Data is an essential element for making informed decisions in any business, and the association industry is no exception. By gathering and analyzing data, associations can gain insights to optimize key areas such as their operations and revenue, and it can even help stay you stay on top of industry trends.
The power of data is its ability to help you make better decisions, stay competitive in the market, and stay relevant for your members. As our industry adapts to changes in the world, it’s crucial for associations to use data to keep up. In this blog, we’ll cover the importance of data to guide business decisions relating to association operations, association revenue, and association trends.
How Data Can Improve Association Operations
Data can help associations improve operations by identifying inefficiencies and areas for improvement. You are likely collecting website visitor data, event data, and your own member lifecycle data. Once you have enough data available to you, you can use it for measuring engagement, streamlining your processes, and setting KPIs.
Four Data Categories Associations Should Track:
1. Track member engagement
By tracking metrics such as member activity on your website, event attendance and participant feedback, and even social media engagement and comments, associations can gain insights into what their members are interested in, what they aren’t happy with, and how to better engage them.
2. Measure internal processes
Analyzing data about your internal processes is essential for identifying areas of inefficiency, streamlining workflows, reducing costs, and improving productivity. This can include your recruiting and hiring processes, staff and volunteer retention, salary competitiveness, benefits data, budget allocation, and governance policies.
3. Monitor program performance
By setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for your events, education, and other member programs, you can track progress against them. Associations can monitor their performance and make data-driven decisions about how to improve.
4. Analyze member feedback
Member feedback is a crucial data point to collect. For example, if you notice a decline in event attendance, you can send a member survey to identify the reasons behind the decline. Perhaps members feel that they aren’t getting enough value from the event, the cost isn’t in line with their expectations, or the association needs to improve its communication about the benefits of the event. By using data to identify the root cause of the problem, you can develop targeted solutions to address the issue/s.
How To Use Data To Boost Association Revenue
Data is critical for associations when it comes to revenue generation. By analyzing data on member demographics, interests, and behavior, you can identify opportunities to increase revenue. For example, if an association notices that a particular member segment is underrepresented in its membership, you can develop targeted programs and benefits to attract members from that demographic and boost dues revenue.
Three Ways to Use Revenue Data:
1. Identify new revenue opportunities
By analyzing data on member behavior and preferences, you can identify new products and services that may be of interest to members and generate additional revenue.
2. Optimize pricing
By analyzing industry data on pricing, you can identify the optimal price points for their membership tiers and services, helping to maximize revenue.
3. Improve retention
By analyzing data on member retention rates, you can identify factors that contribute to retention and take action to improve their member experience and reduce churn.
For example, by analyzing data on event attendance, associations can identify which events are the most popular and profitable. You can then develop strategies to increase attendance at those events or develop similar events that are likely to be equally popular.
Use Data To Stay On Top Of Association Trends
Data can also help associations stay ahead of industry trends. By analyzing data on industry tendencies and comparing it to their own data, you can identify areas where your association may be falling behind or emerging trends your association needs to stay ahead of. For example, if you notice that your members are increasingly interested in a particular topic, product, or technology, you can develop targeted educational programs or events around that topic to meet member demand.
How To Spot Association Trends:
1. Monitor the competition
By tracking the activities and performance of competitors, you can identify areas of opportunity and potential changes that may impact your members.
2. Ask your members
Oftentimes, a member survey or round table discussion can reveal trends and topics of interest. You can also ask your staff what trends may have come up in their day-to-day conversations with members.
3. Check social media
Your social media followers may be asking questions in the comments or sending direct messages that you can review for trending topics. Social media groups are another way to keep your finger on the pulse of trending topics being discussed.
In conclusion, data is a critical element for making informed decisions for your association. By measuring and monitoring key areas such as member engagement, event attendance, and membership retention, you can improve your association’s operations, revenue, and stay on top of industry trends. Data can also help associations identify areas for improvement, develop targeted strategies to address them, and stay competitive in the market. As the amount of available data continues to grow, associations that embrace data-driven decision-making will have a significant advantage over those that do not.
If you’d like advice or help gathering and/or analyzing your data, reach out to us! And if you’d like to keep your finger on the pulse of crucial industry data, take our survey! We’re putting together the industry’s BIGGEST report and forecast yet.