Trust: What is your Definition?

I recently read Justin Patton’s new book “Your Road to Yes!” that addresses the issue of trust. 

For a copy of the book go HERE.

My definition of trust is very simple.  Tell the truth and do what you say you’re going to do.

The book goes deeper into the building of trust and how to repair trust if it is broken.

Justin’s definition is “the unwavering belief that you will have my back and I will have yours.”  To me, that sounds like a version of my definition, albeit using different words.

While I don’t want to detail every chapter of the book, he touches on trust won, lost, and how to get it back once you’ve lost it.

What a great read and thank you Justin for being part of the IOM faculty family.

For more information on Justin Patton go HERE and to purchase his book go HERE.

Your Road to Yes! How the Best Leaders Create a Culture of Trust & Belonging

Justin Patton, President and CEO, Justin Patton, LLC, is one of my favorite presenters and this blog post are based on my notes from his session at the recent ACCE Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

He started by asking the question “What is Trust?”  The unwavering belief that you are going to have my back.

Trust is money.  Not time is money!  Trust is your biggest competitive advantage.

When you have trust you have:

  • Candor
  • Security
  • Productivity
  • Engagement
  • Loyalty
  • Opportunity

Trust is what keeps people coming back!

Trust is about:

  • Transparency – do you take people with you along the journey?
  • Emotions - I feel, Thoughts - I believe, Decisions - the reason I/we
  • Tact – do we create a safe space for people to open up?
  • Togetherness – do you take people feel less alone in the world?

The toxic five that ruins a culture:

  • Disrespectful
  • Non-inclusive
  • Unethical
  • Cutthroat
  • Abusive

Emotional Bank Account

  • Put empathy before information
  • The best leaders communicate to build trust!
  • “Trust is built in the doing.  One yes at a time!”

For me, trust is about telling the truth and doing what you said you were going to do.  To me, it’s that simple!

For more information on Justin Patton go HERE and for a copy of his book Your Road to Yes! go HERE.

Getting Started with Chamber Foundations

Are you thinking about starting a Foundation?

The following blog is based on my notes from a recent seminar I attended at the ACCE Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

The presenters were Megan Lucas, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, Joe Venhuizen, Envision Greater Fond du Lac and Adrian Cain, Charleston Metro Chamber, and they were great.

I hope this helps you decide on whether to start a Foundation at your organization or reengage what you already have.

They started by saying 65% of chambers today have Foundations.  Some are dormant and some are re-thinking their role with the chamber structure.

They talked about how you can run your educational programming through your Foundation and not the parent.

It’s a great tool to have when a community initiative comes up and your Foundation will give you the capacity to fulfill that role.  Think of it as a different revenue stream for your chamber even though those dollars can come from existing members.

When creating a Foundation, it must be education, charitable or scientific focused.

Think workforce development.  It is important that your Foundation stay true or focused to your mission.  You can’t just create a Foundation to solve issues outside your program of work.  However, all your current educational program of work can be run through the Foundation since it is already mission focused.

Just a reminder, you have to say no to that funder who wants you to do something that is not part of your chambers mission.

When asking for money for your Foundation you need to be very focused and they recommended you give a very specific reason for why they should give you money for a very specific project.

For a great article on navigating the rules of a Foundation by a lawyer go HERE.

Keys to a Successful Membership Marketing Campaign

This blog post is from a recent session I attended at the ACCE Annual Meeting, in Indianapolis, this year based on the title of the post.

The following are my notes from Michael Johnson, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and his presentation, discussion, and it is in rapid form. 

What is a brand?

He said it is a collection of promises.  Others will tell you it’s your reputation.  When you think about it, they basically mean the same thing.

Promises vs perceptions – the audience makes the decision if the promise meets the experience/perception.  This is what the brand is all about for companies.

Promise vs what we deliver?   What our audience needs and wants.  Where they intersect is the member value proposition.

What promises are you making?  The following is based on research he did with his members and what they valued.

  • Networking (in person) is number one
  • Promotion and recognition
  • Educational programming
  • Economic development and advocacy

He went on to talk about what is your market perception with different audiences.

Prospecting audiences – small businesses, mid-cap, start-ups.  What do they want from us – ask them, it’s important to know before you start your next campaign.

