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 technology to their martech mix — a customer data platform (CDP) to help them unify all data they collect across the aforementioned systems and then leverage that data in real time for marketing.
Why membership organizations are continually turning to the CDP
The CDP has proven to be an invaluable tech resource for membership organizations today and distinguished itself from the other marketing solutions. In fact, the platform has seen increased adoption among membership groups for two simple but compelling 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, simultaneously eliminating those inhibiting data silos, which can cause headaches across the organization (especially for marketing). By consolidating all member and prospective member data in one place – whether its member status, behavioral & engagement data, 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 technologies, including your aforementioned membership management software, 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 customer data platforms have realized there is untapped potential in their marketing programs:
Data that can drive new initiatives, refine existing ones, and lead to improved performance metrics: from membership growth and engagement to greater retention and revenue.
The only thing that differs among these groups is how they specifically harness the power of their CDPs, given there are various types of membership organizations operating today.
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 renewal goals.
As such, successful membership organizations regularly revisit these elements of their businesses to improve a host of key objectives — including and especially membership growth strategies.
By turning to a customer data platform, your membership organization can gauge which prospective members have shown and continue to show substantial engagement.
You can then determine who is most likely to convert in their respective buyer journeys and, in turn, refine your member lifecycle orchestration strategy to connect with those prospects.
Simply integrate your membership management system and other tech tools to your CDP.
Then, you’ll have the ability to not only see individual engagement scores adjust in real time, but segment and immediately take action on the data.
Segmentation of prospective members based on how recently, how frequently, and where they interact with your membership organization online (and offline) can prove invaluable for just about every component of your marketing:
From targeted (and retargeted) ads to individualized emails — activities that can ultimately turn semi-interested leads into full-time members (or donors or enrollees).
Similarly, look-alike modeling based on your current member base can help you identify, target, and convert new members that share similar attributes.
Use case #2: Improve your member retention numbers by uncovering granular membership insights in your CDP.
Member retention is a top priority at all organizations. Improvements to things like onboarding, content, and perks certainly influence renewal decisions for your existing membership base.
A 2018 Dynamic Benchmarking and Kaiser Insights study found groups with onboarding, orientation, or welcoming 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 the edge you need to act when it matters most.
But member behaviors sourced from your CDP can also inform how to promote renewal messaging to current members (e.g., channels to use, messaging to send).
Let’s say you discover the recency or frequency of member log-ins are suddenly low for key segments whose memberships will end soon. You can develop personalized renewal offers and content recommendations to reengage them.
Publishers have been using these personalization tactics with much success for years now.
There are several other niche member types — multi-year members, repeat or major donors, active volunteers, newsletter subscribers — you can focus on retaining, of course.
It all depends on who you and your organizational leaders value most.
You can also create richer segments (e.g., highest-value members in terms of customer lifetime value) to focus your membership retention efforts for maximum impact.
In addition to detecting which high-value members should be targeted with renewal messaging, a CDP can also help you recognize when members seem unlikely to renew.
Deploying out-of-the-box predictive models in your CDP, you can recognize which members are likely to churn and deliver messaging that encourages membership renewal.
As outlined in our dedicated customer churn guide, failing to focus some of your marketing attention on members heading for the digital door can lead to substantial revenue losses.
Conversely, sending timely, relevant messaging to these members to entice them to remain members can keep your renewal rates high — and revenue coming in the door.
Use case #3: Drive ecommerce sales for your retail arm by personalizing product recommendations to members.
Not every membership organization has an ecommerce arm that sells merchandise, proprietary research, or some other product type to bolster revenue.
If your organization does, though, you can deliver highly personalized product recommendations based on each individual’s interests, behaviors, and other attributes.
You can also use a CDP to reduce ad waste by immediately identifying members who have made a purchase.
For instance, you can leverage the real-time segmentation in our CDP to suppress members from being retargeted across channels following their purchase.
That way, you don’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 a proper marketing database 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 organizations, a 2018 Marketing General report found.
As the report noted, though, brands 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 CDP enables every single one of the aforementioned use cases.
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 the advanced technology for your membership organization.