Tuesday, April 24, 2007

chamber of commerce 2.0...

ask your average business owner what they believe is the single most valuable aspect to being a chamber of commerce member and you'll probably hear something about networking...

in my area of the world, the greater edmonton region, alberta. edmonton has 18000+ businesses...less than 4000 of those are edmonton chamber of commerce members. why not 10 or 12K, afterall it's also a world trade centre. is the value of being a member there or is it getting lost in the translation? not to pick on just edmonton, but for example, many rural chambers have a even more difficult time of generating new members...with many under 30% conversion based on available businesses in the area.

what's really important to most members i believe is the amount of relationships built, opportunities to communicate about a brand, product or service with credibility...sure there are other aspects to the membership that has some value such as lobbying, purchase power and so on...however, the average small business owner wants more cash in their pockets and if a membership representative cannot effectively translate how a membership will do that...they have little chance of having anyone join.

chambers need to adopt a more aggressive technology footprint. there are unlimited amounts of ways to increase communication among members away from the typical networking events which would then strengthen the relevancy of those events. more solutions, more ideas, more relevant communication in general...look for more discussion on this topic in the days ahead...but for now i've got to go to a meeting.

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