Case studies

Driving data analytics and insights to grow membership for a professional services institute

key fact

Our client is a leading professional services body supporting the knowledge, skills, behaviour, learning and development of tens of thousands of members in dozens of countries worldwide.

As with any professional services body, growing and serving the membership community is our client’s primary business-critical remit. “Data is the lifeblood of our organisation,” says our client’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). “We have a huge opportunity to develop insights about our customers, optimise our services, and create new offerings to serve our customers.” The organisation has designed a membership transformation strategy with three key objectives: retention of existing members, recruitment of new members, and harnessing new technology to improve ‘anytime, anywhere’ member services.

Our client had already seconded a specialist Mason Advisory consultant with a background in data analytics to support its ongoing digital, data and technology transformation roadmap. As the relationship developed, the potential to add value from a data perspective quickly became clear. Working closely with the COO, our consultant implemented a programme of work showcasing the power of data analytics, insights, and maturity, to support the organisation’s growth ambitions.


In support of the membership transformation strategy, our client needed to generate meaningful insights into trends, behaviours, localities, retention, and service demand, to target and monitor growth opportunities.

But, although the data was extensive, the organisation recognised that they needed support to develop their internal skills and capabilities in this complex area, which straddles technical skill, technological expertise, and business intelligence. Leadership agreed with our consultant’s recommendation that they needed to recruit to permanently embed these skills and capabilities. To kick-start momentum, though, our consultant established the fundamental building blocks to support a data-driven membership growth roadmap.


Since this area was relatively new to the organisation, we began with a proof of concept. We used a sample of internal data to demonstrate how information can be analysed and presented to achieve a deep understanding of trends, activities, targets, possible roadblocks, and opportunities moving forwards.

Quickly recognising the potential, leadership invited our consultant to work directly with the business functions supporting the Membership Programme. There were three main directives. First, understanding the scope of available data, any significant gaps, and what could feasibly be achieved in this context. Second, developing intelligent reporting and analysis to generate full visibility of current trends, growth targets, staff activities, potential risks, and overall progress. And third, mapping these insights into actions for the business to deliver.

These activities positioned IT, with our consultant’s support, to begin a conversation with the wider business. With the input of key stakeholders, our consultant designed and implemented new reporting capabilities in a matter of weeks, providing clear, powerful, visual insights that senior leaders could easily absorb and have absolute faith in. “Mason Advisory’s consultant provided a crucial ‘bridge’ between IT and the end user, translating what we were actually asking for into the technical requirements,” says our client’s Manager for Research and Projects within Business Development.

Excited by such rapid progress, our client asked for guidance on using data analytics and insights to refine their membership growth targets. Our consultant worked collaboratively to address areas for improvement in target setting and monitoring – for example, by building in seasonal and geographic considerations. Targets were then integrated into the data analytics and reporting set. For the first time, our client could map activities to targets, and targets to membership data. This significantly increased leadership’s ability to ensure accountability for growth and retention activities. It also enabled IT was able to showcase its potential to support the wider business strategy, up to board and CEO level.

Word spread to other business departments that were also keen to benefit from these new capabilities. Our consultant was asked to support two other departments (Membership Operations and Learning & Qualifications) with their data requirements.

From the Membership Operations perspective, the challenge was to revamp manual reporting processes tracking membership renewals. Our consultant designed an automated workflow, eliminating any risk of human error and generating valuable insights into renewal trends so that appropriate actions can be taken. “Our initial priority was to tidy up and automate our existing reports, reducing this workload from half a day to a simple five-minute job, and producing accurate, user-friendly data,” our client’s Manager for Research and Projects continues. “But Mason Advisory’s consultant also added value by encouraging us to think about how we can effectively future-proof our data and reporting.”

From the Learning & Qualifications perspective, the organisation needed to understand exam performance, a vital objective since exams represent an important membership service and a significant proportion of revenue. Our consultant designed a data analytics tool giving leadership a full understanding of exam uptake and supporting business-critical syllabus decisions. He also implemented a data validation workflow to identify anomalies amongst remote/online exam responses. The Evaluation Panel can now see in a matter of minutes whether any result should be investigated before a qualification is awarded. The tool also provides robust quality assurance, supporting our client’s compliance with OFQUAL standards and regulations.

Throughout this programme of work, our consultant built the solutions using tools available through the organisation’s native software tenant, plus free, open-source technology. Importantly, neither required technical coding skills. When our client’s new Data Analytics Manager joined, our consultant worked closely with them to onboard, build out additional functionality to address new requirements from the business, and train stakeholders for effective knowledge transfer.


In just two months, our client travelled from a starting point of mass data offering limited insights to a new, single source of truth across membership behaviour, trends, patterns, risks, and opportunities. The board is equipped to make confident decisions to drive membership growth, and to ensure staff accountability for meeting key membership transformation strategy objectives.

Business functions can now generate deep insights into renewal patterns, recruitment targets, and exam assurance. Manual processes have been reduced, freeing staff to focus on other value-adding tasks. The new Data Analytics Manager is in place to carry the strategy forward and start the journey to full data maturity. Our client’s Manager for Research and Projects comments that, “Mason Advisory’s support has been invaluable in gaining a better understanding and overview of our data to support membership growth. I am now confident our reports are accurate and user friendly, and easy to adapt as needed for the future.”

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“Thank you for all your help with the data analytics. It was a pleasure working with you and your input has been invaluable. Cleaning and visualising the data is essential for membership development and you have done a great job, even though I have been a very demanding customer at times! Your pro-active approach, often suggesting improvements and different angles to consider, is a big asset.”

Assistant Director – Head of Membership & Professional Standards, representing our client.


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