The Creator of Community Manager Appreciation Day

This episode is being released on Community Manager Appreciation Day 2017. We’re talking about the past, present and future of CMAD, with its creator, digital veteran Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies.

Now in its eighth year, CMAD recognizes the “pretty damn tough job,” in Jeremiah’s words, that community managers (and professionals) have, which can be thankless and misunderstood. We also talk about:

  • How to be successful with the council/association model
  • The career opportunity for community professionals in the shared and collaborative economies
  • Will there be a 30th CMAD?

Big Quotes

“Senior director/VPs of community roles do exist. And typically, that happens when the professional is able to measure real business results of the community, whether that be customer satisfaction improvement or reduction in cost from customer care to the contact center or actually showing that there’s revenue being derived. Once they’re able to show real business value, they get elevated higher into the organizations, but beware the demands on them, from a business perspective, only increase. They become more visible. I also think that we see very successful people get elevated higher into their career when they’re able to tie in the communities to the actual product itself.” -@jowyang

“I hate to devalue the [community manager] role in any way, but in some cases it is thought of as like a customer service role or a lowly role, and that’s unfortunate. The goal [of Community Manager Appreciation Day is to show] these are professionals that are more important than you can probably even imagine.” -@jowyang

“I think [Community Manager Appreciation Day] should go away faster than [30 years] because if the role is appreciated, we don’t need such a day.” -@jowyang

“[To be successful with the council model,] be first. If you see a market emerging, jump on it quickly. I had 10 weeks to launch. I left Altimeter on good terms, and then I had 10 weeks before LeWeb, where I was going to announce it on stage in front of, I think, 4,000 people or something like that, in Paris. I told these prospects, ‘You guys got to get on board, I want you to sign, and you can pay me later, let’s just sign the contract and be in the founding member set of the association, Crowd Companies.’ I was able to get 24 companies to commit, and these are all Fortune 500, so it’s pretty rare you get that level of commitment. … Once you have that momentum, then other companies started to sign on board.” -@jowyang

“The thing about the council model, and associations, is we’re not charging a lot of money in comparison to their annual budget. It’s a fraction of a fraction for them. But in totality, it’s enough to sustain our small company. By no means am I getting super wealthy. I don’t drive a Ferrari or anything of an exotic nature, but we’re very happy and it’s what I want to do, I want to serve these companies in the role that I do. It’s really a very challenging business model, but if you can get it going, it can scale.” -@jowyang

About Jeremiah Owyang

Jeremiah Owyang is the founder of Crowd Companies, an innovation council that helps brands overcome challenges and navigate the next wave of disruption and opportunity. From the autonomous world to the collaborative economy, Owyang views every aspect of emerging technologies through the lens of growth, opportunity and constantly shifting consumer behaviors and expectations. Forever at the forefront, he identifies trends and advises major companies to adapt their business models to better connect with customers. His clients include Adobe, Electrolux, Wells Fargo, Nestle, Cisco, Western Union, Visa, Colgate, Yum and Pepsi, among others.

Prior to Crowd Companies, Owyang’s career took shape as an analyst with Forrester Research, advising on social strategy for the interactive marketer. He was the founding partner and research director of Altimeter Group, specializing in customer strategy and emerging technologies. He formed Crowd Companies in 2013 to focus on the emerging collaborative economy and the maker movement.

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