Motivation and participation styles – engagement vs investing in the chamber, get something through the chamber vs getting something from the chamber.

What segments are important to you and how will you slice up those audiences for membership?  This is a great place to remind yourself of what types of members you want.  Remember the 80/20 rule?  I suggest you want to recruit folks who will fit the 20-part of the rule, they are the ones making a difference in your organizations.

The following two statements I found very interesting and something to remember in your membership campaigns.  The statements can be used by your sales team when recruiting new members or bringing back lapsed members.

A chamber membership can help you and your employees to:

  • Make business connections
  • Grow professionally
  • Stay informed

A chamber membership can help your company to:

  • Be recognized
  • Build reputation
  • Be heard by policymakers

The above two sets of bullets are where you should build your elevator speech from.  Keep it tight!

Now it’s time to develop your messaging.  Put another way, what are the pain points for your members and communicate how you will alleviate that pain.

Once you’ve created your messaging, it’s now time to make a schedule to market it to potential new members, and bring back your lapsed members through digital resources.  Also, don’t forget your bi-annual mail campaigns either.

He went on to talk about onboarding emails with your new members.  The key here is to set-up a workflow of emails and stick to it.

He showcased a five-email campaign over a five-month period, each email with a different message.  You’ll have to decide what works best for you and what you want to highlight in each email?  Maybe that’s three emails over the first three months of a new member onboarding process.

He ended with asking the question, “What is Mission Critical?”  What are the five most important things your new members should do?  This should be the focus of your onboarding email campaign mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Good luck with tweaking your messaging and your next membership campaign.

Building a Fit-For-Purpose Association Board in the Turbulent Twenties

As part of the Association Insights series, in Old Town, this webinar discussed the title of this blog post.

The following are my notes from Jeff De Cagna's, Executive Advisor, Foresight First, LLC presentation.

He started with the comment of “we must do something different with our organizations and boards.  Association boards must become more!”


He asked a series of questions:

  • What will our successors say about us?
  • What will the next generation of leaders think of the work you did as a board and organization?
  • Why is it critical to build a fit-for-purpose board?

He talked about how this decade is going to get worse and the four forces we face:

  • The impact of AI/automation technologies on human beings;
  • The worsening climate crisis;
  • The surge in human inequality; and
  • The rise of ideological extremism.

He discussed what is normal.  And his answer, “nothing is normal.”  He states this as the most acute short-term threat organizations face.  He made the following statement, “boards must adapt to operating in the discontinuous next.”

He went on to talk about boards being risk adverse.  Where are we headed?  Boards need to think towards the future and don’t debate current events.  That’s tough to do!

What are the foundational beliefs of a fit-for-purpose association board?

  • Focus on where you are going and not where you have been;
  • Think about your successors and stand up for the future;
  • Let go of historical expectations;
  • Get away from orthodoxy assumptions; and
  • Embrace the responsibility of stewardship with other organizations on collaboration.

How can your organizations board become fit-for-purpose?  Being a board vs. becoming a board?  Think long-term and our boards must be more and not just checking the boxes of being a board (i.e. 990 review, annual budget review, etc.).

He suggested asking your board the following three questions:

  1. What positive-sum transformation can your board pursue?
  2. What sacrifices will your board make to benefit our successors?
  3. How will the directors and officers help each other to become a fit-for-purpose board?

He ended with circling back to “what will our successors say about us?” and a quote from Barbara Jordan, “For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future.”

For more information on Jeff De Cagna and his work go to his website HERE.

Think you Can’t Make Money With Social Media? Think Again.

Jason Ebey, IOM, YGM Total Resource Campaigngave a great presentation on the title of this blog post!

His opening statement - "You came looking for money!"

We are membership-based organizations.
What is your target audience?  Members or nonmembers.  It’s about connecting either of those groups that can provide value to your members.

How businesses got out their message in the past, they went to different platforms but we’re going to focus on Facebook today.  He suggested our demographic is on Facebook and number two YouTube.  Shotgun vs focused approach is the theme.

It’s all about the reach.  How do you reach your members?

Start by cleaning your Facebook page.  Don’t lose your identify by putting too much junk on your page.  It’s about getting your members or prospective members to engage on your page.

