What does it mean in 2021 to
Be a Chamber Member?
Three things are certain in life.
Death, taxes, and change.
An opinion from David Farmer | CEO of Ad Giants
To say that business today has changed is an understatement of epic proportions. No one feels that more than your local Chambers of Commerce. The question is, why?
Obviously, there's a myriad of reasons behind the decline of memberships in chambers. Everything from going out of business to losing customers due to the pandemic to poor management and service. But beyond that, there are specific transformational challenges that have pivoted the typical business and business needs that go beyond what a traditional chamber can offer. Here's just a small list of these new options business have and challenges a local chamber faces to maintain membership:
• More access to digital solutions
• Younger behavioral shifts to running a business
• Better, cheaper, and faster solutions to grow a business
• The ability to literally grow a business at home online without traditional needs
• The new "Autonomy Business Model"
• Dated "value-add" offerings from chambers
• The aging out of typical business owners that saw value in chamber memberships
• Stronger methods to engage local businesses more personally that chambers haven't embraced
Chambers play a critical role, but their value is being lost and devalued by newer businesses and even more mature businesses that look around and see their own success being left behind by these more nimble models and processes. And, in return, they look at their chamber to solve something for them that quite frankly is out of their bandwidth. Another networking event or guest speaker isn't going to be as effective as they were before, even though those are fantastic community-building practices. It's going to take "change" and the willingness to try something new on behalf of your membership.
Just a few ideas to ponder...
The Business to Business Challenge
A panel of at least two of your member businesses that do the same thing. They sit in front of your other members with a whiteboard to reveal their own ideas about growing their businesses and the similar challenges they both face. A "Blue Sky" session between businesses whereby multiple brains come together to solve collective challenges together.
The Digital Expert
A work session that presents a local email / digital marketing expert to show people the ins and outs of creating successful marketing using email. You can also have a session where you bring in a solid web design expert to do the same, as well as social media. Not just another member, someone in the area or community that is known for being the best of the best.
The Quarterly Challenge
An award of $1,000 goes to the business that shows the greatest growth over each quarter and then gets to present how they did it to all of the other businesses. This award can be given to different categories; retail, service businesses, restaurants, etc.
A weekend work clinic where you segment-specific business categories within your membership and you have a national expert in those categories come in to moderate a discussion specific to an agenda prepared by the chamber for each segment and their individual challenges to growth. This could also be an online event.
These are just a few ideas presented to underscore the main point of this article. It's time to think differently, and that starts at the top of each chamber. You already carry the burden daily, and chamber leadership is always focused on this huge task. But help is out there. Most of these challenges are actually marketing challenges. Great products and services just need customers to ramp, and that begins with a solid marketing plan. But it takes a true advertising expert to create that, and most of your membership cannot afford it. That's where we come in. We've created a process and plan that will help your membership 100%. And we also have a program that helps you add new revenue by simply allowing us to help your constituents.
We're NOT just some ad agency looking to harvest your members. Hard to believe, but ask some of the chambers we've already partnered with, they've experienced the immediate value we bring. To learn more about our program, click below.