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« Inability to track ROI Does Not Absolve You from Measuring | Main | 20 Years of the Web - My Take »

January 25, 2010


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Universities would do well to adopt this kind of thinking. When their alumni/ae do well, they have the opportunity to do well, but only if relationships are there and have been nurtured from the early stages. "Brand" affinity is not enough.


Thanks for facilitating this conversation, Rachel. I wonder if companies could start to see business development and community management as part of the same function. Bus dev often includes alliance management, and of course, esp in the B2B world, comm mgment can also. We've been considering, I think, CM to be part of PR and marketing, but maybe it's more a function of bus dev... or bus dev is a function of CM...

Either way, I think the state dept model is interesting.

And perhaps it goes the other way as well... the state dept could start to look at what it does as CM. How would that change gov?

And again, I think the intelligence gathering aspect is perhaps an undersold function of CM, even if it's done in a non-agressive way. C-managers hold a lot of knowledge, even if just in their heads, about the competitive and complementary landscape.

I like the idea above about the applicability to higher ed, where long-term relationship development is especially important.

Isaac Hazard

What a fascinating model Rachel. Way to think big. I love the idea of looking at the value produced by a long running governemnt process and seeing how business could benefit. We've certainly seen our fair share of thinking in the opposite direction (see GWB the first MBA president.)

To take this particular idea to the next level, it's probably important to explore which parts of this model are already parts of the mission of existing departments (biz dev, marketing, corporate inteligence)as is alluded to in Lioncaller's comment above. Then look at the emerging responsibilities/skill sets of the Community Manager profession and see how they best fit. My guess is that ultimately you won't see a 1-to-1 correspondence between State Department functions and CM functions, but that a combination of CMs, Marketers, and Biz Dev folks will be needed.

Thanks again for the solid outside the lines thinking.


Claudia - thanks for spurring the conversation and for the comments. It's a really interesting model to look to (if not exactly copy) and consider what that model does well that maybe companies don't - and vise versa. And, yes - pausing to consider what current functions this approach might encompass, as Isaac suggests, is also interesting.

Isaac - thanks for stopping by and commenting - glad it made you stop and think :) Don't know either whether it is really a perfect model to replicate but... it does do some things well that current business structures don't tend to.

Amber Naslund

Your analogy is deeper and more analyzed than mine, but it's like you're in my head a bit.

I've been referring to community folks - or the social media types in general - as the New Interpreters. We're translators, speakers of multiple languages, wearers of many hats and needing to understand more disciplines and attitudes than just our own.

I feel like so much of what we have in business right now is the proverbial failure to communicate, and we're seeing a renaissance of people who not only embrace the importance of communication from multiple perspectives, but who have the passion and skills to be the catalyst for it.

Thanks for the thinking.

Rachel Happe

Hi Amber -

High compliment coming from you - specifically because you are building a team of community managers that will need some type of role definition/demarcation (even if not horribly formal). And, you're right, it is mostly a communications issues. Companies are quite complex and the networks in which they interact are also complex so distilling that complexity and translating it is critical for a company to make productive, efficient headway.

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