Q&A in the News
February 9, 2006
Marketing audit to help Chamber improve on services to membership
The Sanibel-Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce has retained Colleen and Earl Quenzel of the firm Quenzel & Associates to analyze the Chamber's current marketing services and determine how the organization can better serve its members in the future.
"It's to get a persepective as to whether we're doing everything we can to accurately promote the area as a destination, and to make sure we provide the best benefit for our members," Chamber board member Sarah Ashton of John Gee & Company said. "When you've been doing the same thing for too long you get entrenched with it."
Ashton, along with Chamber Board member Wendy Erler, Marketing Committee Chairman Bill Waites, and Executive Director Steve Greenstein, served on the sub-committee that reviewed responses to the Chamber's Request for Proposals for marketing services.
Waites said the committee made a decision not to award a full contract for marketing services, but allocated $5,000 for a six-week research and interview period that will develop recommendations for strategic planning. Quenzel & Associates was selected to conduct this marketing audit.
The audit will use an interview process in combination with group and individual planning sessions to gather input from a cross-section of Chamber members as how to best promote their businesses.
"The outside firm we've authorized to do an inventory or take the pulse of the membership, to get the best ideas and go forward with a proposal," Ashton said.
"Our task is to develp a strategic framework for the Chamber and specific measures of success," Earl Quenzel said. "It's all about metrics."
Two readily accessible measures of success are the number of visitors we stop at the Chambe while on the islands and the number of hits and visits to the Chamber's web site. Other measurements can come from Chamber members themselves through questions tha address "How do you define winning?" and "How do you keep score?" Quenzel said.
The Chamber, like any business, has the goal of attracting repeat customers in the form of visitors, who return to the island.
"No business is successful without a growing base of repeat customers," Quenzel said.
Part of attracting that base is building a strong brand, so that the consumer immediately identifies the product as meeting a particular need every time the buyer is in a decision-making situation, according to the Quenzels' proposal to the Chamber.
"A fresh message has to be consistent with what the customer remembers form the past," Quenzel said.
Upon completion of the audit, and based upon the strategic recommendations and a specific propposal, the committee will reconsider awarding a contract for marketing services," Waited said.
"The first phase is to conduct interviews, work with focus groups, to really get a sense of what the message is we're trying to get across. From there, we will liten to their position and what their proposals are, and decide then to hold the course we're on or make a departure, or some combination thereof," Ashton said.
"We live in this community," Quenzel said, "For us, it's a question of we want to see the return, the comeback, of the islands."
The Chamber will ask representatives of each category of island businesses to participate in the survey, but any member is welcome to join the audit by calling the Chamber at 472-1080 or Quenzel & Associtaes at 239-226-0040.
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