Your members are the foundation of your association. You conduct market research, invest in better experiences, and do everything possible to ensure they are satisfied with their membership. This continued improvement of offerings depends on your ability to understand what your current and potential members truly care about. How effective are your current methods of understanding what drives your membership? 

In this quick read, we'll explore the differences between traditional market research and digital intelligence. Both of these concepts are key to helping you determine how to best serve and grow your membership. 

What is Market Research?

Market research is the collection of audience data and aggregated information to understand an audience on a deeper level. Market research is a valuable way for associations to learn about what influences their members' consumption habits and understand and where their attention prominently lies.

Types of market research:

  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Buyer persona research
  • Market segmentation research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Brand awareness research

Why Conduct Market Research?

Market research helps you understand what your members think and care about on a broader scale. By understanding your members' problems and desired solutions, your association can fill those needs and help them reach their professional goals. Conducting market research can uncover new ideas for improving member experience.

But it does have drawbacks. 

Market research provides a comprehensive audience understanding, but only for a single moment in time. If you conduct member satisfaction research twice annually, who and what is monitoring member satisfaction during the other 10 months of the year? Furthermore, even the best-written survey or perfectly moderated panel runs the risk of yea-saying or users telling you what you want to hear.   

It's vital to couple your broad market research with a real-time, unbiased look at how your members and audiences actually behave. And in a digital-first world, getting this nuanced behavioral view is easier than ever before.   

What is Audience Intelligence?

Audience intelligence adds real-time color to your market research insights. Maybe market research inspires a new set of webinars or a new session at your annual event.

Audience intelligence reveals how your audience actually responds to those ideas.

Audience Intelligence tracks individual movement across your digital properties to paint a clear picture of what your audience likes, dislikes, wants, needs, lacks, etc. As you grow to understand their desires and behaviors, you can better serve your members by continuously evolving the content that they actually care about.  

You can use audience intelligence to adapt marketing and experiences based on your audience's movements. As you gain more familiarity with your audience, you can separate them into clearer categories. Eventually, you'll be able to serve each segment with unique communications and experiences.

Audience Insights for Associations

Associations can capture audience intelligence with the right digital tracking software. The broader business landscape uses CDPs or Customer Data Platforms to track interactions with their digital properties. Mission-driven associations have a unique set of concerns, and in many cases, require a distinct solution.

When assessing digital tracking solutions, associations should consider the following: 

  • Connecting systems (website, AMS, LMS, events & marketing systems, etc.)
  • Developing unified profiles for groups and individuals
  • Segmenting audiences by behaviors, interests, and preferences
  • Creating smarter content through data insights
  • Generating real-time insights and feedback
  • Suggesting opportunities to pivot based on member and audience behavior
  • Powering personalized association communication and experiences

When shopping for a Customer Data Platform or Audience Intelligence Solution, it's essential to make sure the platform can supercharge content, marketing, member engagement, and more. Unlike most CDPs, Hum includes content intelligence to give associations advanced insight into their content, as well as their audience. 

Your Complete Checklist for Evaluating Business Analytics Software

When shopping for your association's CDP or business intelligence solution, consider the following:

  • Can the platform be integrated with your website, AMS, LMS, MarTech, and all other platforms?
  • Can the platform track engagement across all systems and identify areas of growth?
  • Can the platform get a clear view of how individuals and groups interact with your digital content?
  • Can the platform learn which experiences are working and what to try next?
  • Can the platform dive deep into individual and group behaviors?
  • Can the platform explore key segments and create new ones?
  • Can the platform uncover drivers and interests for target groups?
  • Can the platform mobilize segments across integrated platforms like CMS or email marketing?
  • Can the platform use personalization widgets to display custom content for each individual?
  • Can the platform find topics and formats that resonate with audiences?
  • Can the platform cross-reference content and audience insights to create targeted articles, webinars, learning sessions, and more?

The Hum Difference

Hum's Association Intelligence platform is a fresh take on CDP technology, built specifically with association needs in mind. Our functionality is oriented specifically for associations.

The Hum platform reveals deep audience intelligence, such as information on how individuals and groups behave across the organization and proposed segmentation based on their behavior.

Unlike typical CDPs, it also shares content intelligence, such as which topics, sessions, and events are likely to be the most engaging. Through affinity scoring on each set of content, combined with deep analytics on individual content artifacts, Hum helps associations go beyond insights, into action.

A set of activation tools like personalization widgets, campaign monitoring, and 2-way integrations with your other platforms help associations act on the insights Hum uncovers. In short, Hum helps your organization get the right ideas in front of your audience the first time.

If you think you're ready to kickstart growth at your organization, reach out — we'd love to help you assess if Hum is right for you. Be sure to browse our blog, and subscribe to our newsletter. We'll send you digital transformation content to make your organization's path to digital easier than you ever thought possible.