Now it’s time to put value on your page.  Talk about your program of work:

Ribbon Cuttings – picture (free), live, interview (charge for both of those options).  Monetize what you can.  Transaction or it’s part of a top tier of your membership.

Flashback Friday – a year later highlight that ribbon cutting with pics from the event.  Nice touch when they are getting ready to renew.  Also, you could find a sponsor for your Flashback Friday.

Member Spotlights – what a great way to highlight a member by telling their story.  Members will pay you to tell their story on Facebook.  Think about delivering real content on the business and how they are interacting with the community.  Don’t over play this on your page.  Maybe sell one a month or one a week.

Holiday Campaigns – shop local with a coupon.  He talked about a company that can embed your logo within a QR code.  Remember QR codes, Covid brought that dead industry back!  Everyone is using QR codes again to highlight a sponsor and their company.

He went on to talk about Facebook pages vs groups for your organization.  The groups are  market segmentation of your total membership (think of it as folks who rally around an issue like workforce, healthcare, etc.).  And think of it that way!  It’s all about engagement and he stated that Facebook groups have a higher level of engagement than pages.

He ended with suggesting you keep a balance on your Facebook page.  Don’t go all sponsorship, but do focus on how you can monetize Facebook.  Do make sure you have quality content on your platform, page/s or group/s.  He quoted the President and CEO of the Robins Chamber that said, "this has also increased their engagement, recruitment and retention."

Make sure you pick the right platform for your organization and more importantly that you can support with your organizations resources.

For more information on Jason Ebey go HERE.

To Inspire and Empower Curiosity – Disruptors Get Curious Not Furious

This post is based on a general session I attended at a recent membership and marketing conference in DC.

Mike Maddock, the author of Free the Idea Monkeymade some interesting comments based on his book.

In a nutshell, the:

  • Idea Monkey - is the person who can come up with hundreds of concepts before lunch; and the
  • Ringleader - is the person who manages the idea monkey’s.

He went on to state they are rarely the same person.  A number of idea monkey’s and ringleaders are profiled in the book.  I’m sure these names sound familiar.

  • Walt and Roy Disney
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
  • Paul Allen and Bill Gates

He challenged the audience to identify the idea monkey’s on your staff?

He then went on to pose some interesting questions and statements for the audience to consider:

  • Who’s your soul mate at work?  Get outside the jar.
  • Insights first, ideas second and most importantly keep looking for treasure!
  • Can I see opportunity?
  • Am I and innovator or inventor?
  • You can’t read the label when you are sitting in the jar – expertise trap!
  • What business are we in?
  • What business could we be in?
  • Insight, Idea and Experience – where the three meet is where you need to be.
  • Invention or innovation?
  • Ringleaders need to drive the train – empathy.

For more information on Mike Maddock go HERE.

More Than a Membership: Create Belonging Through Sound Brand Strategy

This post is based on a recent seminar I attended a couple of months ago in Washington, DC.

The following are my notes based on the conversation led by Jennie Winton of Mission Minded.

What is your Brand?  Your logo (visual identity) is not your brand nor are the programs you produce are your brand.  Your brand is your reputation.  It’s what people think about you when they see your name.

Benefits of a Strong Brand – it creates a relationship with your key stakeholders.  It also minimizes competitive threats.  In other words, they think of you first instead of your competition.

She went on to talk about how it can defend you against negative news.  A strong brand will make it easier for your sales team to bring on new members and retain the ones you have.  A strong brand is built on benefits not features (we generally talk about our “features” not the “benefits,” something that might solve their problems.

I’ve talked about that in a past post that can be found HERE.

Here are Jennie's 6 Steps to Rebranding:

1. Assess the brand you have now – survey your members and non-members to find out what your known for or not known for.  Look for patterns.

2. Identify your audience – those that are most likely to join.  That’s another way of saying you can’t be all things to all people.  Who are our core members that allow us to fulfill our mission?

3. Examine the competition – I’ve said this before, look to the next town or community and that chamber is your competition.  What makes you different?  Create a brand that differentiates you from the competition.

4. Find the open opportunity – how are you different?  What are we offering to our members that they can’t get elsewhere?  Do they feel good by joining your organization?

