Over the past decade or so, data—and in particular, the big kind—is the bright shiny object that associations have been chasing.
Analytics provide an incredible window into who our customers are, if and how they’re engaged, and who we might be missing (and ultimately, how we get their attention).
How we interpret and use data is critical in determining where to put more investment or where to reduce it. Ultimately, it’s what helps drive decisions so we can do better next time.
But how do we figure out what we need for “next time?” Here are a few things we’ve learned.
Get only what you need
Before you wish for all the data that’s available to you, go back to your goals and determine what you need to derive conclusions and develop new strategies. The more specific you can be with your data requests, the easier it will be to arrive at the right solution.
Make the time
Carve out time for data discussions. It’s no secret staff bandwidth is at a minimum for extra meetings and conversations, but you can’t afford to defer data analysis. The time to pivot might be a day away, so prioritizing these conversations will help you make important real-time assessments and decisions.
Make your data work for you by acting on it immediately. Even small changes can make a difference—a/b testing on email, micro-targeting a direct mail list, adjusting search terms to optimize results. If you respond to the information right away, your next data discussion is more meaningful and actionable.
Involve your team
Seek different perspectives and opinions on your strategy. You can’t know everything, so be flexible and listen to all ideas.
Beyond the data
While these factors will help you build a culture of using data on a regular basis, there are things data can’t tell you. Keep the following in mind as you analyze results and consider changes:
- Are you building and sticking to your schedules? Your data is only as good as your process. If you’re not deploying strategy and campaigns on a timely basis, it’s harder to benchmark your success.
- Have you had internal instability or staff changes? New leadership, high staff turnover and other related factors can delay projects or lead to changes in scope. Make sure to note these changes as you look at results week over week.
- Is your industry experiencing hardship or changes? Industry ups and downs can lead to skewed results depending on the type of content members are looking for. You might see a spike in one area or down numbers in another. Make a note of these changes for context and historical comparison.
A Fixation client event focused on digital data!