InformationWeek just ran an interesting article titled “Why Everyone’s Data and Analytics Strategy Just Blew Up”. They sum it up starkly: “Customer behavior has changed and company operations have changed. If your data and analytics strategy isn’t keeping up with what’s happening, then you have important work to do, quickly.” We couldn’t agree more – you need Fast Data.
Most associations and non-profits develop their budgets based on prior years activity and history. Whether they are using analytics tools or not, they are essentially using predictive methodologies. As InformationWeek noted, “Predictive analytics depends on historical information, which doesn’t exist for the COVID-19 outbreak.” Suddenly having years of annual meeting registration history isn’t a good barometer of future behavior.
But in combination with external data, associations can uncover some interesting findings which may help them plan. For example, we worked with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) to blend detailed COVID information such as infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities with AIAA’s membership data. They used this information to determine the impact on various categories of members and whether they should modify membership renewal structures as part of their organizational COVID response. It was an illuminating exercise and allowed them to make decisions quickly and with confidence.
A similar tactic would be to blend unemployment data for an industry that an association represents and compare it to past recessions. This should help an association predict the expected drop in membership retention during this cycle and be able to make budget decisions accordingly. Using a tool such as Nucleus would allow an association to go even deeper and evaluate the impact on different segments of membership and the supporting vendor community.
“People realize now, that should you invest more in speed and nimbleness, you will lose less” noted in the InformationWeek article. “You don’t have weeks or months anymore.” External data sources may be part of the answer. They need to be quickly identified, blended with your valuable member history, and used to uncover import insights that might just help protect the longevity of our association. The key is Fast Data.