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Not all that long ago (think 2002), people would think you were crazy when you talked about
**the powerful intersection of community and content. Online communities? Those died in the dot com bust.
Today, marketing professionals are starting to come around, but they still have a ways to go.
**Few people fully grasp how the interplay between content and community can change how organizations function internally and externally.
Previous articles in this series have addressed content, so let's now turn our attention to community.
Today, the role that community can play in the marketing and communications process is woefully misunderstood. Many organizations are not actively involved in community efforts, and those that are tend to focus on community for three reasons.:
Support: Enabling customers and advocates to support and inform each other, providing self-serve customer service, or offering support via social network monitoring (e.g., Comcast's efforts via @comcastcares)Reputation:
Intersecting with communities, social network presences of interest, and influencers in an effort to build reputation Research:
Using small private communities like a marketing petri dish—a closed, controlled space where customers can be studied
**The real value of customer communities, however, is quality and efficiency—efficiency of reach, feedback, communication cycles, and amplification.