Ask the Expert: Personalisation and Data

This month, David Lonie and Gary Ford, Specialist Client Directors at Latcham, answer your questions around personalisation and data.

01 Mar 2021

Gary Ford, Specialist Client Director at Latcham.


When you talk about personalised content for members, are you just talking about text? What else can Latcham do?

Personalisation has become extremely sophisticated and, as the question alludes to, has the capacity to go beyond text. All sorts of content can be personalised within member communications.

Research by Janrain shows that 74% of people experience frustration when shown website content that “has nothing to do with them.” 57% of those people said they would be happy to provide some of their personal information to websites, so long as it was used to solve this problem responsibly. This shows that personalisation is no longer simply useful, but absolutely necessary, and needs to play an important part in member communications. 

Our experience tells us that more and more member organisations are turning to on-demand digital print and e-commerce. The benefits of this approach are flexibility and speed: on-demand digital print and e-commerce allows you to change the message instantly and speak personally to your members.

Whether it’s physical or digital, on-demand personalisation creates the opportunity to dramatically enhance your story, allowing you to introduce dynamic, eye-catching touchpoints.

For campaigns, you can personalise the text and the imagery so they’re relevant to that particular member. For instance, using a member organisation for engineers as an example – a member could be a civil engineer, a shipbuilder or involved with buildings - so why not incorporate  an image of a bridge, ship or building on their specific renewal? You can bring in images of people and change these to suit certain groups; apprentices, fellows, chartered members etc. You can also change imagery depending on a  member’s history with your organisation. Have they visited one of your locations, or attended a particularly memorable event? Sending communications with imagery from this place or event can evoke positive memories  and deepen the member’s ties to you.

Electronically, you can add landing pages, videos and links specifically relevant to that member. Marketing experts Instapage have identified six levels of personalisation: the highest one contains personalised information based on the exact geographic location, advanced demographic information, specific niche interest, and historical behavioural patterns (purchase history, voting record, web page visited, etc).

You can also ensure the information you send a member is relevant to them. For example, there is no need to send them information on every single professional development plan you have, just the ones relevant to that member.  

The bottom line is members expect to be treated as individuals. They also want to feel a sense of belonging to their membership organisation and they like to feel connected. Tailoring communication to the specific member using personalisation is a way of fostering these feelings of belonging and appreciation.

David Lonie, Specialist Client Director at Latcham.

What data should we be capturing from members to be able to better personalise communications?

Standard information such as renewal date, membership level and length of membership is important, but if you want to really make your member feel appreciated you need to take the information you’re capturing a step further. Ask yourself:-

  • Do you know their birthday, so you can send them a birthday message?
  • Can you identify what sector they are operating in, so you can send pertinent information on that sector?  
  • Do you know what groups they are in related to your organisation, so you can add value as an organisation to that group?
  • If they volunteer for your organisation, how do you thank or support them?
  • Are they an advocate of the organisation? If so, how do you help them engage with you more, such as attending events or seminars?.
  • How actively do they participate with your organisation? Are they attending your events? Are they accessing your organisation’s insurance? Are they visiting your locations?

According to research by Higher Logic, 43% of member organisations believe the number one reason members don’t renew is lack of engagement. If your member isn’t engaging, reach out to them! You may be missing opportunities to encourage them to interact with you.

Personalisation starts with good data, and the more data you capture the more sophisticated your personalisation will be. Having a robust process to capture data is one of the key building blocks for member value and engagement. With well curated, detailed data and sophisticated technology, it is possible to have a one-to-one conversation with your members - it really does get that personal.

"How can we use analytics to improve our member engagement and experience?

From our experience, the opportunity to capture trends and behaviour when members engage with your material electronically provides crucial analytic data, and is key for on-going member engagement and improving member experience. One way to harness the power of analytics is using data capture when your member interacts with you electronically.

Digital interactions provide significant and granular analytical feedback - email opens, click-throughs, downloads, page visits, bounce rate, video views and time spent viewing a video or page. All this information gives you an opportunity to create meaningful, impactful and relevant pieces. What journey did your member take on your website? How long did they spend viewing different areas? Did they leave immediately or explore further, and if so, where did they go? Tracing that path can give you valuable information on what’s resonating and what’s not. If a member has not engaged, a well-executed follow-up can push up engagement.

Together with on-demand print, organisations can test their messaging to find out what works and what doesn’t. Previously, testing your messaging was expensive, as you had to print in small, costly volumes. On-demand printing allows for printing on the fly, and therefore, for you to test your messaging with your members. On-demand print can utilise A/B testing to find out the best way of communicating with your members. Do some categories of members prefer one style of communication, while others prefer another? This is the kind of detailed analysis you can embark on using the power of data capture and on-demand digital print to create engaging content that really resonates with your members.


Latcham ​creates meaningful connections between membership organisations and their members via award winning print and digital communications.

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