As a membership organization, you probably use several channels and systems to target and convert prospective members as well as drive member engagement and retention.
These likely include web, mobile, email, and member management software/CRM.
But the most successful membership organizations today have added a new solution to their technology mix — a customer data platform (CDP) — to help them unify all data they collect across the aforementioned systems and then activate it across channels.
Why membership organizations are adopting a CDP
Customer data platforms have seen increased adoption among membership organizations for two main reasons:
- 1) First-party data unification: A CDP brings together all of your membership data across systems — including any membership management software you may use — into a single profile database that is accessible to your marketing and growth-focused business teams. By consolidating all existing member and prospective member data in one place – whether it’s membership status, behavioral and engagement data, past donations, marketing consent preferences, demographics, location, or other data — you save tons of time on manual data uploads, exports, and list segmentation.
- 2) First-party data activation: The data you collect in a CDP is immediately available for activation to help you more effectively personalize individual experiences. Connect your core marketing and member engagement technologies to your CDP so you can enrich member profiles and build new segments that can be sent to all of your digital channels for targeting (e.g., email, web, Google, Facebook). Machine learning in the CDP enables you to deliver more effective one-to-one experiences based on each individual’s attributes, preferences, and behaviors.
Simply put, membership organizations with a pure-play customer data platform like BlueConic in their stacks have realized there is untapped potential in their marketing programs.
They can better utilize their data to drive new initiatives, refine existing ones, and improve tactical and strategic metrics: from membership growth to increased donations.
Specific customer data platform use cases for membership organizations
As with any new marketing technology, there are specific use cases that a CDP can enable.
Here are the most common ways membership organizations — consumer advocacy groups, non-profits, trade associations, and the like — take advantage of the platform.
Use case #1: Grow your membership base by identifying and converting high-value prospective members.
Modern membership organizations work just like any other subscription-based business, in many respects. They have mission statements, personas, a strong digital presence with robust content, and specific new member and retention goals.
As such, successful membership orgs regularly revisit these elements of their businesses to improve key objectives — including and especially membership growth strategies.
By turning to a customer data platform, you can gauge which prospective members have shown and continue to show substantial engagement.
You can then determine who is most likely to convert to become a new member, in turn, refine your member lifecycle orchestration strategy to connect with those prospects.
With a CDP, you have the ability to not only see individual engagement scores and profile attributes adjust in real time, but segment individuals based on all of those attributes and immediately take action on data.
Segmentation of prospective members based on how recently, how frequently, and where they interact with your membership organization online (and offline) can also prove invaluable for just about every component of your marketing.
Use case #2: Improve member retention by uncovering granular insights from predictive modeling.
Member retention is a top priority at all organizations. Improvements to onboarding, content, and perks certainly influence renewal decisions for your membership base.
A 2018 Dynamic Benchmarking study found groups with onboarding and/or orientation plans saw member renewal rates rise from 62% before implementation to 68% after.
Programs like these certainly play pivotal roles in your retention strategy. But you also need access to granular member data to extract valuable insights that enable you to build effective renewal strategies for different member segments across channels.
Understanding these intricate and unique behavioral attributes in real time can give you and your team the edge you need to act (e.g., deliver one-to-one messaging at the right times and on the most applicable channels) when it matters most.
Member behaviors sourced from your CDP can also inform how to promote renewal messaging to current members (e.g., channels to use, specific messaging to send). By unifying all of your data in one place, you can run predictive models on top of the data, such as propensity-to-churn, to determine which members require outreach or an incentive to renew.
You can also create richer segments (e.g., high-value members in terms of customer lifetime value; by member type: repeat or major donors, active volunteers, etc.) to focus your membership retention efforts for maximum impact.
Use case #3: Drive ecommerce sales for your retail arm by personalizing product recommendations to members.
If you have an ecommerce presence, you can deliver highly personalized product recommendations based on each individual’s interests, behaviors, and other attributes.
You can also use a customer data platform such as BlueConic to reduce advertising spend waste by immediately identifying members who have bought on your online store.
For instance, you can leverage the real-time segmentation in our pure-play CDP to suppress members from being retargeted across channels following their purchase.
That way, your membership org doesn’t overwhelm prospective members with irrelevant ads. Instead, you can focus on those who’ve yet to sign up who could convert soon.
For instance, you could focus on known members who have visited your site in a given time frame (say, the last 24 hours or week) and spent considerable time viewing specific products.
In a time when many membership organizations are struggling, it’s worth your energy and resources to leverage your first-party data with a pure-play CDP like BlueConic and experiment with new (and potentially lucrative) avenues for revenue growth.
Advancing your membership growth strategy with a customer data platform
Even with a wealth of martech at their disposal, there are still some membership organizations who’ve yet to implement modern technology like a CDP to power their membership growth strategies.
“[T]he use of data and data analysis has shown almost no forward movement over the last number of years,” among membership orgs, a 2018 Marketing General report found.
As the report noted, though, entities that adopt a data-driven approach with modern tech, are miles ahead with their membership marketing compared to other orgs.
“The marketing opportunities have just really expanded, and the groups that taking advantage of those, I think will see more success in their membership acquisition efforts,” Marketing General Senior Vice President Tony Rossell told Associations Now.
The point here is simple: A pure-play customer data platform like BlueConic enables every single one of the aforementioned use cases (among several others).
But it also makes membership marketers’ jobs markedly easier and more streamlined, helping to grow critical metrics including member acquisition and retention.
Download our CDP business case eBook to learn how you can convince leadership to invest in a pure-play customer data platform for your membership organization.