Who will make these?

As I travel to different membership organizations, I frequently talk about the role of chambers as marketers.  If we listen to our members, we can find niches of opportunity for them - and us.

There are 3 players here: The customer (member), the marketer (organization), and the technology (3rd party developers).

I enjoy my relationships with our industry's technology companies, especially Chamber WebLink and ChamberMaster.  These are the only 2 companies that have delivered on my criteria for a scalable customer relationship management solution for membership organizations.  Their platforms are dynamic, their development department are constantly adding features, and their leaders at the top are visionary.

I've been known to pick up the phone and call them with my ideas. Here's an example of one such idea:

Text message service - I'm looking for a new restaurant to try, so I text my chamber with the word FIND and get an instant reply with options like CAFE, DINING, BARS, TO-DO.  I pick one, text it back to the Chamber, and it sends me 3 random options, with a link to more for smart phone devices.  (For this to work, it needs to be tied to our membership directory, and trackable.)

I'm particularly enamored by this next one, though.  There exists in consumers minds a drive to complete something, to do the most or go the furthest they can go.  LinkedIn has figured this out.

So who will make this?  Which among our technology providers will integrate this into our CRM solution?  The metrics needed to identify risk factors for losing members exist.  We simply need to capture some criteria which organizations prioritize.

What most membership organizations don't do well is create a pathway for members which eliminates features of membership which are non-essential to the priorities of the member.

With that in mind, I've been working on a way to use a visual -- slightly more elaborate than the one above -- to illustrate how you can engage with the Chamber and match your goals.  I've been testing this concept at my own Chamber for the last year and using the feedback to refine the message.

As I've learned a bit more, I've begun sharing it with boards across the country in an exercise.  I've shared it with a few of you along the way to get your feedback too, so now I'm ready to share it with the rest of you who might be curious.  It's the quarter-page info-graphic on page 2 of our newest membership tiers brochure, which continues to evolve since its creation in 2006.

As a side note, for you marketers and designers out there, ask your sales people how they use the marketing materials you're producing before you go into creating a new one.  The most satisfying marketing I've ever done only happens when the tools are aligned with people's needs.

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