How SMB Customers Win With Braze Bonfire

By Maddie Bertschmann and Maggie Brennan Oct 18, 2021

When you work in customer engagement, it can feel like you're constantly encountering new opportunities to improve experiences for your customers and maximize outcomes for your brand. Changes and challenges are the norm, and it may seem as if it's up to you alone to keep up and uncover new workable solutions.

This call to action—to understand customer behavior, interests, wants, and needs—is certainly a powerful one, but it doesn't have to be a solo mission. Even if you find yourself working as a team of one or as part of a small handful of individuals focused on customer engagement at a smaller or growing organization, you’re not alone.

That's because there are countless individuals like you, charting the way forward for customer engagement at small businesses, mid-size brands, and startups alike. And many of them have found a place to connect with like-minded individuals, share best practices, and gain insights from other organizations' learning curves and triumphs by taking advantage of Braze Bonfire, a global community of 4,000+ members and users of the Braze platform.

What Is Bonfire?

In short, Braze Bonfire is our online customer community. Hosted on Slack, our community is home to marketing and technology professionals at every stage of their careers, representing a range of different industries. With 4,000+ members, Bonfire provides a space where members can learn and share best practices in customer engagement and lifecycle marketing, network with industry professionals from innovative brands, and uplevel how they’re making use of the Braze platform.

In addition, we regularly run community events such as Ask Me Anything (AMA) and Masterclass sessions. These events are hosted by experts and explore essential insights and best practices in connection with trending topics like privacy, anonymous users, and holiday marketing.

How Bonfire Helps Startups and SMBs Excel at Customer Engagement

What’s it like to actually take part in Braze Bonfire? We spoke with three members of Bonfire who work for startups and small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to learn more about their experiences as part of the community and what they’ve found most valuable about Bonfire:

  • Griffin Bohm, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Pinger

  • Kevin Fons, Senior CRM Manager at IDAGIO

  • Barry James, Marketing Automation Specialist at You Need A Budget

#1: Gain insights from other brands' use cases and experiences

Whether you’re looking for something specific or aren’t quite sure what you need yet, there’s tons of real-life examples in Bonfire you can learn from.

"Lots of times, Bonfire users will ask questions that I’m also curious about, so I find myself following threads for new replies so that I can learn,” says James, whose company, You Need a Budget, has about 160 employees. “There’s a lot of value in just the knowledge shared across Bonfire about different ways and tactics to use Braze.”

Even if you're not facing a problem yet, "you can go in and see what people are working on and what’s can be a source of inspiration. It can be great for problem solving," adds Bohm, whose company, Pinger, has about 100 employees.

Fons, whose company, IDAGIO, has about 30 employees, considers Bonfire the place to go when considering how to implement new features. One example? “I see a lot of discussion in Bonfire about Connected Content, which I don’t currently use. But I know if I ever do, I would turn to Bonfire to work on that.”

#2: Discover years’ worth of discussion

Bonfire has been live for just about two years, so when you have a question, you may be able to find an answer just by searching through the countless conversations, ideas, and inspiration that have already been shared over the lifetime of the community. "One of the benefits of a Slack channel is you have historical documentation," says James. "Read up. I use the search feature all the time. That would be my biggest thing. Do your homework. The same way that you use LAB and read the documentation, I would use the Slack channel in the same way."

#3: Get solutions from power users

Whether it's looking for new ways to use Liquid or how to build a custom attribute with a webhook, Fons says his main use case for being active in Bonfire is finding the specific answers for how to do something or how to solve a specific problem. “For me, it’s super exciting and a huge help.”

To learn how to get even more value out of Braze, he spends the most time in the #campaigns-and-use-cases and #braze-product-hub channels. “People are solving real problems in these channels—some I can relate to and learn from, and some I can answer.”

For a startup, time is precious. Rather than wracking your brain to figure out how to solve a complex use case, customers can lean on the community to crowdsource a solution from others who have been there and done that. Using Bonfire has helped James save at least two hours solving one problem alone, he says.

#4: Learn how to build a modern tech stack

Braze is all the more powerful as a customer engagement tool when it’s connected with other platforms, such as a customer data platform (CDP) or business intelligence (BI) tool. The dedicated #tech-stacks channel has helped Bohm learn about the technology solutions other brands have assembled, giving him ideas on how he could make changes to Pinger’s stack. “We have a dated tech stack. It’s cool to see how things would be easier," he explains.

#5: Uplevel technical skills

By absorbing discussions and exchanging “hacks” with other customers throughout the community, Bonfire can help uplevel your product expertise. “The thing that has been most beneficial to me personally, and to our team, is that it’s been a good place to level up the technical skills,” says Bohm, adding that becoming more knowledgeable about Liquid, application programming interfaces (APIs), and webhooks has helped his team upgrade their campaigns.

#6: Gain access to Braze experts

Community initiatives and events like AMAs or Bonfire Masterclass sessions give members of Bonfire an opportunity to learn from subject matter experts and get answers to burning customer engagement and lifecycle marketing questions. Many members of the Braze Product and Customer Success teams also frequent the community to offer advice or even feedback opportunities. “I love the AMAs. No other Slack channel has AMAs or has the product managers in there,” says Bohm, adding that a big benefit is getting exposure to other everyday Braze users. By joining a community with Braze team members as well as other frequent Braze users, our community members unlock another avenue for sharing strategy and getting inspiration.

#7: Build your personal brand and network

Bonfire is also a space for members to build their own brand and network with other professionals both in their industry and in other industries. “You guys just give me a ton of exposure,” says Bohm, who has been a part of several Bonfire community activities and webinars. Through getting involved in Bonfire, Bohm has been able to share more about what he’s worked on at Pinger and help others as well as show his expertise and build his own professional network.

Find Your Customer Engagement People: Become a Bonfire Member

Looking to uplevel your customer engagement efforts? Join Bonfire to connect and learn from thousands of customer engagement professionals from all over the world.

Already a member? Help spread the word and encourage your colleagues or other Braze users to register today.

Maddie Bertschmann and Maggie Brennan

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