5. Distill that difference into its purest essence, your brand positioning – think Volvo/Safety, Apple/Innovation, Nike/Celebrate Athletes and Athletics.

6. Intentionally begin to send signals that reinforce the band you want to have – what we do, how we sound, how we look, and how we act.

She ended with “Brand is everyone’s responsibility.”

For more information on branding from One Marketing Limited go HERE.

A great resource on How To Craft Your Belief Message can be found HERE by Mission Minded.

Hyper Personalize to “Market of One”

This post is based on a recent seminar I attended a couple of months ago in Washington, DC.

The following are my notes based on the conversation led by Dave Will, PropFuel, CoFounder and CEO, and Jemilah Senter, VP of Marketing and Communications, Special Libraries Association.
They started out talking about marketing and how that is really broadcasting to your general audience.  And how you need to think about marketing to one.  There is a difference in membership needs vs an individual member’s needs.
The “Market of One” Philosophy
Personalization vs Individualization Personas – first name and other demographics is what personalization is all about.  Individualization is about just in time information on what your members need.
One to one conversation = market of one.  If you were face to face with a new member, what would you ask them?
Conversational engagement is about asking questions any time you are communicating with your members and getting that information in your database.
Segmentation is the key word they used over and over and the importance of starting there and then drilling down on what the individual wants from the membership.  That’s hyper-personalization.

For more information on the subject visit PropFuel's website HERE.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing

Tony Rossell, SVP, Marketing General Inc.
has been in the association sector for 30 years and the following post is based on his presentation at a recent conference I attended in DC.

1. Undefined Value Proposition – how compelling is your value prop?  It’s important to be clear in your communications on how you are helping your members grow their business, comply with a new regulation or gain access to capital to name a few.  Members renew from received value.  Members join for perceived value.  Do your research (i.e. survey your members etc.) and find out what they want.

2. Excessive Planning – some associations are suffering from “paralysis from analysis.”  His point is just get out there!  Set a plan, launch a campaign, study the results and act on your results.  Continue to test, track and adjust as needed.

3. Abandonment of Membership Recruitment – you can’t just rely on renewing your members.  Even if you have high retention rates, in order to grow your chamber, you need to continue to recruit new members.  Keep potential new members in your sales funnel.

4. Overreliance on a Single Channel – don’t just rely on one communication tool (i.e. email).  You need to create an omnichannel marketing campaign (i.e. email, mail, annual meeting, social media, digital ads, texting, video, content marketing, etc.).

5. Insufficient Frequency of Contact – 5 email, 3 online, 1 mail, 1 phone call is the average number of touches based on their research.  It’s not enough! 

6. Inadequate Special Offers – the speaker is an advocate of special offers.  They could come in the form of a gift card, logo shirt or additional months of membership.  I personally am not a fan of discounting membership rates.  I view that as your not worth the price of dues.  I am fine with sending a shirt with your logo.

7. Lack of testing and Analysis – he finished with the key point of folks not testing what’s working for you.  It’s imperative that you test everything (i.e. subject lines, sender, format, message, call to action to name)

He finished with the statement that associations showing growth are seen as innovative.

For a free copy of Marketing General's annual membership and marketing benchmarking report go HERE.

Tune Up and Rev Up: Improving Your Membership Recruitment

The following post is based on a session at the MMCC recently held in Washington, DC, by members of ASAE's Membership Council.

It was a great discussion on utilizing 8 tools in tuning up and revving up your membership recruitment.

Here are the 8 highlighted tools:

Target Audiences – who do you want to join your chamber?  Define those that are most likely to join (i.e., your lapsed members are at the top of that list).

Value propositions – why should your members join?  It’s about that radio station, WIIFM, what’s in it for me?  Talk about the benefits that your members will get by being a member – knowledge, business, etc. not about features – newsletter, monthly luncheon, etc.  Meet their needs.

Offer – why should your members join now?  Special offers (i.e. 25% off, please note I’m not a fan of discounts)?  Just be clear in the value of joining your chamber.

Multi-channel, multi-touch – ask your prospects to join via multiple channels on a regular basis.

The ASK – is it clear that you want them to join?  Make it front and center and make it easy to join.

