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Four Keys to Leading with Data

Here are a few ways to connect data and strategy

Associations gather a lot of data. They know a lot about where their members and customers are from, what they purchase and what offerings they like and dislike. However, that’s not quite the same thing as being a data-driven association. Data, in itself, isn’t meaningful. Data-driven leaders make decisions about what data points are most meaningful and build a strategy around them.

Late last month, McKinley Advisors and Association Analytics released a survey report, “Data and Analytics: Driving Association Strategy and Operations,” that puts some structure around what that kind of strategic thinking can look like. By and large, COVID-19 has prompted associations to engage more deeply with data, according to the report. More organizations are using dashboards, and they’re keeping an eye on new people who have engaged with their virtual events. But associations can still struggle with making the entire organization see the value of data.

Often, associations “have someone working independently on data, and they may not know how to translate that into layman’s terms or get people on board with it,” said Shelley Sanner, CAE, McKinley Advisors senior vice president for industry relations. To that end, the pressure is on leaders to evangelize on data’s behalf. Sanner and Julie Sciullo, CEO of Association Analytics, shared four ways to do that.

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