Coverage of this session by Evette Tan of Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

3:50 —’s Kurt Vanderah introduces Autodesk’s Bill Johnston.

3:51 — Bill asks about how many in the audience are familiar with 3D printing, have actually done it, or own a 3D printing. It’s a revolution in the way products are made, designed, who designs them, how they’re manufactured, and so on. This is being called the new industrial revolution.

3:53 — An example is Gus, who works on creating custom bikes and using Kickstarter to create support for it.

3:55 — Bill: The mandate we’ve been given is to move fast and break glass. Don’t let corporate inertia slow us down — we’re essentially a startup within an enterprise.

3:57 — Bill talks about the lessons they’d learned about the strategies they used for social. They found an over-reliance on Facebook, a lack of strategy, and little community management happening. There was a ton of missed opportunities, which led to a drop in organic reach in Facebook.

3:58 — Bill and his team then did a reboot. They looked at everything they had — gathering a lot of data and doing stakeholder interviews to get feedback and direction about where they wanted to go. Two important things to consider:

1. Customer need
2. Business objectives

Where the two overlap is where magic (i.e., strategy and tactics) happens.

3:59 — Tone was important — many of the communications Autodesk had were off-tone. There was either a lot of marketing irrelevance or cheerleading. There was nothing in between, no real critical engagement with the community as a peer or colleague would engage with them.

4:00 — Bill talks about the kind of folks that the Autodesk tone builder has to pass. Who will use their product, what kind of communication and messages will they respond to? Autodesk then went deep with their audience to try and understand what they wanted and needed from Autodesk products.

4:01 — Bill: You need a portfolio strategy for your social media presence. Everything has to work in concert. It’s a map, if you will, for where you’re playing online.

4:03 — Bill says Community engagement is important as well. Autodesk asked: What if we treated every customer interaction as an opportunity to build Community? They used marketing automation to spawn tons of great conversations.

4:04 — Bill: We then needed a Community editorial function — there wasn’t actually an editor to do this. We needed different types of content and we developed a pyramid to articulate content type and relative volume. Our intention is to build as close to a life-long relationship as possible, so we need to talk about context bigger than our community and our product. We start with the baseline of basics, then move up to career alignments, and finally, inspiration for our community.

4:05 — Bill: Finally, we wanted to develop the Fusion 360 Community User Experience. We built a gallery to share ideas, evolved forums so that it was more personalized and contextual.

4:06 — The strategy is only nine months old but we know that from February 2014, conversions are up. Twitter has gone from 0% to 20% of that share. Facebook has recovered from a really flat line of engagement and is up 30%. Our open rate on emails is 45%.

4:07 — What did we learn?

1. Match the approach to product maturity
2. Identify, then embrace target communities
3. Develop an Ecosystem
4. Capital “C” Community engagement
5. Editorial & CM alignment critical to “harmony”
6. Agile approach on platform + programs


Q: We have a pretty vibrant corporate on-site community but we also do a lot of work with an external community. Do you devote much time to external communities?

A: Absolutely. We’re currently evaluating what communities to partner with. As an extended community, Meetup is phenomenal for us. Wherever communities are happening is where we’d like to be. If it creates more value to bring them over to our own platform, and it isn’t painful, then we’d like to, but it is something we’d monitor.

Q: Is there an allotment of time spent between hosted and external communities?

A: It’s a work in progress. 70% of my staff’s time is on the hosted community but this might change as we scale up.

Q: How much training is done to establish tone with your community managers?

A: We learned appropriate tone from being out in the community?

Q: How do you sell a culture of customer service up, especially since you said any interaction with a customer as an opportunity to build community?

A: I’m actually kind of disappointed with the kind of executive attitude toward customer service — it’s a little short-sighted. But there is a lot of research that shows the ROI exists if the strategy is executed correctly. But we’re blessed at EMC because our CEO demands this.


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