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Jason Pittock shares how the IPA delivers enhanced member value

The IPA wins "Best Use of Data & Insight" at memcom awards 2020

Jason Pittock of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising shares how they use data to demonstrate the value of membership to both existing and prospective members, driving proactive recruitment and retention, and creating advocates of their 220+ member organisations.


The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has represented most of the UK’s leading advertising, media and marketing services agencies for over 100 years. While our reputation and visibility within the industry is in itself a powerful recruitment tool, the use of data to demonstrate the ROI of membership has enabled us to both reduce attrition and increase acquisition of new members.


Using data and insights for improved member engagement

We collect data on every interaction our members have with us, from registering for an event, to earning a qualification, to making an enquiry with our Insight Team. This data is captured in our CRM, acting as a single source of truth and ensuring that all relevant teams across the IPA have full visibility of every stage of our members’ experiences. It also forms the basis of our flagship member engagement tool, our Annual Member Report, which features a comprehensive and personalised value-for-money statement based on service usage data.

We use data to underpin our 360°-member engagement strategy, which we call the “virtuous circle of member engagement”. We demonstrate membership value at every stage of the lifecycle in order to drive retention and recruitment:

  • ROI – demonstrate ROI to members via annual reports
  • Retention – minimise resignations before October deadline
  • Recruitment – use anonymous data to demonstrate value for money to prospective members
  • Engagement – raise awareness of IPA services and benefits
  • Involvement – increase uptake of services and benefits
  • Advocacy – create advocates of members and secure recommendations to agency colleagues

Perhaps the most important use for our member data is in the creation of our annual report, which ensures that our members can see the commercial benefits of IPA membership. Our annual membership report is different. It is not, like most reports, a generic, one-size-fits-all summary of the previous year’s activity; rather, it is a bespoke, value-for-money document for each member agency. Every one of our member agencies receives their own uniquely personalised report. Each report details the extent to which they have utilised the IPA’s services and benefits during the previous year and the estimated member value they have received in return for their subscription. Using a value scoring system and insights from our CRM data, the report serves as an important member engagement and retention tool. It enables the key decision-makers in each agency to see an aggregated summary of the value received from their membership with the IPA and how they could further optimise this going forward.

The data within the annual member reports is critical in informing the activities of our Member Engagement Manager, Gus Annetts, who visits each of our member agencies throughout the year. These personal visits ensure the best possible experience of our members, by providing the opportunity to demonstrate the existing value derived from membership and to show members how to maximise value in future through the uptake of under-used services. Gus refers to the report as his “bible”; the data contained within it informs the key messages he focuses on for each agency, as well as the order of priority in which the visits take place.

Improved capturing and utilisation of data

At the end of 2018, we implemented a new CRM which has transformed the process of capturing and reporting on data. All of the relevant teams within the IPA can now clearly and intuitively see an overview of each member’s service usage data, allowing us to proactively manage their relationship with us and take early action at the first sign of decreased engagement.

Prior to this, the compilation of the annual report was a mammoth undertaking for our team. Gathering the relevant data for each member agency required running highly complex queries on our SQL Server in order to return reports on every interaction they had with us. Only our CRM manager had access to the data, and we had no easy way of seeing an overview of a member agency’s engagement with our services.

As part of a digital programme that also saw the overhaul of our website, we transformed the process of capturing, processing and utilising data in order to achieve a 360° view of our members and simplify the process of demonstrating the ROI of membership. 2019 was the first year in which we used our new CRM and reporting functionality to compile the required data to produce our annual reports. The transformation has had a huge impact for our team.



  • Attrition for 2019 down 26% (compared with 12-year average)
  • 360° view of members & their interaction with services
  • Transformed CRM & reporting functionality for efficient collation of value-for-money reports
  • Improved accessibility & visibility of member data across the IPA, joining up activities & communications
  • Underpinning member recruitment & retention strategy with data
  • Ability to proactively respond to & target disengaged members before they leave
  • Ability to identify underperforming member services & improve
  • Better reach to more contacts at each member agency, encouraging MIPA membership (new individual membership initiative)

2019 was a particularly successful year in terms of member retention, with the subscription loss kept to only 2% of the IPA’s total annual subscription revenueThrough the provision of the annual report, we have also seen our use of data contribute to the growth of the IPA in other ways. For example, the Insight Team, who provide information and data to members in response to their specific queries, has expanded and developed considerably in recent years as demand for their help has increased year-on-year.

In the IPA’s “Do you know your IPA to Z?” marketing campaign, “N is for no-brainer”. This is because we are able to use data to demonstrate to both existing and prospective members that IPA membership is not a duty or a philanthropic gesture towards the industry, but a wise investment which makes hard-nosed commercial sense.

The annual bespoke Membership Report we receive from the IPA each September is an excellent summary of our agency’s involvement and engagement with the IPA over the previous 12 months. It details our utilisation of each IPA service and gives us a total value score, calculated as a percentage of our subscription. It’s a very useful reminder of what we’re using – and, perhaps more importantly, how we could get even better value going forwards.

Nick Unsworth, CEO

BJL Group


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