The "Before, During, and After" Experience on Community Platforms

The digital age has transformed the way businesses interact with their customers. With the rise of online communities, companies have a unique opportunity to engage with their audience in a more personalized and meaningful way. Based on over two decades of experience, we've identified a three-phase journey that members undergo in a thriving online community: the Before, During, and After experiences. This journey not only enhances the customer experience but also helps businesses reduce customer churn.

The Three Phases

Before Experience: The Invitation to Engage

The initial phase is all about drawing customers into the community. It's the first touchpoint, where potential members receive email announcements, invitations to create profiles, or prompts to participate in surveys. This phase also includes opportunities for customers to register for webinars, read blogs, or watch educational videos.

Key Outcomes:

  • Community Building: Creating a diverse community with detailed customer profiles offers insights into the customer base and their varied interests.
  • Data Collection: Understanding customer preferences and activities allows businesses to tailor their offerings, ensuring a more personalized experience.

During Experience: Active Participation and Collaboration

Once customers have entered the community, the During phase ensures they are actively engaged. This involves completing registrations, engaging in discussions, and participating in various community activities. It's the heart of the community experience, where members interact, share knowledge, and collaborate on topics of mutual interest.

Key Outcomes:

  • Trust and Belonging: A vibrant community fosters trust and a sense of belonging among its members, enhancing customer loyalty.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Active discussions and collaborations lead to problem-solving, making the community a valuable resource for information and support.

After Experience: Sustaining Engagement

The After phase is crucial for maintaining long-term engagement. Even after specific events or interactions, businesses need to ensure customers remain connected to the community. This is achieved through follow-up emails, reminders, and providing resources like webinar recordings or discussion summaries.

Key Outcomes:

  • Habit Formation: Regular updates and engagement opportunities encourage members to revisit the community, establishing a routine.
  • Reduced Customer Churn: Ensuring that the community remains a go-to place for information reduces the chances of customer churn.

Case Study: The "Before, During, and After" Experience at IMUG Summer 2023 Conference

The IMUG Summer 2023 Conference, held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, serves as a prime example of how the "Before, During, and After" experience can be effectively implemented in a customer community event. This case study will delve into how each phase was executed and the outcomes achieved.

Before Experience: Invitation and Anticipation

Announcements were dispatched via email, spotlighting the conference's standout offering of "50 sessions and a huge bang for your buck!" Prospective participants were encouraged to sign up for both the conference and the preceding RPI Bootcamp—a comprehensive day of training. Additionally, details about the Infor Support Sessions were shared, underscoring the unique chance to engage directly with Infor Experts for answers.


  • A buzz was created around the event, leading to anticipation and excitement.
  • Early bird registrations provided insights into the types of attendees and their interests, allowing for better event tailoring.

During Experience: Active Participation and Collaboration

The conference began with attendees checking in and mingling with partners, creating an initial atmosphere ripe for networking. A diverse array of sessions followed, spanning topics from finance to HR talent, all led by domain-specific experts. Attendees had the opportunity to dive deeper into niche subjects during the Special Interest Group (SIG) breakout sessions. The day culminated with a relaxed evening at The Grand in downtown Northfield, offering a casual environment for further connection and unwinding.


  • Attendees actively participated in sessions, leading to knowledge sharing and collaboration.
  • The diverse range of sessions ensured that all attendees found topics relevant to their interests.
  • Networking opportunities fostered connections, leading to potential collaborations and partnerships.

Pictures from IMUG Meeting in August 2023 (a special thanks to Infor for sharing these images with us).

After Experience: Sustaining Engagement

All attendees are welcome to share their experiences through feedback surveys, helping identify highlights and areas for enhancement. To keep the community engaged and informed, reminders about upcoming IMUG events and activities were also disseminated.


  • Attendees continued to engage with the content, revisiting sessions they found valuable or catching up on ones they missed.
  • Feedback provided valuable insights for future event planning.
  • The community remained active, with discussions and collaborations stemming from conference topics continuing in online forums and community platforms.

The IMUG Summer 2023 Conference exemplified the "Before, During, and After" approach in action. By effectively implementing each phase, the conference not only provided immense value to attendees but also fostered a sense of community and collaboration. The continuous engagement ensured that the momentum built during the conference was sustained, leading to long-term benefits for both the organizers and the attendees.

To wrap things up, the "Before, During, and After" framework is a holistic approach to community management. It emphasizes the importance of continuous engagement, ensuring customers feel valued throughout their journey. By understanding and implementing this strategy, businesses can foster stronger relationships, promote knowledge sharing, and build a loyal customer base, ensuring mutual growth and success.


WorkOutLoud has enjoyed working with the planning committee for their 2023 IMUG In-Person Grand Event at St. Olaf, Northfield, MN.

Special Thank You to all of the Sponsors for understanding the value of showing up in-person and supporting your InforUsers Community!