By Ted McEnroe, The Community Roundtable
Yesterday was Easter and for many kids, that means lots of candy. But when I was a kid, I remember the disappointment of certain candy too. The biggest one? That big, delicious looking chocolate bunny in the basket wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It was hollow.
We have learned a lot about communities recently, thanks to a new service we launched last year – the Community Performance Benchmark. We use the research and knowledge we’ve developed with the annual State of Community Management survey to analyze a community program’s maturity on the eight competencies of the Community Maturity Model. If your community strategy maps out your plan, and your community roadmap lays out your route, the Community Performance Benchmark is basically your GPS – it tells you where you are relative to where you want to be.
What we’ve learned is that sustained, productive engagement is more than good tactics. It’s more than good strategy. It’s more than a good operational approach. In fact, it requires all three. Without one of these elements, community value is hard to achieve and community management is, well, a bit hollow. The challenge today is that most communities are doing one of these things well. More mature communities are doing two of these well and almost no one has a well developed strategy paired with an operational system and good tactics.
We worked with one client recently whose answers to the initial benchmarking survey suggested they were a highly-mature community, but they weren’t seeing the results they were expecting from those investments.
They looked good – they had a strategy in place, and the right operational structures to move that strategy forward but they hadn’t really invested in good tactics to ensure that great strategy and structure resulted in engagement. In short – their community looked good on paper, but something was missing.
A second client has a solid strategy in place – they knew where they wanted to go – and had invested in great tactics. They were welcoming new members, they had a lot of engagement, but things were chaotic and inconsistent. Taking a closer look via the benchmarking analysis, it became clear that while they had community managers generating interest and engagement, the organization hadn’t put in place the operational pieces to structure and capture the value of all that interaction. They had the external elements of successful communities, but no unified operational plan to ensure their managers were working efficiently and effectively. At first glance it looked great, but something was missing.
When you are seeking to move your community forward, strategy, operations and tactics have to work together for you to succeed. Strategy shapes and defines your approach. Operations structures that strategy, puts it into motion and keeps engagement focused on value. And your tactics are the ways you make it happen on a day-to-day basis. Easy to say, but hard to do – most organizations can really say they hit the mark on 1 or 2 out of 3. The Community Performance Benchmark has proven to be one way to illuminate those gaps for some of our clients.
How do you find where your bunny is hollow?
The Community Performance Benchmark uses our extensive research database to provide organizations with a comparative community maturity analysis and recommendations to enhance community performance. Learn more about the CPB and other services from The Community Roundtable on the Services page of communityroundtable.com.