Mark Kilens 56 min

Community Strategy Foundations: Transform Your Business


Unlock the power of community strategy foundations to transform your business. Learn the essentials to build a thriving, engaged community.



0:00

What's up everyone?

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Sorry about some technical difficulties there.

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We've been trying to get things moving, but we finally have it.

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We have Brian here.

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Brian, thank you so much for joining.

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For those that have joined, just some quick housekeeping, on the right hand

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side, you

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have an engage button.

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If you engage, it will bring you to the chat.

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On the chat, ask your questions.

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Whatever you want to do, if there's Q&A, there's a Q&A section, so feel free to

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drop

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everything there.

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We're going to make this hopefully as interactive as possible.

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If you do have those questions, make sure to ask them.

0:49

What's up, Kyle?

0:50

Good to see you.

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We'll just kind of, Brian, I'll let you introduce yourself, I'll let you pull

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up your slides

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and everything and get things going.

1:02

Yeah, sounds good.

1:05

Thanks for having me.

1:06

Really appreciate it.

1:07

Glad to be here.

1:08

Hopefully we're going to give some good learning and some good stuff today.

1:11

The basic gist on me is I've been helping companies build communities for like

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20 some-odd years,

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like back to the 90s.

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I've worked at community platform vendors.

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I have worked at companies building communities and these days I'm on the

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consulting side,

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sort of helping people, which is pretty topical actually for today's

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conversation because I'm

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going to talk a little bit about how I think about structuring strategy and

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like kind of

1:40

a foundational, what are the elements of success of any given community

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strategy and that sort

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of thing.

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I'm going to walk you through a bunch of different things here.

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Let me go ahead and share my screen.

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We'll get that coming through and we'll do this.

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Just make sure I get the right one here.

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As always.

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All right, so it's not going to let me.

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It's not going to let me.

2:09

All right, let's do this.

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We'll do Chrome tab.

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There we go.

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So that should be coming through.

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You've seen my slides, Nick?

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Perfect.

2:20

Very cool.

2:21

So we're going to talk about foundations.

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We already talked about me, so I'll skip all about Brian's stuff.

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Let's get right to the stuff here.

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Let's talk about objectives of the session today.

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First and foremost, I'm going to define community just because we hear this

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word a lot.

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It's kind of thrown around a lot.

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It's applied to a lot of different things.

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I'm not going to argue every single bit of that, but I'm going to give you what

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I think

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the definition is just so we can level set before we go to strategy because I

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think your

2:54

strategy could be very different, depending on how you sort of define this

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thing.

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We're going to talk about why communities important?

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Why should I even care?

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Why are we here?

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Why are we talking about this?

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Why should I think about it in my business?

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I'll drive that home with a couple of examples.

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We're going to explore the common components of strategy, at least as I see

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them and how

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I build community strategies.

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Again, this is sort of a -- we have an hour and it's foundational, right?

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So I'm going to try to give you as much as I can, but it's certainly not as if

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we're

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going to build one today.

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It's more about just sort of helping you understand how to structure it, how to

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think about it.

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When a lot of people talk about strategy, what they really mean is like pretty

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slides.

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I'll teach you how to make some pretty slides, but I also -- when I think about

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strategy,

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I think of both pretty slides.

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And how do we actually operationalize this?

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How do we take it from big ideas on the screen to, okay, here's the -- here's

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what we got

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to do today, here's what we got to do tomorrow, here's what we're doing seven

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months from

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now.

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So we'll talk a little bit about that at a high level.

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And then last but not least, I would be remiss if I came to talk about strategy

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and didn't

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talk about how you're going to actually know if it's working or, you know, what

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to measure

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or how to measure it, how to think about it.

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So, you know, we're going to talk a little bit about those things.

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Again, I can't dive super deep in all of them.

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But I think by the time we get done here today, you'll have a pretty good sense

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of, you know,

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all of these things as a starting point.

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So that's our objectives.

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Let's go ahead and dive in.

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And I can't see the chat here.

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So, Nick, if you have good questions that are coming in along the way, like,

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you know,

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feel free to let me know.

4:30

>> Absolutely.

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>> So defining community, look, I made a post about this the other day.

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What I'll say about it is I think we've kind of overbaked this whole thing a

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lot over

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the years.

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I think we've made up a bunch of really complicated, really, like, semantic,

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you know, arguments

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about community.

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And I kind of want to bring us back to the beginning here and just make it

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something

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elemental.

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Let's forget about technology.

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Let's forget about volume.

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Let's forget about, you know, some of the squabbles of the past of community

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and sort

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of just break it down in a really elemental way, right?

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So, there's sort of three key things here.

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Number one, what is a community?

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It's a group of people, right?

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They're all trying to, they have similar interests.

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They're trying to solve problems.

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They, you know, trying to use a piece of software.

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They're using a product.

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Like, they have interests in a, you know, certain type of car, like, or what,

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like,

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it doesn't matter.

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Whatever it is, it's a group of people that have some common, like, reason to

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come together,

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right?

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The second piece here is they're coming together in what I call a shared

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experience.

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And when I say shared experience, I just simply mean that they're there

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together and

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they're helping each other and they're experiencing this in ways that they

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otherwise would not

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if they weren't together, right?

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So kind of the basic definition there.

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It's the opposite of an individual experience, right?

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And last but not least, they're trying to better themselves or they're trying

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to better

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each other or help each other.

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This is important because you'll often see communities that are really what I

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call a

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room full of mercenaries, which is basically just to say, you see these

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communities pop

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up, like on Facebook and stuff, right?

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It's like, join our community of 100,000 entrepreneurs and get in here.

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And then like you go in there and all it is is people just like hawking their

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own stuff,

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right?

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And no one's really interested in helping each other or having an experience or

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like building trust or relationships or connections or any of these things that we

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talk about

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around community.

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And so I think that's sort of a key bit here is like, are people just there for

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themselves

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or are they actually there to kind of help each other?

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So I think if you think about these three things as sort of the definition,

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that might

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help you understand like what a community is, but also what you might want to

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build,

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right?

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Like how do I approach this?

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How do I think about it?

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What are the core components of something that's a good community?

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I think this captures that fairly well.

6:53

Okay.

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So why though, right?

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Great.

6:57

Sounds good, Brian.

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Like awesome.

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But like, why do I care about this?

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If I'm a founder of a company or I'm running a business or, you know, I want to

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start a

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community, why do I care, right?

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Why would I do this?

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I'll talk to a few different things.

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Number one, community has a lot of applicability across pretty much any

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business type.

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Depending on your goals, right?

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It can help you do key business things and help you sort of reach your business

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outcomes.

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So for a lot of businesses, that's like, hey, we need to lower our costs for

7:30

support,

7:30

right?

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We're spending too much money trying to support our customers.

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Can we do that in a more scalable way, perhaps or a more efficient way?

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In other cases, people say, well, we're doing community because it's a go-to-

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market technique,

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right?

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And we want to drive more leads or drive more revenue or drive upsells or

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retain people,

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you know, those kinds of things.

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Or it might also just be, and I think this happens if you build community

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really well

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at any company, actually helps us just scale, right?

