Improving Marketing with Data

The work released earlier this year by ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership in the book 7 Measures of Success has found a clear correlation between successful associations and those that built the organization around the collection and use of data. The book reported, “If there’s one phrase that sets remarkable associations apart from their counterparts, it’s ‘Data, data, data.’ They gather information, analyze it, and then use it to become even better (p 38).”

For most association membership and marketing professionals, the empirical findings of the power of data have confirmed what we have been saying for years. Associations work best when leaders build them on a strong data foundation.

The renowned marketing professor Philip Kotler, in his book Kotler on Marketing (The Free Press, 1999), expressed this truth best. He said, “Successful companies [or associations] are learning companies. They collect feedback from the marketplace, audit and evaluate results, and take corrections designed to improve their performance. Good marketing works by constantly monitoring its position in relation to its destination.”

In fact, this concept of analyzing and using data goes back far before Kotler. In 1923, Claude C. Hopkins wrote Scientific Advertising (NTC Business Books, 1991), in which he declared, “The time has come when advertising has in some hands reached the status of a science.”

His fundamental thesis: “We learn the principles and prove them by repeated tests. This is done through keyed advertising by traced returns…We compare one way with many others, backward and forward, and record the results. When one method invariably proves best, that method becomes a fixed principle.”

As we strive to build our organizations, what data should we collect and use?

I believe that there are at least three three major categories of data collection that successful associations should use. We can look at them over then next few days. Feel free to add your recommendations also.

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