MGI Tipster – Volume 12, Issue 5

May 14, 2013   |   Vol. 12   |   Issue 5
The importance of Data Analytics

Do you know …

  • Who are your most valuable members and customers?
  • Which engagement activities are tied to higher renewal rates?
  • Your renewal rates by member type, segment, and tenure?

Would you like answers but can’t get them because data is spread across databases and formats? Well, you are not alone. Your first task is to review, condition, organize, and connect files using relational databases. Once completed, data analytics becomes a very real and important management opportunity.

Data analytics begets business intelligence

Data analytics is the process of collecting information and applying proper analysis so that it reveals new insights that we call business intelligence. In the case of association member development, business intelligence is used to develop a crisper and more useful picture of the characteristics of those who interact with the organization. That is essential data when optimizing membership marketing programs and designing engagement programs that are best suited to the members.

Understand where you are to plan where you want to go

Data analytics can be used to uncover the predictive indicators needed to accelerate membership growth and product sales. Knowing the demographic and behavioral characteristics of an organization’s most valued members and customers enables association marketers to identify stronger prospects early on, recognize engagement needs by specific variables, and improve retention programs to keep more members year after year.

The first step toward improved recruitment is building up-to-date member profiles using recency, frequency, and monetary value—analysis across membership, conference, and product databases. This identifies:

  • Clusters within databases that rank members and customers from best to those at-risk
  • Customer rankings by potential to generate revenue
  • Average lifetime value of customers and members
  • Meaningful relationships linking member and customer characteristics to revenue generation
  • Spending patterns both in total and by member and customer segments

Start digging … you may be surprised by what you find

One organization discovered a member who was spending more than $500,000 a year on products, but was being treated the same way as someone who bought a $10 report. Experiences such as this beg the questions:

  • Should a staffer be dedicated to this member or their organization as a concierge level service?
  • What are additional product needs?
  • Why does this member buy? What is your value proposition—through their eyes?
  • And finally, should there be an acquisition strategy that targets prospects that have the potential to become such revenue gold mines?

Put your knowledge to good use

Once an association has identified “best” members, it should examine behavior to find common group characteristics that set this group apart. Then, use this knowledge to seek out new prospects that fit that profile. Understanding who top customers are can be leveraged in several ways:

  • If revenue growth is a target, one may plan highly targeted acquisition campaigns that would seek out only prospects that are the most likely to become an organization’s best revenue-generating members. In this scenario, the return on investment will be maximized, as only potentially profitable members will be acquired.
  • If member growth is a target, cut out the bottom-of-the-barrel prospects that are least likely to respond. The dollars saved can be returned to the acquisition bucket to mail more of the better prospects more frequently. In other words, the less revenue-generating potential a prospect has, the less money should be spent to acquire him or her.

Consolidate and integrate

Associations that have identified their best customers often fail to examine the big picture; that is, how to best integrate all membership, product sales, conference marketing, training, webinars, magazine subscriptions, and so forth.

Data analytics gives associations the capability to convert information into actionable knowledge. Membership, product sales, and conference marketing divisions should not be treated as separate revenue sources. Instead, members and customers should be monitored as they go through the association’s programs at every stage of the Membership Lifecycle. Integrating all available information through data analytics is a reliable way to identify the true problems and opportunities within an organization.

Want to learn more?

Need help analyzing your data across platforms? Contact MGI Operations Vice President Tom Beauchamp at 703.706.0377 or email him at Or contact Account Director Jason Gudenius at 703.706.0392 or email him at

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