Community lifecycle

Gordon makes reference to the customer lifecycle to as a method for thinking about the participants in community activities. Bruce Clay and Janet Ryan elaborate on the buying continuum:buying-model

  • Reach – Claim someone’s attention
  • Acquisition – Bring that person into your sphere of influence 
  • Conversion – Turn that person into a paying customer
  • Retention – Keep that person as a customer
  • Loyalty – Turn that person into an advocate

This model is tied very tightly to customer purchasing behaviour and presents a model for marketing to customers. It applies to community, but a lot of metrics are different. Most of the metrics are tied to purchasing behaviour. 

Reach

Early in the launch of TorCamp and DemoCamp, reach was a primary goal. By identifying key people who I wanted to participate, i.e., in social marketing speak the influencers, you just create vanity links to them. The other big challenge early in starting DemoCamp was fairly nerd-oriented using only RSS and a wiki for the initial planning and organizing of events and activities. This probably reduced the understanding of what the community was about and the ability for non-techies to join in the conversation.

Tactics

  • Advertising
  • Blogging in particular vanity linking for key influencers
  • Commenting on other blogs
  • Participation on other sites
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Flickr
    • Slideshare
  • Common Tagging
  • Podcasting

Acquisition

This is making the content accessible and understandable to a large audience.

The efforts here

Tactics and Tools

  • Low cost and low effort event registration
    • Free for new attendees, pay what you can
  • Open participation format

Conversion

In the TorCamp and DemoCamp world, conversion is less about creating paying customers but about getting people to an event. This has included a very simple mantra of “build it an they will come”. By drawing a line in the sand, i.e., finding a venue and hosting an event the idea was this was an actionable item that people could begin their participation.

Tactics and Tools

  • Low cost and low effort event registration
    • Free for new attendees, pay what you can
  • Open participation architecture
  • Mailing list signup
  • RSS subscription
  • Shared event calendar
    • Make it easy to find out when events are happening

Retention

In the case of DemoCamp is pretty simple, get people to return to a future event.

Tactics and Tools

  • High quality content and invited presenters
  • Personal connections to existing community members
    • Community ambassadors
  • Shared event calendar
    • Make it easy to find out when events are happening

Loyalty

Loyalty is a challenging activity. As part of the DemoCamp activities this has been embraced by 2 primary activities, “tell someone that you think should attend the next DemoCamp” and it’s “the derivatives that matter most”. We focused on the early DemoCampToronto events by making sure people were encouraged to invite others. Also embracing events and groups that are separate from the original vision including CaseCamp, MoMoCamp, FacebookCamp, DrupalCampToronto and others.

Loyalty is what drives reach.

Tactics and Tools

  • Create advocates and evangelists that invite others to the event
  • Blogging, photos, podcasts, etc. using common tagging by attendees
  • Create new events using similar format and DNA