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Promotion = Sales?

Posted by annetown Apr 15, 2014

After a semi psychotic week running a trade-in promotion for HTC's One (M8), we saw a lot of good and bad things and it revealed a lot of holes in the way we choreograph incentive and support our community. Needless to say, I've been slowly emerging from maintenance mode the past week.


In my moderation efforts today, I found this little nugget and did a jig at my computer. I'll let you use your deductive reasoning to find out the jig-worthiness of the post:








And in case you were wondering what I was dancing to in my head, you're welcome:

As I promised in Jive Online Community Management: Stop Reacting. Start Impacting., I wanted to give this group a behind-the-scenes look at how we are managing our own JiveX community.  After writing that blog post, I hit reset internally.  I looked at our data, performed some internal interviews, and quickly realized that we had a more complex program than I had anticipated.  I also realized that because Jivers feel empowered to make improvements and engage, we had some groups operating independently with potential overlapping and conflicting needs. Sound familiar?


So, I sat down with our experts in Aurea Professional Services. Together, we developed a different structure for approaching and managing the work (using our own tools and best practices)! For the first time since I joined Jive three years ago, we decided to “practice what we preach.”


First, we revised our program structure:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 9.34.50 AM.png


Then, I got buy-in on our goals, metrics and targets for the next 12 months.  At a high-level, they are:

  • Ensure Customer Success
  • Increase Customer Loyalty
  • Maintain Positive Brand Reputation and Reach
  • Engage Prospects and Partners


Next, I began focusing on upgrading the Jive Community to the latest and greatest version of our software, which was completed over the weekend (see  Shining a Light on JiveX 7.).

I also made it a requirement that we begin to get “cloud-ready” and eliminate all non-essential customizations.  Like many of you, I knew it would be hard to say goodbye to items like Managed Snippets; however, if you can’t have it, we shouldn’t have it! Instead, I can serve as JiveX advocate internally and try to influence product direction. 

Here is the list of customizations that I kept:

  • Supportal, which is needed for all of the MyJive groups
  • Marketo Integration, which is key for our marketing automation program
  • Custom SSO


I also worked with Amber Orenstein Max Calderon and our crew of awesome interns to roll-out a new layout on some of our key pages. (FYI: this group has been part of the proposed changes for the last month).


Now, I’m in the process of working with our Strategist Christy Schoon to evaluate how each department at Jive uses or wants to use the external community.  To help, Christy is testing out new Reference Solution Framework.


Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.12.18 AM.png


For each area, we are defining the following:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Desired outcomes
  • Use cases and value-derived priorities
  • Links and dependencies between pillars
  • Management and governance model
  • Technical requirements


After the strategy sessions are complete, we will produce a project plan defining the sequence of implementation, schedule, and resources required. 


Finally, I’m working on a new marketing plan for the Jive Community, which I’ll be happy to share with the crew in this discussion: How are you marketing your community?


Would love to hear from you! What do you think of the approach? Is this level of transparency helpful for you? 

Finally, if you have The specified item was not found. or see issues report them in the The specified item was not found. space.  Thanks!

This article is about the customer community penguin manager John who is leading his customer penguin community through the four steps of the community lifecycle*. Within the article the reader will learn what customer community tasks a community manager has to do in the second step of the community lifecycle:: the establishment phase (learn more about our customer community approach here).


In my previous blog article about the inception phase, John the Community Manager Penguin literally took advantage of the penguin effect to reach a critical mass of users in his aquatic community. Now it’s important that he adapts his activities to the needs and requirements of the establishment phase, shifting the focus from a micro-oriented approach (directly contacting users, initiating discussions) to a macro-oriented strategy. I will explain in this article why this is important and how he makes the transition.


Nearly all communities pass through a community lifecycle that consists of the same phases:

Inception Establishment Maturity Mitosis. This article will deal with the most important aspect in the establishment phase: engaging in macro-level activities.


