Online marketing organization structure question?

As a more crowdsourced way of answering this question on the G Plus community on the best team structure to launch an online community I got few replies from community managers on this question – I hope that’s useful. Certainly (2) looks worth a glance;-)

1.
That’s an interesting question which one rarely gets chance to reflect upon, as usually that set up is already in place. Taking advantage of the ability to plan the team structure I would cross-check your strategy by looking at how you meet your aggressive targets by looking at it from the end customer point of view. For example take an example like Zappos where the customer care people have a dual role of dealing with direct customer issues by phone but also reflecting on activity through their social media activity as a way of reaching out to existing and potential customers. If I was a customer of your new community therefore I wouldn’t care if I spoke to the engagement person or the acquisition person I just want to know that I am valued and for that to be evidence in my online relationships within the community – for example when I feedback a suggestion about a possible improvement to the community that it is publicly reflected upon by the community staff and acted upon if it meets your cost/benefit objectives.

2.
Some years ago I managed the department handling community and customer facing roles for a company with a rapidly expanding website and customer / reader base and few budget constraints.
We adopted a strategy of aiming to avoid having conflicting demands on each member of the department. We divided the department into teams based on the source of pressure. So we had:
– a team who responded to customer email their targets included real-time response to customer email where possible
– a team dealing with discussion moderation who responded to reports and requests from discussion board users, their targets included real-time response to discussion board problems
– a team who seeded content between discussion boards and editorial content, their targets incorporated rolling editorial deadlines through-out the day

It worked very well.

3.
Community first. Commerce second. Good conversations create transactions.
Oh. And re-read www.cluetrain.com

4.
Hmmm – The terms being used sound very process/tech focused rather than community member-focused.
I’d suggest having a team with a “infrastructure” component (that focuses on platform, channels, process mgt) and a “segment/subcommunity” component (that focuses on serving particular groups of members).

But there are many ways of doing things.

5.
Also – goals. I’d like to submit that you can’t really move forward on any online community campaign without recognizing the goals and reasons behind
your campaign. Is it to drive sales? Drive traffic? Raise awareness?
Knowing your goals helps to put the right people in place.

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