December 14, 2021
At Rubrik, our customers are like superheroes fighting evil infrastructure. And just like Batman with his Batcave, every superhero needs a home. That’s why we created Rubrik Guardians, our customer community that launched in 2018. But it’s not enough to just make a community and call it a day. We need to constantly innovate to provide a place for our superheroes to flourish.
Rubrik enables cyber and operational resilience for enterprises. This includes ransomware protection, risk compliance, automated data recovery, and a fast track to the cloud. We help enterprises achieve data control to drive business resiliency, cloud mobility, and regulatory compliance.
Some of the world’s leading companies trust our solutions to make backups tamper-proof, stop bad actors, and keep an eye on sensitive data. I will be the first to admit that backup and recovery isn’t the sexiest space in the world, but it’s essential, especially as businesses depend on data more than ever and face increasing risks of ransomware attacks and natural disasters.
I’ve been at Rubrik since 2019. I started as a customer marketing specialist, a role tailored to service our sales reference program. Any time our sales team needed help lining up a customer for reference calls, I was their point person. After a year in that role, I became the community manager for Rubrik Guardians.
Building Our Community to Fit Our Customer Persona
Before we created the community, two people manually managed Rubrik’s customer relationships. This was before my time at the company, but I’ve heard the stories: everything was handled manually, so relationship management was time-consuming and inefficient. It was also hard to meet the needs of different teams.
The product team, for example, wanted to talk to more customers to perform product surveys and UI research. Marketing would sometimes want to source a speaker for an event, which meant cold emails to customers. Reaching out to individual customers in this manner wasn’t scalable. With scalability top of mind, Influitive emerged as a tool to automate some of that work.
Managing customer relationships manually is time-consuming and inefficient.
When Rubrik first set out to create a customer community with Influitive, the initial objectives were to provide our customers with fun and educational content and ensure they could connect with each other. We could then direct that engagement into the appropriate channels. We also knew that Rubrik customers would come into the community with one question: “How can this make my life easier?” We needed to communicate how our content can improve their lives and careers, whether it’s through time savings at work or peace of mind when they step out of the office.
Our main customer persona are technical professionals who fall in the age range of 30–50 years old. We noticed that this audience expressed a lot of interest around superheroes and Star Wars, and as Rubrik solutions are all about protecting your organization, we began to draw some parallels. As I mentioned at the start, our customers are like superheroes, and my predecessor wanted to build this personality into the community. Rubrik Guardians was built around a Guardians of the Galaxy theme, leaning heavily on the Marvel universe and similar pop culture knowledge built into everything we do on the platform.
Valuable Content that Leaves Customers Wanting More
Within Rubrik Guardians, we have a channel that targets actionable content, such as registering for events, participating in a webinar, or taking part in a case study or reference call. We also have channels dedicated to education. We use our customers as a resource for our business, but we always strive to strike the right balance between the value we give them and the value they give us. For that exchange to work, we have to create content that keeps them coming back for more.
Why not make a product update engaging and fun? Adding color, personality, and inside jokes make for an engaging experience, which helps build a true community.
We provide our members both a fun break in their day and a resource they can take advantage of—hopefully at the same time. We also share stories from fellow customers about how Rubrik has helped them. And again, everything we do in Guardians, from campaigns to challenges, is tied to the same theme, with lots of superhero gifs and memes from inside and outside the Marvel Universe. This extends to our rewards, too. Rather than go for typical gift cards, we stay on brand with rewards that tie into superheroes or Star Wars, like BB8 Lego sets.
The more you can make your community aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable, the more people will want to stay in the space and explore what you have to offer. And anyway, why not make a product update engaging and fun? Adding color, personality, and inside jokes make for an engaging experience, which helps build a true community.
Growing with New Resources and Incentives
I inherited Rubrik Guardians in August 2020. By that point, Rubrik Guardians was already an active space where more than 600 members shared experiences, learned from each other, contributed to Rubrik’s advocacy efforts, and had some fun.
My job, as I saw it, was to add a little more structure to the community. Our customer base continues to grow exponentially, and it’s important that newcomers to the community don’t become confused when they first join, because that might cause them to leave. To create a more welcoming space, we’ve created more established channels, added structure to the onboarding process, and optimized the entire customer experience.
Data management and security is such a technical field, and it’s constantly growing to include new aspects. Rubrik meets that challenge by constantly adding new features, and we can never provide too many technical resources to our customers. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to develop educational experiences and recognize our members as they progress through these resources.
When Rubrik releases a new feature, we want to work through it with our customers, instead of leaving them to figure it out themselves. The biggest selling point for our community now is our VIP experience, where customers can become more involved with Rubrik and have the opportunity to ask questions of our teams and shape the product roadmap.
After seeing other Influitive customer communities, such as Mountain Dew, I’ve been inspired to further hone the theme and branding of Guardians. Our latest engagement incentive is our Guardian of the Month initiative, where we recognize the community member with the highest participation that month with a reward and a post about them.
Working Across Departments and Adding Functionality
You have to be able to sell the value of a customer community internally. Influitive makes it easy to get—and maintain—buy in because of its cross-team functionality. In Rubrik’s case, we have brought benefits to the product and marketing teams, who can now better interact with customers and get feedback directly. Customer advocacy is gaining more attention, and as more people realize the benefits, they become champions for our community.
We also just purchased the reference management resource, which seamlessly integrates with Salesforce and allows us to combine our sales and reference databases, all within our Guardians community. We’re in the middle of implementation and are excited about the doors that will open. As we become a more customer-centric company, these tools and others, such as reporting, have helped us stay top of mind in various departments within the organization.
Today, we have more than 800 community members and soon hope to expand the size of our customer marketing team. I think we would have been incapacitated without Influitive. Sure, we might still be in contact with our customers but we wouldn’t have known them nearly as well as we do today at the scale we now operate.
Our Influitive community provides education and connection between our members that we couldn’t achieve through even semi-regular networking events. We’ve become genuine friends with our customers, just as they have with each other. It’s a mutual relationship in every respect, and this has allowed us to tap into the community to gain mass feedback and change our product road map accordingly.
A Rewarding Experience for Us and Our Members
As we continue to improve on our reference automation, I see more and more time savings, which frees me to create more valuable content for our community members. Our future goals are to increase the networking and education opportunities, including providing more resources, opening channels with product and technical expert teams, and creating certification opportunities through Rubrik University.
We’re also working to improve the VIP experience, incorporating some Guardian swag and further fine-tuning our onboarding to connect better with new members. It’s all about creating greater value for the community, and having a platform to manage all this in one place is invaluable.
I love my job because I’m always surrounded by happy customers. The community has taught me that you don’t have to be rigid or corporate as a marketer—you can be friendly and open. It’s personally rewarding to see people grow in the community, and see them respond with engagement and enthusiasm. Together, we have made our Guardians community something that we can all be proud of.
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