According to Forbes, the world produces more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day. Hidden among this vast information pile is story-driven data that can help associations get better at what they do. Specifically, associations can use this data to make sense of what their members are like. The derived insights can be used to create better marketing campaigns, pursue cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, effectively deploy staff, and deliver better member service. Unfortunately, none of this data comes packaged in neat compartmentalized formats.
In the information age, making sense of data is a key challenge all industries are facing. Member-driven associations are no different, and they regularly have to contend with obstacles such as no one-stop access to member-wide data, limited ability to analyze it, or being unable to manage constantly changing member expectations and preferences.
The benefits of predictive analytics
It’s no secret anymore that the best way to gain competitive advantage today is to collect and apply data in a strategic manner. By adopting a reliable data strategy and advanced analytics tools, associations can determine and track member engagement levels at an individual level. Successful associations are aware that simply collecting and storing all the data they can get their hands on is worthless, if they cannot unearth the necessary insights. Using these insights, they should be able to drive tangible business value and profitability.
This is where predictive data analytics can come into the mix and make an impact. By turning to advanced tools that can collect and sort through vast data volumes at speed, associations can plan their budgets, and deliver superior member service that is designed for the present and future. Sifting through such data sets enables successful associations to realize what their members are looking for, and then provide more of what the latter want, to drive higher engagement.
Some of the key takeaways members look for from associations include networking opportunities, community building, educational/professional certifications and advocacy options. Associations, meanwhile, need clarity about what benefits members are exclusively looking for, where are they deriving the most value from and what kind of activities can deliver the best member engagement.
Armed with advanced analytics, associations can thus pinpoint the type of content and marketing activities that resonate best with their member audience. This can, in turn, help them drive targeted outreach and member communications. Such knowledge can also be leveraged to share personalized, relevant content with present or prospective members, instead of delivering irrelevant generic information.
Areas where analytics can have the greatest impact
Successful associations know their members engage with them at multiple touch points across their omni-channel journey. While each of these channels present several opportunities to serve members better, not every association is best geared to deliver truly delightful experiences. Getting a complete look into and capitalizing on the varied preferences, habits, interests and behavior of members requires a granular view. This further allows associations to capitalize on new revenue opportunities for their existing members, by provisioning relevant, contextual services at the right time. It’s a win-win situation, and one that strengthens the reputation of associations.
With member lifecycles becoming shorter and more complex, associations need to adopt analytics tools to garner more revenue and reduce marketing spends. Achieving the sweet spot that commands loyalty and value from members requires a fairly complex analysis of members, their actions and their needs at the same time. While some associations have just begun this journey, some are further ahead on this path, successfully utilizing data analytics and business intelligence for deploying winning strategies. Here are some of the major areas where analytics is proving to be handy for associations:
- Budgeting – Associations can turn to predictive analytics to drive better collaboration between teams, and simplify planning and analysis. For their budgeting needs, they can now stop speculating through “what-if” models, and view integrated reports to accurately predict progress.
- Reporting – Associations can adopt advanced enterprise reporting tools of data analytics applications to get a centralized view into disparate data sources as a single source of truth.
- Fundraising – Associations can identify high-potential prospects and events with a high degree of accuracy, and appropriately customize their marketing and outreach programs to maximize returns.
- Becoming compliant – Associations can uphold compliance levels with regulations such as GDPR that determine the nature, usage, storage and more, of all the data that they collect.
- Gaining perspective – Associations can use predictive analytics software to get a simplified view of all global activities that play a role in their operations and asset management initiatives. By sharing new data and new insights into existing data with associations, analytic tools can prepare associations for success.
To build sustainable adoption and engagement models for associations, they need transparent buy-in from their leadership teams and staff as well. They need a team of dedicated data analysts who spend time working with data analytics tools to garner insights about members and share with the association. Association-wide communication is, thus, critical as it can supplement existing marketing efforts and unlock cross-selling or up-selling opportunities. Sharing success stories and case studies of ‘quick wins’ can also play an essential role. Predictive data and analytics have the potential to help associations better understand their members, reshape their internal structure and discover the stories that data is constantly waiting to tell.