Credit: Dhi (CC BY 2.0)

Credit: Dhi (CC BY 2.0)

If you want to know what community strategy looks like, watch the video embedded below. It’s a presentation delivered by Bill Johnston at’s Brands-Only Summit in October of 2014.

The presentation centers around the strategy that Bill put into place after becoming Director, Online Community & Customer Experience, at Autodesk in February 2014. Previously, they had a broken, disjointed community strategy – that he refers to as “no community strategy” – that suffered from a serious over-reliance on Facebook. When Facebook cut organic reach, they were hit hard.

There’s really no one I hold higher in our profession than Bill. He left Autodesk in February to start Structure3C, where he helps businesses grow customer communities.

I really liked that Bill stressed the potential that exists in engaging in third party communities – passports, as he calls them. I believe that engagement in communities you don’t own is one of the most overlooked opportunities for serving customers and potential customers. Nearly every company simply ignores these communities until something bad happens. By then, it’s often too late.

It was really interesting to hear that Bill’s department ended up being responsible¬† for marketing automation via email for Fusion 360 (an Autodesk product). Since he’s not a marketer, he turned it into a community problem, rewriting poorly conceived nurture streams with the community in mind. This meant that the marketing emails started to come from community managers, which led to an open rate of 45% – way above general email marketing efforts at Autodesk. Imagine how other issues could be solved if they were approached as community problems.

I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. Be sure to watch through the Q&A.