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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  May 22, 2012

Are On-Line Communities Profitable?

Just thinking about building an  online community makes my head explode.  I often wonder “Is it worth it to invest the time and money here?”  Sure, internet marketers will say yes, but they are trying to sell you something.

Well, now they have some ammunition.  This study by the ivory towers at the University of Michigan has some stats to back this effort up.

According to the study, revenue from members increased 19% after they joined the community.  Let’s be clear:  this is spending over and above the members’ purchase history — and more than the control group who weren’t part of the online neighborhood.  Another interesting finding:  online activity not only covers the hard/soft cost of the community, but also increases both online AND OFFLINE purchases.  Wow.

What also caught my eye:  customers who befriended more important and prominent customers were likely to spend more.  Talk about keeping up with the digital Jones.

Maybe that’s why nearly half of the top 100 brands — big dawgs such as IKEA, Lego, Kraft Foods (really?!) — host some kind of network.  Might be worth taking a page out of this playbook.

Click here for the interesting Strategy+Business.com article.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.