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« The New Era of Management by Committee | Main | Leaving IDC...Joining Mzinga »

June 25, 2008

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Kim Kobza

Just to tie these thoughts back into your original question. It is not a challenge of building new communities. The value proposition is how to leverage their existing networks - consumers, partners and employees - to maximize value from those networks. True - if you measure performance on number of members, page views, etc., you might be disappointed. But if you measure performance on the one good product idea, or the one idea that gave the executive team an understanding of an emerging business problem, higher rates of employee retention, or reaching a relatively large number of customers at substantially less costs than traditional brand building programs, the value proposition is not a hard one to make. It requires investment, but the results are not nearly as abstract or distant as executives may at first believe.

They are already spending the money in business processes with much more abstract value propositions in advertising, research and development, focus groups, surveys, partner events, employee reward systems. Comparatively, community (network) building is a bargain if done correctly. Much higher ROI with substantially less abstraction.

Rachel Happe

wow - what a great conversation - lots of great points... clearly an issue that is important to keep an eye on as more companies delve into social apps

Marc Sirkin

Rachel,
New reader, first time commenter - nice post. I'm working on a community designed for CIOs (yea, yea, I know!) at Microsoft. We have very well thought out and communicated deliverables that are in fact 3 years out. I'm super lucky to have management support this sort of long term goal and in fact, would have been extremely worried about this assignment if it were any shorter of a timeframe.

Smart companies (and marketers) had better realize that community building isn't like a tradition launch and measure marketing campaign.

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