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If you do community right, you should be able to kind of build something that

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you otherwise

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wouldn't have been able to with whatever your current headcount is or budget.

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It's highly scalable, highly efficient.

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And so that's why a lot of people like community and why it's become a pretty

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important kind

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of go-to-market factor for a lot of companies.

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Number two, you can build a moat with a better experience, right?

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So one thing that we commonly hear across many businesses, many industries,

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many verticals,

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all those things is, you know, it's crowded, right?

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It's a crowded space like whatever your company does, there's probably 10 other

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companies

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that do something very similar.

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They have a similar product, similar service.

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So the question becomes, well, how are we going to differentiate ourselves?

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And why would people choose us?

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And why would they stay with us rather than go to the other guys?

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Maybe it's cheaper, you know?

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Why would they continue paying our thing when they can cut costs and go

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somewhere else?

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Oftentimes it's because you've built a better experience and you do that

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through community

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and you've built relationships with them.

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And what you'll find is that customers often will advocate for, hey, we want to

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stay with

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these folks because we really like them.

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They, you know, we're part of this community.

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We get a lot of value out of that.

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I have seen and witnessed over the years when lost reports from our friends in

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sales and

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the revenue org where people literally said this when they either bought brand

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new or

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they renewed where they would say, hey, look, we could have gone to any of your

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competitors.

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You all do the same thing, but we stayed with you for the expertise and the

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community and

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the events and the knowledge and all of the sort of tangential success that I'm

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getting

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through community.

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So it can be a really huge way to sort of build a moat and own a space, even if

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your product

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is not, you know, leagues ahead of the other guys or whatever.

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Or even if it is, then you build an even bigger moat.

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So it's applicable either way.

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You know, engagement, satisfaction, retention, advocacy, I talked about some of

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these things

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before.

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Community can be a way to just engage your customers in ways that you don't

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normally in

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more kind of authentic ways.

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We know from, you know, again, I've been doing this for like 25 odd years.

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We know from the data that all of these things can be true if you build

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community the right

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way, which is what we're going to talk about here today with strategy.

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So you know, you can make happier customers.

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You can keep them longer.

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They'll advocate for you more.

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There's a lot of benefits, as you can imagine, you know, across all of those

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that are really

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interesting for people.

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And last but not least, and most people kind of forget about this one, which is

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why I like

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to bring it up, is we get so focused on the customer experience, which we

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should, because

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it's the most important thing.

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But one thing that often gets left behind people don't think of with community

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is that it's

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inherently a collaborative, strategic thing to do in your company.

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And so what that typically means is one person generally isn't going to do 100%

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of the work

10:54

and maintenance and driving community.

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They're going to need help, right, from other people around the business.

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And so ironically, a lot of people bring me in to like, hey, help us build a

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community.

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And yeah, we'll do that.

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What I end up doing is actually getting them talking to each other and working

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together

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and collaborating.

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And so in that way, community can be like this really great forcing function to

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get people

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inside your company collaborating in ways that they didn't before, which I

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think is

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just a fantastic outcome, you know, for any business.

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So really important one that we don't often talk about there.

11:26

Awesome.

11:27

And there was actually a question that came in.

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So I'm going to pop this up on stage here from Kyle.

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So what factors should you consider when deciding between focusing on an owned

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or rented community

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program, when's the right time to shift to an own space?

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I assume by rented, Kyle might mean, you know, subreddits or some like, you

11:46

know, other industry

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discord or, you know, Slack channel or something.

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Yeah, I'll talk about this a little bit later, but the answer to the question

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is, the eye

11:56

is sort of in the beholder there.

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I don't know that there's an exact right time that I could give you.

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It's more about, you know, hey, let's do some experiments maybe in those off

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domain or rented

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areas as you might call them and see if it resonates with people, see what kind

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of audience

12:13

is there, see if they're hungry for more community, right?

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And I think once you've satisfied your need to kind of understand, okay, like

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there is

12:22

a decent size audience and they have some needs that are being unfulfilled and

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we think

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we can do that, you know, then that might be a time for you to sort of say, hey

12:30

, like,

12:30

let's go build our own thing and try to bring people over to those domains.

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With all of that said, I actually think you should do both of those things

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always, right?

12:39

So you should have your, your own on domain, you know, community, whatever that

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looks like,

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and you should participate in places elsewhere, right?

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I don't think it's a zero sum game.

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It's not an A versus B. It's actually probably in all of the above, you know,

12:54

type of strategy

12:55

works best.

12:57

Fantastic.

12:59

Yeah.

13:00

All right.

13:03

Very cool.

13:04

So I always like to show this slide if you've followed me anywhere before, you

13:07

know, you've

13:08

seen this before, but I like to talk about, you know, community is a vehicle to

13:12

drive

13:13

value across the entire customer journey.

13:16

This of course is not the entire customer journey, but it's a pretty good

13:19

subsection

13:19

of it.

13:20

It's obviously not always linear like this either, but you kind of get the idea

13:24

here

13:24

that if you do community correctly and you think about what are all the touch

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points,

13:29

right?

13:30

Where are all the different places that we talk to customers or we connect with

13:32

them

13:32

or they find us or they're trying to solve a problem or do something and we

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start to

13:37

think about, okay, you know, how can we leverage what we're building in

13:41

community to solve

13:42

some of these problems?

13:43

You're probably not going to solve all of these, certainly not all right at

13:46

once, right?

13:48

But you could start to tackle one of these and then tackle another one.

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And then, you know, in a few years, it's you come back to a slide like this and

13:54

it's

13:54

like, hey, we're actually doing most of these things pretty well, right?

13:58

And so you kind of get a sense of throughout Amy's journey here, you know, how

14:02

we might

14:03

sort of impact her journey and help her out and leverage community across these

14:06

different

14:07

things.

14:08

And then as you also see, you get value as well, right?

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So there's a lot of stuff.

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I'm not going to go through this whole thing.

14:14

This is a great one to take a screenshot of or get the slides after, which I'll

14:16

give

14:17

you the link to do.

14:19

But it's a good example of, you know, if we actually turn our focus to helping

14:23

customers

14:24

succeed and giving them what they need, then we will also get some business

14:29

value out of

14:30

it and you can kind of see how those are mapped there.

14:33

Okay.

14:34

So I've said a lot.

14:36

We're about 20 minutes in here.

14:37

Let's talk about how to actually do that.

14:39

So you kind of know how to frame it.

14:40

You kind of know the goal of like, okay, you know, how are we going to do this?

14:44

But how do you start to build a strategy, right?

14:46

Now, this is how I build strategy.

14:48

I'm sure there's a bunch of different ways.

14:50

I'm sure other people do it.

14:51

However, they do it.

14:52

That's totally fine.

14:53

Listen, you know, take what's good, leave the rest.

14:56

You do you.

14:57

But this has worked really well for me over the years.

14:59

I've probably helped like 200 plus companies do this.

15:03

So it is rooted in some, you know, key learnings and that sort of thing.

15:08

So we'll start kind of high level and then I'll break each one down.

15:11

First and foremost, community is about people, right?

15:14

So it's about the people that we're trying to attract.

15:17

It's about the people that come and become our super users.

