6 Tips for Getting the Most out of your Member Data Platform (MDP)

By Jeff Horne • August 29, 2020

When you implement a new member management platform, like a Member Data Platform (MDP), it’s important to ensure that you’re making the most of the platform you’ve selected. An MDP can help you see a clearer picture of your member behaviour, it can ease your workload and it can help you provide an exceptional member experience. It can only help you achieve all this if you’re utilizing it to its fullest potential. With these six tips, we hope to help you make the most of your MDP so that it becomes an integral part of your growth as an organization. 

You might be asking: what’s a member data platform? A member data platform is a new type of member management system. It allows associations to integrate with best-in-class, third-party software, from email marketing and events to e-commerce and learning management while maintaining a single source of truth and persistent member record. If you want to learn more and understand how an MDP is different from an AMS, we’ve already written about it in a previous blog: Finding the Right Fit to Manage Member Engagement: AMS vs MDP.

1. Train your team

The first step to making the most of your member data platform is actually knowing how to use it. It’s critical that all staff who will be using the platform attend the training session your MDP provider offers. This will give the team a chance to ask questions, understand where everything is in the platform, learn the most common blunders and get strategies for being efficient in the platform. 

It’s also important that you establish a super-user (or two)! Inevitably, it will take some members of your team longer to learn how to use a new tool. The super-user can help provide those team members with the extra support they need to get fully up to speed. The super-user can also help train new members who join the team long after your new MDP is implemented.  

2. Empower your members to self-serve

When your members can self-serve their basic tasks, they will not only feel empowered, but it will also help take some of the workload off your team. With an MDP, your members can easily update their own profile information, self-onboard and self-renew. All you’ll need to do is integrate the MDP with your website so that your users have a central place to manage themselves. 

3. Keep member data up-to-date

It’s important that your members feel listened to. If they update their contact info in one touchpoint you offer, that change should be remembered and reflected in your member’s profile. You also shouldn’t have to manually maintain multiple lists in order to keep your member data up to date. When you integrate your member data platform with your entire tool-suite, you can keep your member data current, everywhere. When your members update their profile in one tool, that information is automatically updated in your MDP. The MDP will then communicate that change to the rest of your tools as well. Say goodbye to updating your member data in several places.

4. Integrate with other tools 

When you integrate all your tools with your member data platform, you can start to offer your members a seamless experience with single-sign-on (SSO). With SSO, your members will use a single username and password to login across all of your integrated applications: your website, your learning management system, your event platform etc. Being able to offer SSO not only improves your member experience, but it also ensures that all of the touchpoints are written back into your MDP so that you have one centralized for all of your key member touchpoints data. 

One of the best features to take advantage of with a member data platform is the ability to integrate with any best-in-class software. Integrating with business tools, specifically, will help you to expand your organization. Integrating with a business intelligence or reporting tool like Klipfolio or Chartio can help you take all that rich data in your MDP and visualize and draw clearer insights. 

5. Automate everything you can

Many tasks, especially those pertaining to data entry, can be automated. Take advantage of all of the time-saving opportunities an MDP can offer. Instead of managing your email list and member list manually, integrate your email marketing tool with your member data platform and automate the whole process. When your MDP and email marketing platform can speak to each other, people signing up to your newsletter through your website can be automatically added to your email list and your member database and tracked as people. 

When you integrate your MDP with a subscription billing platform, you can even automate your membership renewals. Your members can opt into an automatic renewal and the subscription billing platform will securely store the member’s credit card information to automatically renew their membership. This not only takes the manual effort out of renewal for both you and your members, but it also helps you better forecast year-over-year renewals. 

6. Use the data available to you

A good MDP will help you build better relationships with your members because you’ll be able to know them in a more holistic way. Learning about your member through data is one of your most powerful tools in creating a meaningful member experience.  

One of the biggest benefits of a member data platform is that member intelligence is aggregated in a single source of truth. This means that you can easily see behavioural patterns across all of your touchpoints. This makes it easier to relate behavioural changes to causes so that you’re able to quickly address any issues as they arise. 

A member data platform can become a critical tool that will help your organization grow if you make the most of the features available to you. By taking the time to fully integrate your ecosystem of tools with your member data platform, you can provide a seamless member experience that allows you to use best-in-class software while still maintaining your single source of truth database.

About The Author

Jeff Horne is the Co-Founder & CEO of Wicket, and a passionate advocate and change agent for software solutions available to member-driven organizations. Jeff speaks regularly on the power of modern technology for associations and nonprofits and how it can be leveraged to better engage with members, increase member acquisition and create operational efficiencies. Jeff has been working with digital technologies for associations for over 20 years through his work with Industrial, the digital agency he founded in 2000. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @jeffhorne and Wicket at @wicket_io.