Last month, we released data from over 400 community and marketing professionals in a research study called Keys to Community Readiness and Growth. The study used mixed methods, including an extensive survey followed by interviews with experienced community professionals.

One of the most important findings we uncovered from all this data-diving? Companies are waking up to the business impact community is capable of having on core operations and revenue. In fact, 86% of companies now believe that having a branded online community will positively impact core operations, and 85% believe it will improve the customer journey and increase trust.

What does this mean?

For many years, community professionals struggled to prove their business value, get organizational buy-in, and clarify where they should focus their time and efforts. Their businesses may understand that community has some nebulous value, but until recently, many could not articulate clear goals that the community would accomplish.

As a result, businesses would hire community professionals without knowing what business value they would drive and how to map the impact of their work. Community professionals would often grow disillusioned, unfocused, bored, or burn out.

This data shows that companies are now seeing the community light. They know that community can impact the way that they do business from the inside-out. Those who have launched community strategies (two-thirds of our respondents) and have been successful have shared what makes them work well: clear business goals, early growth, and a dedicated community builder.

As a result, they’re hiring community professionals at a greater rate. Many are gathering the resources they need to launch community for the very first time.

2016 is the year of clearly articulated community strategy — and it means a hiring boom for community pros. And this isn’t just something we are seeing as a result of being deeply embedded in the community industry. Community was the buzzword of the year at 2016’s SXSW Interactive as a whole, according to Apple’s Musa Tariq:

Let’s look at the data.

Community Impacts Core Operations

Companies who have launched communities have opened their eyes to the need to staff their efforts. While those considering an online community have not yet realized that they often need a strategist or practitioner to help guide their way from pre-launch (only 64% plan to staff theirs in-house after launch), we discovered that 9 in 10 branded communities have a dedicated community professional behind them. Of those, half of the communities who have a community have more than one.

Number of Community ManagersFurthermore, a lack of internal resources and support is a reason for community strategy failure in 31% of organizations, the data indicates. Companies should be weary of meeting a similar community demise, and it’s clear that brands around the world are opening their eyes to their need to hire experienced community practitioners and strategists.

These companies are ready to invest in their community’s success by hiring someone like you. And we’ve got the astounding job opportunities to prove it. Check out the CMX Job Board to find your next dream job or hire a community professional today!

Carrie Melissa Jones

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