One interesting observation from the ongoing “2008 Tribalization of Business Study” is that while the state of communities has progressed by leaps and bounds since the last community 2.0 conference, the market is still very young with many people confused about what to do and what to expect.
One way of gauging this is by looking at what people found to be unexpected as part of their community efforts:
- Reach of Word of Mouth for free
- Knowledge about customers
- That our market really will tell us what they want — if we just ask
- Greater visibility
- Lots of active users
- Ideas generated by communities
- How happy customers are with the outreach
It is sort of funny that most people will setup communities to get to know more about their users, get ideas from the outside inside the company faster and increase word of mouth, just to name a few, and then get surprised when this actually happens.
Another unexpected consequence, this one potentially dangerous is “Advertising Revenue.” If the purpose of your community was not advertising, and so far no companies in the study have indicated that as a goal, then discovering advertising revenue as a by-product may potentially lead to spamming your community and eventual failure.