Data & You Part 2 – How Data Can Decrease Membership Churn and Increase Retention

Industry · April 12, 2018

Membership churn can tell you a lot about the health of a museum, zoo, or aquarium’s relationship with its members.

High membership retention signifies visitors are getting the most out of their enrollment and finding engaging events and exhibits. However, maintaining a high membership retention can be expensive. This is where data comes in.

How can data decrease retention costs and increase retention for memberships?

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach with retention strategies, let data inform your marketing tactics to build cost-efficient and member-targeted campaigns. Through data, museums and cultural institutions can understand what visitors value most about their membership experience and offer more engagement opportunities aligned with those interests. The better you understand your visitor, the better chance you have at getting them to renew their membership, donate, and purchase merchandise. So which metrics are essential to getting to know your member?

Two sets of data can reduce spending and increase membership retention:

  1. Onsite Behavior
  2. Member Interests

Onsite Behavior: How do visitors spend their onsite time? Where do they go?

Learning about where and how specific members spend their time onsite can illuminate what excites them most about your institution. If a member always spends ten minutes longer in the cheetah exhibit than any other exhibit, you can be pretty confident they may be interested in upcoming enrichment experiences with their favorite animal. They’ll also be more likely to donate to causes related to cheetahs. Similarly, visitors who exclusively visit impressionist galleries in art museums will be more likely to respond to marketing efforts customized to their love of impressionist art.

Interests: What do your visitors like to do? What are they passionate about?

Outside of your museum, zoo, or aquarium, what are your members doing? Are they avid foodies? Are they film junkies? Building a more complete understanding of the member as a person will give your marketing team opportunities to tap into those interests. If your member loves exploring the food scene, let him know about an upcoming fundraising dinner catered by local restaurants. If your member is a frequent movie-goer, notify her about upcoming screenings in your institution about artists.

Spend Wisely By Getting To Know Your Member

Both onsite behavior data and member interest data will give you a more complete picture of what will excite and engage your members. Your marketing team can then build campaigns focused on those interests, giving your members more reasons to love their membership. Receiving information pertinent to visitor interests will continually add to the value of a visitor’s membership, increasing the likelihood of renewal while reducing the costs of one-size-fits-all retention efforts. Information about your members will not only benefit your institution, but encourage members to keep coming back for the experiences you have to offer. Data allows museums, zoos, and aquariums to cultivate a deeper connection with their members and the ways they want to be involved with your cultural institution.

Guru: Your Partner in Visitor Data

Guru knows that membership retention is an invaluable aspect of a cultural institution’s growth. That’s why we have partnered our data platform with some of the most respected ticketing and membership providers, including Blackbaud and Tessitura. Our in-depth software integrations allow us to pull data from multiple sources and compile them in a comprehensive and accessible dashboard. The combination of software integrations, visitor metrics, and an intuitive dashboard illuminates insights and opportunities to meet and exceed the goals of your cultural institution. Interested in how data can benefit your museum, zoo, or cultural institution? Visit our contact us page and see how Guru increased targeted merchandise sales 170% year-over-year. Let’s talk about how to incorporate data into your institution’s retention strategy.