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March 21, 2017    
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Make Sure You Gather the "Little Data".

It's all about "Big Data" these days.   Major corporations and the government have learned that without it they are at the mercy of a very competitive marketplace.

However, luckily, thanks to the awesome ability of technology to amass and process incredible amounts of data into meaningful and understandable form -- and at ever-decreasing cost -- organizations of any size, even the "little guys", can be extremely well informed.   It's all about [a] gathering information, [b] processing it, and then [c] using it to your advantage.

With that in mind let's look at the "networking mixer".
    - Why do we have them?
    - What do we get out of it?
    - Does anybody care?
Assuming your answers are positive then ... how do you know?"

The only way to really know those answers is to gather some data such as ...
    1. Who attended and from what company?
    2. Were they a member or non member?
    3. If a member ...
        - How long have they been a member?
        - What is their attendance history?
        - Did their attendance ...
            - generate business for them?
            - generate beneficial relationships for them?
    4. If a non-member ...
        - Why were they there?
Naturally, there are plenty of other things you should know but that's enough for now.

So how do you answer: "How many of your new members
        - [a] attended networking events?
        - [b] how often did they attend?
        - [c] did they generate any business?
        - [d] did they renew their membership?"

If you answers are incomplete or unsatisfactory, then it's time to get serious and ...
Step #1: Decide all the information you might like to know about your event attendees ... and don't hold back, because you're NOT going to be doing the work.
Step #2: Choose an attendance record system that will be the starting point for providing what you decided in step #1.
Step #3: Find, for example, a bright student(s) who understands technology and would love a business database project like this to add to his/her resume.   Have them design and manage the reporting system that will satisfy step #1.   (You win and they win!)
Step #4: Use the attendance record system to record all the people who attend an event.
Step #5: Use your new reporting system to your benefit.

Your data doesn't have to be "big" for it to be important.   It just has to be gathered and it has to be meaningful.   Do this properly and, especially if you're having difficulty with retention, at least you'll know ahead of renewal time and you'll be able to do something about it.

Cheers!
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March 5, 2017    
Make Sure Your "Voice of Business" is Heard

Many Chambers of Commerce proudly trumpet this as their slogan, but what does it really mean?

In most instances it means that they lobby at City Hall (at a minimum) advocating for the interests of their members and the importance of a healthy local economy.

This activity, of course, will vary depending on the size of the local area.   It will be in reaction to current circumstances or may consist of more strategic lobbying for a thriving, growth economy.   Some of this activity will be overt and public and some will be more subtle and relationship-driven.

In your case . . . "Does the membership and the community know what you are doing on their behalf and, if not, why not?"

This should be treated as a critical marketing and messaging issue that helps to positively answer the "relevance" question surrounding your Chamber's state of being.

Whether or not there is much going on at City Hall or at any other political level you need to be seen and heard regularly as the "voice of business".   This is a reporting function that informs your members (at a minimum) and the community about specific issues as well as the "big picture".

You should have a much better idea than your local business reporters about issues affecting your area so make absolutely sure it's YOUR voice that is keeping the community informed ... not somebody else's.

Cheers!
Good refresher!
3/8/2017 -- Pamela Scannell
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2017 Archives
  Associations of Chamber Executives   (2/21)
  Do People "Out There" Know What You Do?   (2/6)
  Just published ... "The 21st Century Chamber of Commerce" White Paper   (1/23)
  2020 could be your Magic Year   (1/10)
2016 Archives
  Ditch the Contact Form, Baby!   (12/11)
  "About Lipstick and Pigs" (Part 2)   (11/27)
  About Lipstick and Pigs - Part 1   (11/6)
  "Mixers ... they're so 20th-century!"   (10/23)
  Out-of-the-Box Branding   (10/10)
  "Hot Deals" ... Really?   (9/25)
  Sharing Membership Referrals   (9/10)
  An Excellent Source of Membership Leads   (8/30)
  A Simple Value-added Benefit for your Membership   (8/17)
  It worked . . . Immediate Results!   (7/31)
  A Simple Media Strategy for Your Chamber ... FREE!   (7/19)
  "Brexit" ... Positive Chamber Outcomes   (7/3)
  Problem-solver... "Yes!"     Savior... "No!"   (6/20)
  I like Nathan Blecharczyk's attitude.   (6/6)
  Are you Veteran-friendly?   (5/22)
  Are you Relational or Transactional?   (5/9)
  Can you say "Employee Benefit"?   (4/25)
  Re-vitalize Your Board of Directors ... and Your Chamber   (4/9)
  From Scotland ... a few thoughts   (3/27)
  Young Professionals are Important + Framework2020   (3/13)
  Just Announced ... the "Framework2020 Tour"   (3/1)
  Money Talks so ... Make Sure it's "Happy"   (2/14)
  Conflict of Interest & Local Government   (2/1)
  It may be time to huddle!   (1/19)
  And Your Mission Is ...?   (1/4)
2015 Archives
  Introducing ... Focused Growth - "A-Team" Initiative   (12/7)
  So ... Once You've Got 'Em, What's Your Plan?   (11/23)
  Just a reminder!   (11/9)
  Branding Your Chamber is a Serious Process but it Does Not Have To Be Difficult   (10/25)
  It's Time for Someone to Step Up!   (10/12)
  Give Them Something To Do!   (9/28)
  Do You Want/Need a Membership Analysis?   (9/14)
  Make Sure Your "A" Team is In Charge.   (8/30)
  And the Fat Lady Began to Sing!   (8/16)
  Do You Walk and Talk at the Same Time?   (8/3)
  Helping people WANT to join your Chamber   (7/19)
  50% Membership Loss ... that's a Serious Loss of Revenue!   (7/5)
  Don't Keep It A Secret!   (6/21)
  Survey the Members that Matter   (6/7)
  Helping Nonprofit Organizations   (5/20)
  Helping Startup Entrepreneurs   (5/5)
  The New Normal: Energizing your members to participate   (4/19)
  Do you have a RAP Sheet?   (4/8)
  What is your Real Retention Rate?   (3/24)
  Challenging times require fresh thinking   (3/10)
  Simplifying the Economic Development Discussion   (2/28)
  Chamber Members want Education Programs   (2/11)
  One of the great disconnects we choose to ignore!   (1/23)
  The "New" Chamber of Commerce   (1/9)
2014 Archives
  Do you have a Community Leadership Strategy?   (12/4)
  Message for New Chairpersons of Chamber Boards of Directors   (10/22)
  Tell your members about your business advocacy efforts   (9/2)
  Stop the Exodus! Retain your Newer Members!   (8/4)
  Are your Sales Staff asking the Right Questions?   (7/7)
  Understand and use your volunteers better.   (6/22)
  Invest in your Members. Remember who's paying the bills.   (5/5)
  Understanding your local economy and how your members are doing   (3/20)
  Tell your members about the 'SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative'   (3/7)
  Why People Join the Chamber.   (2/22)
  Please participate in the Survey.   (2/10)
  Newsletters ... the Unfortunate Reality   (1/24)
2013 Archives
  Are your Membership Goals Realistic?   (12/14)
  Is your new Board focusing on membership Retention?   (11/11)
  Happier Members means Happier Chambers of Commerce.   (10/15)
  What about the "Younger Generation"?   (10/2)
  What are you really developing?   (9/20)
  What happens when the excitement dies down?   (8/26)
  Using Technology for Education   (8/4)
  Are you a "Member-centric" Chamber?   (7/23)
  It probably won't be pretty but .....   (7/14)
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