Who should own community???? 💭

  • 1 December 2022
  • 3 replies
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Userlevel 5
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A very common question when deciding on embracing community is;

Who should own it?

This question came to @anirbandutta and I during our recent session at Gainsight Pulse Europe (Shameless plug alert: Audio and Slides can be found here)

Over the years I have seen all permutations and locations. I can say for us here at Gainsight, the Community Team rolls up into our Chief Customer Officer via the Customer Success Team.

For sure, no matter where your community falls. You need to make sure you prove value to the executive sponsor and person who pays the bills 💰. Only then can you grown and make even more impact company wide.

 

Running a community is a cross team effort, but we wanted to open up the subject to get your thoughts and input.

 

So, in which team do you currently report into? 

  • Marketing
  • Customer Success
  • Product
  • Support
  • Other

or which team do you think you should report into?

 


3 replies

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I guess it all depends where the need originates. Ours was to deflect as many support cases as possible, and to modernize our support offering - hence it started in our customer support organization (which is separate to customer success here).

However, we have a shared responsibility with Marketing - as community has become a great avenue for engaging with our customers outside of Technical Q&A. This helps as they have budget for graphic design, and can drive the brand direction while we get on with helping our customers be successful.

Overall, I think most organizations would feet at home having their community funneled through customer success as a primary stakeholder. But ultimately, I don't think it matters - the use case you deployed your community for should govern where it sits in the organization. It’s been relatively simple to partner internally, and we don’t seem to be stepping on each others toes between departments.

 

agree with @dandre - depends where the original need stems from. our company was super focused on advocacy prior to launching community so it has always sat under marketing. that said, i was hired jointly by the CMO and the CCO so it’s largely considered a hybrid function at our company, even moreso as we begin to improve our interface with the product team via CAB and beta programming. 

I definitely sit in the camp of that believes community is too cross-functional to sit under one function. It may move to sit under different functions as the company grows and focus changes. And I don’t think we’re too far from seeing it defined as a function of it’s own that reports up to CEO.  

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We started in support, moved into customer success, and now are having discussions with C-level about how to get representation there, to make the overall reach of capital-C “Community” more clear to the whole org. So it doesn’t become synonymous with “just” a platform. So, echoing @emily.arentthat “community is too cross-functional to sit under one function.”

However I also agree with @dandre that it “doesn’t matter” that much where it lives, as long as you have good communication and buy-in with teams across the org. Wherever the team lives, we want to link up with the community building that everyone is doing in other teams, one tree with many limbs.

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