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Data Targeting that Works: Leveraging Your Lists and External Sources (Deep Dive 3)

October 2, 2023 @ 11:30 am 12:30 pm

With all the data available, how can we build smart strategies and effectively target our desired audience? Learn how to leverage email, text, mail, advertising, and influencer data with your in-house lists to find untapped potential and build savvy campaigns.

Jessica Cooper, National Federation of Independent Business
Bethany Dame, American Property Casualty Insurance Association
Shawn Rahmani, Strut Learning
Jefferson Stovall, Beekeeper Group (moderator)


  • New data sources
    • Lots of data we can get into
    • Anything that can be brainstormed can be integrated
    • How to reach consumers where they are – what platforms are they using?
      • Effective partnership – key issue survey quarterly to identify users
      • Who agrees with you? What is their demographic information? Where can we reach them?
      • Mapped quadrants of what is popular and what is easy to reach to optimize
    • How to manage the firehose
      • Start with 2-3 metrics, regardless of platform
      • Optimize against those, figure out how to manipulate those metrics
      • Figure out how to engage members
      • Figure out what you need and work backwards
      • Too much data can be harmful:
        • Clogs up resources, time suck, prevents you from finding useful solutions
        • Does not actually make you better to have hyper-focused data
        • More is not necessarily better
        • If you can’t use it, is it worth having? 
        • To be effective, show relevance
        • Data should work for you, you don’t work for your data
      • Lookalike audience modeling project
        • Appended voter data – subscriptions, birthdate, etc.
        • Look at infrastructure – make sure you can actually push that out to our audiences
        • Shawn established a data governance board – from there you can audit and determine security etc.
        • Amazon, Azure, etc. all have places where this data can be stored even if not used frequently
  • Learning Objective: Exploring what used to work and what doesn’t work anymore
    • Many things have changed in terms of data
    • Outdated practices:
      • Long surveys have lower success rates
      • Nobody wants to do a 34-question survey, especially in a PDF format. Example from Jessica: moved to 7 questions, moved it online, narrowed to 2 questions, made it part of onboarding
      • You can get a lot from even 2 questions if you’re strategic: for example: “I’m willing to” and “I care about”
      • Instead of text fields, change to toggles/radio buttons – less is more!
    • New platforms: 
      • The changing landscape – decline in the effectiveness of Facebook in consumer acquisition
      • Beta tested on Tiktok, over 1000 advocates, 5 influencers engaging
      • The campaign ran for only 5 days
      • Trialed graphics/messaging to target somebody in a more influence-able demographic – adapt graphics to meet the audience
    • How much data is purchased vs. homegrown?
      • Leverage what you have
      • Paid ads vs. paid data 
      • Data is outdated as soon as you buy it
      • With a 2-question form – make it part of the renewal process as issues evolve
    • Quorum does not speak to the membership database – ours is better than the membership team. How to sync them up? 
      • API to sync up (make one the database of record)
      • How useful is that despite the workload?
      • Had vendors talk to IT, Advocacy, Marketing, etc. to make sure they’re aligned
  • Working with internal stakeholders to make changes and simplify data workflows
    • Easy to complain, but not constructive
      • Involve others – make them come along, more buy-in
      • Identified opportunities, making the change process easier
      • Frame it as an opportunity to solve problems: How can grassroots help you? What do you need advocates for? How do advocates help you be successful? 
      • Bribery (appreciation) is also very effective – chocolates, basketball
      • Just build relationships, listen to personal stories/questions
    • Monopoly money example
      • Brought all departments together, laid out solutions
      • Gave every department Monopoly money – put money on what is most important. 
        • Allowed them to see all of the things we do
        • Helped prioritize mission across departments
        • IT team had the idea of adding points to different actions, helping identify participants – unforeseen benefit of inclusion
        • Don’t lose sight of the people
      • Felt like they were bought into the solution – they wanted to be inclusive
    • How to get the conversation moving with IT
      • If there is no data governance board, this might help to begin that
      • What’s the redundancy plan? Backups? SLA?
      • Storing backups securely onsite and in the cloud
      • Should we encrypt our data if it’s moving between systems? What are best practices?
      • Information sharing with coalition partners – any tips/best practices for working with other coalition members?
        • If there is a formal coalition, think about entering into a data-sharing agreement
  • What new data metrics do you use? (New GA4 analytics, etc.)
    • Cost per acquisition by campaign, across the year, multiple years
    • For each ad buy, how much did it cost to get them in the door?
    • How well is that platform performing over time? i.e. over time, Facebook has become less effective
    • Data allows you to target communications
      • What happens? Mass unsubscribes
      • By collecting data from those 2 questions, it allows you to tell the recipient why they are receiving the email
      • Connect the dots for the user
      • Thank you for taking action on X, we have another issue, it has moved to the floor, etc.
      • Tailor the communication. Customize the completion screen to provide more information. 
  • Data personalization and segmentation
    • Passwords are important
    • Multi-factor authentication (via email or text)
    • Educating your staff, redacting data where appropriate
  • How often to audit the data? 
    • Quarterly (Shawn), biannual, annual. IT staff can provide recommendations.
    • Update preferences every year upon renewal. 
    • Customer service experience – call members, confirm information, ask questions. 
  • Takeaways
    • Jefferson: Landscape continues to evolve rapidly. Leveraging data sources is key. Start small.
    • Bethany: Implementing data-driven decision-making is worth it. Overcoming paralysis when you have lots of data, achieving cross-silo integration. 
    • Shawn: Data governance boards are crucial.
    • Jessica: Be thoughtful about what you need and how you use it. Only helpful if you are able to use it.


October 2, 2023
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
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