15:20

It's about us internally at a company and how we orchestrate, as I was saying

15:24

before,

15:24

with collaboration and all of that.

15:27

Fundamentally, communities are about people.

15:29

And so that's sort of the first pillar of how I think about strategy, which is,

15:33

okay,

15:34

let's figure out who's coming here, what they need, all this kind of stuff.

15:38

And I'll dig deeper into that in each of these in a minute.

15:41

The second one is content.

15:43

I always say content is queen.

15:46

As you might have heard, you know, people say, come for the content, stay for

15:50

the community.

15:51

That's absolutely true.

15:52

We'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute.

15:54

The third one is programs, meaning what are all of the things we're doing on

15:59

this platform,

16:00

right?

16:01

What kind of events are we running?

16:02

What kind of experiences are we building?

16:04

I'll give you some examples of some of those in a minute.

16:09

Fourth is technology.

16:10

Now most people have this in the number one position, right?

16:13

We all want to go out.

16:14

We want to buy platforms.

16:15

We want to launch a community.

16:16

We want to do technical stuff.

16:18

We want to do integrations, all that.

16:20

There's a reason why it's kind of further down the list here because I want you

16:23

to think

16:23

about people, content, and programs before we start thinking about platforms

16:28

and technology

16:29

and that sort of stuff.

16:30

A lot of people kind of do that backwards and it really shows in both their

16:34

strategy

16:34

and then in sort of the delivery of the community itself.

16:39

And last but certainly not least, very connected to technology.

16:42

Usually I kind of lump them together actually is designed.

16:45

And when I say design, I don't mean just how it looks but it's also how does it

16:49

work?

16:50

What's the experience?

16:51

How do people navigate this stuff?

16:53

So this is how I think about strategy.

16:55

This is how I break it down for people.

16:58

Let's kind of jump into each one of these now and I'll talk a little bit more

17:01

about how

17:02

they all kind of work.

17:04

So for people, number one, you have to become customer focused.

17:08

I see people launch communities all the time and they still have this inward

17:12

view of the

17:13

world of what do I need and what are our goals and how are we going to get

17:16

people to do

17:17

this for us and how can I measure it?

17:20

And those things are important.

17:21

I'm not saying they're not.

17:23

But what I found is that the best communities in the world are the ones who

17:26

cater to the

17:26

customer first.

17:28

How are we solving their problems?

17:30

How are we helping them achieve their goals?

17:32

And if we do that first and we do it well, I promise you, you will get the

17:37

business stuff

17:38

on the back end.

17:39

But if you lead with yourself and you and what you need and what department you

17:43

're in and

17:44

I need them to do this, it's probably not going to be a very compelling

17:47

experience.

17:48

And I don't know too many people who want to kind of hang around in a community

17:51

like

17:51

that.

17:52

So this is as much a cultural thing that is anything else, right?

17:55

It's helping your company understand, hey, we're going to be a little bit more

17:59

open and

18:00

focused on our customers to start.

18:03

The second bit is we have to understand their motivations, goals and what

18:08

outcomes they

18:09

want.

18:10

Everybody says they're customer focused or they care about customers.

18:14

This is where you kind of find out that maybe people aren't or they're not as

18:17

much as they

18:18

think they are when you start asking about personas, right?

18:21

What do we know about these people?

18:23

What are they trying to do in their careers or their lives?

18:25

What motivates them?

18:26

What doesn't motivate them?

18:28

What does success look like to them if they're going to come to this community?

18:32

All of those kinds of questions that we then sort of put into very specific

18:36

personas that

18:37

we design the community around.

18:39

And the third part of this, which is very related, is a lot of people just

18:43

guess at this.

18:45

You'd be surprised companies spend so much time and money guessing, right?

18:50

Oh, well, we think they want this or we think they're going to want that or we

18:53

know better

18:53

than they do.

18:55

And the reality is people actually have a pretty good handle on what they like

18:59

and don't

18:59

like and what their needs are.

19:01

And I tell people, just ask them, you know, use surveys, have a call with them,

19:05

understand

19:06

kind of back to Kyle's point before.

19:08

These are some of the things you can do before you invest and shift to like an

19:12

owned community

19:12

on your own domain.

19:14

Go talk to these people and figure out what they want first, right?

19:18

Understand if they want your on domain community before you go build it.

19:21

So that's a good call out there.

19:24

And then as I said, you're going to parse these into personas.

19:27

Most communities have two to five.

19:31

You know, I've seen up to like 10 and 12 that those are communities that are

19:35

very mature

19:36

and have, you know, a huge product suite and a bunch of stuff like that.

19:40

But generally speaking, you're going to have like two to three core personas.

19:44

And they may be similar or have overlap with like your product or your go to

19:48

market personas,

19:50

but they may be a little bit different on the community side in terms of what

19:53

are they

19:54

looking for from a community perspective.

19:56

So just understand it's not always the same thing as maybe what you've already

20:00

done for

20:00

product and whatnot.

20:02

So that is people.

20:04

And before I move on, I'll pause and ask if there were any other, I guess,

20:07

questions

20:07

that can.

20:08

Yeah, no questions as of right now yet.

20:11

Okay.

20:12

Let's talk about content.

20:14

As I said before, people come for the content and they stay for the community.

20:18

A lot of people miss this or don't fundamentally understand that the core

20:22

driver of like, why

20:24

do people show up at a community in the first place, right?

20:27

It's not usually, and I say not usually sometimes it is, but not usually like,

20:33

oh, I'm seeking

20:34

belonging and connection and, you know, feelings and that sort of stuff.

20:39

Maybe some communities are that way.

20:41

But the vast majority of, you know, communities, it's like, I came here to

20:44

solve a problem first.

20:46

And then I solved my problem.

20:48

And as I was solving it, maybe I clicked around or I saw recommended content or

20:53

, you know,

20:54

there was an onboarding flow that I went through that introduced me to other

20:57

stuff in the community.

20:59

So this is kind of common.

21:00

You need to understand this and that, you know, community is a numbers game, as

21:04

I like

21:04

to say, meaning, you know, it's all about fractions of fractions and

21:07

percentages.

21:08

And there's kind of a funnel type of a situation of how people come in and

21:12

engage in community.

21:14

And so what you need to understand is that first and foremost, you need to

21:17

build great

21:17

content.

21:18

You need to build things that are going to help people solve their problems

21:22

back to those

21:22

personas, right?

21:23

What are the problems they have?

21:24

How do we solve them?

21:26

And then you might be able to capture them and have them stay for more of the

21:29

community

21:30

activities.

21:31

So content is just crazy, crazy important.

21:34

I can't stress it enough.

21:36

If it weren't for people, content would definitely be number one.

21:39

I think this is the big thing that most people need to focus on and build

21:43

programs around.

21:44

And then they'll build a much more successful community.

21:47

It's a bit ironic, I guess, in that case, because you think, well, wait, we're

21:51

building

21:52

a community, what are you talking about?

21:54

But that's sort of the nature of how this works.

21:57

Number two, you probably have some people in your company with a ton of subject

22:00

matter

22:00

knowledge, expertise, but it's locked in their head, right?

22:04

You maybe have a support team that has a huge, like they have Salesforce or Z

22:08

endask or any

22:09

of these support ticketing systems.

