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Gabrielle Wathen

Gabrielle is a Content Specialist at Higher Logic with a background in journalism, film, and marketing. When she's not writing about online communities or marketing automation, you can find her cuddling her cats Harvey and Wilbur, traveling the world, or storytelling in any way she can. Favorite food: All things cheese. Favorite place: Black Rock City, NV.
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Recent Posts

The Importance of Creating an Online Customer Portal with a Sense of Community

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 14, 2019 at 11:30 AM | 8 minute read

Have you ever spent time with a toddler who is discovering their independence? The moment a growing tyke learns how to do something new, they feel the need to try and do it themselves. There is a certain level of excitability that comes with their newfound independence and fierce determination – not to mention, a common distaste for being told ‘no.’ Sound relatable?

As grown adults in the modern age of tech booms, DIY-everything, and continuously rising customer service expectations, I don’t think we’re that far removed from the demands of a toddler who wants to be in the driver’s seat of their own experiences (and I’m not surprised).

Did you know that 89 percent of U.S. consumers expect brands or organizations to have an online self-service support portal?

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Support, Online Community

How Engagement Tools Improve Association Event Management

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 28, 2019 at 12:20 PM | 5 minute read

Interested in filling more chairs at your next event? Achieving this goal is easier said than done without effective tools, but it’s a common core objective among associations (for good reason).

It is incredibly gratifying for associations to see a spike in event attendance, as participation plays a valuable role in their impact, but poor event management can cause your members to disengage.

Exploring new ways to keep your members engaged and informed about your events can increase overall member satisfaction and translate to a boost in event attendance.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Measure What Matters: KPIs For Online Community Success

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 21, 2019 at 1:34 PM | 5 minute read

Trying to figure out how to measure the success of your online community? There's no one size fits all approach for picking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). That shouldn't come as a surprise – all communities are different, so how you measure the success of an internal community within an organization may differ from that of an external association or customer support community. At any rate, there are some key principles to guide all KPI development.

Your approach to measuring the success of your online community needs to grow from how you measure success for your organization as a whole. What is the shared purpose and value of your online community for the organization and the community members?

Your approach should also reflect community maturity because as it grows and evolves, the way you define success should change and adapt as well.

Let’s boil it down to five quick tips.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Online Community

Does Your Community Throw Love at the World? (Time to Start)

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 14, 2019 at 2:58 PM | 8 minute read

So, I’m sitting here amid three monitors reveling at my flourishing desk plants, surrounded by my fellow marketers and community builders, as the sound coming through my earbuds drowns out their faint keyboard clicks and nearby sneezes, when it hits me: some of y’all aren’t showing your community enough love... and it shows.

I’m listening to the ever-so-delightful Jonathan Van Ness, of Netflix’s Emmy-winning show Queer Eye, chat with Reese Witherspoon about lady entrepreneurship on his podcast Getting Curious. As if their charming and gracious voices streaming into my ears wasn’t enough, their conversation is topical and genuine… and Reese just said something low-key amazing:

“I think the most profound thing you can do if you are an artist or a community builder is just throw love at the world, in any capacity you can.”

-Reese Witherspoon

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Topics: Engagement, Member Retention, Customer Experience, Member Experience, Customer Retention, Marketing Automation, Online Community

5 Marketing Pain Points & Solutions (From Our In-House Experts)

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 7, 2019 at 1:32 PM | 11 minute read

Can we talk about how glamorous the life of a marketer is for a moment? …I didn’t think so. While the role of a marketer can be incredibly interesting and rewarding, it doesn’t come without challenges. The good news? You’re not alone, you hardworking marketer, you! 

The scope of those challenges can differ across industries, so in an effort to understand these pain points we turned to Higher Logic’s trusted marketing experts for insight and solutions.

Regardless of which type of industry marketer you are – association, corporate, B2B, you name it – you might identify with these challenges. Thankfully, we include some resources to help you put your best 2019 marketing strategy into action (with minimal headaches, of course). Bonus: Relatable GIFs 👇

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Topics: Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Improve Intergenerational Communication: 3 Tips to Attract & Retain Younger Members

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 31, 2019 at 2:33 PM | 7 minute read

“Generational hazing has always been a part of our cultural narrative. We need to unite generations to focus on moving forward together.”  –Kim Lear, Keynote Speaker, #HLSF18

When Kim Lear spoke at our most recent Super Forum, she reminded us that improving intergenerational communication has never been more pertinent than now. Tech is still booming with a competitive edge, people are living longer, and younger emerging generations like Millennials and Gen Z’ers will continue to shake up the workplace (and your member base).

