David's Blog

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

And the Survey Says ...

The challenge any business faces is knowing (and understanding) what its customer wants and how much he or she will pay for it. Similarly, the Chamber seeks to better serve its members, by knowing what they want and what it will take to meet their needs. The Chamber recently did the serious work of asking for insight from our members and from the community.

We recently contracted with Zenith Research Group to conduct an expansive and ambitious research effort to ascertain the common values that bind the Chamber’s membership. Further, the research set out to investigate the following: if the membership believes that political and public policy advocacy are warranted; what the advocacy should look like; and how the Chamber can best serve as an advocate, as defined by members. Now that the research is completed, the board can use the research to evaluate future programs, the efficacy of the political action committee (PAC), and the common thrust of advocacy with the Chamber.

Using a random selection process, 384 Chamber members accepted an opportunity to participate in a telephone survey. The individual survey responses were kept confidential. Every response was appreciated. In addition, 200 non-members were surveyed to provide insight into the perceptions non-members have about the Chamber.

Prior to the research, there were various opinions as to the benefit of the Chamber’s political action committee. However, not one opinion was based on hard data. The entire debate was emotional and based on anecdotal evidence. The Chamber could no longer afford to continue to guess about something which has been as controversial as the Chamber PAC. Now there is hard data on which to make future decisions regarding the PAC.

The results of this survey will guide the Chamber in determining future direction and will become a benchmark for future comparisons. With these survey results, we can more effectively make policy decisions that reflect the real interests of our membership and develop programs and services that speak more directly to our members’ needs.
I encourage you to access these seminal research findings. It was made possible by the 584 individuals who took the time to share their views regarding the Chamber. Accessing the information is as simple as going to our website at www.duluthchamber.com and pressing on the member research icon. As always, feel free to let me know what you think about the research or about anything else pertaining to the Chamber. My email address is dross@duluthchamber.com. Let’s make the most of this valuable research.

posted by David Ross at


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