relevant content. Through the right mix of advertising, personalized content marketing and authentic media formats, companies can strengthen trust and customer loyalty. Through continuous data collection, they learn to understand their customers better, can identify new trends early on, and adapt their products and services accordingly. The exponential growth of platforms and the collective intelligence of the community quickly generates new ideas and represents a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Simone Belko is a linguist and European studies scholar with a strong focus on digital literacy. With experience in journalism, PR management, marketing and training she has excelled in Germany and abroad. As a manager for digital products in the online games and FinTech industry she gained deep insights into how online platforms and communities work. Simone is the author of "Digital Consciousness" ("Das digitale Bewusstsein") and currently works at Otto GmbH, leveraging her expertise in business transformation.

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