Association Laboratory has released their most recent environmental scan of the association industry. Go here and read it as soon as you’re done reading this post.

What you’ll discover is that the greatest concern among associations’ members is managing the amount of information they receive. Your members are inundated with information, from your association and thousands of other sources. So the challenge for associations is making sure that you are communicating just the right amount and type of information to your members. And how do you do that? With data.

The promise of good data management is that you can communicate with your members in a way that is highly relevant and highly valuable to them. You do this by understanding who they are, what their interests and needs are, and how they like to consume information. This means collecting and analyzing key data about your members, such as how long they’ve been a member, what their areas of interest and speciality are, how they’re consuming information from you (e.g., via the web, via email, via Twitter, via print), and what content you have that may be relevant to them.

Managing all of this information can be tricky. It requires good technology and also good processes. But once you start targeting your communications to members (i.e., sending them what is relevant to them, not just shotgunning all information to all members), you’ll see an uptick in their response. And they’ll appreciate the value you’re providing.