The Essential Business of Customer Community
As I write this blog post, I reflect on the last thirteen years I’ve spent working with media and technology companies around the world that were served through Createasphere’s many events and communities, both in person and online.
The one thing that stands out time and time again, which has been the focus of Createasphere’s efforts, is the importance of COMMUNITY (customers, future customers, and fans).
Why Community? It is the life blood of any business, yet ever too often the most neglected area of a business. Throughout the last thirteen years, I saw examples of this neglect, over and over again, while working alongside all sizes (and shapes) of organizations.
The two largest community “breakdowns” I observed were; 1) an organization not having a direct link to the customers/end users, and 2) simple neglect.
So many organizations allow their dealers/distributors to grow and keep the direct relationship with the end users. This blocking of customer relationship will only lead to misunderstanding your customer community and, more importantly, not allow building future opportunities with your customer community. As the organization, it’s important for you to know, and have an active relationship with you community. If that relationship is shared with your dealer/distributor, then be sure to work shoulder to shoulder with them in building and developing this relationship. Share the relationship.
Neglect shows up in many forms; not keeping in direct contact with your community or not creating outlets for communication and can lead to a lack of both respect and generosity. This can easily be remedied by building a community and fan strategy, implementing it with the right team (one that cares), and building in benefits and ways for your community to engage as your potential future customers.
This can be accomplished through a step by step strategy that, over time, can properly grow your community, but it must take priority in your organization’s strategic direction and company culture. If not, then it will be pushed to the sidelines when more pressing issues arise. What can be more pressing than your community..?
Community can essentially future proof your business, become your partner, guide your product development, and become a strong marketing avenue. With a big if. If you know who they are, if you know “what keeps them up at night,” and – if you treat them with respect and generosity.
If one of these community pillars is missing you have a weak foundation for your community, and in turn, your organization.
Reflect on these questions to see where you truly stand in relationship to your community:
- Who is our customer?
- Who is our community and how would I describe them in two sentences?
- In expanding our community, who could our future customer be?
- What have we done lately as an organization to treat our community with respect and generosity?
Createasphere is now positioning its efforts to further community building through offering customized event and consulting services. Createasphere builds professional communities. We will be publishing white papers, info graphics, and hosting webinars to provide you with the tools and information needed to build your community.
To arrange a discussion regarding your organization’s customer community building needs, please email or call me at Kristin@createaspehre.com or (818) 471-4975.