This year, we’ve seen an uptick in client and industry interest in customer communities. Marketers want to build authentic and lasting relationships with customers who are more and more likely to experiment and less and less likely to trust traditional advertising.

The concept of community management isn’t anything new — we’ve been writing about it at Forrester for at least a decade. But when marketers talk about community, they don’t always mean a purpose-built online destination such as the communities run by Southwest, Sephora, or USAA. The term can also refer to the organic communities that digitally native brands like Glossier and Peloton have amassed on existing social channels or even an aspirational relationship quality.

Building community, however you want to define it, is not an easy task. We produced a brand-new piece of research that looks at how communities have changed and illustrates the essential questions B2C marketers need to ask themselves to determine their community approach. I’ll be kicking off 2020 with additional research into the ROI of customer communities, so stay tuned for more on this topic.