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Archive for member engagement

Partnership Provides Powerful Member Engagement Analytics

(Washington, DC—August 13, 2018) Association Analytics, the leading data analytics software and services company for associations, and Higher Logic, the industry leader in cloud-based engagement platforms, have announced their formal partnership.

Sharing the goal of innovating associations through technology, this dynamic union originated on May 23, 2018. An unprecedented case study detailing the impact of this new integration was released at the ASAE Annual Conference, featuring the predictive membership engagement and revenue indications ASAE has captured.

Higher Logic’s Director of Partnerships, Bobby Kaighn, explained, “What may surprise association leaders is the potency of analytical trends when the Higher Logic community platform is integrated with Association Analytics’ Acumen data analytics platform. You can see the exact retention rate of members who engage in specific community activities, the relationship between community interactions and attendance at annual meetings, and the ratio of membership revenue to the frequency of online community participation.”

Associations dedicate their sources to storing information on everything from finances to event registrations, and most of these sources are continually upgrading their advanced reporting functions to include visual analytics. Now imagine if an association could lay these advanced data sets, like marketing campaign data (from one source), on top of member engagement statistics (from another source). This is where the synchronized connectivity of this partnership innovates the association industry.

Higher Logic’s data-driven approach helps organizations track and manage meaningful interactions along each stage of the member journey. Its expanded suite of engagement capabilities includes online communities and marketing automation, covering everything from the initial web visit to renewal and ongoing engagement.

Julie Sciullo, CEO of Association Analytics, said, “With Higher Logic as a standard Acumen platform integration, we’ve been able to quickly and easily import community data in real-time to interpret past and current data, bringing trends to light for strategic action plans.  The integration with Higher Logic empowers associations to overlay hundreds of data combinations to gauge performance and predict future outcomes.”

With the partnership between Association Analytics and Higher Logic already innovating associations, today’s announcement is shared in celebration of this ongoing and increasing benefit to the industry. For more, don’t miss the latest case study featuring ASAE’s actionable analytics on retention rates, the relationship between specific interactions and attendance at annual meetings, and the ratio of membership revenue to the frequency of online engagement.

Association Analytics (A2) is an industry leader in data analysis and management products, services, and training. We innovate associations by funneling your databases continuously into one powerful visual analytics dashboard for real-time, instant interpretation and decision-making power. The platform is called Acumen and it’s designed specifically for associations. This hassle-free, hosted analytics platform means you no longer need IT staff to run reports. Acumen is intuitive and easy-to-use with out-of-box visualizations & reports that encourage cross-staff adoption. The flexible design allows you to choose only the modules you need and includes seamless built-in integrations with your AMS, LMS, email, and finance platforms. Modules include Membership Engagement, Events, Community, Finance, Membership, Sales/Orders, Email Marketing/Automation, and the Executive Dashboard feature. It’s time you had a single source of truth with a 360 degree view for better, faster decisions, enhanced member experiences, improved staff efficiency, and increased revenue. Learn more at www.associationanalytics.com

Higher Logic is an industry leader in cloud-based engagement platforms. Our data-driven approach gives organizations an expanded suite of engagement capabilities, including online communities and marketing automation. From the initial web visit to renewal and ongoing engagement, we help you track and manage interactions along each stage of the digital customer experience. Organizations worldwide use Higher Logic to bring people all together, by giving their community a home where they can interact, share ideas, answer questions, and stay connected. Everything we do – the tools and features in our software, our services, partnerships, best practices – drives our ultimate goal of making your organization successful. Visit www.higherlogic.com.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles… and Meetings

