The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article (subscription required) a few days ago talking about the trend in "management by data." In a nutshell, large corporations have figured out that if you analyze the behavior of your customers you can leverage that information into better performance.

The dark side, according to the article, is that if you focus exclusively on managing by data, you are managing for now, but not for the future. One example they provide is Dell, which, as the WSJ put it, "…captured an increasing share of sales and profits in the PC industry by mastering supply-chain logistics. But Dell couldn't diversify its business, making it vulnerable once Hewlett-Packard matched its expertise."

The lesson for associations (and all businesses): You need to do both. You need to use your data to get the most out of your current customers, but you need to pay attention to the future an how things are changing, and be able to adapt to that.