Getting Started with Member Engagement Scoring

For a long time now, the association industry has been talking about the value of member engagement. But how exactly does engagement impact key business outcomes, like revenue, retention, or member satisfaction?

If you really want to understand the link between engagement and financial outcomes, you need a solid foundation for data analytics. You may be able to plan and execute engagement programs, but you need data analytics to measure the effectiveness and to create informed strategies. Read this high-level overview on how to successfully track and score member engagement for continuous performance improvement.

It can be hard to get started and that's why we curated Member Engagement Model with templated best practices as a management toolkit for you. Schedule 1x1 free advisory consultation with us!

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE TO MEASURE MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

62% OF ASSOCIATIONS HAVE A STRATEGIC INITIATIVE TO MEASURE MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
Source: Marketing General Incorporated 2020

Research shows that a majority of Associations are now investing in strategic initiatives
to grow member engagement.

 

The logical next step for today’s data-driven leaders is to invest in a purpose-built analytics system to understand the impact of engaged members. Diving deeper into engagement metrics allows associations to understand which programs are the success and innovate new ones.

That’s where Engagement scoring comes in – it’s an effective way to evaluate your members by assigning points based on meaningful interactions. You will have an objective way to compare highly engaged members against less engaged members to see how engagement relates to financial outcomes.

If you’re just getting started with data analytics, there are best practices to be aware of when creating your process for engagement scoring. 

Important considerations:

 

  1. Why you need to clearly define all your data sources.

  2. Technologies used to capture data.

  3. How to build a meaningful model and engagement score.

  4. How to use data to understand business impact.

  5. How to use engagement score as the universal performance measure.

 

01 List Data Sources

Have you planned for data governance within your organization? Governance provides a framework for organizations to standardize how data is managed, setting policies around who creates, approves, enforces, and monitors data.

 

Implementing a data governance program will drive growth and help improve the member experience by encouraging the use of consistent, accurate, and reliable analytics to inform decision making.

Having a basic foundation for data governance will help bring standards and processes to managing data, with clearly defined roles and ownership. When starting out with engagement data, it’s important to list out your data sources and document them with your team, which could happen as part of a larger data governance initiative. While it may feel intimidating to get started, it’s easier than you might think and there are resources out there to help you get started.

At a minimum, you can start by holding a brainstorming session with different members of your staff to determine which engagement sources are aligned with your mission and strategy. The goal is to build consensus on which data sources matter, so you can develop solutions to capture the data.

 

Example Data Sources

  1. Website

  2. CRM

  3. LMS

  4. Social Media

  5. Communities

  6. Emailing

  7. Newsletter

  8. Research/Survey

  9. Virtual & in-person Events

  10. Exams, CE credits

  11. Accounting

  12. Advertising

 

02 Capture the Data

After you have defined your data sources, the logical next step is to figure out how you can get this data centralized and optimized for analysis.

 

ASAE research found that 86% of organisations struggle because data is captured and stored in disparate disconnected systems. Go back to your list of data sources and determine if your organization has an integrated technology stack that allows you to easily report on engagement across systems and platforms.

If you don’t have a solution for this, it’s important to build a central repository for capturing data. This will help you develop a standard way of tracking engagement, not just with data from one source system, but from any channel you use to engage with members. With disconnected channels for engagement, you will need to have a central hub to collect data from across systems to properly measure and score engagement.

If you’re just getting started with data analytics, there are five important stages to be aware of when creating your process for engagement scoring. 

Luckily, there are numerous technology solutions that can help you out and we encourage you to start researching vendors to help you create a true 360-degree view of member engagement. 

 

We should disclose that Association Analytics is a vendor in this space and has an out of the box solution for data analytics and business intelligence. In addition to our own platform, there are many other solutions on the market, and we encourage you to do a thorough evaluation of software platforms to understand your unique business requirements for capturing data in an analytics solution. 

 

The key takeaway is to remember that you will need data that’s integrated and optimized for analysis in order to see the full impact of member engagement.

 

03 Choosing Model

When defining your scoring model, there are a few common pitfalls to avoid when it comes to engagement scoring:

 

Pitfall to Avoid

As mentioned in the previous section, building a 360-degree view of member engagement is critical. The first mistake many organizations make is to include data only from their AMS. This includes mostly transactional data, and it’s missing the valuable engagement data that lives outside an AMS. Don’t forget that there is a wealth of unstructured data in social channels, member feedback and survey, or channels like online communities where data is captured as text. 

The other common pitfall is related to how companies often decide to assign points in an engagement score. Many will use a list of transaction counts where everything is weighted equally. This does not account for weights and does not give context in an engagement score. Similarly, many organizations will use point systems but will have no limit or scale. This again gives no context – someone might have 230 points, but what does that really mean? We have some helpful guidelines on the next page that will help you get more value out of your engagement scoring, as well as a sample model for engagement scoring.  

 

Optimal Engagement Scoring Tips 

Consider Ranked Deciles

Grouping your engagement by ranked deciles will help to benchmark and score engagement more consistently, making them more granular than just point ranges.

Flexible, Weighted Scale

Your engagement scoring should be based on a 100-point scale, with activities weighted to their relative value.

 

Flexible Configuration

Member engagement activity types will change over time, so it makes sense that your scoring model needs to allow for the flexibility to change which engagement behaviours matter and so you can easily update the model over time and it still has value. 

 

Context 

The score should always be in context of the total population – by activity and by aggregate. This helps you understand that a member score is always being calculated relative to everyone else in the total population. 

 

Timeframe

We’ve found that a good timeframe is to look at engagement that is scored on a rolling 3-year period. 

 

Steady, Linear Decay

We have found that it makes sense to set activity values to decay in a linear fashion every month. 

 

Separate Org Entity Score and Combined Individual

Score We have found that it can be helpful to have a separate calculation on engagement using ranked deciles by both organizations and individuals.

04 Tracking Results

Once you have determined an engagement model that makes sense for your organization, you will want to establish a baseline of data so you can dive deeper into understanding how engagement correlates to business outcomes. You may want to see how higher levels of engagement correlate to financial outcomes like: 

  • Additional revenue

  • Member satisfaction and retention

  • Increased event attendance

  • Increased adoption of member services

 

If you decide to use ranked deciles to score engagement, you now have a granular way of comparing highly engaged members with less engaged members. This is valuable because it allows you to target and segment the less engaged members and focus your efforts on getting these members more engaged.

You can start to effectively set goals and develop a roadmap for the next 6 to 12 months. Start to use the data to inform your decision-making, determining which engagement programs to sunset and where to invest more. Execute on your strategies and remember that this process should be iterative – regularly monitor your progress and take the insights gained to feed the strategy.

05 Share Your Progress

The final point to make on engagement scoring is to communicate and share your progress over time. This is where having analytics technology in place becomes incredibly useful, with proper engagement visualizations that can be shared easily with other stakeholders in your organization. 

 

Beyond just the visualizations, an investment in data analytics will also give you a solid foundation for data, meaning you will have standard reports with consistent and accurate data. All of this should be self-service, allowing anyone to access the data in real-time and eliminating manual work spent building reports. 

 

A business intelligence and data analytics solution will change how your team operates, giving you more time to measure your results and develop data-informed strategies. It will allow you to become agile, regularly monitoring engagement and continuously improving strategies to drive more revenue, grow retention, and improve the member experience. All of this will lead to greater profit for associations, providing important business intelligence that helps them adapt as markets change and member sentiments shift.

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