The most common question I get when I share the 'inbound networking vision' with people is, "Who will be the members of groups?"
Inbound Marketing group leaders are pulling together two different types of groups.
Type 1: Complimentary Businesses who Target the Same Persona.
For example, a group who targets HR professionals as clients could include an HR consultant, payroll company, health benefits provider, business insurance and an executive business coach. A company who targets home owners could include a general contractor, plumber, roofer, mortgage broker, home appraiser, home inspector, landscaper, heating oil delivery company and appliance retail store.
Type 2: Businesses Who Sell the Same Thing, But Don't Really Compete.
These are business who might often be competitive if they were in the same town. For example, a group of general contractors who are based in different towns, might decide to create a group website with a group blog. Instead of buying leads from ServiceMagic that are also sold to 4 competitive firms, they could build marketing assets together that help them reach a national footprint and attract high quality leads. Since they don't compete for business in each other's backyard, they would benefit from each other's effort.
Marketing agencies would be another example. While many agencies have clients beyond their geographic area, most agencies can only grow as fast as cash flow allows them and as fast as they can hire talent. So, usually the pie is bigger than any one agency can devour. Usually, it makes sense for them to collaborate on the marketing, sales and services delivery side. Other high touch services businesses often fall into this situation.