22:13

But all that knowledge is locked in there, right?

22:15

How do I Google that?

22:16

How do I get access to it?

22:16

So one thing you need to think about is like, how do I get all of this

22:19

knowledge out of

22:20

these systems, out of people's heads and into a community where people can self

22:24

-serve, again,

22:25

back to the efficiency and the scale, right?

22:28

Stop answering questions one to one, answer them one time in community, and

22:32

then have people

22:33

self-serve on that same answer for the rest of time.

22:36

This is where the cost part comes in, and from a support perspective, at least,

22:41

whatever

22:41

costs you $80, $100 to solve in your traditional support channels probably

22:46

costs you pennies.

22:47

And those pennies only get smaller infractions of those pennies as more people

22:51

self-serve

22:51

on it.

22:52

So there's a big advantage cost-wise there.

22:56

It's not set it and forget it.

22:57

You can't just like do a big blast of content in the beginning and say, "We did

23:01

it, we're

23:01

done, we're out of here, peace."

23:03

You actually have to continue doing that as a long-term program, building more

23:08

content

23:09

and more content and more content.

23:10

So understand that it's a long game, and if you want to keep community vibrant,

23:15

you

23:15

also have to keep your content program vibrant as well.

23:18

So how do we start though?

23:20

This probably feels kind of daunting, especially if you're a smaller company or

23:24

a founder or

23:25

something.

23:26

What I always tell people the very simple answer is, just start with the

23:29

questions that

23:30

everybody's tired of answering internally, right?

23:31

Can I talk to your customer-facing teams and say, "What are the top five

23:35

questions?

23:35

What are the top 10 questions we get asked all the time that we're so sick of

23:39

answering

23:39

or copying and pasting into the reply?"

23:42

Those are great candidates to start your content program on and say, "Okay, can

23:46

we build 10

23:47

knowledge articles or can we seed those questions in community and answer them

23:51

so that they're

23:51

answered there?"

23:53

Start with the basic stuff and then figure it out from there.

23:57

But most companies I find don't actually have a problem with the volume of

24:01

content they

24:01

have access to.

24:03

It's usually the reverse.

24:05

It's usually, "Hey, we have a ton of content.

24:07

Every group in the company is building all kinds of stuff.

24:10

We've just never organized it."

24:11

We've never put it into some sort of program and tried to channel it somewhere.

24:15

That may or may not be the case at your company, but I think if you start

24:17

digging around, you

24:18

probably find there's more than you think.

24:22

You can start small and then kind of scale it from there.

24:24

Yeah, I love that.

24:25

There was actually another question that came in.

24:27

It says, "What are some common mistakes you've seen folks make when planning

24:32

and developing

24:33

content for their communities?"

24:35

I feel like this is talking to Mark and we have this whole people-first content

24:41

and some

24:42

other stuff launching and putting out exclusive content.

24:46

It's definitely validating our thought there.

24:50

What are some of those common mistakes that you're seeing?

24:53

I'd go back to the focus of the content, meaning a lot of times when people

24:57

start their content

24:58

program, they're like, "What are our goals?

25:02

What should we document?"

25:03

That sort of thing.

25:04

It's really, again, number one, it's about what do these customers actually

25:08

need from

25:09

their perspective.

25:10

I think that's important.

25:11

Then just not having enough of it, honestly, no one ever showed up to a

25:15

community and said,

25:16

"Boy, I wish there was less content here."

25:19

They might say, "I wish I could search it better.

25:21

I wish I could navigate it.

25:23

I wish I could find what I'm looking for."

25:25

That's a little bit of a different problem, perhaps.

25:27

No one is like, "Oh, I wish there was less answers.

25:31

There's almost too much help here."

25:33

I think that's the biggest thing is being relentless about it and saying, "Okay

25:39

, what

25:40

can we build that's going to be useful and helpful to people?"

25:43

If we do that pretty consistently over a long period of time, a bunch of little

25:48

ones makes

25:48

a big one.

25:49

We're going to end up with a very large quantity of content and knowledge and

25:55

discussions and

25:57

video recordings from events and all these different things that we're doing

26:01

that produce

26:02

content.

26:04

I would say just not being aggressive enough would be a common error there.

26:10

Fantastic.

26:11

Thank you.

26:12

Oftentimes, I'll just follow up with one thing and it'll move on is that people

26:17

say, "Oh,

26:17

my God, I didn't realize that this was so important and I don't know if we have

26:21

time

26:21

for this.

26:22

It seems like a lot of work.

26:24

We don't have enough people in the company to do it."

26:28

Then you're just not going to have a great community.

26:31

I don't know what to tell people other than, "This is part of the investment."

26:35

You need to wrap your head around that and accept it.

26:39

You're not going to just put up a community and people are going to show up and

26:41

it's going

26:42

to be amazing.

26:44

Just like anything else, any other program that we would do or go to market

26:47

thing that

26:47

we would do at a company, this is just one of the requirements to have a

26:51

successful and

26:52

ongoing and vibrant community.

26:54

Over time, what you hope is that the folks there are building more of the

26:58

content than

26:59

you are.

27:01

It becomes more scalable.

27:02

You're doing less of the overall work.

27:04

That's the goal, but upfront, you're definitely going to have to invest in this

27:09

aspect of

27:09

it until you reach that point of critical mass where your customers and

27:13

partners and

27:14

employees are in there talking to each other and just generating content.

27:19

Just understand that that's a core bit.

27:22

Programs.

27:23

What do I mean by programs?

27:26

Basically anything that's built on top of the community platform.

27:29

If you think of the community as a platform, the question becomes, "Okay, what

27:33

are we doing

27:34

there?"

27:36

Content is one of them, but some of the others we'll talk about.

27:40

I tend to break down the flow of community into acquisition, conversion,

27:47

onboarding,

27:48

engagement, and then long-term retention.

27:50

We'll talk about each one of those.

27:53

When we think about programs, acquisition is a program.

27:58

What's our acquisition program for a community?

28:01

We're putting a link on our.com.

28:04

We're doing things to make sure that our community content shows up in Google.

28:09

We're sending email notifications or newsletters.

28:13

If we're a software product, for example, maybe we have a link to community in

28:16

the help

28:17

menu or maybe when people search, community results are there.

28:20

That's the in-app part of it.

28:23

What are we doing at our conference?

28:25

Are we talking about community?

28:26

Are we telling people it exists?

28:29

All of these different ways of figuring out how do we get people to know about

28:33

the community

28:34

and then come to it?

28:36

This is a big mistake.

28:38

People on the theme of what mistakes do people make.

28:40

This is a big one.

28:41

People launch a community and they're like, "Where is everybody?"

28:46

You ask, "What kind of acquisition have you done?

28:49

What kind of promotion of the community have you done?"

28:51

They're like, "Oh, well, we just put a link on the website and that was it.

28:55

We're shocked that nobody showed up to this thing."

28:59

If people don't know about it, they're not going to visit.

29:03

Having a set of programs around acquisition, how do we get people to know it

29:07

exists and

29:08

to come here is really, really important.

29:11

You can imagine what all of those are because most people are doing this in

29:15

other ways for

29:16

other things.

