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Why Consolidate Your Data?

by MYB, on December 4, 2019

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Every successful association understands that it’s important to gather data: meetings data, membership data, purchase data, and more. But often all of this data lives in distinct silos, which is only so informative. A clearer picture of your association emerges once you start thinking about data consolidation.

“Data consolidation is almost like having a crystal ball,” says Stephen Gabourel, MYB’s Director, Research and Data Insights. “It removes the guesswork and anxiety that comes with self-evaluation, because you’re no longer making decisions based on intuition or gut feelings. You’re making decisions based on a holistic view of your members.”

To begin the process of data consolidation, Gabourel says, it’s helpful to understand that associations typically keep data in three silos. Each is important, but they become more powerful when brought together.

The first is demographic: That covers familiar information such as age, race, and gender, but it also encompasses more association-specific details such as job roles.

Second is behavioral data: meetings attended, journals and magazines purchased or subscribed to, volunteer activities.

Third is attitudinal data: What members and customers have said they think of the value they’re getting from their various interactions with an association.

After consolidating these disparate data sets, we are equipped to identify key patterns in member behavior and answer questions about members that you couldn’t in the past. The data can be analyzed in a variety of ways, but data consolidation works best, Gabourel says, when it’s driven by specific goals that an association wants to address. How can we get more young professionals attending the annual conference? Why isn’t the journal resonating with senior members?

By helping you answer those questions, data consolidation can be a launchpad for new ideas. But it can also keep your organization from wasting time and energy on old ones. Many associations often launch initiatives that may have made sense five, teneven 25years ago. Now, though, they may speak to a very limited subset of your membership and be better off sunsetted. A data consolidation process is the first step to help your organization identify and eliminate underperformers.

Data consolidation is also an essential step in creating personas, which are sets of common personality types across your association that you believe it’s valuable to connect with. You can learn more about personas in one of our earlier blog posts and , but the bottom line is simple: When you get your data sets out of their silos and consolidate them, you can begin answering the questions that help build stronger loyalty and engagement with your association.

Looking for more? Take a look at our two-part video discussion between Gabourel and MYB CEO Max Suzenaar on data consolidation and the value associations can gain from it, or give us a call at 312.870.7100. We’d be happy to speak with you about how to strengthen and grow your organization.