How to Mine Data to Improve Your Marketing Strategies: Part 2 of 3

by Christina Motley

In Part 1, The Emergence of the Chief Data Officer, I mentioned my belief that all marketing efforts are measurable and data is not only one of associations’ most valued tools, but a must-have marketing tool. That said, data provides information. Information provides insights. Insights provide guidance in making mission-critical decisions that impact your bottom line and associations’ growth. Let’s dive deeper into how you can mine your data.

Analytics has been—and will continue to be—a critical component of an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) plan. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are accountable to the bottom line and must report Return on Investment (ROI) for marketing efforts. Defining marketing goals for 2014 and developing specific, measurable objectives allow you to measure your growth and adjust future marketing strategies throughout the year based on the data because you will know what is – and what is not -working.

If you are experiencing data overload with all the information available in today’s digital era, you are not alone. Even marketers often feel overwhelmed. But again, data is meaningless if it is not reviewed, analyzed and actionable. You must integrate the data you have access to, whether it be from social media channels, your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Google or other Web analytics, email marketing service provider and other tools you may be using. This information allows you to collect information about your target audience, including both prospective members and members, as well as identify trends and opportunities for improvement, not only for marketing, but also for enhanced business operations.

Know Your Target Audience

As a starting point, look at your target member.

  • What are their demographics?
  • Age?
  • Gender?
  • Married or divorced?
  • What is their median household income?

If you can answer those simple questions, you have access to generational data and can learn more about what motivates them and their key characteristics. See the chart below.

Demographics chart

Where Is Your Audience Online?

You can also start to use that data, or information, to determine, which social channels you may need to consider as part of your marketing plan. With some preliminary, basic information, you can find out where your prospective members – and members – spend time online.

Channel Age Gender Race Income Education Location
Twitter 31% 18-2919% 30-49 18% female17% male 29% black16% Hispanic15% white 19% $75k+18% $30-49k 18% college+18% some college17% high school or less 19% suburban18% urban
Facebook 84% 18-2979% 30-4960% 50-64 76% female66% male 75% black73% Hispanic71% white 76% <$30k76% $30-49k69% $75k+ 75% some college71% high school or less68% college+ 75% urban71% rural
LinkedIn Avg age 41 64% male36% female Over 50% earn $100k+ 80.1% college+ 20 countries
Pinterest 52% under age 34 80% female20% male 35% $35-49k34% $50-74k 60% some college More likely to live in Midwestern states

Know Your Competition

The power of market and business intelligence allows you to expand your knowledge. Conducting a competitive audit will help you collect invaluable data to better position and promote your association in a competitive and global marketplace.

A competitive analysis is also sometimes referred to as an assessment or an audit. No matter the term, a competitive analysis is the process of “identifying your competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own product or service,” according to

Develop a list of your top 3 to 5 competitors. At a minimum, look at the following information:

  • Position in the marketplace—Tagline, unique value proposition, mission and vision.
  • Products and services—What are they offering and/or selling?
  • Pricing—What is the pricing structure? Is it competitive, above or below fair market value?
  • Promotion—Review the channels and distribution methods they are using to promote and market their products and services.
  • Capture any other relevant observations.

Review these insights and compare them to how your association measures up against each area. This exercise will provide data about how you can strengthen your positioning and leverage your unique value proposition to distinguish your association from similar organizations. In order to propel your organization, I suggest thinking outside of the box and going where your competition does not exist.

Know Your Keywords

Keyword research is critical to all things in the world of online marketing. It’s true it can be a tedious, timely and a manual process, but it is a necessary evil. There are both free and paid tools to help you discover top keywords, which will help improve your search engine rankings and thus increase your organic website traffic when the resulting keywords are integrated into your content marketing strategy. Keywords can be used to enhance your social media messaging, blog and other content distribution channels. Here are a few free tools to check out:

Is Your Site Optimized?

Effective SEO begins with strategy and data. Find out in less than 5 minutes if your website is truly optimized for search Engines and you are harnessing the power of SEO with a short quiz.

These are just a few ways you can mine your data to help you make smarter decisions that will lead to greater marketing results. Stay tuned for Part 3 of our series, which will discuss measuring your data through branding, social media and website scorecards.

Christina Motley is an integrated Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)-on-Demand and member of the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC). Christina – who delivers fractional CMO services on demand and on point marketing strategy WHEN & WHERE you need it – also serves a number of nonprofit associations and clients nationally. Learn more at