The V2C framework enables you to align outcomes of your community and programs with member and business value, and ensure that community is the best solution.
A lot of the focus around community is on engagement: the tactics, tools, and metrics to use to increase member interaction. That's an essential component, but more product communities are closed due to a lack of business impact than a failure to get enough engagement.
You can build a thriving community and it'll still get shuttered if the business doesn't derive enough value, or the value isn't clear enough to gain continued investment.
It's not just something to consider when you create a community. It can also help identify the source of issues in existing communities, too.
Successful, sustainable product communities nail three essential elements:
What value do you create for members?
Your community needs to create value for members - else they won't come back.
✅ Examples: Connection, social status, product support, better product ROI, skills development, purpose, financial benefits, swag, career opportunities, client referrals.
❌ No value created = Members won't stick around. You'll get low engagement and high churn.
What value do you derive for your business?
Your community needs to derive value for the business, which is aligned to outcomes the business cares about.
✅ Examples: Awareness, adoption, advocacy, leads, deal champions, category creation, ecosystem development, product feedback, testing, contributions, talent sourcing.
❌ No value derived = No business impact. You'll get questions about ROI and won’t get follow on investment.
What unique advantage does your community offer?
Community needs to provide a clear reason why it’s favored over all other methods and channels.
❌ No unique advantage = Poor results. It's likely that approaches other than community are a better solution.
V2C can be applied to both your community overall and indvidual programs.
Let's try V2C with some real example communities...
Trailblazers got started with a focus on support.
The business was growing fast and they needed a scalable solution. Salesforce is a flexible product, alternatives like docs couldn’t account for all use cases, and hiring support staff takes time and money.
Community gives customers 24/7 access to experts, providing a great support experience that scaled as Salesforce did.
These factors persist today. While its ability to deal with customer demand improved, its product has gotten more complex. V2C fit is still high, and its community continues to deliver.
1,000 volunteers created 90+ courses on the platform.
Additional language support meant millions more users to Duolingo. But they only had a small team so couldn’t create courses in parallel.
Crowdsourcing course creation solved this and creators got to help spread their language and master new skills.
However, over time the benefit of new courses became incremental and Duolingo gained resources. The business value and unique advantage offered by community waned. V2C fit was lost and its community programs got shuttered.
The needs of your members, the business, and factors in the wider environment change.
The strength of each element is a continuum and varies over time depending on changes in member and business needs, as well as the wider context around your community. Different combinations of programs, activities, and formats impact the value you create, derive, and the advantage offered.
It's important to reassess the strength of each and their fit together to ensure your community and programs continue to drive meaningful results for all involved.