Testing – you should be do some A/B testing to see what message or offer is working best in converting your prospects into members.

Results evaluation – analyze your different campaigns and figure out which campaign generated the most money for your chamber.

Budget – fuel up!  Get your list updated, and start sending your marketing campaigns, whether mail or email, and send them on a regular basis.

They left us with three final takeaways:

  • Evaluate your membership recruitment campaigns.
  • Measure your performance, what’s working and what’s not working.
  • Make changes to improve your response rates.  And remember, these changes can be very simple.

For a great resource from Aptify on membership recruitment for associations go HERE.

Should Your Association Launch a Podcast? 5 Questions to Ask

I attended a great session presented by Evan Sparks, American Bankers Association, on the title of this blog at the recent ASAE Marketing and Membership meeting in DC.

He started by saying that some folks feel podcasts are replacing radio – radio duplication.

Are you part of the 62% of Americans that are listening to podcasts?

He explained three types of podcasts:

  1. Q&A
  2. Panel discussion – one-on-one, not a panel of four
  3. In-depth lecture

But before you dive in, ask yourself the following five questions?

1.    Who are your members?

  • Will there be enough members that will engage to make the podcast sustainable?

2.    How do your members currently engage with your organization?

  • You must understand this to make an informed decision on whether your members will engage, do they have the time or are they already getting the information they need through your current communication vehicles?  Can the podcast supplement your current program of work as it relates to your content, advocacy work, training programs?  Think of a podcast as the new conference call you use to do with your members on a hot topic.

3.    What’s your content strategy?

  • Free vs paid – is this a marketing opportunity for new members?  This is also an opportunity to get a sponsor to generate non-dues revenue.
  • The content long tail – use the podcast as a way to tease upcoming programming or keep the content alive and in front of your members.
  • Adapting existing content – don’t recreate the wheel.  You’ve heard me say it before, repurpose your content on multiple channels.

4.    What is your current content mix, and how would podcasting fit into that?

  • Range of topics.
  • Your print vs digital.
  • What frequency strategy will you have for your podcast?  Daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly?
  • Long-form or short-form?  Most will say 15 – 20 minutes tops.
  • Active and passive.

5.    What resources can you devote to production and distribution?

  • Goals and objectives (engagement vs revenue).
  • Who will host the podcast?  Be consistent.
  • Format – as mentioned above, long-form or short-form.
  • Equipment you need?
  • Production – staff vs dollars?
  • Distribution – what channels will you use to reach your audience?
  • Marketing – if you don’t market it, no one will listen.

At the end of the day, make sure you have a base of people that will engage with a new podcast on a regular basis.

The speaker’s final comments:

  • Podcasting is not for everyone.  
  • Your organization should be able to identify your goals for creating the podcast, including but not limited to, the tailoring of your content, format and frequency that fits your audience and your content strategy.
  • It’s a great way to introduce members of your team that are subject matter experts to your membership and community.
  • Don’t give your guests the questions.  Do give them a sense of the overall direction of the session.

For more information on starting a podcast, the logistics side of the equation, go HERE.

Critical Email Tips To Radically Improve Marketing Performance

I recently attended a session featuring Jay Schwedelson, Founder, Subject Line and Outcome Media
on the title of this blog.

He started with the comment, "open rates – is the key."

But things have changed since Apple changed the way they track open emails.  Open rates have been inflated by 40% by the new tracking that took effect May 1, 2022.
Content in the subject line – it’s what’s going to get your email opened.  Some words or things to use/do to make that happen:

  • FREE
  • Use brackets [   ]
  • Capitalization
  • Emoji’s, (emoji’s are boosting open rates) – sense of urgency with emoji’s – think about starting your subject line with an emoji.
  • Have you thought about using …at the end of your subject line?
  • Using the word "Offer" in the subject line.
  • 101 in the subject – membership 101, etc.
  • Tips on …. Have your subject line be a question?
  • The use of fear, i.e. Don’t miss out on …
  • Put title of recipient in the subject line – for marketers, chamber staff.  
All of the above suggestions are key to put in the first half of your subject line.  At the end of the day, you are not sending out enough email.  It’s all about engagement!
He went on to mention three top suggestions to get your email opened:
  • Free guide or free report
  • List/checklist
  • On-Demand vs Watch Now

His final rapid fire comments:

  • Repetition is good – 3 days in a row vs 2 days will raise your open rates.
  • Monday is still the best day to send your emails.
  • Benefit vs commitment (click for benefits vs download)
  • Logos should go to your offer page not your home page.