29:18

Conversion becomes about the call to action side of it.

29:22

Once people come to your community, they land on it and it's like, "Okay, great

29:25

I'm here."

29:27

How do we entice them to become members?

29:29

There's usually a set of programs around this where we build certain calls to

29:33

action.

29:34

We gate certain content behind permissions where we say, "Hey, if you want to

29:38

see this,

29:38

you have to sign in.

29:39

You have to sign up."

29:40

That's particularly effective, although I want you to balance that out because

29:44

you put

29:44

too much behind then people don't know it exists either.

29:48

There's a little bit of a balance.

29:49

But ultimately, it's just showing them the value of like, "Here's what members

29:55

get.

29:55

Here's the benefit of being a member and here's what other people are getting

29:58

is benefits

29:59

of being a member."

30:01

You have a set of programs around conversion and getting them to become an

30:05

active member.

30:07

What about onboarding?

30:08

They sign up and then what?

30:10

We just dump them back into the community and say, "Good luck."

30:14

There's a set of programs around onboarding.

30:16

How do we welcome them to this community?

30:17

How do we help them understand how to use it?

30:20

Do we put them in some sort of drip campaign where for the next six weeks we're

30:24

sending

30:25

them, "Hey, did you see this article in community?

30:27

It seems like it's relevant to your interests."

30:29

Then of course, gamification.

30:32

How do I earn badges and ranks and enter into a contest to get a shirt and a

30:38

hat or a mug?

30:41

All these different things.

30:42

You can imagine the programs around that.

30:44

Then last but certainly not least, and again, everybody usually skips here and

30:48

skips the

30:48

first three, which is why I put it at the end, is the engagement side of it.

30:52

We've got these people here, their members, they're properly onboarded.

30:57

Now what?

30:58

Well, we want them to engage on a more long-term way and we want to retain them

31:02

as a member

31:03

through that engagement.

31:05

What kind of programs are we going to build?

31:06

Well, maybe they're answering questions depending on your type of community.

31:10

They're doing Q&A.

31:11

Maybe we have ongoing contests.

31:13

Maybe we do regular challenges.

31:15

We have events, virtual and in-person like we're doing here.

31:19

You have even more gamification that is geared towards engagement retention

31:23

programs.

31:24

Maybe if you have top users, you build a program around them that's a formal

31:28

program to reward

31:29

them.

31:30

There's so much more.

31:31

I could spend hours and hours and hours talking about programs.

31:35

This is the way to think about it and the types of things that fit in each

31:39

bucket that

31:39

you're going to want to build on top of.

31:41

Now again, do you have to do all of these all at once?

31:44

Of course not.

31:45

There's actually no real way to do that.

31:47

You need to think about it in this format.

31:49

As we get to measurement, you start to look at it this way too where it's like,

31:52

"Okay,

31:53

where are we falling down?"

31:55

Maybe we're doing a good job of getting people to the community, but we're not

31:58

converting

31:59

them.

32:00

Maybe we are converting them.

32:01

We do a great job on that, but then we don't onboard them and we get low

32:04

engagement.

32:05

There's a linear effect here where most communities are saying, "Oh, we don't

32:10

have enough engagement.

32:11

We have an engagement problem."

32:12

Then I go look at the data in this type of a format and what you realize is, "

32:16

No, you

32:17

actually have an onboarding problem or you actually have an acquisition problem

32:20

."

32:21

You want to build programs to make sure you're keeping people flowing properly

32:24

through here.

32:26

Love that.

32:27

There was actually another question that came in around.

32:28

Some of the common assumptions people make when planning their community

32:32

strategy and

32:33

program that's false or otherwise.

32:39

Yeah, I think trying to think of what those would be.

32:44

Typically, it's not enough investment.

32:47

People don't realize that this is an investment like anything else.

32:51

You see that a lot around community actually where it's like, "Can't we just

32:55

stand up

32:55

a insert name of platform here and just be done and we'll get someone from the

33:01

company

33:02

to spend three hours a week on it as part of their fraction of their hours?"

33:08

It's going to be great.

33:10

When you think about any other really important thing that you do at a company,

33:13

you'd never

33:14

do that.

33:15

If I said, "Hey, we're going to launch this events series and I want you to do

33:18

six events

33:19

across the world in the next year."

33:22

If I said to you, "Yeah, we'll give you $10,000 and half of one employee's time

33:29

," you'd

33:29

be like, "You're crazy.

33:30

We can't do a 10 event global series for 10K and half of someone's time."

33:36

Communities no different.

33:38

That's a common mistake is underestimating the overall investment or what the

33:44

needs are

33:44

to do it.

33:47

I think too, there's just a lot of misinformation about communities and how

33:51

they work.

33:52

On one hand, during the COVID times when everybody was locked up, a community

33:57

became this really

33:58

valuable, important conversation.

34:02

On one hand, it was great that all of a sudden it came to the forefront.

34:05

You wanted to know about it and that sort of thing.

34:08

You also just had a bunch of people talking about it that frankly didn't

34:11

understand community

34:12

to the level that all of you do now seeing stuff like this.

34:17

I think you have to weed through all of that and realize what's actually a good

34:21

strategy

34:21

or not, which is why we're doing this.

34:23

Hopefully, we help you cut through some of the noise there.

34:26

Fantastic advice.

34:27

Thank you.

34:28

Let's talk about tech.

34:31

Like I said, everybody always skips to this one.

34:34

Everybody wants to buy a platform and community is going to happen.

34:38

Not really.

34:39

You have to do all these other things really well.

34:41

The platform on which you reside is very important, but it's not the whole ball

34:46

game.

34:47

I've seen very, very skilled community professionals build wonderful

34:51

communities on the crappiest

34:53

tech of all time and vice versa.

34:57

Some people go out and they spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on

35:01

the Ferraris

35:02

of community platforms and then it sucks.

35:06

It's like everybody loves to blame the vendor in that scenario.

35:09

It's like, "Oh, well, a community didn't work and the vendor didn't help us and

35:13

whatever."

35:14

What I just want to say is a hot take here is that 99.9999% of the time when I

35:22

show up

35:23

in a company and we're blaming the vendor for why community isn't working, I

35:28

take a look

35:28

at people's strategy and you find out that it's typically more an execution or

35:32

strategic

35:33

problem than it is the platform.

35:35

That said, it's important.

35:36

Let's talk about it.

35:38

Kyle actually preempted this one before.

35:41

What I wanted to say is you can build and you should build both on domain and

35:46

off domain.

35:47

That could be subreddits, stack overflow, Twitter in some cases, all kinds of

35:54

different

35:55

GitHubs of popular one where people are building community in different ways.

35:59

There's a lot of off domain stuff that you can do.

36:02

I think you also want to explore how do we build our own community that we own

36:06

that's

36:06

not subject to the policy changes and whims of, frankly, billionaires and

36:11

people who have

36:12

different goals than you do for your community.

36:14

We see that time and time again.

36:16

Everybody's like, "Oh, I'm going to build my community on insert name of social

36:20

media

36:21

platform here."

36:22

And overnight they like, "Well, we're going to change completely the policies

36:25

or the

36:26

APIs or whatever and these people's communities get destroyed overnight."

