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Predictive Marketing: How your organization can be more like Amazon.com

In my last column I wrote about the challenges of building a website that functions similarly to Amazon.com. In this column I will sum up how can you build predictive marketing into your website and ultimately into your association management system, which will ultimately allow you to perform one-to-one marketing with your constituents.

With predictive marketing, there are two major objectives. The first is determining what your customers will want, based on their past behavior and expressed interests. The second is determining which products and services your customers no longer desire.

The good news is that there are now AMS packages on the market that address this issue. With the new generation of software, you are able to do the following:

  • Capture transactional, behavioral, and interest data: Track ALL interactions that your members, customers, and constituents have with your organization. This includes not only the traditional transaction-based activities, but any activity on your website, such as which pages were viewed when and for how long.
  • Implement one-to-one marketing: Based on a weighting and aging system, determine uniquely what each member, customer, and constituent is interested in at this time.
  • Evaluate products: Based on interests and activities, determine which products and services need more emphasis or development, and which are no longer viable.

How do these systems accomplish this? There are two keys to success. The first is integrating your website with your back-office association management system. The second is weighting and aging each product and service.

Integrating to your website: Your back-office association management system should be a centralized database that allows you to capture all transactional information that occurs between your association and your constituents. Your website should be integrated to your back-office to allow for the capture of all financial transactions. But even more important, your back-office should be integrated to your website to capture what each registered user is viewing, reading, downloading, etc. This kind of non-financial transaction is key to learning your constituents’ needs. Ideally, you’re capturing not only what your constituents are buying from you, but also what they’re taking from you, in terms of free information on your website. And you’re capturing all of that information in real-time.

Weighting: Your back-office system should allow you to apply a weight to every product and service your association provides, whether the product or service is sold or is given away (e.g., information on your website). This weighting system allows you to identify “interest domains” and provide each product or service with a weight in a given interest domain. For example, if one of your interest domains is “regulatory compliance” and you put a document on your website on regulatory compliance, that document might have a weight of 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10) in the regulatory compliance domain. In contrast, the same document might have a zero weight in another interest domain, for example “medical breakthroughs.”

Aging: Your back-office system should also allow you to “age” all information gathered. That is, as a behavior (like viewing a document on line) or financial transaction gets older and older, its value on the weight scale decreases. For example, if a constituent views a document on regulatory compliance today, then they have a high interest in that domain. As time passes and no other behavior or transaction from that constituent falls into the regulatory compliance interest domain, the back-office knows that the interest level on that domain is waning.

By integrating your association management system to your website, and capturing both financial and non-financial behavior, this predictive marketing process will allow you to exponentially expand the power of your one-to-one marketing.

This article originally appeared in Association Trends. Reprinted with permission.

 

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