If you run communities or leverage social media as part of your business you can participate in the 2009 survey here.
Sponsored by Deloittes, Beeline labs and the Society for New Communications Research, the 2008 survey had some very interesting findings around the management and cost of online communities.
For example the 2008 survey had the following major takeaways,
#1: Communities are about Delivering Game-Changing Results
- Communities can increase revenue per customer dramatically, i.e., 50%
- Communities will increase product introduction success ratios
- Communities amplify everything you do- increasing effectiveness and decreasing costs
- Communities should be an important part of the CMO’s toolset (but for many large companies - there is an under-investment and scale problem)
- Companies should evolve the role of the CMO into Chief Community Officer (but that will require drastic changes in attitude and approach to marketing)
- If done properly, communities will transform the way marketing works (reduced costs, improved effectiveness, new opportunities)
- Mismatch between community goals and associated investments
- Major gaps between Community Goals and what is being measured
- Communities have yet to combine with major talent initiatives
- Communities will transform most business processes
- The “build it and they will come” fallacy
- The “let’s keep it small so it doesn’t move the needle” phenomenon
- The “not invented here” syndrome
- Marketing, Research, Sales and/or PR departments ran the organisation's online community in 60% of cases. IT ran the community only 6% of the time and Customer Service only 2% of the time,
- most communities (71%) were managed by one or fewer full-time staff, with another 13% managed by 2-5 staff,
- the annual operating budget for 58% of communities was under US$50,000 and between US$50,000 and $200,000 for another 24% of communities,
- the majority of organisations (85%) learnt about online community through participating in online communities or reading blogs - attending conferences was used for learning by 53% of organisations and the media by 51% of organisations, Consultants and agencies were only used by 28% of organisations and Analysts by 26%,
- the biggest obstacle to success (51%) was getting people to engage, the second biggest was having enough time to manage the community at 44% and attracting people to the community was third at 35%.
So my takeaways?
- Online communities are about community, not technology - don't give IT control,
- there's not a large investment to start,
- you should participate online to learn about online communities - don't rely on consultants and agencies to build your internal understanding,
- you have to work the community - don't rely on the community building itself,
- tap into existing communities where possible, it's faster, cheaper, easier and more effective than re-inventing the wheel.
It's the people who are not reading blogs who need the education!