Good luck in your email marketing campaigns!

Creating a Value Proposition for Your Chamber or Association to Attract Members

At a recent webinar sponsored by Institute for Organization Management (IOM), Amy Hager led a discussion on creating your value proposition.  
I have written about that before and it can be found HERE.
Now on to the title of the blog post.  The following are my notes from Amy’s presentation.
Mission vs Value Statement – two different things!
Mission – describes the things you do to fulfil your vision.  A quick example, if the vision is to cure cancer, your mission would be the things you do to help people live with cancer.  A vision of an organization is something to strive for and not necessarily achievable.
Value Proposition – the benefits your stakeholders (members, industry, donors) gain by supporting your organization.
Value propositions will change to meet the needs of your members.  Your mission will not.
Three qualities of a value proposition:
  1. Focus on the end result – why you exist, relevant to current pain points and what you’re delivering to your members.
  2. Don’t be vague – focus on how you are helping your members that you can measure and that you can communicate to your members.
  3. More than a catchy slogan – describe why people join your organization.
Do you define/redefine your value proposition as needed?  What do you do very well (think your top benefit), who is your ideal audience and what problems are you solving for them?
Remember, you can’t be all things to all people.  Focus, focus, focus on your core audience.  Sounds like a version of the Hedgehog Theory.  For a blog post on that concept can be found HERE.
Do you define your features vs benefits of membership?  We confuse the two.  An educational training program is a feature of membership, the knowledge you gain from that session to solve a future problem is a member benefit.
She asked the question, “do you know what your members value?”  You should know.  Ask, ask, ask through surveys, focus groups or during your virtual meetings.
How are you sharing your value proposition?
  • Website – a great place to rotate/tweak your value proposition.
  • Email – newsletters, recruitment campaigns, engagement campaigns and automation (auto email responses if they visited a certain page on your website).
  • Board and Membership Committee – make sure your volunteers have that value proposition elevator speech.
  • Social Media – the use of platforms where your members hang out is a great way to communicate your value proposition, through the use of banners, ads, testimonials, or content marketing.
  • Media – do you have talking points for your chairman?  If they are interviewed, they should be able to describe your value proposition to any question the media might ask.  They should be able to prioritize the one thing you want the audience to take away.
For a great ASAE article on value propositions go HERE.

At the end of the day, stay focused on your messaging when talking about your value proposition!

How Thriving Associations are Embracing Innovation and Blazing a New Trail to Relevance

The following is based on a webinar I attended, moderated by Michael Hoffman, with Gather Voices, on the subject of the title of this post.

For a copy of Mary Byers and Harrison Carver's book on Race for Relevance go HERE.
They started out by talking about communication styles during the pandemic.  Do you know the preferred ways of communication for your members?  If not, ask your members how they want to be communicated with.
Generations play a role in how each want to be spoken to and how they will engage with your organization.
They discussed the idea of going back vs moving forward with how we communicate with our members based on in-person or virtual meetings.  You need a separate virtual strategy, not just streaming a live event.
Younger members are not engaging like the older members.  Are your membership business models changing?  Do you have a non-member revenue strategy?  It’s about building influence in your industry or community.  Mary asked the question, “do these folks need to be members?”
They pivoted to having a discussion on organization boards.  Does your board represent the different generations in your membership and community?
Think about how you are selecting new board members.  The old model of the volunteer journey may be over.  The thought of it taking 10-15 years to get that board invite after you’ve participated in other activities within the organization are over, or they should be!
Do you have a designated board slot for the Gen Z group?
They went on to talk about how innovation plays a role in our organizations – things they’ve seen: creating a strategy, set aside money to experiment, list possibilities and then prioritize and finally test.  Corporate America has been doing this for years.
It’s important to focus on what’s working (think delivering value to your members) and getting rid of sacred cows.  For a blog post on killing sacred cows go HERE.
“Keys to innovation is abandonment” – what a great quote.  How are you evaluating your program of work to decide what you should be focused on doing?  Is your program of work mission specific, do members participate, do you make money on these programs?  You must look at your resources and capacity to deliver a great product.

