The member engagement data your association collects from online interactions is a treasure trove of insights for understanding how to improve the member experience and provide additional value.
The modern association technology stack has been growing and is made up of many different systems for communicating with members online and managing different aspects of the member relationship.
This often includes data from a wide range of sources like your website properties, LMS platforms, online communities or social media, mobile apps, surveys, spreadsheets, and much more.
The challenge is that this often leaves data siloed across the organization, which can be a burden on association staff to consolidate data to produce meaningful reporting. Research from IBM even suggests that 80% of analysts’ time is spent just on manual “data wrangling” and not meaningful analysis.
The most common solution is to implement better data analytics tools. Implementing a business intelligence (BI) platform and creating a policy for data governance can significantly help with data insights and data quality.
While these projects require some initial work upfront, the return on investment for associations is a true 360-degree view of member behaviors and interactions across their entire customer journey.
Where the Association Industry is Headed
Historically, many associations have thought of their AMS as the center of their data ecosystem, but many are realizing that it is only one part of the equation.
With research from Gartner suggesting that 80% of an organization’s data can be classified as unstructured, associations risk missing out on insights from unstructured data that are not meant to be stored in an AMS.
Most of the unstructured data that businesses collect is in the form of long strings of text, from sources like an online community, social media posts, or member feedback surveys.
The new model relies on a data warehouse and data lake to store large volumes of data, and visualization tools for seeing the larger patterns and trends in the data.
When analyzed, this combination of structured and unstructured data can be incredibly insightful to understanding what drives value for members and for understanding member sentiment around your association’s specific value propositions.
There has also been much research that suggest this trend will continue, with IDC research predicting that data will grow by 61% by 2025.
As the volume of data grows, so does the demand from association leaders to get insights faster than ever before. Business leaders are now asking to understand in real-time what is driving value for members, so that they can adapt and pivot to optimize their results in these difficult times.
There’s also a greater demand for better planning and forecasting, which means organizations need the ability to analyze historical trends and use predictive analytics to understand what is likely to happen in the future.
With executives and boards of directors pushing for better and faster insights to help maximize profits and make informed decisions, it’s clear that there’s become an increased demand for data insights within organizations.
Optimizing Business Results with Data Analytics
When building a business case for investing in data analytics and data management projects, many association teams will focus on how data can help them better understand members and member value.
By understanding the trends of what is driving value for members, associations can adjust the member experience accordingly. Many are using analytics to understand which member segments are at risk of churn and what factors are causing their frustration. They can then take the appropriate action and see higher rates of retention and member satisfaction.
Many associations have also started to use analytics to identify new opportunities for revenue or cost savings. By identifying which programs are not profitable or unpopular with members, associations can make smart cuts without cutting something that is a true member benefit. These resources can then be re-allocated to expand into new product or service opportunities for additional revenue streams.
Ultimately, data insights can help to optimize business results. That may be in the form of higher website conversions, more relevant content offerings, increased event attendance, or more targeted marketing campaigns.
Data can give insights into specific members’ needs and allow for better segmenting to improve results. Providing the right offer or message, to the right member and at the right time, will help associations to optimize their results and increase profits.
To see more examples on how associations are putting these ideas into action, join us for a webinar on September 10th to hear from Association Analytics and Americaneagle.com. We will dive into more of the details and share examples of how your association peers are optimizing the member journey and using data insights.
Bill Conforti is the SVP of Strategy & Solutions and Solutions At A2 where he works closely with clients and prospects as well as product development and delivery teams to keep Acumen and our related services aligned with the needs of association professionals looking to make better, faster, data informed decisions. Bill has more than 20 years of experience leading technology companies in business intelligence, software development and consulting.