36:31

There is some balance of the convenience of doing that, the cost of doing that

36:37

relative

36:38

to owning your own.

36:39

You can see why it's attractive that in the end a lot of people end up swinging

36:42

back to

36:43

kind of my own my own just because there's a lot of brand value in doing that

36:48

too.

36:48

You want to consider both.

36:51

There's a bunch of stuff that goes around this.

36:54

You don't just necessarily buy a community platform and say, "Cool, we're done

36:58

."

36:58

Typically you have to, "How are these people authenticating?

37:02

Do we have an IDP, an SSO?

37:05

How are they connecting into it?

37:07

How are people signing up?"

37:09

The other integration types that you can imagine, like, "How do we integrate

37:12

this with

37:12

Salesforce for our CRM or HubSpot or whatever it is you're using?

37:17

What about support systems like Zendesk and those kinds of things?"

37:21

Think about all of the other tech that goes around it and understand that whole

37:28

pie.

37:28

Sometimes I call these appliances like federated search, SSO or IDPs sometimes

37:34

are also an appliance.

37:37

These days there's all these other platforms.

37:39

There's common room and talk base and orbit and stuff like that where they're

37:44

really focused

37:45

on community data and automation.

37:48

That's another thing you could go buy and plug into this.

37:51

A lot of people do Zapier.

37:52

They get Zaps and they plug those into community to automate certain things.

37:56

It's not just the one platform itself, especially if you're doing both on and

38:00

off domain.

38:01

Some of these data and automation platforms are great because you can plug all

38:04

of them

38:04

in and then get a picture of your community across many different things.

38:09

That brings you to the last piece here, which is how are we getting data?

38:15

How are we analyzing this stuff?

38:17

How do we know if what we're doing is working or not?

38:20

Some of those will be community specific.

38:21

Some of those will be things like Google Analytics.

38:24

If you want to plug that into your community, how are you going to build dash

38:27

boards and reporting?

38:29

You don't got to do all this stuff, right?

38:30

Especially not up front, but it is nice along the way.

38:34

We'll talk a little bit about measurement here more in a few minutes.

38:37

Cool.

38:38

There was actually two more questions that came in.

38:41

One was around, "Do you have any gamification software wrecks?"

38:46

Those community platforms have some semblance of gamification built in, usually

38:51

in the form

38:52

of ranks, reputation, badges, leaderboards, that kind of basic stuff that you

38:58

're going

38:59

to find.

39:01

Those will get you pretty far, typically, depending on what you're trying to

39:05

build.

39:06

But if you're looking at gamification more holistically across not just like

39:09

your on-domain

39:10

community, but what about events?

39:12

What about advocacy things that they're doing, different activities?

39:17

That's when you may go look at something a little bit more comprehensive.

39:21

I wouldn't say that there's one platform I could name and say, "Just go buy

39:26

that and

39:26

you're going to be good."

39:28

Like we're talking about here, there's a universe of them.

39:32

You might go get credly, for example, for certifications and badges and stuff.

39:39

You might go get a different platform for missions and other things.

39:42

Influative is one of those, although it's geared more towards advocacy.

39:47

There's a whole bunch of those and it really comes down to what's your strategy

39:51

, right?

39:51

What do you need to successfully execute that?

39:55

Fantastic.

39:56

Then the other one is, "In your experience, what have you found as one of the

39:59

greatest

39:59

obstacles faced by B2B community initiatives?"

40:05

Usually internal company culture.

40:07

It's not the tech, it's not the content, it's usually like, "Are you ready as a

40:13

company

40:15

to become customer centric?"

40:17

is the first thing.

40:19

It's a philosophical thing that a lot of companies, again, if you listen to any

40:25

CEO

40:25

at any company in the world, on any call they do or talk they do at their

40:30

conference or

40:31

whatever, everybody's going to say, "Oh, we love our customers, right?

40:35

We're customer focused.

40:37

We're all about the customer."

40:40

But look at their behavior, right?

40:42

Look at their actions.

40:43

I think sometimes you'll find that what comes out of their mouth and what they

40:46

actually

40:46

do are two different things.

40:49

I understand why, right?

40:51

Becoming truly customer and community focused is hard.

40:56

If it was easy, everybody would do it.

40:58

That's what, when I talked about building a moat before, that's the difference.

41:02

If I have five companies, we're all doing the same thing, we all have a similar

41:06

product

41:06

or service.

41:08

If I do the hard work at my company to become customer focused, community cent

41:13

ric, build

41:14

a great community, really focus on helping people achieve their dreams and

41:18

goals, then

41:19

all of a sudden, I'm leaps and bounds ahead of the other four guys.

41:24

I think that's probably the biggest obstacle is, are people ready for that

41:28

philosophically?

41:29

And then the last piece, which is kind of true across anything at any company,

41:33

is are

41:33

people willing to collaborate on it, right?

41:37

Because a lot of companies, again, oh, yeah, we love working together and we're

41:40

collaborative

41:40

company, blah, blah, blah.

41:42

I think we all know, we've all worked at companies that you show up in some

41:45

places and it's like

41:46

none of these people know each other.

41:48

They're all working in silos.

41:49

They don't want to work together.

41:50

They're actually combative.

41:52

That's a hard place to build a great community.

41:54

Fantastic.

41:55

Thank you.

41:59

Last and certainly not least, and then we'll get to some other stuff and answer

42:02

more questions,

42:02

although I love the questions coming in.

42:04

This is great.

42:05

Let's talk about design, right?

42:07

It's how it looks and how it works.

42:10

Everybody thinks just the first part, right?

42:12

Let's make it beautiful.

42:13

Let's get marketing in here and design, whatever.

42:16

And it's like, no, no, no, it's like, what is the information architecture

42:19

underneath

42:20

all of this, right?

42:21

What structure have we built for the content and the discussions and the events

42:26

How do people navigate that, right?

42:27

What does the navigation look like?

42:30

Where's the search?

42:31

Like how do we position all of this stuff?

42:33

I could talk about this one for days and days and days and days.

42:36

There's so many different facets of it, but it's both how it looks and how it

42:41

works.

42:41

And ultimately, what I would just say here is like, I'm a golden rule guy,

42:46

meaning like,

42:47

you know, I never want to build something that I myself would not want to use

42:51

or I'm

42:51

not proud of.

42:52

And I think this second part here, the how it works, we kind of fail that

42:56

regularly in

42:58

things that we do where we build stuff and we're like, oh, you know, I don't

43:01

really

43:01

like it.

43:02

But anyway, ship it to our customers, right?

43:05

I think you want to spend some time, especially in community because trust and

43:08

authenticity

43:08

is so important, really making sure you nail the experience part of it.

43:13

So again, architecture, structure, navigation, discovery, like all of these

43:17

things are part

43:18

and parcel of the design itself.

43:21

Some of that's how those look, but a lot of it's how they, you know, where they

43:24

position,

43:24

how do they work?

43:25

Is it feeding the right information at the right time?

43:28

Is it, you know, helping me as a consumer or a member of this community find

43:33

stuff?

43:34

And then you can go look at, okay, what's the visuals?

