Third Eye

BMOs should exploit benefits of data harvesting

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 00:00 |
Social media. Photo/Courtesy

When WhatsApp updated its terms of service earlier this year, it led to a mass exodus of clients to other platforms.

The general assumption was WhatsApp was harvesting data on its clientele and the fact that it belongs in the same family as Facebook, many assumed the company would be privy to otherwise private information and possibly this would be made public with time.

Telegram had an upsurge of clients. In 72 hours, they gained over 25 million new users, pushing their active user numbers to 500 million at the time.

Signal gained 7.5 million users globally according to figures shared by the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs committee.

Business was booming! People were crossing over to other apps or using them simultaneously with WhatsApp.

What was not known to the public was data harvesting had been long in practice. Online purchasing platforms were already profiling clientele by their buying history. 

So, how can Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) use data to improve services to members?

Firstly, increase member retention. This is by far the most challenging aspect of membership management that membership managers have to handle.

Members join associations for whatever reasons but it remains the membership manager’s responsibility to ensure their members remain engaged and interested in the association and its business.

The present-day consumer is a more demanding than that of yesteryears. This is majorly because technology has gotten us all used to instant solutions. Members of BMOs have not been left out in this.

Data can ensure membership managers know their members in and out to determine where their interests lie.

They will also be able to know challenges members experience through data gathering.

Secondly, BMOs can position themselves better in their advocacy ventures when they have data on their members.

They will be able to represent their members better, articulate issues properly with the gatekeepers and policy-makers and get action where needed.

Thirdly, gathering data on the industry points the BMO to where their potential members are.

This allows them to pitch their membership to this potential membership. This data would also help the BMO to know their potential membership, therefore, informing their member recruitment efforts.

With this knowledge, the membership manager would know which strategy to use to gain as many members as possible.

Also, data harvesting helps BMOs in decision-making. They are able to make decisions depending on what is more important for members.

BMOs can, for example, identify the issues affecting members’ businesses and focus efforts to resolving them.

Through surveys and other ways of listening in the industry, BMOs can get to know issues affecting members and mitigate the same.

Fifthly, data mining can assist BMOs to identify avenues for research, which would ultimately benefit members.

Through harvesting of data, BMOs can identify fertile business grounds that their members can venture in.

They can also identify problematic areas in the industry and develop solutions.

BMOs can also use data to predict future trends in the industry and membership in general.

The T data-mining tool can assess information and predict future trends of some industry aspects.

BMOs can then forewarn members or inform them of opportunity areas. This, in itself, would be a good value addition for the BMO’s members.

Again, data gathered by BMOs can help shape communication between BMOs and their members.

The BMOs will be able to know what information their members require and how they prefer it communicated.

They will also know the platforms members prefer for communication as well as which days and times their members are most active.

And finally, gathering data on the industry ensures the BMOs know potential revenue generation areas.

They are also able to craft creative ways of making money for the association thus increasing its income in the long run. — The writer is Membership and Communications manager at the Architectural Association of Kenya — [email protected]

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