Each Labor Day weekend, analysts discuss the impact of gasoline prices and other factors on travel driven by an extra day off and the symbolic end of summer. Some estimates indicate that a greater number of travelers by car saved a collective $1.4 billion this year, much of which was spent elsewhere during trips.map-clipart-travel-map
Deciding if and when to travel greater distances is a more complicated process since it often requires relatively expensive air travel with a commitment in advance. The price of airline tickets is significantly determined by the timing of purchase relative to travel. Analytics indicate that the optimal time to purchase tickets is generally between three and eight weeks prior to travel. The specific timing changes based on the time of year and also varies significantly by departure and arrival airports. It unfortunately does not require advanced analytics to observe that prices tend to rapidly increase beginning two weeks prior to travel.
Associations effectively create similar opportunities for customers through meetings and events. Associations spend considerable time and effort on planning and marketing activities based on a range of customer data including prior event participation, topical interests, individual engagement, meeting sessions, organization characteristics, continuing education requirements, and demographics. Registration patterns are closely monitored against prior year’s activity and current goals. Sometimes these patterns are not consistent with historical data. In some cases a trend of early registrants fails to continue and in other cases a late surge of registrants follows a period of marketing efforts.
Associations can supplement their AMS data with external sources to help explain such patterns. The U.S. Census Bureau makes very useful geographic data available including zip codes with latitude/longitude mapped to several other data points. The Census Bureau also offers an application programming interface to obtain detailed geographic data for specific addresses. This data can be used to calculate the distance between two points (it’s kind of a long story that involves the trigonometry I never thought I would use such as sine, cosine, and inverse tangent). Tableau data visualization software provides out-of-the-box geographic visualization capabilities based on data including zip code, area code, city, metropolitan/micropolitan statistical area, and even congressional district.
Various surveys and other analytics estimate that a common comfortable distance for car travel is around 200 miles.  Here is a map created using Tableau showing the population density by zip code within a 200 mile radius of Phoenix:
Here is a similar map based on the same color scale for Chicago:
A far greater number of individuals are likely to consider driving to a meeting in Chicago than a meeting in Phoenix. It is important to note that this straight line distance is clearly a rough estimate and encountering a large body of water such as Lake Michigan would challenge even the most dedicated meeting attendee. Fortunately you can leverage more advanced data sources such as the Google Maps API to estimate driving distances.
This data provides associations with great analytics opportunities to drive meeting participation by aligning with customer travel decisions. For example, marketing campaigns can consider travel decision timing and target specific airport markets. Registration pricing deadlines for individual events can incorporate location analytics. Your association can also create opportunities for strong customer engagement through efforts to help groups of potential meeting attendees organize buses together or even carpool.
Deriving travel distance analytics from customer location data is an example of gaining value from data. This demonstrates why it is important to consider analytics when designing business processes throughout the organization and not just as part of analysis after the fact. Increased meeting attendance often contributes to other benefits including member retention, publication revenue, engagement, and membership recruitment.
Understanding the impact of customer travel scenarios is a great way to leverage association analytics to create the future and grow your number of happy conference attendees.

For Nonprofits and Associations, the Time is Now for BI

Business Intelligence can improve nonprofit and association decision making.  Most of us are familiar with the scenario where we extract information from a variety of different systems that each serve their own purpose, but are not integrated.  In recent years, there has been a push to integrate systems or to try to put everything into one multi-purpose system, like an AMS (Association Management System) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management).  There are certainly benefits to this especially for the front-end users and customer service representatives.  However, there are challenges as well.  For example, it often will slow down a transactional system to store every email that was ever sent to a member.  It may also be cost prohibitive to have a real-time integration between all of your systems.

A Better Way

time_to_goTo evaluate if this situation is optimal, ask yourself if right now you could accurately measure engagement across all channels and programs.  The goal is to not only enable you to increase that involvement, but also to clearly demonstrate the positive impact your association or nonprofit has on your sphere of influence.  I’ve often found that this broad level of analysis can be elusive.  When your board asks for this information, you may have to spend days pulling information from all of your systems and trying to come up with some form of analysis.  But don’t forget to save those complex spreadsheets and don’t forget how they were created so that they can once again be recreated next month!  This kind of activity is what makes me cringe and think, there has to be a better way!  The exciting news is that there is a better way and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Private Sector Paved the Way

The private and commercial sector has already set the stage.  It’s like having a big brother or sister that pushes the boundaries, makes mistakes, and figures out the best way to excel.  Now associations and nonprofits can learn from their mistakes, modify their path to meet our unique needs, and off we go.  The commercial sector has proven the value of Business Intelligence (BI).  Which is, simply stated, transforming data into meaningful information that can be used to make good decisions.  However, remember that the technology is just the enabler – the “tools” to get the job done – it’s people who are the differentiators.
BI can be used to bring together disparate data sets so that historical analysis and predictive modeling can guide decision-making.  It can also be used to supplement your standard customer data with social media content, including customer’s interests, purchasing behavior, and social circles.  What if you could find those customers who spend very little money with your association, yet enjoy being a part of it, and also have a huge circle of influence?  You could reach out to them to help promote your organization.  BI can also identify the key metrics which will help determine overall effectiveness in your space.

BI is Expected

I’m sure you’ve heard about Business Intelligence by now – it’s been a buzz word for a long time and in fact is almost overused.  But the time to act is now.  If your competitors aren’t using it, they will be soon and have you stopped to think that the private sector is a competitor these days?  Especially with respect to content, education and networking.  Chances are your customers are already using BI (or analytics), even if they don’t realize it.  Each time they purchase something at a large online retailer and see things like “other customers have bought this” or “you might also like”, they are reaping the benefits of BI.  It’s something they’ve come to expect.  They also want a custom, user-centric experience from you.  In order to provide this to them, you must first understand them.  You likely already have that information, you just need to harness it.

Get Started

To get started, take a look at my previous blog, Preflight Checklist for Association Business Intelligence. This blog outlines a few preliminary steps you can take now on your path to using BI and making data-driven decisions.

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