43:36

What's the UI and UX?

43:38

You know, is it beautiful?

43:40

Do we have, you know, all of our badges with our colors and our fonts and we've

43:45

uploaded

43:46

our custom font into the community platform and blah, blah, blah, blah, like

43:49

all those

43:50

different things.

43:51

It's super important.

43:52

I'm not saying it's not.

43:53

I just want people to understand there's a balance here.

43:55

And what I often see is people way over index towards the looks part of it.

44:00

And then they wonder why, again, back to those programs we talked about, right?

44:04

They wonder why, like, how come people aren't staying around and how come they

44:07

're having

44:08

a hard time finding what they're looking for?

44:10

And it's like, because we designed a beautiful website and not a community

44:13

experience, which

44:14

are two very different things, right?

44:16

So there's got to be a balance of this.

44:17

And what I would say is that in most communities, utility is actually more

44:22

important than beauty.

44:24

You want to have a little bit of both, right?

44:26

But I was at a conference years ago.

44:28

I always tell this story.

44:29

So forgive me if you've followed me and you've heard this before, but I think

44:31

it's a useful

44:32

thing is years ago, as a conference, and I was showing a screenshot of a really

44:37

, what

44:37

a community that I was proud of that we designed.

44:40

And it was pretty heavily, like the front page of the community was kind of a

44:43

lot of dense

44:44

links and navigation and whatever.

44:47

Some guy raised his hand and said, man, it's just a list of links.

44:50

And I said, yeah, so is Google, right?

44:52

And so I think as much as we want to make this stuff beautiful, you realize the

44:56

things

44:56

that people use every day and get a lot of value out of are a little bit more

45:00

utilitarian

45:00

than you would think.

45:03

And I think Google is like the ultimate example of it's literally a list of

45:06

blue links, right?

45:08

So there's that.

45:10

Last but not least, are we efficiently driving members to specific outcomes?

45:14

So we'll talk about measurement here in a minute.

45:16

But if you think back to the goals and the programs and all that stuff, it's

45:20

like, what

45:20

do we actually want them to do?

45:22

Or what do they want to do?

45:23

And are we using the way that we've designed this to properly drive them in

45:27

that direction?

45:28

So that's really what design is about at the end of the day and what we want to

45:32

do as community

45:33

builders.

45:35

OK, I know we just have a few minutes left here, and then we'll leave some time

45:42

for Q&A.

45:43

Let me talk about how you operationalize all this.

45:45

So I just threw a lot at you, talked about a lot of different things, right?

45:49

There's a lot in your brain probably rattling around if you've never done this

45:53

before.

45:54

What I always say though is like at the end of the day, we have to execute this

45:57

stuff.

45:58

I can talk about it.

45:59

I can make pretty slides.

46:00

I can tell you you got to do A, B, and C and XYZ, whatever.

46:03

The real question is, how do we go about doing that?

46:06

So I want to show you this.

46:08

Looks a little overwhelming at first, but I'll sort of break it down for you.

46:11

This is kind of the high level roadmap of an operational plan, right?

46:15

So typically you'd probably have a spreadsheet or something or a project plan

46:18

that undergirds

46:19

this with dates and names and dependencies and risks and all that kind of stuff

46:25

But at a high level, what I want you to understand is like everything that we

46:28

just talked about

46:29

can be put into a format like this where it greatly sort of simplifies it and

46:33

makes it

46:34

visual, where it's like, OK, we have our people, we have our content, we have

46:37

our technology,

46:39

and then I sort of lumped design and experience into one bucket there.

46:43

But you have these tracks, and in each track, they're sort of, OK, here's the

46:47

personas we're

46:48

working on first.

46:49

Here's, we've got to build some content, we've got to go get a platform and

46:53

implement

46:53

it, right?

46:54

You can kind of follow this along.

46:55

Again, I'll give you this slide at the end here.

46:58

You can just go download it, take a screenshot, whatever.

47:01

But you sort of get the idea of like, just like anything else we would do, you

47:04

're going

47:04

to build a plan of here's the things we need to do when we need to do them,

47:09

some level

47:09

of prioritization and importance, and then you roll through it, right?

47:13

And of course, you have to have the people and the investment to do all these

47:15

things.

47:16

But just like anything else, there's got to be a plan.

47:18

It can't just be pretty slides and, you know, inspiration.

47:22

I want to help you translate that into an actionable plan that you can then

47:26

take and

47:26

go.

47:27

So does yours look like this?

47:29

I have no idea, right?

47:30

But whatever it is, translate your strategy into a plan and then execute it and

47:35

make sure

47:36

you're kind of tracking along with all those things.

47:40

All right.

47:43

Last but not least, certainly not least measurement.

47:46

Let me go through a couple of frameworks.

47:48

I'm going to gloss over these pretty quick.

47:49

You can go download these because there's too much probably to talk about here.

47:53

But what I want you to understand is how do you translate sort of strategic

47:57

goals into

47:58

actual measurements around your business?

48:01

So if we look at a couple of examples like customer success, a lot of people

48:05

these days

48:06

are like, hey, why are we building community?

48:08

Because we want to increase our retention rates, right?

48:11

Particularly relevant in our current high interest rate environment.

48:14

We need to retain the customers we have.

48:17

Okay, great.

48:18

You have this business goal.

48:19

What are we going to do about it?

48:20

Well, our strategy is we're going to build robust learning and enablement focus

48:25

content

48:25

in a community somewhere, right?

48:27

Okay, great.

48:28

That's our strategy.

48:29

There's probably 20 slides of that strategy, but that's the boiled down version

48:34

How are we going to know that's working?

48:36

Well, as a KPI, we're going to try to understand how much of that learning and

48:41

enablement focus

48:42

content is actually influencing retention rates, right?

48:47

And we may do that through some cohort analysis where we take data from the

48:51

community and

48:52

data from Salesforce or RevR like revenue data is, and we try to understand,

48:58

you know,

48:58

are people in community retained at a higher rate than those who aren't or at a

49:03

rate that's

49:03

higher or they, you know, stick around longer or whatever the case is, right?

49:07

So it's kind of a simplistic example.

49:08

You have to build all of the, you know, mechanisms around it.

49:12

But this is how you translate a business goal or outcome through community, but

49:16

then

49:17

understand like, okay, what kind of data do I actually need to make that happen

49:20

And what's the KPI?

49:21

I'm going to build out support.

49:23

This is probably the most basic one of all.

49:25

We want to reduce costs.

49:27

We're going to build the self-service support community.

49:28

This is what like the vast majority of communities in the world are about, at

49:32

least at first

49:33

before they explore other things.

49:34

And so we want to measure the value of that, right?

49:36

Like if people are self-serving over there and they're not calling our support

49:40

team, we're

49:40

saving a bunch of money.

49:41

Well, how do we know that?

49:42

Well, we need to get a bunch of data and put it all together, right?

49:45

So I'm kind of going over this quickly.

49:47

I have entire presentations on the same page where this deck is going to be.

49:52

So when I give you the link here in a minute, you'll see it.

49:55

I have entire presentations, entire talks, entire everything about how to do

49:59

this more.

50:00

So I won't go into it too much deeper.

