Tag Archives: retention

My interview on Community Signal

Last month I had the great pleasure of being on Patrick O’Keefe’s Community Signal podcast. I’ve been a big fan of Patrick’s excellent blogging on community for some time, and his podcast has maintained that high level of quality.

Patrick did excellent prep and obviously knows his stuff, so I think he really got one of the best interviews of my career out of me. We touch on retention, volunteer management, legality of community members doing free work, the reddit revolution, free speech, choosing the right company to work for, and more.

Listen to the podcast here.

Nobody seems to own retention. Let’s take it on.

The other day I ran across Bill Johnston’s analysis of a report on customer lifecycle marketing. Next time I see Bill, I’m going to have to buy him a drink, because he’s spot on.

Here are the basic punchlines:

  • Customer lifecycle marketing is one of the hot new things. It’s simple: Instead of thinking about customers just when you’re trying to woo them, think about customers throughout their whole lifecycle with your company.
  • Retention is a HUGE part of that.
  • …but nobody seems to own retention.

This is where community professionals come in.

I’ve long argued that community-building is uniquely suited to focus on retention. What other practice emphasizes long-term gains, engagement, satisfaction, and return business as heavily? None I can think of. There are oodles of professionals focused on acquiring customers, but very few focused on retaining them.

Community professionals should own retention.

Not help out. Not advise. Own. We are the best people to do this, and it gives us a seat at the table that “helping with acquisition” or “decreasing support costs” or “making people happy” doesn’t.

Ask around. Who owns retention at your company? Likely, nobody. Take it on. Do cohort retention analysis. Ask people why they unsubscribe. Plaster “retention” on your cubicle, because this is your chance to make a huge difference, get the attention you deserve, and build some wins for company and customers.

Events drive retention

The effect that user groups has on sales and retention is undeniable. Over the past five years at Brainshark, we have carefully watched the effects of meeting our customers for these in-person events.

Here are the results:

  1. Within 90 days of the meeting, our customers use the product an average of 15% more.
  2. Renewal rates are 10-15% far higher for customers that participate in the user group program.

From CMX Hub

I am so ecstatic that community professionals are beginning to measure and share numbers like this. I will keep yelling until I go hoarse: Community management is about retention! It’s a hard thing to measure, but it is measurable, as demonstrated here. CEOs are not great at understanding this, and you’ll often get pushed to focus on lead-gen or upselling. These are not the jobs of community, and if you try to build a community while pushing your product, you will face significant challenges. Community management is about retention.