The Biggest Challenges Facing Chambers

What is the biggest challenge facing your chamber today and how is your chamber addressing it?

Jim Dantona
San Luis Obispo (CA) Chamber

The biggest challenge facing our chamber is how to effectively communicate the successes of our organization to current and future members. To address it, we have convened a Membership Council to better understand the myriad of reasons that a business might become a member and consider segmenting messaging by industry, business size and position within a business. Our focus in each of our written, visual or in-person touchpoints is to connect the dots for that specific audience—to show that the work we are doing is indeed delivering in the value that we are uniquely suited to provide.

Sheri Heiney
Prescott (AZ) Chamber

I would say we are bad at telling our own story. The Prescott Chamber among all chambers usually has a rich history and story to tell. However, I believe we get stuck in the day-to-day operations and become so focused on our members that we forget about ourselves and our story. Additionally, we live in rapidly changing times, and we have had to adapt to entirely new marketing channels (web and social), and deciding how to invest in and utilize new technologies has been a challenge.

Recently we’ve engaged with our local university and approached the School of Business marketing class to evaluate our chamber message and what media to use for our message. We currently have three marketing classes reviewing and working on our plan for 2020 and beyond.

Engaging with the students has been eye-opening for us and we are excited about the future!

Jim Johnson, IOM
Georgetown (TX) Chamber

Market penetration is our biggest challenge. Our community is rapidly growing (7th in the U.S.), which means that new businesses are opening at a rapid pace. After a recent event that temporary closed more than 80 businesses for 60 or more days, we realized we needed to keep better track of a list of all businesses in town. By having contact information for each business, we can start to engage more businesses in understanding our mission. We aren’t 100% there yet, but it’s a goal in 2020.

Brittany Quick-Warner
Eugene Area (OR) Chamber

For a long time, there has been a pervasive narrative in our community that Eugene is not business-friendly. As the CEO of the chamber of commerce, you can imagine this has kept me up more than one night. I struggle with identifying “reality vs. perception” when it comes to this reputation and with recognizing when we as a business community are actually the ones perpetuating this negative narrative.

We are working daily through advocacy and economic development to address the reality in this. In addition, our chamber has taken the lead on developing a community narrative that distills our true strengths as a community and crafts that into a story that represents our community in the positive way I believe it deserves.