Your future success is dependent upon building effective relationships across generational lines, so if you want to know how to attract and retain younger members (or employees), ask yourself:

Am I doing what younger generations actually want, or just what I think they want?

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Topics: Millennials, Member Retention, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

2019 Marketing Strategy: Food for Thought From Seth Godin

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 16, 2019 at 2:24 PM | 6 minute read

The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate your current marketing strategy and decide which tools and changes you can implement to drive maximum success in the months ahead. Now, I know strategizing is no easy feat, but approaching this task doesn’t have to be daunting when you’ve got guidance from the pros.

Seth Godin, a best-selling American author and entrepreneur, recently shared a multitude of thought-provoking perspectives while promoting his newest book This is Marketing on the podcast Self Made Man. The episode focuses on how marketing is changing, and when the host asks about how people should measure the effectiveness of their marketing today, Seth said:

“It begins with the feeling of knowing who would miss you if you didn't show up tomorrow. If your brand were to disappear tomorrow, who would truly miss you? If your podcast didn't go live on its scheduled day, how many people would you hear from? If you shut down your restaurant on Thursday, how many people on Friday would feel bereft?”

You can get a better idea of where you are today, and where you want to go, by considering your answer to this question and contemplating some more of Seth’s marketing points.

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Engagement, Customer Advocacy, Marketing Automation, Online Community

New Year, New Association Goals: 3 Online Community Building Mistakes to Avoid

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 7, 2019 at 10:57 AM | 5 minute read

The good news: there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s Cup. The bad news: there are at least a few wrong ways for an association to approach online community building. And by wrong, I mean misguided – you may not recognize that you’re making these mistakes, so how would you know to resolve them?

In the spirit of reflection, strategy, and righting our wrongs in the new year, I invite you to take a step back and ask yourself: Am I making any of these online community building mistakes? If so, how committed am I to building a strong and sustainable community in 2019 and beyond?

Regardless of what kind of community you’re building, one thing is certain: demonstrating real value to your members should be your ultimate resolution.

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Topics: Marketing Automation, Online Community

How to Use Social Media to Humanize Your Brand in 2019

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on December 27, 2018 at 12:54 PM | 4 minute read

Dear [Valued Customer/Wrong Name],

I have a hunch that being greeted like that made you feel more like a machine than the living, breathing, unique, and invaluable human that you are. Wouldn’t you say? Now, as a consumer in 2019, how much generic and lifeless content are you hoping to, well…consume? My guess would be little to none, but you’ll still run into it, whether it’s in your inbox or your social feeds.

When you’re thinking about how to market your brand in the new year, remember that generic content might be easier to produce, but it’s also easier for people to ignore (and to be honest, it’s not even that much easier to produce, thanks to timesaving tools like marketing automation). Don’t be afraid to take risks. Because here’s the thing about risks – people take them, not brands.

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Topics: Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Member Retention, Customer Engagement, Marketing Automation

What Burning Man's 10 Principles Can Teach You About Building Community

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on November 29, 2018 at 8:55 AM | 26 minute read

 

Some people might be nervous to tell their employer that they’re jet-setting to the desert for Burning Man — because, wait, what is Burning Man anyway? The answer is not a simple one.  

A festival? Nope. A Mad Max-esque utopia? I’d say so. A party in the desert? Sure, but I’ll get back to that. The largest Leave No Trace (LNT) event in the world? You betcha. A new trend? Nope, this all began (on a much smaller scale) back in 1986 when friends Larry Harvey and Jerry James built an 8-foot tall human effigy and burned it on Baker Beach in San Francisco (population: 35).

The Burning Man organization has been an active community for 32 years and counting, and it’s a community unlike any other I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of.

Whether you’re a community builder or a community member, online or in person, I truly believe we could all stand to learn a thing (or ten) from how the Burning Man community operates. But I won’t lie – it’s incredibly daunting to write about. I don’t know a single soul who can confidently capture its essence with mere words, because it’s very much a “you had to be there” kind of place to understand. Alas, as your resident ‘Burner,’ I vow to do my best.

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Topics: Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

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