Member Benefits, Association Surveys, Benchmarking for Associations

Don’t Be Average: Is your data misleading your members?

Aug 2, 2022 4:15:20 PM


- You are one of 9 people sitting in a bar. Elon Musk suddenly walks in and now the average wealth of the group in the bar, including you, is 200 Million.- 

I've never met Elon Musk, but I'm pretty sure if I did, he wouldn’t hand over $200 million but his presence does impact the average and certainly does not tell the story of the income level in the bar. Averages tend to be a data point more widely used than percentiles. This is probably because most people grasp averages better than they do percentiles, but averages are misleading and often times, even if unintentional, leaves the data consumer mislead. The example above illustrates the issue with using averages: 

  1. Averages hide outliers 
  2. Outliers skew averages 

Optimizely wrote a blog post several years ago with the statement below. Even though this post is old, it’s a great explanation of why averages are bad. 

“While the average might be easy to understand it’s also extremely misleading. Why? Because looking at your average is like measuring the average temperature of a hospital. What you really care about is a patient’s temperature, and in particular, the patients who need the most help.” 

In today’s economically challenging world, is the data you are providing helping those members that need it the most or is it actually hurting them? Are you providing the true data points that will assist all members with their hiring, supply chain, and revenue forecasting issues?  

At Dynamic Benchmarking, we specialize in data collection, benchmarking and providing the percentile numbers that actually mean something to your members. Our data gives your members what they need to take action and make vital changes to thrive in today’s world. In addition, our technology and people ensure you are compliant with antitrust laws that many other data tools don’t take into account.  

If data is something that is important to your members, contact us to learn more or if you are visiting the ASAE Annual Meeting in Nashville, schedule an appointment at Booth 649 to say hi and learn how we can help your organization with your data needs.

Schedule Your Appointment at Booth 649