Thursday, June 11, 2009

Age of Your People

You hear a lot of people in business talk about "lifetime value of the customer." Usually, it boils down to a dollar-and-cents thing.

No doubt there's a place for lifetime-value analysis when it comes to sizing up go-to-market investments. This is a well-baked process.

Less well-baked is "lifetime value of the community." You don't hear many organizations talking about their community, much less the value of their community.

Community is multi-dimensional, while customers and prospects are one-dimensional (You make an offer. They respond thumbs-up or thumbs-down.). Community includes customers, prospects and more: employees, shareholders, media, bloggers, industry analysts, academics, neighbors, neighborhood leaders and perhaps even politicians.

Nowadays these are your friends, fans and followers. As a community, they have a big say in the well-being of your business, brand, organization or institution. Measuring the economic value of all these constituents is difficult, even mysterious. But, nurturing your community well will allow you to accomplish big things (just ask the most recently elected U.S. president).

Community is two-way circuitry. Most businesses, organizations, brands, and institutions are one-way circuits. They lead and everyone else follows. Feedback often turns into noise. But that model is eroding. Now, your community of friends, fans and followers and their ability to swap inputs and outputs immediately are real-time zeitgeist of your business, your vision, your place in the world.

Some French fellow once said that demography is destiny. In the Age of Your People, "zeitgeist is destiny" too. Business, brands, organizations, and institutions are very good at getting people to follow them. In the Age of Your People, when you become a focused and innovative follower of your people, you will be a winner.

In an age like this, one measure comes to mind when thinking about the value of your community: priceless.

If you have time, drop a line about your people. How do you nurture them? How do they value you?

-- tim morin

(join me at

1 comment:

  1. Tim,

    Your definition of community is on target. Within the last two weeks,I've had the opportunity to work with all you've defined. As you know the Fourth Shift community has been established for 25+ years. Community is multi-dimensional relationships with people build on trust that takes multiple events to establish. As you work the relationships and events, the community becomes interconnected. Most recently, I've had the opportunity to leverage the relationships established with employees, customers, stakeholders ... it's more than a two way circuit, it's multi-dimensional simliar to the internet where there are many diffent paths to the same destination. Additionally, the nurturing occurs every day in every transaction ... you're either building the relationship or subtracting from it even if it's a 30 second conversation. The value of this community is priceless as you can call on people globally at any instance of time for support. Additionally, one gains tremendous personal value in terms of wisdom, skill and knowledge ... it's priceless and one of God's miracles as we support one another as He supported us!