How to use community to shape product success

How to use community to shape product success

Oct 12, 2023

Dylan Terry

community drives product success
community drives product success

In today's digital age, community has become a powerful force in shaping the success of products. Gone are the days when companies could simply create a product and expect it to thrive without any input or involvement from their customers. Now, businesses are realising the immense value of community engagement and how it can directly impact the success of their products.

  1. Understanding the Power of Community in Product Development

Community involvement in product development is a transformative approach that recognises the influence and impact of collective knowledge, experiences, and preferences. It goes beyond traditional product development methods by actively engaging and collaborating with the target audience throughout the entire process. Understanding the power of community in product development is crucial for businesses aiming to create products that resonate with their customers and achieve long-term success.

1.1 The Benefits of Community Involvement

When businesses involve their community in product development, they gain several key benefits:

  • Invaluable Insights: The community possesses a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and perspectives that can provide valuable insights into what customers truly want and need. By tapping into this collective wisdom, businesses can make informed decisions and better align their products with customer expectations.

  • Enhanced User Experience: Engaging the community throughout the development process ensures that the final product meets the specific needs and preferences of the target audience. This leads to an enhanced user experience and increases the likelihood of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Early Adoption and Advocacy: When community members are involved in product development, they become early adopters and advocates for the product. Their sense of ownership and pride in contributing to its creation can lead to increased word-of-mouth marketing and organic promotion.

  • Reduced Risk of Failure: By involving the community from the early stages of product development, businesses can identify and address potential issues, challenges, or gaps before the product is launched. This reduces the risk of failure and minimises costly mistakes.

1.2 The Shift from Traditional to Community-Driven Product Development

Traditional product development often relied on internal expertise and market research to shape product features and offerings. However, this approach lacked direct involvement and validation from the end-users.

The shift towards community-driven product development recognises that the target audience holds valuable insights and opinions that can shape the success of a product. Businesses have started to embrace collaborative approaches, engaging the community throughout the product lifecycle to co-create and refine products based on real-world feedback.

1.3 Harnessing the Power of Co-Creation

Co-creation is a fundamental aspect of community-driven product development. It involves actively involving the community in the ideation, design, testing, and refinement of the product. This collaborative process allows businesses to tap into the creativity and expertise of the community, resulting in products that better meet their needs.

By embracing co-creation, businesses can foster a sense of ownership and pride among community members, as they contribute to the development of a product they feel truly represents their interests. This not only enhances the quality of the final product but also strengthens the relationship between the business and its community.

1.4 Overcoming Challenges in Community Involvement

While community involvement in product development offers significant advantages, it also presents some challenges. These may include:

  • Managing Diverse Opinions: Communities consist of individuals with diverse perspectives and opinions. Managing and reconciling these different viewpoints can be challenging but is crucial for successful collaboration.

  • Balancing Feedback with Business Objectives: While community feedback is essential, businesses must balance it with their overall objectives, budgetary constraints, and technical feasibility. Finding the right balance ensures that the product aligns with both community desires and business goals.

  • Maintaining Active Engagement: Sustaining active engagement from the community throughout the entire product development process can be challenging. Businesses must continuously foster participation, provide regular updates, and acknowledge the contributions of community members.

  1. Identifying and Engaging with Your Community

Identifying and engaging with your community is a critical step in leveraging their input to shape the success of your product. This section will explore the process of identifying your product's potential community, strategies for engaging with them effectively, and building strong relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.

2.1 Identify your community

Before you can engage with your community, you need to identify who they are. Consider the following steps to help you pinpoint your product's potential community:

  1. Define Your Target Audience: Clearly define the demographic of the individuals who are most likely to benefit from and use your product. This will help you narrow down your search for the appropriate community.

  2. Research Existing Communities: Look for existing communities that align with your target audience. These communities can be online forums, social media groups, industry-specific conferences, or local meetups.

2.2 Engaging with Community through Online Platforms

Once you have identified your potential community, it's essential to engage with them through various channels. Here are some strategies to effectively engage with your community:

  • Social Media Engagement: Establish a strong presence on social media platforms that resonate with your community. Regularly share valuable content, respond to comments and messages, and actively participate in relevant conversations.

  • Online Forums and Communities: Join online forums and communities where your target audience is active. Actively contribute by answering questions, sharing insights, and providing valuable resources. Establish yourself as a knowledgeable and trusted member of the community.

  • Discord: Build a Discord community that is centred around your product. Discord provides a space for customers to connect, and for you to communicate to them across text, voice and video channels. It is a perfect place to build a community around our product.

