How to create an effective strategy for your occupiers?
Updated: Jun 10
If you don't know where you're going, it's hard to plan. Therefore, it's important for your community to set meaningful goals and plan the steps for how to fulfill these goals. Whether you’re looking to set new priorities, outline plans for growth, determine a product roadmap or plan your investment decisions, you’ll need a strategy. Community strategy is essential for every community’s success, and we will help you with the first steps. Let's have a look:
Step 1: Gather the facts
To know where you’re heading, you have to know where you are right now. Before you start looking ahead, you should review past performance and your current situation. Look at each area of the business and your community, then determine what worked well, what could have been better and what opportunities lie ahead. There are many tools and techniques available to help with this process, such as SWOT analysis.
Step 2: Get to know your business needs
In this step, you will revise the business purpose of your community. Answer these questions: Why did you create your community? What value does your community bring to your members and your company? What distinguishes your community from others? Do you know the SPACE model created by CMX?
The SPACE model is the framework for defining your community’s business value. It is crucial for the community strategy to be incorporated in your business strategy. It has to be clear to everybody in your company how the community contributes to the success of the business. All communities can derive their business value from one of the following areas:
If you would like to learn more about the SPACE model, read this article.
Step 3: Get to know your community members
If you want to build a successful community you have to be sure that you fulfill your community members' needs. Cultivate a trusted learning environment where your people can be heard, have an opportunity to give feedback and bring new ideas. Don’t make assumptions and ask your community members or conduct surveys. This will provide insights into what the customers really need and helps you deliver better value. The questions must emphasize both ‘why’ and ‘how’ to get a clearer picture of what has to be accomplished in order to provide a superior customer experience. And don't forget that the members' purpose and the business purpose must overlap. This overlap is called a shared purpose and will become the baseline for your community.
Below, you can find 5 tips on how to get to know your community members:
Build member personas (Focus your efforts on improving the experience for real people and use cases.)
Do not underestimate the power of the onboarding process (Welcome new members and collect data during the onboarding process.)
In-person or virtual activities (Events are great opportunities for community members not only to get to know other members but you as well and vice versa.)
Collect feedback on a regular basis (Gather feedback so you can adjust your community strategy and activities to better meet community members' needs.)
Use online data (Collect and analyze all data which your online environment provides you. They are a goldmine of community data.)
Step 4: Set a vision statement
When you’re aware of the community purpose and you know the needs of your community members, you can start setting a vision statement. What do you consider a successful community? How will your community look in 1/3/5 years? The vision statement should be motivational, ambitious and realistic. This serves as a guide for creating objectives and goals in the community, thus providing a roadmap that is to be followed by everyone from your team. Unfortunately, despite the importance of a vision statement, many communities do not have it. This creates confusion in your team, making it harder to achieve set objectives and goals.
Step 5: Measurement
Creating, managing and reviewing a strategy requires you to capture relevant data, break down large chunks of it, and plan, prioritize and organize relevant information. Data is POWER. The more information you have, the better equipped you are to update your community activities and strategy. It is important to keep in mind that every community has its own metrics. There are unique elements in your community you'll want to measure, as these will lead you incrementally towards your overall community goals.
Read more in the article What to Measure in Your Community? and don't forget to measure what matters!
Step 6: Action plan
You have all the data, you know your community purpose, vision, and values; you know your community members, you have identified the shared purpose, set goals and decided what metrics to measure. Now, it’s time to create an action plan and think about the individual steps needed to reach your final destination. The last step in the process of strategic planning is to think about how many people and what budget you will need for these activities. Best of luck!
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