John’s customer community is growing larger and larger. He still maintains his contacts with the penguins by sending messages, starting discussions and writing posts. But he’s slowly realizing that the customer community is becoming so big that he’s no longer able to contact each member personally. And on closer examination one sees that this isn’t even necessary. The community has reached a size where it should do this on its own. An emerging group of multipliers now perform these community tasks for John. Multipliers are those members who identify strongly with the customer community; they do lots of important things like getting discussions started, helping other members find their way around the site and winning new users.


John quickly recognizes the new situation and rethinks the activities that he had undertaken for the inception phase. He sees that it is now necessary to identify and support the multipliers. After all, they bring in new members and motivate existing ones. After a while, he notices that fish alone is not incentive enough for the multipliers to stay engaged; instead, they prefer to acquire different rights and privileges like being able to start their own multiplier group or ban penguins from the community for misconduct.

John also has to realign his strategy for acquiring new members. He no longer has the time to contact all potential new members personally. In fact, he needs to pinpoint his target group and divide it into subsets of penguins who have similar needs and priorities, while also developing a suitable marketing plan. The main questions he should ask himself are: Who is my target group, and how can I effectively reach them?


In this phase, John begins to organize regular events and activities in order to keep the customer community attractive to his penguins. He makes sure to plan both one-time and recurring events to provide users with not only a sense of regularity but also with new incentives to stick around. At this point at the latest, John should use gamification techniques to encourage members to engage in the community.


One thing that is extremely important is the community’s content. This should always be up to date and give users new insights into community-related topics. A tried-and-tested approach is creating content directly from the community’s members and activities. There is nothing most members would like more than to read about the community itself. John therefore publishes each week a blog article that introduces interesting penguins in the community. Who doesn’t like reading about himself or his friends? By taking this approach, John is able to create community-based content that prompts other penguins to visit the community, read the blog articles and make efforts to be featured in articles themselves.


He is also putting a lot of thought into the customer community’s strategy during this phase. He knows that it is necessary to constantly collect and evaluate data. Without such information, he can’t tell how the community is performing and whether it’s in good shape. What’s key here is not only gathering quantitative data like the number of active and inactive penguins, but also collecting qualitative data. One such qualitative metric is the so-called sense of community. This measures to what extent members feel they are integrated into the community and the community understands them, as well as how strongly members think they can influence the community. A healthy community has both: very active users with a strong sense of community. John compares the data on his community with his targets and can make adjustments if things aren’t developing as fast as he had hoped.

If John hadn’t adapted his efforts to the phase his customer community is currently going through, the aquatic community would have slim chances of achieving sustainable, long-term growth. Large numbers of his penguins would most likely get bored of connecting in the ocean water, because the community wouldn’t be offering anything new and exciting (events, activities, content) and wouldn’t be further developing itself (strategy). But John wouldn’t even notice this, since he wouldn’t be gathering and evaluating community data.



During the establishment phase, John needs to boost the number of members, make existing members want to stay in the community and keep developing the community’s overall features. In short, his community tasks include:

  1. Attracting new members and multipliers
  2. Motivating existing members to be active in the community through both special one-time and regularly recurring events and activities
  3. Ensuring members and visitors have an exciting experience through, for example, engaging content
  4. Further developing the community through the insights gained from the collection and evaluation of KPIs
  5. Creating a sense of community among the members

John’s customer community will eventually reach a point where only low growth and a modest increase of user activity can be expected; this is called the maturity phase. You’ll learn what community managers like John should do in this phase in my next blog article.


About the author:


Sandra Brückner, who studied business informatics at the Technical University of Dresden, has worked as social business consultant since 2012. She recently joined the Berlin-based social business consultancy and technology provider Pokeshot///SMZ, where she leverages her extensive intranet and community expertise to consult organizations on how to optimize their change management and community management processes.

*The community lifecycle model presented in this article is based on the works of Iriberri, A. & Leroy, G. (2009): A Life-Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success and Millington, R. (2013): The Online Community Lifecycle.

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