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Has Your Association Adopted Data-Driven Decision-Making?

Protech’s Guide to Data-Driven Decision-Making
Protech’s Guide to Data-Driven Decision-Making

There’s nothing like trusting your gut instinct. It’s easier than data-driven decision-making, more fun, feels right in the moment and takes less time than the well-thought-out alternative.

But we’re not writing this blog post to help you decide which ice cream to buy or how to choose which shoes to wear tomorrow. Making one of those decisions? Go with your gut.

This blog is meant to help you oversee a massive cultural shift at your association.

So how can you flip the script at your trade or professional association? Well, it’s especially challenging to pull people aboard the data-driven ship, and it’s nearly as hard to keep them aboard.

To help you get your skeptical team members on board, follow these tips to bring data back to the forefront at your association.

Protech’s Guide to Data-Driven Decision-Making

Maybe you’re tasked with generating more non-dues revenue. Or maybe you’ve been tasked with increasing overall membership. Whatever you goal, data can help you achieve it.

Step 1: Spread the Good News

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Your association staff is never going to make data-driven decisions if they don’t see its value.

Find an actionable dataset in your association management software, collect some insight and send it out to your team. In the same email, declare that a paradigm shift is now underway.

Why? According to the Harvard Business Review, awareness is one of four key pillars to promoting data-driven decision-making.

HBR’s study focused on data as it relates to manufacturing, but we think the core tenants apply to many professional and trade associations, too. Consider the following example from the Harvard Business Review:

“In order to adopt DDD, firms have to learn emerging practices and how they might work (or not) in their particular organization.”

Step 2: Trust the Process

Change doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need to give your staff ample time to change their game plan.

And while you’re waiting for the full embrace of data-driven decision-making, be sure to act fact when staff inevitably returns to their gut instinct.

To maximize your productivity, you’ll need to quickly recognize and correct bad decisions when they happen. It could save you from sending a staffer to a less-than-valuable trade show or from doubling down on an unsuccessful email marketing strategy.

Step 3: Change Your Tech (If Necessary) 

The reason you’re not making data-driven decisions? It could be your technology.

If you don’t have the right software in place to access real-time dashboard visualizations, track goals or customize workflows out-of-the-box, it might be challenging to find actionable data to maximize your association’s productivity.

According to this infographic, only 40 percent of enterprises are satisfied with their current big data tools. So don’t feel too bad if your tech isn’t cutting it. It might just be a signal that it’s time to make a change.

Step 4: Enjoy Your Data-Driven Future

With the right tech in hand, your staff will soon change their mindset to think more analytically.

If not, encourage them to draw their own conclusions from your membership database, and continue sending those examples where data has proven valuable in the past.

And all this isn’t to say you should manage a bunch of robots who only make decisions because the numbers said so. Just use the data to support smart business decisions. And go with your gut when necessary.

Your Next Steps

What's next for your association?
What’s next for your association?

Is your association among the 81 percent of organizations that think data should be at the heart of every decision, as suggested by EY? Then why haven’t you shifted your team’s approach?

Remember the following:

  1. Increase Awareness
  2. Be Patient
  3. Consider Making a Change in Your Tech
  4. Enjoy the Future

Want to learn more ways to boost your data-driven decision-making? Request a demo with Protech Associates today.