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2019 State of Community Management: What Now? 5 Stats with Action Items for Executive Stakeholders + Community Leaders

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 26, 2019 at 1:08 PM

People moving in an arrow

The data published in The Community Roundtable’s 10th Annual State of Community Management report was collected from 325 community programs between January and March 2019. ICYMI: We shared a collection of 39 nitty-gritty stats from the report in our first blog recap.

Communities are change agents, there’s no doubt about it. The 2019 State of Community Management report reveals that communities are transforming organizations in fascinating (and profitable) ways. Program outcomes can be connected to a variety of complex business objectives like customer retention, innovation, and culture change.

Because communities are complex, adaptive systems, they have the ability to address a variety of complex problems with a multitude of different solutions.

Furthermore, internal and external communities generate an average of 6,469% ROI for organizations. If you like the sound of that, consider the report's findings that ROI tends to follow this trend as communities age:

  • At 2 years: 1,352%
  • At 4 years: 6,295%
  • At 7 years: 7,593%
  • At 10 years: 10,158%

With so much valuable community management data to digest from the report, it can be challenging to prioritize where and how to take action. So, let’s briefly review The Community Roundtable’s recommendations for executive stakeholders and community leaders, based on their diligent research and report findings.

Whether you’re an executive looking to advance your strategy or a community leader in need of clear direction and resources, these statistics and action items will help inform your next steps.

Be Deliberate with Data: Advanced Strategies Get More Support

The good news is that there’s an increasing amount of support from executives, especially for community programs with advanced strategies. Wait, what is an advanced community strategy? 

Advanced strategies are approved, operational, measurable strategies that can be correlated with other success assessments.

In layman’s terms: your strategy has been approved by your stakeholders, it’s live and operational, you’re actively executing on it, and you have an objective you can present with measures that prove said objective is being met.

According to the #SOCM19 report:

“Community programs with advanced strategies enjoy support from 73% of their organization’s executives versus 63% for all community programs. That support translates into budget, with 47% of community programs with advanced strategies having fully-funded roadmaps versus just 17% of all programs.”

Overwhelming support from executive stakeholders is a step in the right direction, now it’s just critical that they reinforce their verbal support with tangible financial investments to secure sustainability. 

You can check out the full report for more valuable details on how and why to strengthen your organization (and the success of your customers or members) with a community in the digital age.

In the meantime, The Community Roundtable recommends taking the following actions in correlation with these statistics from their most recent State of Community Management report. What's clear is that community leaders need increasing support, and executive stakeholders are seeking the knowledge they need to make strategic decisions.

When both parties are deliberate about identifying their pain points and taking action with clear communication, you can align success.

Remember: To build a successful, impactful community, you must do it All Together. 

1. 70% of community teams lack an approved roadmap

What executive stakeholders can do: “Initiate discussions with the community team to understand how their communities have changed and how they expect community growth and needs to change in the future.”

What community leaders can do: “Develop a roadmap of what you believe you need to improve community performance – and use is as a discussion tool with stakeholders to build a budget.”

Resource: Customer Journey Mapping 101: The What, Why, and How

2. Communities with advanced strategies are 2x as likely to be able to prove value

What executive stakeholders can do: “Invest in developing a measurable strategy and getting it approved and operational.”

What community leaders can do: “Continue to educate yourself and stakeholders with research and cases studies.”

Resource: Measure What Matters: KPIs For Online Community Success

3. Only 24% of community teams acknowledge a business skills gap

What executive stakeholders can do: “Provide professional development for the community team, particularly in business skills.” Additionally, you can, “Mentor community team leaders on business and operational approaches.”

What community leaders can do: “Identify a business mentor that can help navigate organizational operations and decision-making approaches.” Additionally, you can (and should always), “Advocate for your own professional development.”

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Resource: You’re Incredibly Busy – But You Need to Make Time for the Business Skills that Will Keep Your Community Going

4. Only 25% of community roles are approved by HR

What executive stakeholders can do: “Initiate conversations with HR and Finance so community leaders can help institutionalize roles and document community value.”

What community leaders can do: “Write a job description and get agreement on your role and responsibilities. Practice setting limits as a way to educate stakeholders on what is reasonable.”

Resource: How to Grow Your Community Management Career Faster 

5. 59% of community teams lack a dedicated budget

What executive stakeholders can do: “Secure a dedicated budget for the community program to ensure its sustainability.”

Okay, community leaders, you’re off the hook for this one (as it pertains more directly to executive stakeholders). We know that this budgeting action item is much easier said than done, but we believe in you, exec$—you have the power and you can do it! If you need to clear up space in your budget, check out the resource to learn more about minimizing support costs. 

Resource: 8 Reasons Your Customer Support Improves with an Online Community

We Want More, We Want More! Get the Full State of Community Management 2019 Report + Start Prioritizing Your Action Items

If this felt like a tease, it’s because it is—the full report is 45 pages, overflowing with hardy research. You can expect to learn more about The Community Roundtable’s approach to measuring engagement and value, how advanced strategies assess risk, how to use their “Community Maturity Model,” and so, so much more. You’ll even get to see some of the smiling, hardworking faces behind the research report that has become the gold standard in community.

For the love of your organization’s community, customers, and employees, download the full State of Community Management 2019 report below to uncover more details about the factors that play into each of the aforementioned online community stats.

Download the Full #SOCM19 Report

Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

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