Community Lifecycle Model Question - Reaching Critical Mass


(Suzi Nelson) #1

So critical mass is defined as the moment when community members are responsible for 50-90% of the organic growth and activity.

My community is a product - thats how we define it anyway. Members have to buy a continuity subscription (ie, they pay month to month for access to trainings) and the community is positioned as a free bonus to their paid membership.

How can critical mass be reached in this case if members cannot organically invite other members to the group? It would be more like they invite them to purchase the membership, which totally happens all the time.

Say we set up a referral program for members to invite others, with the incentive that they get discounts on our trainings. Would that count as WOM and reaching critical mass, even though its for the membership AND the community?

Hope that makes sense…


(Sarah Hawk) #2

I would say yes.
I would also point out that it’s much more important to reach a critical mass of activity than of members though.

Keen to hear @richard_millington’s thoughts on this one.


(Suzi Nelson) #3

Totally agree, but it’s my understanding that in order for critcal mass to be acheieved, you have to meet the requirements in both growth and activity?


(Sarah Hawk) #4

Not necessarily. You can have a critical mass of activity regardless of the number of members.

The goal then is to reach that critical mass of activity amongst the members you have. It might be 5000 interactions when you have 100 members and 25000 interactions when you have 500.


(Richard Millington) #5

I’m generally not a fan of financial incentives for doing things, but usually because it tends not to be sustainable and undermines motivation.

However, if it’s working well for you, that works. The keep thing here is sustainability. Can you keep offering this? Otherwise you could regress back at a later date.


(Suzi Nelson) #6

I suppose we’ll keep offering the community for as long as we offer the product (which is indefinite, at this point). The powers that be at my company LOVE the community aspect. We’ve found it plays a huge role in increasing retention for the monthly membership - we’ve had many members say that even when they dont use the product for a month or two, they will keep paying just to remain in the community (we remove them when their membership is canceled). The community adds a super powerful “pain of disconnect” that makes peopel reconsider leaving their subscription.

I guess I’m having a hard time fitting our community situation into the Lifecycle Model, but I’ve only just started the course, so maybe I can make it work once I have all the info. :wink: Thanks for the input guys!


(Sarah Hawk) #7

That’s amazing. Could you have an ‘alumni’ community of some sort to keep those people engaged with your brand?


(Suzi Nelson) #8

Thats an interesting idea - I’m not sure what that would look like. Something to figger on a spell, as my boss would say :wink:


(Sarah Hawk) #9

I was doing some sector analysis for a client recently and I came across a couple of monolithic financial institutions that have alumni communities for people that have worked there in the past. I (obviously) can’t get access to get a feel for their success, but if you have a pool of willing brand ambassadors, it seems like nurturing those relationships might be smart, especially if your product is one that people might use again in the future.