Every member is unique: Is your organization treating them the same?

Is it possible to completely know another person? Probably not. But when an organization clearly demonstrates that it can understand its members’ needs and preferences and respond to them in relevant and meaningful ways, it can go a long way in creating a more positive member experience.

That’s why gathering more—and better—member data is key to crafting tailored experiences that resonate with each member’s unique preferences, interests, and needs. It helps associations achieve new levels of member satisfaction, amplify engagement, and cultivate sustained loyalty.

However, that’s often easier said than done, as an early-March Avenue M text poll and LinkedIn poll reveals. A majority of association executives–65 percent–reported that their associations lacked adequate member data to customize and provide member value, only 25 percent said they did, while 10 percent were unsure.

Looking ahead, when asked if they could elaborate on any plans for collecting more member data to enhance customization, one association CEO–who said their group does not currently collect enough member data–said they are transitioning their Association Management Software (AMS) “to collect better data,” which will enable them to “use AI to help determine what members value based on their experiences” and then make any necessary adjustments.

Another leader, who also said their group isn’t collecting enough data, said, “In addition to encouraging members to go into their profiles and update them, our membership manager is going to member websites to proactively fill in the member profiles in our AMS,” which is a “long-term project.”

A leader said they plan on sending out membership and chapter leader surveys and updating demographic questions. A couple of associations shared that their current AMS lacks the ability to gather and report on this data; however, they are in the process of upgrading them.

One executive said their organization collects enough data but doesn’t “use it effectively,” and they don’t have sufficient “data retrieval tools and strategies.” Another executive noted that “data needs to be continually updated.” They recommended not only having a strategy to identify the necessary data and how to collect it, but also how often it needs to be refreshed.

Customizing the member experience with responsibly and transparently collected data demonstrates the association’s understanding and responsiveness to members’ needs, reinforcing the value they gain from their membership.

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For more insights on customizing the member experience with data, read Avenue M’s quick summaries of the following resources, and click the links below.

20 Ways SMBs Can Leverage AI to Elevate Their CX

As companies increasingly explore the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI), smaller businesses are finding unique opportunities to enhance customer interactions and improve their overall experience.

From simplifying processes to driving personalization, AI enables smaller organizations to compete more effectively with larger counterparts. Forbes Technology Council members suggest practical ways for small businesses to leverage AI, including how to improve data collection and analysis.

  • Gain Customer Trend Insights: Utilize generative AI chatbots to understand customer trends and enhance engagement by tapping into existing customer data for personalized interactions.
  • Data Collection and Analysis: Leverage AI to streamline data collection and analysis, freeing up resources for better decision-making and enhancing customer experiences through personalized insights into behavior, purchase histories, and preferences.
  • Increase Customer Touchpoints: Employ AI to expand touchpoints beyond traditional surveys, enabling more effective data collection and feedback to build customer loyalty and trust.

How Sur La Table Uses AI to Power Customer Experience

Sur La Table, the popular kitchenware retailer, has stepped up its online game with an AI tool. The tool uses predictive analytics to make searching for products easier and to suggest items customers might like, boosting online sales. By tapping into data insights, Sur La Table’s team has improved product recommendations and category pages, leading to better shopping experiences and increased sales.

Sur La Table’s director said they’ve shifted to a more data-driven approach to drive growth efficiently. With the new tool, the team can now make smarter decisions based on predictive analytics, uncovering trending products and customer preferences they didn’t know about before. This not only enhances the online shopping experience but also aids in marketing efforts, leading to a solid increase in add-to-cart metrics year-over-year.

Study: Members Need More Customization, Hybrid Options

The latest Association Engagement Index (AEI) study by MCI reveals that while associations enhanced their reputation as industry leaders during the pandemic, there’s still a need to tailor offerings and engage younger members better.

The survey underscores the importance of flexible delivery systems to meet members’ needs. Notably, there’s a demand for personalized engagement options, particularly in meetings, with younger generations expressing interest in in-person events.

However, associations struggle with providing accessible content, highlighting the need for customization to enhance member engagement. The study emphasizes that associations should better enhance and personalize the member journey, ensuring quick access to resources aligned with individual preferences and business needs.

Got Data? 13 Strategic Ways Nonprofits Can Leverage Data to Optimize Operations

Nonprofits know gathering data is crucial for understanding communities and keeping stakeholders in the loop. But making the most of that data takes practice. When used right, data can supercharge a nonprofit’s operations.

Forbes Nonprofit Council members share advice on ways data can be applied within organizations to optimize operations.

  • Apply Insights for Informed Decision Making: Use data to improve efficiency and effectiveness, informing decisions on revenue, expenses, and productivity.
  • Enhance Processes: Ensure gathered data informs future programming, services, and budget planning for improved operations.
  • Tell Balanced Stories: Combine quantitative and qualitative data for impactful storytelling that resonates with stakeholders.
  • Understand Key Stakeholders: Use data to understand stakeholder priorities and adjust operations to enhance engagement and support, leading to increased success.

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Contributors: Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE & Lisa Boylan
Image: Adobe Stock