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Lessons for Co-ops From the Big Leagues

Lessons for Co-ops From the Big Leagues

October 29, 2019 by Julie Elliott, President

I really hate to see the baseball season end. This year, our family completed a 20-year pilgrimage to see a game at every major league stadium. My husband, John, and son Sam proudly snapped a picture at our Philly finale. We loved visiting the cities, experiencing the parks but most of all watching the games. There is just something that seems nostalgic about baseball. 

As much as I want it to, the game of baseball hasn’t stayed the same, however. Starting with “money ball,” the sport, as all others, has been inundated with big data. While instinct might not totally be replaced by analytics, the numbers are now a driving force behind decisions.

We see co-ops getting in the game with this trend too. Our clients are looking for new ways to better evaluate, accumulate and use data. Big data sounds overwhelming, but really there are some easy steps to becoming more of a data driven organization.

  • Take an inventory of your data

What do you know about your members? Of course begin with your CIS and evaluate what data is there. Beware of fields that seem useful but haven’t been maintained. Consider member meetings, program participation and service order interactions when reviewing and accumulating your data.

  • Create a data collection strategy

A data collection plan is a marathon not a sprint. Consider what your key initiatives are and work backwards. Want to engage younger members? Then consider purchasing demographic data to add age to your member file. Launching high speed internet? A survey to collect current provider details and how members use the internet will provide perfect opportunities for segmented marketing. Even if you don’t have a large block of commercial customers, remember to create a plan for gathering information about this important group.

  • Plan targeted communications

Matching your data to your communication is the next step. Consider what channels are available and how you will target the message based on what you know about your members. For instance, if your co-op wants to move members to paperless billing, use data on who currently pays by check along with demographic data to customize the message. For instance, younger members might receive a message about how ebilling helps them have more time to do the things they love.

  • Assess results and continue building

So here’s the greatest benefit to using a targeted approach to your marketing and communication efforts – you can measure results. One of our clients targeted members for a paperless billing campaign and estimated the annual savings from one email was $20,000. While we can’t measure return on investment for every communication, we are able to see how the entire process supports our clients’ strategic goals.

Check out this guide to help you work through the planning process for next season!
[Downloads as xlsx spreadsheet file with multiple tabs]

I can’t imagine how complex the data analytics process is at the big league level but that’s okay because I’m a simple person. What goes on behind the scenes isn’t important to me – I’ll just be happy when baseball season rolls around again. The only predictive analytics I will be sure of is the high probability that I’ll have a brat and a beer by the time the first pitch is thrown, and the world will be right again.