‘Insight Powered’ Digital Transformation for Membership Organisations

Published: 04 May 2020
Last reviewed: 16 Jun 2020

Guest blog by Wattle, who are an independent creative software company that partners strategically with organisations to enable successful digital transformation by leveraging website CMS, CRM and bespoke technologies.

Guest blog by Wattle, who are an independent creative software company that partners strategically with organisations to enable successful digital transformation by leveraging website CMS, CRM and bespoke technologies. Thank-you to Wattle for your Platinum Sponsorship of this year’s memcom interactive conference, where over 50 high-profile speakers and the most cutting-edge suppliers of the moment, will be sharing their insight and expertise.


As digital technology inexorably evolves so do the expectations of your members. How can membership organisations keep up, using insights from the data in their digital systems, to create more powerful and engaging member experiences? In this article we explore the techniques and approaches required to put data at the heart of your digital transformation programme and member engagement strategy.


It’s clear that insight-led organisations outperform their peers. They make more informed business decisions, based on real-time data, and adopt engagement strategies based on behavioural analytics. A recent study conducted by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company highlights organisations that leverage data insights produce superior performance levels of 85% in revenue growth and more than 25% in gross margin.

Despite the positive evidence, membership organisations struggle to adopt data-driven approach and are using only a fraction of the data at their disposal. Why is this?

  1. Ageing legacy systems, siloed membership databases and infrequent automation of key membership processes.
  2. Poor quality member data spread across multiple databases presenting a confusing and incomplete picture of both member behaviour and organisational operations.
  3. A lack of systems integrations between membership CRM databases, websites, member portals and key business applications like finance.
  4. An unclear idea of the specific outcomes that can be achieved via data insights.
  5. A lack of resources and expertise to consolidate data and interpret insights.
  6. Unsophisticated data analysis, business intelligence and reporting systems

All are common sector wide issues and every membership organisation is engaged, at some level, in rising to these challenges. Many are embarking on digital transformation programmes to replace and consolidate legacy systems. A key part of this process is the cleansing of data and amalgamation into a single platform, often a CRM system, to provide a single version of the truth.

However, prior to embarking on a digital transformation programme of this nature its vital that what you plan is also based on data insight. Without modern systems in place how do you know what data to collect and where from?  The insights you gather now will inform the overall programme and how you go about leveraging new technology to attract, engage and retain more members.

What techniques and approaches do we recommend to ensure you secure this insight before committing serious budgets to technology investments?


Google Analytics

When it comes to understanding digital member behaviour, there is perhaps no tool as powerful as Google Analytics.  Even the most basic set-up will provide you with a huge amount of insight from your current website relating to:

  • Content consumption
  • User journeys and user experience
  • Device / network trends
  • Underperforming aspects of websites
  • Underlying SEO issues
  • Acquisition and conversion data

Whilst most organisations use analytics in some way to draw insight and gain an understanding of user behaviour, few have unleashed its true potential. Drawing the right data from Google Analytics will enable you to understand digital behaviour at every stage of the customer journey and, most importantly, understand the issues impacting revenue growth.

Making a few tweaks to your set-up can seriously bolster your analytics view.

Goal Tracking – Traffic volumes should never be the main metric used to measure success. Whilst there may be visible increases in traffic month on month, knowing the proportion of traffic which comes from active users, in contrast to traffic from spam, bots or search accidentals is more challenging.

Yes, there are things you can look for to differentiate, but more powerful is drawing data from trends relating to actual onsite actions and behaviours. Setting up goal and event tracking is a core way of achieving this.

  • Goal Set Up – Gain a critical view of the journey’s users are taking to commit your desired actions i.e. signing up for a membership. This journey can even be tracked across multiple websites by using cross-domain tracking.
  • Event Tracking – On a more granular level, gain an understanding of how users are interacting with campaigns and content i.e. onsite clicks from email newsletters.
  • Multisite Reviews & Reporting – If, like many membership organisations, you still have multiple websites serving different purposes, setting up a multisite configuration can enhance your view. This will enable you to analyse data from individual websites, whilst also giving you powerful capabilities to create reports across the group.
  • Tag Manager – With multisite and multiple digital campaigns, Google Tag Manager provides a simple way to add all your tracking codes in one place, ensuring no marketing insight is lost or missed.
  • Reporting & Dashboard Set Up – Custom reports will allow you to extract the metrics that matter most within your analytics configuration and even report across multiple sites. Setting up views and reports in the earliest stages, will provide you with a critical point for comparison.


Employee Workshops

A lack of employee engagement, and a potential resistance to change as a result, are regularly documented as reasons digital transformation initiatives fail. It is your team, working at different levels within your membership organisation, who are likely to hold the most valuable insights.

Involving employees in group workshops will provide you with information relating to core member interactions, major process pain points, inefficient working practices and ineffective internal business systems.


What can workshops achieve?

·       Combine different ways of thinking from different generations

·       Allow for the development of new ideas and innovation

·       Provide a 360 view of your organisation and ways of working

·       Provide a solid dataset to support project objectives and support quantitative data collection.


When face-to-face isn’t possible? – During the COVID-19 pandemic we have experimented with a range of tools to create virtual workshop environments. These workshops were most successful when conducted over group video conference, with the use of collaboration tools including Microsoft SharePoint and tools such as Miro for a virtual whiteboard/mind map experience.



Member Surveys

Using insight already gathered from analysing legacy systems, Google Analytics data and workshop activity, you now have a solid foundation for quantitative data collection. Whilst member surveys may not guarantee responses from every member, they do provide the best opportunity for the broadest representation of the member base.

There are a range of fantastic survey tools available, but we find that the best long-term outcomes come when survey infrastructure exists within core business systems. This makes it easier to ensure data integrity and allows you to create modified versions of surveys linked to previous responses.

Keep surveys short and focused with 10-15 questions to maximise response levels. Don’t forget to follow up with a plan for regular survey activity, to monitor changes in behaviour and preferences.


The Future Starts Here

Whilst it’s easy to become distracted by modern day tech trends such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), real data insight and business intelligence must be your guiding light. By focusing your efforts on harnessing the power of insight at the beginning, your organisation will have a far greater chance of long-term digital transformation success.


Do you need support building business insight to support your digital transformation? Speak to the team at Wattle to get started.


Wattle will be speaking at memcom interactive 1-5 June. Sign up for your free ticket here.