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Card Marketing and Community Gardening

Spread SpiceWorks Cards

I got my stack of Spread Spiceworks cards a few weeks ago, above. As I said awhile ago, I’m liking the Spread Spiceworks campaign. They’re making it easy for their community to spread their enthusiasm and co-marketing Spiceworks. We speak a lot about using your community to help spread the word, so it’s fun to see it in action from one of our clients. Another aspect, as I’ve mentioned before, is the co-creation going on in the Spiceworks forums: users can suggest and then vote on features they’d like to see. The multi-user feature has been getting a lot of votes recently, for example. The nice thing about feature voting in this context is that Spiceworks has a rapid enough release cycle to actually give quick feedback to the community on which features they’ve implemented (or not). That is: when you’re suggesting a voting on a feature, you know you’re not just posting into a black-hole.

The Tricky Nature of Community Gardening

The above is sound “community gardening” advice for other projects and companies. These notions are well understood in when it comes to developers in the open source world, but Spiceworks is providing an interesting example of community gardening for sys admins and non-developers.

Balancing the concerns of healthy community gardening vs. exploiting “free labor” can be tricky, as Anne pointed out yesterday. Key to doing it the right way making the users (or “community members”) feel like they’ve been given something rather than having bought something. (Of course, moving that “feel” to something more than perception is the easiest path.) A page like Spread Spiceworks would seems a little strange for a costly, enterprise application (or would it?). But, since Spiceworks is both free and “delightful” to use, community members are (hopefully) less likely to feel like they’re doing free marketing labor.

Disclaimer: Spiceworks is a client.

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Categories: Community, Marketing, Systems Management.

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