50:02

But just to give you a sense of like, what does the framework look like?

50:06

Let me build out a couple others here and then we'll take some questions.

50:09

So marketing, you know, they're typically like, we want to do community because

50:13

we want

50:13

to do thought leadership.

50:15

We want to like get new leads.

50:16

We want to discover people we've never met before.

50:18

Okay, great.

50:19

Here's your content program and like education and stuff like that.

50:24

And then of course they're going to try to measure, you know, where are these

50:26

coming from?

50:27

Are these net new people?

50:28

Did they come from community?

50:31

Product is typically about ideation and adoption, right?

50:33

It's like, can we source ideas from our community?

50:36

Can we turn those into meaningful product updates or feature sets?

50:40

All that kind of good stuff.

50:41

So again, I'll kind of gloss over that and we'll get to the ask me anything

50:45

part.

50:45

But if you go to this Brian Oblinger dot com slides, these slides are there and

50:49

you can

50:49

just take them, no form fills, you know, no BS.

50:53

And then there's also all the other presentations, you know, that I've kind of

50:55

done so you can

50:56

spelunk in those as well.

50:58

That's fantastic.

50:59

Yeah.

51:00

Thank you so much, Brian.

51:01

It was, I learned a ton.

51:03

You validated a ton for me.

51:05

So I've been also building communities, mostly in B2B tech companies for about

51:11

five or six

51:12

years now.

51:14

But I mean, it's what you talked about is that at the core of a lot of the

51:18

things that

51:19

I'm a big believer in as well.

51:21

So thank you for that.

51:23

There is a few questions that came in here.

51:26

Going back to that roadmap piece.

51:28

So it's there's quite lengthy.

51:31

How pragmatic slash possible is it to launch a community in one or two quarters

51:37

versus

51:38

a year?

51:40

Totally depends on your goals, your resources.

51:42

So you're right that this is an example from like an enterprise B2B company,

51:47

right?

51:48

So I should have set that expectation.

51:50

I apologize for not doing that when I showed this before, which is that like

51:54

this is kind

51:55

of the highest level of, you know, I'm working with a fortune 500.

51:59

You're going pretty fast and doing a lot of stuff.

52:02

When you say, you know, can I build a community in a couple of months versus

52:06

quarters versus

52:06

years versus whatever, the answer to all of those is yes, right?

52:10

It totally depends on what your goals are, you know, how fast you can go, what

52:15

kind of

52:15

resources you want.

52:16

You certainly do not have to do what I'm showing here.

52:20

Most communities probably start out much, much simpler than this, right?

52:24

With a minimum kind of investment and it's more of an experimental thing up

52:27

front just

52:28

to see if it works before we do more.

52:30

So yeah, I wish I could like say, oh, yeah, like it's going to be this much

52:35

money in this

52:36

many months and whatever, but it's so dependent on what you're trying to do

52:40

strategically,

52:41

right?

52:42

And so you see communities that both ends that spectrum from like, we're going

52:45

to spend

52:46

a year building this thing before we ever launch it all the way to like, I don

52:50

't know,

52:50

let's just throw something up and do an experiment and see if it's worthwhile

52:53

and then everything

52:54

in between.

52:55

So it's a very personal, you know, personalized thing from a strategic

53:00

perspective, depending

53:02

on a myriad of factors at your organization.

53:05

Awesome.

53:07

And then there was another one around what's the most effective way to

53:11

communicate community

53:13

attributed, attributed outcomes to leadership?

53:16

How do you refine simple correlation outcomes into compelling business cases?

53:22

Yeah.

53:23

Yeah, if you look at the, you know, if you look at the strategy and the KPIs on

53:26

these types

53:27

of slides, this could be a long answer.

53:31

I'll try to keep it short.

53:33

I think the biggest thing is converting the language of community and what you

53:37

're doing

53:39

to whatever language already exists in your business.

53:41

Like one of the things that we've done a little bit too much of over the years

53:44

in community

53:45

is try to like, press our language on people and, you know, try to teach them

53:50

about how

53:51

we think about community.

53:53

And I just don't think it works that well, right?

53:54

I think you need to do what we're showing in these kinds of slides where it's

53:58

like, from

53:59

a business perspective, if I walk into a meeting with the CEO or the executive

54:02

team or whatever,

54:04

and I say, hey, did you know that communities helping us retain our customers

54:08

longer or

54:09

we're generating more leads through community or, you know, our product is

54:13

better because

54:14

the product team's gathering feedback directly from it.

54:16

Like, those are things they already understand and they talk about every day

54:19

and like goals

54:19

they probably already all have.

54:21

So it's really about how do we take what we do as community builders and

54:25

translate that

54:26

into the language of the business we're in.

54:28

And I think you just break down so many barriers by doing that.

54:33

But to do that, you have to do some work.

54:34

And that's what these slides are all about, right?

54:36

It's like, how do you sort of put in that effort and get access to the data and

54:40

do the

54:41

work to have concrete things that you can say?

54:45

It's hard, right?

54:46

There's a reason why not everybody does it.

54:48

But again, it's hard, but it'll differentiate you if you can do that and it's

54:51

going to lead

54:52

to more investment and understanding in your company as a whole around

54:55

community.

54:56

Fantastic.

54:57

Yeah, no, completely agree with you.

55:00

I know we only have like a minute or so less.

55:02

So where can people go to find you?

55:04

What if they want to continue that conversation with you?

55:06

Yeah, a couple of things.

55:08

Go check out the slides, brianablinger.com.

55:10

Of course, you know, you can find me on LinkedIn.

55:12

I post a lot of events and content and stuff there.

55:15

I did want to tell you all about this too.

55:17

So I recently launched the strategy academy where I'm basically taking

55:21

everything I've

55:22

ever learned about community and dumping it into really high quality courses.

55:30

They're priced really well, but I'll go ahead and give you a code here you can

55:33

take and,

55:33

you know, grab a course or a membership or whatever it is.

55:36

You can just use club PF there for 15% off.

55:40

There's like 16 or 17 courses there today.

55:44

The roadmap has over 50.

55:46

So it's only going to get more valuable as time goes on, especially for people

55:49

who have

55:50

memberships.

55:51

So if you want to learn more about this, but you're like, hey, you know, I'd

55:53

love to engage

55:54

someone like Brian as a consultant, but we're just not ready for that yet.

55:57

I'd rather spend 50 bucks or 100 bucks or whatever and go learn some of this

56:01

stuff.

56:02

I totally get it.

56:03

Like that's cool.

56:04

Go to the go to the academy, pop in the code, you know, you can get in there

56:07

for pretty cheap

56:08

and like learn a lot pretty deeply about all this stuff.

56:11

Fantastic.

56:12

Awesome.

56:13

Thank you so much for joining us.

56:15

This was fantastic for everyone that is still out there.

56:20

Make sure to go follow Brian.

56:21

Check out the website.

56:23

Use the club PF code and we'll catch you all next time on the next event.

56:28

Have a great rest of your day, everyone.

56:29

Thanks, everybody.

56:30

See you.

56:30

Bye.

56:31

Bye.

56:32

Bye.

56:33

Bye.

56:34

Bye.

56:35

Bye.

56:36

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