RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDY - Metro Atlanta YMCA Better Aligns Its Mission, Member Programs, and Marketing Activities with On-Demand Business Intelligence

By Barbara Lewis, Director of Marketing, Birst

Founded in 1858, the Metro Atlanta YMCA helps children learn and grow, brings families closer, and encourages individual health and well-being. As part of this broader mission, the YMCA has become the largest child care provider in Atlanta, enriching the lives of more than 10,500 children every day.

Wanted: Better BI Solutions to Better Serve YMCA Members

The Metro Atlanta YMCA constantly strives to support its local communities. To create high impact programs and increase member enrollment and participation, the YMCA’s marketing team needed a better way to understand member needs.

Past attempts to promote its programs were overly time consuming and not as effective as the team wanted. The YMCA tried combining income statements and bud Employees and volunteers spent valuable time pulling pivot tables from Excel spreadsheets.

“Before Birst, we spent more time compiling accurate data than interpreting data,” said Betsy Lenahan, chief marketing officer for Metro Atlanta YMCA. “We created a seasonal menu like a restaurant and showed our whole list to as many people as we could to see where there was a good match between what we were good at, what it would cost for us to deliver the experience, and what people wanted and felt they were willing to pay. It was a complicated, time- and resource-consuming process. Our volunteers told us we needed better BI tools. We agreed and started searching.”

More than Pretty Pie Charts

After comparing a variety of BI solutions, including those provided gets with the member database to summarize trends, create marketing strategies, and predict outcomes by Cognos and Oracle, Lenahan and her marketing team selected an on-demand business intelligence solution called Birst. “Cognos is still sitting in the package in the back,” said Lenahan. “We felt the time and expense of the data mapping would slow us down and cost too much.

“I wasn’t looking for pretty pie charts showing what we already knew in spreadsheet form,” Lenahan said. “I wanted to see trends that would help me take immediate action—and I got just that.

“I also needed something that would require minimum IT involvement because their agenda is so full already. I don’t have a BI background, but with Birst’s on-demand solution I was able to get up and running with a trial in just a few hours. Since our first conversation, Birst has been focused on providing what we needed quickly and at a very fair price.”

“I wasn’t looking for pretty pie charts showing what we already knew in spreadsheet form. I wanted to see trends that would help me take immediate action—and I got just that.” —Betsy Lenahan, Chief Marketing Officer, Metro Atlanta YMCA
What Gets Measured, Gets Done

Metro Atlanta YMCA purchased Birst Groups and it was implemented within 30 days. Deployed across 28 branches, Birst helps the YMCA better align member programs and marketing activities with the organization’s goals. The YMCA’s new, multilevel member support and engagement marketing program is based on the demographics, tenure, and frequency of involvement of YMCA members.

“We’re now able to focus on solving needs within member households,” continued Lenahan. “I can think more strategically about clustering and reaching out to customers in a way that’s meaningful for them. For example, we now know we have over 10,000 kids in elementary school and we’re finding new ways to enrich and support their lives. We have thousands of households with kids under 4, so we’re looking at what we can do to help parents raise preschoolers. I believe that what gets measured gets done. With Birst, we’re deepening our engagement with our members.”


For a free white paper on this topic, click here and choose the title “Why On-Demand BI?”

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