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March 03, 2006

Mind your data

A post from Kevin Holland on association databases at the Great Ideas Conference blog has got me thinking about the meeting evaluation data we capture.

In my experience, most meeting evaluation data is compiled and tracked from year to year so managers can tell how well it is received over time, how the speakers performed, and how the food tasted, but not linked back to the individual members who completed those evaluations. We might be doing it this way by design. I think we feel that members will be less forthcoming with negative feedback if we require them to tell us who they are. But Kevin makes a great point about needing to continually monitor member sentiment in order to head off disillusionment that leads to non-renewals. Maybe we need to stop doing it that way, and begin tracking meeting evaluations to the members who complete them.

Combine this notion with the discussion that's been going on in ASAE's Membership Section Listserv about conducting a monthly survey to a panel of members in order to monitor a Member Satisfaction Index (MSI), and the gears in my brain are really churning. I like this MSI idea -- think of it as your association's equivalent of the Presidential Approval Rating that we hear and read about all the time. An aggregate MSI would be a great dashboard item, but the real question is what to do with those MSI scores. I can see it now...

"Our MSI dipped by two points!
Should we offer a discount on this new book?

Although I can't find any information about it on their Web site, I think that Marketing General, one of the association community's premier marketing companies, has a program where they score an individual member's renewal probability. One of Marketing General's VPs told me about it years ago. Basically, they mash up data on purchases, meeting attendance, years of membership, volunteerism, and other factors that contribute to a member's likelihood to renew and generate a real-time score on that member's renewal probability. This is a toy I've always wanted. Anybody know an association that's using it?

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