September 19, 2017

Want Better Results? Know Your Story

Want Better Results? Know Your Story

Your association’s data tells a fascinating story: what programs have been most successful, how events have performed, which audiences you’re really reaching. But you’re not going to find this story wading through reports or spreadsheets. That story can only be told using data analytics.

Back in August, we talked about the limitations of reports, which can only rehash a static lump of information about the past. We brought up a few scenarios you probably understand very well related to member retention, tracking budget goals ahead of your big annual event, and engaging millennials.

Now I want to revisit those scenarios through the lens of possibilities—namely what’s possible when you use analytics to tell your association’s story.

By capturing numerous snapshots over time, analytics offer a deeper dive into the details, weaving together a clear narrative. You can see what’s happening now, compare it to what happened before, and then determine what’s likely to happen next. Together, this gives you the power to steer outcomes in your favor.


Scenario #1: Is your member retention rate improving over last year?

Your staff spends countless hours manually pulling together reports and manipulating spreadsheet data just for one plot point: year over year membership retention numbers. How much can these stagnant numbers even teach you?

An analytics platform does all the heavy lifting for you, compiling membership data each day and crunching it so you can see progressions over time. Simply click on a button for a more complete story. You can not only see yearly retention rates, but you can compare them among demographics, member types, ages, years joined, and more. You’ll see beyond the “what” and get to the “why”, and that’s what you need to take action.


Scenario #2: Your Executive Director wants to know if you’re going to hit the budgetary goal for your annual event next month.

Context is everything in a story. A report saying you’re only 60% of the way toward your goal might make everyone nervous. But using analytics you may reveal that 60% is on par with past years—and an upcoming special offer typically bumps that up to 100% within a week. You can then uncover the common demographics of those late registrants and take action to reach out to them again.

Analytics lets meeting planners do what reports cannot—gauge event pacing with side-by-side comparisons, manage expectations, uncover patterns, and take actions that will help hit revenue goals.


Scenario #3: You have a goal to improve engagement among millennials.

As you know from your favorite Netflix series, character motivation can be complex. Getting a detailed picture of behavior—in this case, event attendance, email opens, forum participation, and purchases—can help you see what’s clicking and what needs fixing among different audiences.

Data analytics lets you analyze trends over time and compare millennial engagement efforts across different groups, geographies, demographics, and more. You can also weight activities by importance and give each member an engagement score for quick reference. Then you can compare how you are doing this year against years past, or compare your efforts on the East Coast vs. the West Coast.

Can you imagine the effort to extract this story from a spreadsheet or just your AMS? You’d need a full-time employee just to try.


What's Your Story?

Analytics tell you more about your association than static reports ever could. The richer story it tells empowers your organization to adapt, evolve, and make progress toward your most ambitious goals—all within the parameters of your staff time and budget.

The end of your story hasn’t been written—far from it. With a clearer understanding of where you are and where you’ve been, the power is in your hands to make sure it keeps getting better.


We're introducing MemberSuite Insights on September 27th & you're invited!

Calling any and all association professionals that are looking to become truly data-driven. This September, MemberSuite is inviting you to our webinar to introduce Insights, our new analytics platform.

Join us on September 27th at 2:30pm (ET).


SEE IT IN ACTION

Jim Catts

Jim Catts is the Chief Technology Officer at MemberSuite.

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