The Community Kill Zone
Most established communities have gone through a kill zone.
The kill zone is the time between when the community is so young, cheap, and full of potential it’s not worth killing and when it’s proven itself indispensable. It’s typically when the community grows from a cost of less than $500 per day to more than $1k per day.
Once the community gets serious investment, it needs to show clear impact. The time it takes to show impact is the kill zone.
The more time a community spends in the kill zone, the more likely the business will suffer a downturn, a new CFO will arrive, or priorities shift. This makes the community a logical target to cut costs.
You can’t avoid the kill zone, but you can reduce the time you spend inside it. You reduce the time when you make the results of the community as tangible as possible.
This means sharing case studies from the community, clearly showing the products features improved because of the community, bringing big lists of community-generated sales leads to the next meeting, showing the number of calls deflected etc..
The kill zone isn’t the time to talk about the community’s potential or it’s connection to the organization’s mission. It’s the time to show tangible, indisputable, results.
The irony is your community’s most dangerous time is immediately after you’ve got the resources you’ve wanted for so long.