A few weeks ago Pacifica resident Jean Headley wrote a guest column for the Pacifica Tribune about the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce’s recent decision to exclude non-member businesses from advertising in the Chamber’s business directory.
“…this new policy is simply not fair to the general public or to the non-member businesses who have advertised in the directory for many years,” she writes. "The public will no longer be able to go to the 'buying Bible of Pacifica' and find the businesses they are looking for (if they are a non-member), and the non-member businesses (who, by the way, have always paid substantially more to advertise in the directory because they are NOT members) will have no way to advertise in Pacifica. ... this new policy is a huge mistake.”
It’s true that the directory's advertising policy has changed and some are not happy about it, but Chamber CEO Courtney Conlon explains that “we’re not just a directory anymore and being a membership-driven organization, we are focused on promoting our Chamber members, going forward.”
Historically, non-chamber members were allowed in the directory for paying just a little more — $90 for Chamber members for a six-line listing versus $125 for non-members. Now, the Chamber has added more products and services and because “we are a membership driven organization, we are all about marketing our Chamber members,” said Conlon.
The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce mid-February also announced that they would be raising the rates for businesses to join the Chamber. The lowest level of dues used to be $160 but is now $235. For the extra $75, members now receive more services than just the directory listing.
“We are running the Chamber of Commerce like a business. We realized what it cost to run a Chamber. There are higher costs for services like graphic design and printing. We are making sure we stay relevant and move into the 21st century and help our Chamber members move seamlessly into using online, mobile and website technologies,” Conlon said in a Pacifica Tribune article about the hike in membership dues and directory policy change.
To better inform Pacifica business owners about the services they now offer their members, the Chamber is hosting an Open House/Business Forum all day on Friday, March 8, at the Chamber Office, 225 Rockaway Beach Ave. It’s also a chance to meet with Chamber Board Members, Chamber Ambassadors, valued Chamber Members and the CEO and Staff of the Chamber.
To address some of the changes and new benefits and value-added services the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce now offers its members, Conlon also penned the following newsletter titled “The Chamber...In Control & Moving Forward”:
According to a national survey, it is an effective business strategy for businesses to be active in their local Chamber of Commerce. The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, also found that two-thirds of consumers surveyed believe Chamber member companies use good business practices, is reputable, care about their customers and are involved in their community.
When you invest in your business by joining the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, we actively promote and support your business, which helps create a strong local economy. Being a membership-driven organization, we strongly believe that every Pacifica business will not find a greater return on their investment than belonging to the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce. Your support allows us to continue to deliver on our five strategic core objectives:
CREATING A STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY
PROMOTING BUSINESS AND THE COMMUNITY
PROVIDING NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT
ENDORSING POLITICAL ACTION
Moving into the 21st century, it is imperative the Chamber continues to move forward and offer cutting edge marketing services to our members. Navigating through the ever-changing world of today's technology means taking into account the increased use of mobile devices, smart phones and the Internet. The Chamber consults with members and helps them stay relevant and knowledgeable of the latest technological platforms by offering newer marketing products and services.
Upon joining the Chamber, our members now automatically receive three comprehensive listings — one in our keepsake Directory, one on our new iPacifica app and on our pacificachamber.com website.
With our 2013-2014 Chamber Business Directory campaign underway, members who pay by March 31 will receive discounted, cost-effective display advertising rates. (Please note that the Directory campaign ends April 30, 2013.) These products and services have the potential of reaching over 40,000 customers.
With the launch of our new iPacifica app, we have populated a Centralized Community Events calendar highlighting all of the entertainment, Chamber and community events happening throughout Pacifica. This event information is also available on our website and weekly Chamber Wave e-newsletter. As we populate this section, it will become an invaluable resource for both locals and visitors, as our goal is to become the "go-to" of what's going on in and around Pacifica.
This will drive more traffic for our members and create greater potential of these locals and visitors to patronize our chamber member businesses.
Our e-newsletter is another great member benefit that touts upcoming Chamber events, networking opportunities, legislation, seminars and the latest iPacifica app and website updates. Website upgrades on www.pacificachamber.com and www.visitpacifica.com now offer features where members can personalize on-line presence that includes uploading photos, videos, customer testimonials and links.
These features will further enhance members' visibility and increase their customer base online. If you are in need of a website for your business, ask about our cost-effective website packages; another invaluable Chamber benefit.
We are now marketing Pacifica with travel writers and the media. Our members will receive the added value of our new partnership with a public relations/ marketing firm. They are helping to drive more traffic to our website (and therefore your business) to promote Pacifica as a coastal gem.
Another value added benefit we proudly offer is free Chamber ribbon cuttings, celebrating new businesses, business milestones and/or welcome receptions in addition to celebrating new ownership or new locations. These are posted on our home page under Membership Highlights for a month and on various social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Lastly, we are the voice and advocate for our Chamber members if they experience any business concerns. We have good working relationships with the City staff and our County. We take the time to hear our members' issues and try to help come up with viable solutions.
Speaking of the City, we invite our Chamber members on Friday, March 22, 8 am - 9:30 am, to our Eggs n' Issues breakfast networking meeting. Mayor Len Stone will be presenting the "State of the City" Address and discussing significant City issues that will be impacting our community, including the 5-year budget plan and economic development. A buffet style breakfast will be served at Sharp Park Restaurant. $20 for members.
With our Chamber members' continued support, we will continue to provide the most relevant products and services to help their businesses grow and thrive. We invite all local Pacifica businesses to invest in their business, the community and work with us to strengthen our local economy so that we keep Pacifica a vital and vibrant community!
We welcome all Pacifica businesses to give us a call at the Chamber - 650.355.4122. We look forward to speaking with you about the many Chamber of Commerce benefits and value-added services we've added over this past year. Be part of a proactive business organization that is continuing to move forward while embracing our community, making Pacifica an incredible place to live, work shop, stay and play!
What do you think of the Chamber’s new non-member advertising policy? Will this change effect you in any way?
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