We spotted a visualization published by MarketingCharts.com recently that is striking. They surveyed more than 200 marketers at major North American brands and asked, “if you had extra marketing budget, where would you invest it first?” They found that the leading response (more than double the next response) was to spend extra marketing budget on data analytics technology.
Gravitate attended four association-focused conferences in the last quarter of 2019 – AMSFest, Community Brands Xperience, Higher Logic HUG, and ASAE Tech.
At each conference, we asked participants “What is your greatest data challenge?” and thought the results were interesting. The responses clustered as follows:
Marketing General, a leader in marketing research for associations, recently released their 2019 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, a compendium of information regarding marketing and associations trends. Marketing General specializes in providing associations and non-profits expert guidance on growing and retaining membership. Every year, they release the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, an in-depth study of the strategies and tactics that membership organizations use to recruit new members, engage and renew those members, and reinstate lapsed members.
Community Brands recently published a large-scale study that detailed 8 strategies association executives can use to modernize their organizations for 2020. In recent years, “Modernize” has become a buzzword for associations looking to make the most out of available technology in the same way that “superfood” has become a buzzword used to sell kale and blueberries. While navigating the world of quinoa and chia seeds can be frustrating, difficult, and often tasteless, it is almost undeniably good for you - as is properly-executed “Modernization.”
Inefficient as it sounds today, it was not uncommon in the 1990’s to hear that an association was going to build their own Association Management System (AMS) rather than purchase an existing one. When we heard that, we’d generally put a reminder in our sales tracking system to contact them again in 18 months. By then, most would have spent a lot of money, failed to achieve the goals established by the organization, and lost some or all the technical staff who were working on the project. For those who persevered and were mildly successful, they were still challenged with retaining their key technical talent and keeping the system up to date. By the mid-2000s, you seldom heard of an association taking this approach.
Topics: Data Analytics
When Gravitate CEO Tim Ward and I released Avectra’s NetForum in 2004, it was not uncommon for an Association Management System (AMS – or sometimes known as a Customer Relationship Management system - CRM), to join the organization’s accounting system and website as the three primary systems that an association needed to successfully operate its business. At the time, we had successfully stamped out most of the data silos that plagued associations in the past.
Topics: Data Analytics
Early in my career, I was asked by a large scientific society to write a report for them that compared year-over-year and month-over-month membership renewal numbers. They were running a SQL-based association management system (AMS) so I embarked on a journey to write a complex stored procedure to support a Crystal Report. For those of you who have experience writing stored procedures, I had to employ many temporary tables and While Loops to achieve the desired outcome.
Most discussions about data analytics focus on how tools can be used to better understand members and how to influence them to be more engaged. But data analytics can be used to support the needs of members and other stakeholders directly as well. A technology approach to deliver this capability to members is known as embedded analytics. And in some cases, associations can monetize the analytics derived from data provided by their members.
Topics: Data Analytics
I worked for two trade associations – the National Association of Broadcasters and 340B Health – both of which were obsessed with member retention and delivering member value. Not an uncommon pursuit at any association. One of the best ways to illustrate the value you are delivering a member is to show them the Total Member Value (TMV) your organization provides them.
For years the chosen method to demonstate value to members for their dues payment was to provide them a profile report from the Association Management System (AMS), which generally listed all the products and services they received and all the other activities in which they participated. This approach had the following weaknesses: