Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Vice-President of Marketing and Communication, Holly Allen, talks about moving their large chamber to GrowthZone Chamber Edition, including the positive ROI, online member center, and ease of new member acquisition.
What AMS were you using before GrowthZone and why?
We transitioned to GrowthZone in 2017. We were using a software called iMIS at the time and it was a custom software that was made for us several years earlier. There were several reasons we wanted to change. One of them was that iMIS was not something that could be easily updated. It was not a very dynamic piece of software and it was very expensive. We wanted something that was completely cloud-based and that came with support and the ability for us to update the data as we went along. We also wanted something more user-friendly for our staff because we had many different people working within the database. iMIS used a lot of software codes that people just didn’t understand.
What do you like best about GrowthZone?
What I like about GrowthZone is that it is updating constantly. The developers are always looking for ways to make things better and they take feedback from us, the customer, and put that to use. That’s something that is really helpful to us as we go along and use it in new ways.
What about the Marketing Automation Module?
I like to periodically audit our communication channels and how we’re interacting with our members. One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about the marketing automation module is that it allowed us to stop and look at, from a member standpoint, when we were having touch points throughout their year of membership, and how we could make that better. It’s been great to be able to schedule a series of emails and then work in the Tasks module for our staff to be reminded that they need to make a phone call or maybe they should schedule a visit. It’s made it a lot easier to manage 2,200 members.
What are your members saying about GrowthZone?
I’ve heard from members that it’s really been night and day. They see more communication from us and we are more a regular part of their routine throughout the week. The member hub has allowed us to have an answer when members come to us and ask for something. We know that the number one reason members join our chamber is that they want exposure, and they want help marketing their business. We were having members come to us and ask us to send an email blast to tell the rest of the members about an event. The answer was always no, but we didn’t have a solution because we weren’t going to send an email blast for every one of our 2,200 members. It just didn’t make sense. Now, I can tell them, “that would be perfect for you to post in the member hub!” Whether it’s in the hot deals section, member news, or event section, I’m then able to push that out through our e-newsletter. With this, they at least feel like we have an answer for them. It may not be exactly what they want, but we can offer them a solution and I think that’s really helped us in servicing what our member needs are.
How does your staff like using GrowthZone?
I would say the biggest difference for staff is that they’re able to find the information they need. The first few years I was here when we were using iMIS, I was the marketing director and I couldn’t pull a report because I didn’t know all the codes I needed to even pull the report. We had someone whose specialty was the database and they would have to pull a report for me. It was ridiculous and it was just too cumbersome to do it. I think we have a better feel of who our members are and how we’re interacting with them. We’re able to pull that information out and get a big picture so that it can guide the decisions we’re making.
What ROI have you seen with GrowthZone?
This is the first year in probably 10 years since I’ve been around the chamber that we have beat our new member goals every quarter. I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that we are tracking the work we’re doing to attract new members through GrowthZone.
Does GrowthZone help you get new members?
Absolutely. Our member sales team is telling our prospective members when they’re selling a membership that they have access to things like the member hub. Again, it goes back to the number one reason they want to join is for exposure. Those tools are readily available to them, they have unlimited access, and it’s included within their membership.
How does GrowthZone help with member retention?
There are a couple different ways I think GrowthZone is helping with retention. First, is that our retention team has all of the information in front of them when they’re looking at calling on a member that’s up for renewal. What we found is that in many cases when a member doesn’t renew, sometimes it’s not really because the member didn’t want to renew. it’s because we weren’t contacting the right person. Our retention team is able to look at that record and acknowledge that our primary contact or our billing contact who is getting that invoice may not have had any interaction with us. However, this employee at that member business went through our Leadership Dayton program, this employee is engaging with our Generation Dayton Young Professionals program or maybe they’re attending different events. So they’re able to then portray that to whoever is paying the bill and say, “do you realize how involved your employees are?”