Breaking Down Data Silos with a Member Data Platform

By Jeff Horne • April 10, 2021

Customers are at the heart of any business, just as members are at the heart of any association. If Customer Data Platforms exist for businesses, why not Member Data Platforms for associations? Built by Wicket, the world’s first Member Data Platform (MDP) is simple in theory, yet surprisingly necessary. 

Intrigued with 25 minutes to spare?  Learn more about what an MDP is through this podcast hosted by Association Adviser about Deconstructing Data Silos with a Member Data Platform.  In it, Jeff Horne (CEO of Wicket) shares how you can use a MDP to measure and strengthen member engagement, create more personalized marketing campaigns, as well as own a single source of truth to make more informed business decisions with.

More of a reader? Here are the key 6 takeaways that are particularly helpful if you’re wondering why an MDP might be worth considering.

Takeaway  1: Benefits of an AMS versus best-in-class  versus a MDP

Association Management Software (AMS) are all-in-one tools that help you manage many membership functions at once. They serve as many things to many people, and can help associations consolidate and eliminate the use of varied tools.

Best-in-class tools excel in their doman. They are the Mailchimps of the marketing world, Eventbrites of the event world, and Shopifys of the ecommerce world. They do what they do best, but aren’t particularly good at communicating with one another well. 

Member Data Platforms (MDP) integrate with all your favorite tools to let you use best-in-class solutions, while giving you the ability to share data between them. Other benefits include:

  • A persistent, unified and accessible member record.
  • Insight into your members’ identity, transactional, and behavioral information.
  • Ability to know members at an individual level by having a rich profile of their engagement.
  • Real-time data flow to make data accessible to the rest of the suite of applications that you have in your ecosystem.

Takeaway 2: Unlock customizations from a marketing perspective 

Not everyone is living the same membership experience. Some members are interested in attending events, while others want to access educational content online. When all of that happens on different platforms, from an association management perspective, it’s hard to get a full picture of your member interactions.

A MDP lets you aggregate all of that information into one place and you can start to segment your audiences more clearly. From there, you can create and send personalized messaging to let your members know you understand what their fundamental wants and needs are.

Takeaway 3: Fight data decay by trusting your data. 

Breaking down data silos in itself creates operational efficiency. When organizations use several different software systems at once, there’s often a lot of exporting and importing to get data in and out to keep information up to date. 

A MDP makes sure your data is being continuously synchronized without you having to put in the manual labour. The real benefit of having a persistent record is being able to trust a single source of truth. In turn, that record becomes an effective tool to base informed decisions off of.

Takeaway 4: A good member management tool must have these three things.

  1. Robust API:  Accessible, easy-to-use and developer-friendly APIs.
  2. Scalability: Can perform under stress in real-time conditions and can expand in functionality to meet a growing member database.
  3. Integrity of data: Has sufficient backup mechanisms in place so you won’t lose your data; those measures are also compliant with regulatory bodies.

Takeaway 5: MDPs are best suited for associations with different functional roles.

If you’ve got a team managing events, another for marketing, another for advocacy, and everyone’s using their own chosen software to do their job, that’s where a member data platform shines.

Associations that are familiar with using many sets of tools in their day-to-day are going to be the strongest fit for a MDP since they’re already in the maturity level where they can benefit from not having to go the extra mile to connect all their softwares together manually.

Takeaway 6: Expect onboarding a MDP to be similar to onboarding an AMS.

A MDP is more than a plug and play solution. There is significant work to really understand an association’s data, their membership structures, and to ensure that it’s all being properly represented from a dataset perspective within the system. 

From a timeline perspective, expect three to twelve months to deploy, depending on the size, scope and  complexity of your data, as well as the number of other software systems that it’s being integrated with as well.

At the end of the day,  the role of the MDP is to continually grow its library of pre-built integrations to live out its promise of allowing users to easily pick and choose the best tools they want to use together.

What’s Next

For more on how Member Data Platforms increase engagement, deliver operational efficiencies and can empower you to make data-informed decisions, visit our website to learn more about Naylor’s Member Data Platform powered by Wicket.  

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.