The Community Club

Discussion on: Defining Community for Businesses

hollyfirestone profile image
Holly Firestone

Really great content here, Mac. I look at this similarly, but with one key differenceโ€“

I would add a layer between customer community and external community.

The middle layer that I feel is missing: I see this as a community that includes audiences outside customers, but that still identify as part of the community. Not just prospects, but anyone that makes up your "ecosystem." Developers, partners, etc. Sure, this could also include prospects, but I'd include prospects with the customer community since they're potential customers. There's some in-the-weeds stuff around permissions/gated content, etc, but just speaking very generally about the audiences in the customer community, they could fit there.

External community as it's stated here is essentially just an audience, right?

Market is a really interesting community IMO. Especially if you're creating a category.

There's also the idea of communities within community (ie: sub-communities, "internal community" communities) which is a whole other topic in itself!

The lines are already a bit blurry though, especially as community teams expand the community value prop internally. These different kinds of communities are all extremely important pieces of the puzzle, which exemplifies the need to up-level community vs layering it under a specific team (marketing, support, etc). Internal/HR is the outlier there, but it's possible that will change...soon.

alourie profile image
Alex Lourie

I actually see the layer you're describing, Holly, as the exact example of the external community - it includes the members of the inside team/community, the customers, the partners, and anyone else interested in what your "company" or "thing" is about, like the Design Leadership Forum in the InVision example that Mac provided.

But surely all these functions are going to be blurry on the edges, and highly dependant on the organisation.

mac profile image
Mac Author

Appreciate the awesome reply Holly!

Perhaps the term 'customer' is incorrect for that type of community, as you're exactly right that it can contain more than just customers. Perhaps 'ecosystem community' would be better.

I also don't think external is necessarily just an audience - I'd say Community Club is a good example of what I'm trying to define as external for Commsor. It's a community for folks involved in the community industry, not necessarily involved with Commsor in any way.

Overall, however you define the layers, the lines are definitely blurry, and blurring more from the looks of it!