Guest blog post by Chris Capistran, President, Cobalt

Most associations focus on three metrics – member retention, member engagement, and market share. These metrics are critical, but there’s one key indicator that trumps them all – the Net Promoter Score. To figure out your Net Promoter Score, you simply ask your members, “How likely is it that you would recommend membership in our organization to a friend or colleague?”. Once you have this information, you can overlay it on top of the other three metrics to see how it lines up. Are your promoters always the most engaged members or is there a mix? Are your detractors also the same members that aren’t renewing? Asking these questions and digging deeper give insight that the basic metrics can’t provide.

Still, the ”big three” along with the Net Promoter Score will often give insight into the “what,” but not into the “why.” This is why it’s important to go deeper when analyzing your data. For instance, by introducing engagement metrics you can get an accurate depiction of your engaged vs unengaged members, but why is one member engaged while the other isn’t? To determine this, you must go one layer deeper and begin sorting for common attributes among your members. For example, you might find that female members who have an average five years of industry experience are among your most engaged demographics. This could signal to you that you should place more marketing resources toward reaching this kind of prospective member. Or perhaps you discover that once members reach the director level or above in their careers they stop renewing their memberships — an indication that you’re not offering enough value to more senior level people.

In the end, what you learn from your data will teach you that analyzing it is not enough. You should always be acquiring data, analyzing the numbers, and adapting your behavior based on what the data is telling you. You’d be surprised how often associations will produce regular reports to pass around to senior leadership at their annual meetings without actually acting on any of the data contained within those reports. With all the measurement tools at their disposal, associations should be constantly making and testing hypotheses as to what will drive more meaningful membership engagement, improve retention, increase market share, and/or give your Net Promoter Score a bump.

If you missed the recent ReviewMyAMS/Cobalt webinar on this subject, you can access the recording here.