It's amazing how much we learn from our Customer Advisory Group conversations. One thing that was a bit of a shocker this go around was how many people not only don't have business metrics for their communities but that most of them "just set them up and let them do their thing." A few people even admitted to being "scared of their own community."
I guess its not a total surprise. I mean, how many companies out there do a good job engaging with their customers in order to really understand their needs? A handful? So its not a stretch to imagine that companies would avoid their community too.
That said, my opinion on this is changing as I continue to play with Googles Adwords Analytic tools.
[Googles Adwords Analytic tools|http://www.flickr.com/photos/50884898@N00/132010864]
Theyre cool and fun to play with. The results quickly pull out important questions that shape our decisions. I now send them around since everyone asks to see them. The big "Aha" here is that it's no longer just a friend to Marketing. All of a sudden, the whole company cares about things that we didnt talk about before.
Between this and our conversations with customers, our eyes are very open to how we can improve our own products. Customers have said it's important to have this same level of "cool community buzz reporting." And our whole company is excited about the prospects. In fact, it's now one of the most prioritized projects going on in Engineering. Keep a lookout for some very cool stuff this summer.