I did a previous post on the Hedgehog Theory which goes into more depth on the idea of the previous paragraph, for that post go HERE.
Use data to make these decisions and be consistent in whatever questions or metrics you want to use to decide what programs you will maintain and those that you will shutter.
Create a matrix and use it to evaluate each of your programs. That way you’re comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
Remember, nonprofit doesn’t mean don’t make a profit.  Run your chamber like a business.  You are a business organization, right?
Fail forward and fail fast.  That too is a part of innovation. Launch your new program and see if your members react.  Did they engage, attend, buy?  If not, tweak and try again, or drop it and move on to the next idea!
For a copy of an updated version of the Race for Relevance book go HERE.

Top Digital Marketing Trends and Opportunities

I recently attended a webinar on the title of this post moderated by Kevin Taylor, Communicate by Design.

Speaker Bill Shaheen, Vice President, MultiView, highlighted eight trends based on an association leadership study they recently conducted.  For a copy of their 2021 Digital Marketing Trends & Opportunities report go HERE.

He made the general statement that the biggest pain points for organizations to do better in their digital marketing are lack of time, resources and knowledge.


Here are my notes based on his presentation:


Digital Content Consumption – prior to Covid, people would spend on average 3 hours and 17 minutes consuming digital content, post Covid that jumped to 6 hours and 59 minutes per day.


E-Learning Has Skyrocketed – Google searches increased by 100% for online courses.


Connected TV (CTV) – using the Internet for TV programming, not your cable company.  Think Netflix, HULU, Apple, etc.


Video is the Most Popular – YouTube is right behind Google (parent company).  93% of brands acquire new customers because of video on social media.


Digital Ads – remains strong.  The younger generations consume through social media while the older generations consume through TV.


Contextual Ads Perform Best – these are ads that are related to the content you’re looking at on the Internet in real-time.  It’s not a static ad on a landing page.


Marketing Personalization is Mandatory Not Optional – give your members what they want when they want it.  Today’s databases easily allow this to happen.


Virtual Events Are Here to Stay – at least for 2022 and part of 2023.  Once people feel comfortable with in-person events, they will come back strong.  We’re already seeing this now.


Bill then pivoted to talk about digital marketing opportunities and suggested the following three things you should be doing: 1) increase your digital investment; 2) spend more on digital vs print; and 3) spend 5-6% of annual revenue on marketing each year.


He went on to talk about the top three places to invest your digital dollars: 1) website; 2) social media; and 3) email marketing.

Other areas he mentioned were search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing.  When it comes to social media, find out where your members are consuming their digital content.


Final suggestions:


  • Target your communications to your different audiences within your membership.
  • Video marketing through testimonials and e-learning promotion.
  • And don’t forget to make it personal.  You want to speak to them as you really know them, based on their past participation with your organization.

Adapt to Meet New Challenges

This is the final post, in a four-part series, based on the book, Stop The Non-Profit Board Blame Game, by Hardy Smith.

The book is segmented into four parts and this post addresses the title of part IV of the book.

The final section of the book started out about addressing the culture of a board and changing it to one of performance.  He goes into detail on a pathway to create this transformation to a performance-based culture.
I did a blog post on board scorecards and I’m a fan of using it as a tool, amongst many, that you can track the performance of your board.  For a copy of that scorecard go HERE.

The segment ends by addressing board leadership, strategic thinking and board member behavior that affects governance.
Board Leadership – it’s about being part of the nominating committee and truly selecting leaders with the skill-set your chamber needs.  For previous blog posts on that go HERE and HERE.

Strategic Thinking – recently there’s been a trend toward Foresight thinking and how it puts a different twist on the process.  That blog post can be found HERE.
Board Behavior – remind them of their fiduciary responsibilities, Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty and Duty of Obedience.  A blog post addressing that subject can be found HERE.

I want to thank Hardy for sending me a signed copy of his book and allowing me to create these past four posts, based on his great work!

For more information on Hardy Smith, you can go to his website HERE.