In a very real sense, marketing is community management. However, in the realms of business, the form and function of ‘community’ has always been ill-defined and fickle, basically looking like staff performing community service in a branded t-shirt for an afternoon. What if there was a better way to measure, monitor, and understand the value of community management for marketers, insights that could help them increase closed deals and reduce acquisition costs?
Well, you’re in luck because we talk about community management, behavior change, and marketing in the latest episode of What Gets Measured.
Rachel Happe is an analyst and change management consultant with over 25 years experience helping organizations implement emerging technologies to advance their business strategies. Rachel has worked with a diverse set of clients such as SAP, BASF, City Year, Canadian Medical Association, H&R Block, and Microsoft. She’s currently the Founder of Engaged Organizations and The Community Roundtable and today she brings her experience and expertise to What Gets Measured.
“The definition of community is simple; any group of people with shared artifacts,” states Rachel. “However, the word gets battered around a lot particularly in the business world,” she explains, “as do the terms, ‘collaboration’ and ‘engagement.’”
Thanks to a proliferation of platforms and pithy methodologies, community for businesses has become a manicured, managed, box ticking affair, more than ever before. However,Rachel also points out one of the benefits of a business-like approach to “community,” is that workplaces can be more intentional about focusing and directing human capital towards a goal.
Rachel then discusses how businesses and marketers approach measuring community by summarizing her article “Calculating the ROI of Customer Engagement,” which she wrote for Harvard Business Review in 2016.
“People that study and advocate for community engagement get edgy around ROI,” explains Rachel. “But there is an impact you can measure with community; what is the value of advocacy?”
What if a thriving community could reduce CAC? Rachel thinks it’s possible. “If a prospect comes into the community and gets all the answers they need before converting, all without wasting a sales associate’s time, what’s that worth? Customer advocacy really matters.”
Rachel goes on to connect effective community management with an appreciation for technical architecture and IT experience.
“IT used to function like technical custodians,” says Rachel. “IT today is about layers and layers of technology, and if an individual can’t discern what’s truly valuable, they’ll be less likely to make the proper decisions.”
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Calculating the ROI of Customer Engagement on Harvard Business Review