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The 2020 Community Industry Trends Report

In 2017, we published our first CMX research report to help community professionals understand how organizations were developing and measuring the value of their communities. This year’s Community Industry Trends report continues in that vein, but it also explores a new dynamic in greater detail; the value and differences between in-person and online communities.

This research will help you understand:

  1. How businesses are investing in community,
  2. What they’re measuring,
  3. The tools they’re using to measure, and
  4. What their top challenges are, so you can plan your 2020 Community Strategy accordingly.

You can download the 2020 Community Industry Trends Report for free, and keep reading to learn what we found in this year’s research.

There is a lot of good news to report. As communities continue to evolve and mature, they are becoming indispensable within the organization. In this study, 88% of community professionals said that community is critical to their company’s mission. 85% said that their community has had a positive impact on their business.

The reported numbers back this up, too. Fewer than 1 in 5 report they struggle with budget, and 65% say their organization will be increasing their budget for community over the next 12 months.

While optimism abounds, so does opportunity for improvement. Even though organizations are investing in community, about a third of respondents struggle to quantify the value of the communities. The type of metrics community professionals track are often vanity measures instead of something that ties directly to business value — and the core objectives of their communities.

The most common objective of branded communities is customer retention and loyalty. Yet, fewer than half of those who cite this as the primary goal for their communities, are tracking retention as a metric. So there’s a disconnect between what teams say the value of their community is, and what they’re able to measure.

This makes sense, as fewer than one-third of community professionals are using a CRM that connects community data back to customer data. That means, for more than two thirds of the industry, it’s impossible to connect community data back to retention-driven revenue.

The big themes from this year’s research are:

  1. Community programs are increasingly mature and focused on scaling.
  2. The majority of programs include both online and in-person communities, and there are unique advantages to both.
  3. Increasing engagement is the top frustration for both online and in-person communities.
  4. Customer retention is the primary goal for most communities, both in-person and online. This is a shift from our last report in which customer support was the top goal.
  5. Community professionals continue to struggle with measuring their value in a quantitative way.
  6. Organizations intrinsically see the value of community and are continuing to increase investment.

Our goal in this report is to give you a better understanding of the state of the community industry, help you see where you have opportunities to improve, and to ultimately help you make your communities wildly successful for your members and your organizations.

We hope your 2020 community strategies will benefit from the insights provided in this report, and it leads you to build more thriving, valuable communities.

Download the 2020 Community Industry Trends Report now. It’s free, and ungated.

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