The 4 Biggest Benefits of CDPs for Associations

    Last updated: July 17, 2023

    Associations have a big job on their hands: They need to engage their members with print and digital content, groups, professional development opportunities and events, all while advancing policy objectives, managing payments, marketing to members, etc.   

    And they’ve got limited staffing, budget and resources to do all that well enough to make an impact. 

    The key to making it all work? Data.  

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    If your member data is all in one place, and it’s all standardized and clean, you can easily pinpoint your member’s key needs and priorities, then use it to personalize your content, marketing communications, events and even your payment structure to your members’ needs. Your data tells you how to increase your membership and revenue, all with less guesswork and manual labor.   

    Sounds foolproof… if your member data is all in one place, that is. But if each person’s data is stored across all your marketing channels, you can’t really know what each of your members wants — or give it to them.   

    The solution? A customer data platform (CDP). CDPs eliminate data silos by taking in member data from every platform and storing it in one place, standardizing and clearing it of duplicates, and giving you a single view of each of your association members and their activities. This gives you a clearer picture of how everyone is interacting with you across channels.  

    This doesn’t just save time previously spent transferring data between systems. CDPs also yield deeper insights that you can use to grow your membership, improve your content and courses, and keep your members coming back.   

    In this post, we’ll discuss what a CDP is, how they give your association the best data possible, and how associations can benefit from using a CDP.   

    Let’s get going:  

    The 4 Biggest Benefits for CDPs for Associations

    What is a customer data platform (CDP)?

    If you’re just evaluating your MarTech options, all the different platforms and abbreviations  can start to blend together. So what separates CDPs from other solutions like CRMs or AMS tools? (Read below or check out the full comparison here). 

    In layman’s terms, a CDP is packaged software that eliminates data silos by taking in user data from every marketing channel, storing it, and making it accessible to everyone in your organization.  

    This gives you ONE view of every person that engages with your brand, no matter what platforms they’re using.  

    Say that Paul Redford is looking at website content about data management and clicking links about data privacy in your newsletter. Without a CDP, your website person would know Paul was reading about data management, and your email person would know that Paul wanted to know more about data privacy.  

    A CDP will list Paul’s full engagement history, across all channels, all in one place. And as an event producer, you can add him to relevant marketing segments, then tailor your pre-event marketing to his interests (e.g., include the sessions about data privacy and management at the top of your emails).  

    As he continues to engage with you across channels, you get even more insights that you can harness into improving his experience further, increasing his lifetime value and giving you valuable revenue.  

    Even better, CDPs make it easy to replicate this for hundreds or even thousands of members.  

    But next, we’ll present some key benefits of CDPs specifically for associations.  

    CDPs for Associations: The 4 Biggest Benefits   

    Increase membership by learning more about your audience 

    Without a streamlined way to segment your potential members, your recruitment strategy will be disjointed and ineffective.  

    This leads to one of two extremes, both of which will stand in the way of your growth goals: Either you’ll spam your entire audience with emails that are only relevant for a small percentage of them. Or you miss chances to promote content/benefits/etc. that, based on your data, your potential members are likely to enjoy.  

    But with a CDP, you can isolate each individual’s demographics, interests and purchases more quickly — and from there, you can add them to relevant marketing segments. Better yet, in Omeda’s Audience Builder database, you can mix and match more than 100+ of these filters to create hyper-specific marketing segments.  

    Say that you’re heading up membership for an association of marketing professionals. Instead of sending a promotional email to all of the “19-to-35-year-olds”  in your database, you can target  “19-to-35-year-olds in content marketing positions that have opened an email in the last 60 days, but haven’t joined our association yet.”  This way, you can easily give each person in your target market the message they, specifically, need to join your association and, in turn, get more ROI from your marketing efforts.    

    And since you can query more data more quickly, you can replicate this strategy for all of your high-value member segments.    

    Use data to increase member retention   

    The more you know about your members, the more you can design your content, courses and events to their needs.  

    But if you’re limiting yourself to the post-event survey that only 20% of your audience fills out, you’re missing easy opportunities to improve your attendee experience — and keep your members invested for the long term.   

    Because CDPs include native website tracking, you can see how your members are engaging with each of your courses and content in real time. You can also see how specific pieces of your membership and sales funnels are performing — and get insights quickly enough to adjust on the fly.    

    This way, you can identify key success levers and growth opportunities, long before you’ve spent money on a new course or conference.   

    Attract more lucrative sponsorships  

    Most associations rely on a fixed income that’s set at the top of the year. That doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for new investments – but event sponsorships can provide some wiggle room in the budget.  

    So how can you maximize sponsorship revenue from your ad partners? 10 years ago, every sponsor dreamed of getting a prime placement in the Expo Hall. But exposure doesn’t close deals — data does. Data is the most valuable currency for sponsors now — and the associations that can provide the most accurate, predictive insights on their audience are the ones that will attract the most sponsors.  

    CDPs give sponsors a 360-degree view on attendee preferences, demographics, and their engagement metrics for every sponsored ad, session and piece of content. This empowers sponsors to reach out to leads more quickly — and effectively — than ever. 

    Besides increasing their ROI from participating in your event, they’re also more likely to come back in the future. Multiply that over enough sponsors and you can start charging more for sponsorship packages (all of which you can use to strengthen your event programming, attract better speakers and get even more attendees!). 

    Keep your member data safe  

    From your various marketing channels and publications to your annual events, etc., associations produce a lot of data across a lot of different platforms. With data breaches and data privacy regulations both on the rise, it’s more important than ever to keep that data safe.  

    CDPs for associations keep all of your customer data in one place, so if you delete or modify someone’s record, the changes apply to every marketing channel. Without a CDP, someone might unsubscribe from the marketing newsletters you send from your ESP, but still get automated event invitations and reminders from your event software, for instance.  

    A centralized model also allows you to restrict access to personally identifiable information and to segment your members by consent status. This goes a long way toward keeping your data safe and maintaining your members’ trust.   

    How do CDPs for associations work? How do they create a single view of each member?  

    How do CDPs create a single view of each member? How do they improve your data quality? And what can you do with all that data once it’s in one place? More on that below:   

    • How does data get from each marketing channel to the CDP? Do you have to import it manually? Customer data flows in and out of the CDP via nightly, weekly or monthly automated file drops, file sweeps and/or APIs.  
    • How do I control what data fields are stored in my CDP? CDPs for associations like Omeda provide automated field mapping, so you’re only collecting the fields that are relevant for your team — and that it’s stored in a format that everyone understands. 
    • So I see how CDPs create a single view of each person. Do profiles stay consistent even if someone changes their phone number or email address? This depends on what CDP you’re using. On Omeda, each user’s information is stored under a persistent ID that encompasses every platform. Even if someone changes their contact information, their profile remains current (and changes are automatically updated in their profile).  
    • How do CDPs for associations prevent duplicates from complicating your data? CDPs match new profile data against your current records and, using a series of automated workflows, it’ll identify possible duplicates. From there, you can manually decide whether to merge the profiles or leave them separate (this is also called identity resolution).  

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