  • Email Marketing and Newsletters: Build an email list of community members who have expressed interest in your product. Regularly send them updates, exclusive content, and personalised offers to keep them engaged and informed.

2.3 Establishing Trust and Building Relationships

Building trust and strong relationships with your community is crucial for long-term engagement and success. Consider the following strategies:

  • Transparent Communication: Be transparent and open in your communication with the community. Share updates, progress, and challenges related to your product. This fosters trust and shows that you value their input.

  • Actively Listen and Respond: Actively listen to the feedback and suggestions provided by the community. Respond promptly and acknowledge their contributions. Let them know that their opinions matter and that you are committed to incorporating their input into your product development process.

  • Show Appreciation: Regularly show appreciation for your community members' involvement and contributions. Highlight their ideas, share their success stories, and provide incentives or rewards for their participation. This helps build a sense of belonging and loyalty.

  • Collaborative Decision-Making: Involve the community in decision-making processes. Seek their input on product features, design choices, and future developments. This not only empowers the community but also ensures that the product aligns with their needs and desires.

  1. Gathering Product Feedback from the Community

Gathering product feedback from the community is a crucial step in shaping the success of your product. By actively seeking input from your community, you can gain valuable insights, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that your product meets the needs and expectations of your target audience.

3.1 Creating Channels for Community Feedback

To gather feedback from your community, it's important to establish clear and accessible channels that encourage open communication. Consider the following approaches:

  • Community platforms: Foster a community forum where members can openly discuss your product. Encourage them to share their experiences, ask questions, and provide suggestions for improvement. Actively monitor and engage in these discussions to gather valuable feedback. Discord is the perfect place for this!

  • Surveys and Questionnaires: Design surveys and questionnaires to gather feedback on specific aspects of your product. Use online survey tools or email campaigns to distribute these surveys to your community members. Ensure that the questions are clear, concise, and address the areas you want feedback on.

  • User Testing and Beta Programs: Offer opportunities for community members to participate in user testing or join beta programs. This allows them to experience your product firsthand and provide feedback on its usability, functionality, and overall user experience.

3.2 Analysing and Implementing Community Suggestions

Once you have collected feedback from your community, it's essential to analyse and implement their suggestions effectively. Consider the following steps:

  • Thoroughly Review Feedback: Carefully review all feedback received from the community. Identify recurring themes, common pain points, and potential areas for improvement. Categorise the feedback based on its relevance and impact on the product.

  • Communicate Updates and Progress: Keep your community informed about the progress of implementing their suggestions. Regularly update them on the changes you are making based on their feedback. This demonstrates that their input is valued and that you are actively working to improve the product.

  • Seek Clarification and Further Input: If certain feedback requires further clarification or additional input, reach out to the community member who provided it. Engage in a dialogue to gain a deeper understanding of their perspective and explore potential solutions collaboratively.

  1. Examples of Successful Community-Shaped Products

Case studies of successful community-shaped products provide real-world examples of how community involvement can directly impact the success of a product. By examining these cases, businesses can gain insights and inspiration for leveraging community engagement in their own product development strategies. The following case studies highlight how community involvement has shaped the success of various products:

Case Study 1: How Reflect uses Discord for beta testing and product feedback

Reflect is a new note-taking app, powered by AI, that is gaining massive traction. They are a great example of using their community to drive product iteration.

Reflect has a beta tester option on their app, where users can opt-in to test out new features. In the Reflect Discord, they have created a ‘beta’ channel where beta testers can provide feedback on the new features. This allows the team to receive real-time feedback from users testing their newest features. It also makes customers feel connected to the product and its development.

Reflect also uses its Discord community for product updates, bug reports and feedback. See below!

Reflect Discord Community

Case Study 2: How Xbox used Reddit for feedback and community engagement

XboxOne users created a subreddit where they talk about Xbox games, ask questions, and offer advice. This subreddit became so popular and large, a Xbox Developer AMA group was added to the subreddit. Official XboxOne Developers would host AMA sessions to answer questions and get feedback from the community. See an example below!

XboxOne Reddit Page


Harnessing the power of community to shape product success is a strategic approach that businesses cannot afford to overlook. By understanding the power of community in product development, identifying and engaging with the right target audience, gathering feedback, leveraging community for promotions, and learning from successful case studies, businesses can unlock the full potential of their products.

Embracing community involvement not only leads to better products but also fosters strong customer relationships, brand loyalty, and organic promotion. So, embrace the power of community and let it shape the success of your products.

Try out Bind for free.