I am thrilled to share the most comprehensive directory of B2B online customer communities on the web and perhaps even the planet! We published our first Big List in 2011 and just finished an exhaustive period of research and review to bring you the following 106 dynamic communities.
B2B Online Community
We decided that it’s time to revamp the list and dig deeper in the hopes to provide even more nuanced and generative research about the spectrum of B2B communities, and to highlight those that are knocking the ball out of the park.
Cue the 2014 B2B Customer Communities Research Project! Our mission is to collect and share information about B2B community powerhouses and shine the spotlight on these community building heroes. We’ll be compiling another list and following up with the most intriguing communities for case studies.
What happens when a firm that specializes in supply chain management takes on an online customer community? Will they apply…
Cloud technology is the future. Most of us celebrate the speed and efficiencies it brings. But customer satisfaction will determine its ultimate success. To achieve that will require raising the bar on replicating the human touch using online community and social business techniques. I know it can be done, and the success stories will lead this transformation to new heights.
The biggest challenge I see now is that communities used to be considered a strategic initiative. And we’ve sort of fallen back into thinking of them as a marketing program. Many times, communities are being used to broadcast information, as a marketing tool or tactic, and not as an opportunity for relationship-building.
Part of it is the tools are much easier and cheaper to build. So organizations can stand one up from a tool basis quite cheaply, and not pay heed to some of the human relationships and processes that need to be in place to make them successful.
But due to the current failure rate and some of the challenges in the industry, we’re coming back to the future, as the saying goes. Organizations are now starting to say, “Hey, communities aren’t a tool. They’re part of our strategic footprint, part of our customer and partner relations” and are giving them the strategic and operational attention they require to succeed.
True online community successes are cause for both celebration and examination. For that reason, it is with great pleasure that I am focusing this month’s blog on outstanding case studies and interviews with the best of the best. My hope is that through these examples, ideas, and best practices, online community leaders can gain actionable inspiration. Today we have with us Nick Howe, Vice President of Learning and Collaboration at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).
Nick and his team recently launched HDS’ first global online community for customers, partners and developers and it is causing quite a stir due to its’ innovative approach to collaboration. The HDS online community has already been widely recognized by the media and a candidate for a number of industry awards in less than 6 month’s time post-launch. (Disclosure – HDS is a client). However, magic didn’t happen overnight, as many months of strategic planning and development were dedicated to the formation of this online community. It is likely that the online community’s solid foundation may be one of the main reasons why it is experiencing such rapid and ongoing success.
What happens behind the scenes of major B2B online communities? How do traditional businesses like manufacturing use online community to advance? As part of our ongoing series of interviews with outstanding B2B online community leadership, we spoke with Jennifer Mitchell, the Lead, Community & Social Business Center of Excellence at Analog Devices, Inc.
Analog Devices, Inc., (ADI: NASDQ), is an American, multinational semiconductor company specializing in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts. Their revenues top $2.6B.
Just last week, EngineerZone won not one but two premier awards for B2B online community. EngineerZone was awarded the winning entry for the 2013 Forrester Groundswell Award in the category of Social Relationship, Business to Business AND The Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) 2013 Commendation of Excellence in the Online Community Category Corporate Division.
Online communities come in many shapes and sizes, and serve a wide range of needs. Not surprisingly, the performance of an online community will also vary widely. One reason some organizations do not achieve the results they would like from their online community is a mismatch between the style or focus of the community, and the type of interactions between the members and the organization. There are four styles of online communities: Marketing Megaphones, Lead Generators, Customer Hugs and the coveted but often elusive Innovation Center.
Let’s start with this: “online community” doesn’t have a clear definition. Even before hashtags and Pinterest and Facebook pages, online…