Category Archives: chamber

here comes the……….’wedding expo’

April 9, 2011 there will be a phenomenal wedding expo at the Holiday Inn/Carol Stream ...call 630.665.3325 for infoSo I said to my chamber board, “Board? In tough economic times, people are still spending alot of money on WEDDINGS. May I put together a wedding expo at which our members can showcase their businesses?” The board said to go for it, and we’ve been planning the April 9, 2011 ‘the wedding expo’ ever since.

Yeah, we’ve picked the ‘colors’ and the graphic and already have vendors lined up. We offer our chamber members opportunities to be:sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, taste-test sponsors, or flyer sponsors. And there is always that volunteer op which builds relationships with other members.

Have you heard of a Man-cave? Sure, there are guys who have turned their basements into a “Boys Only” area…or should it be called “area-that-only-boys-want-to-enter”? What does this have to do with a wedding expo? We will have an area nearby so that brides-to-be can BRING their men without boring their men. They can be in the MAN-CAVE which is down the hall, able to be reached for important consultation on a wedding decision. Or not.

Why would an engaged female want to attend? The atmosphere will have them IN THEIR GLORY…it’s all about THEM. They can choose many items on their TO-DO list and check them off after this event.

Giveaways, vendors, food, fashion show, focus on the bride — a perfect venue to visit for the bride and her friends!

What is your favorite piece or feature of this type of event? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Chamber members and prospects….if you could benefit from this exposure…visit the website and say “I DO!” — fill out the Exhibitor Application for “the wedding expo” at the Holiday Inn in Carol Stream.

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Get With It — They Did!

It was a new event, never done before. They came. They learned. They won. Networking 2.0: Social Media Face 2 Face MeetUp on October 6th presented by the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce was a success. It succeeded on several levels, not just as an ‘After Hours’ type event.

This uniquely designed event was meant to let all worlds collide: chamber members, LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends and Twitter followers. What did they do in the two hour time period?

Checking in at the registration table, each attendee was given a blue lanyard and a nametag. Attendees could paper-punch their business card, to let it hang from the lanyard around their neck. They proceeded to the next ‘station’ where I explained a bit about QR codes. Had they seen one? What were their uses? Want to generate one?

And generate they did!!! Using the QR code generator on the http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/ they entered their contact info. Those with Smartphones downloaded Barcode Reader apps and a demo was done to show how effective this way. See, when they entered their contact info in the ‘form’, it generated a QR code. Right-click, copy, paste to Word doc and PRINT ..and..voila!! This cute, unique-to-them squiggle-box-shape contained their contact info. All they had to do was the old-school CUT and PASTE onto the back of their biz card hanging from the lanyard and they were ready to share with others.

I’d like to think this is a “GREEN” biz card exchange. By the way, we did the non-green biz card exchange, too. They dropped a card into each of the 40 ‘french-fry-cardboard-containers’ and while they were networking, our staff gathered and rubber-banded them. On the way out they each had a neat stack of everyone’s info who attended.

But there was more before they left. Oh, yes, there was food and soda included in the $10 fee, but more importantly there were two distinct opportunities for them to take advantage of.

SOCIAL MEDIA – Dana Plazyk/No Excuses Mobile Marketing and Heidi Thorne/Thorne Communications were on hand, ready to answer those burning questions, such as “I have NO idea why, how or when to use Social Media” and “Ok, I’m trying it, now what???” Both SoMe gurus, Dana and Heidi gave one-on-one attention to those who needed it.

ACCELERATED NETWORKING, OUR WAY – We do it at our ‘Business Before Hours’ and we did it here: face-to-face networking. This is how it works:
Two lines are formed, facing each other, taking care that each person is lined up with just one across from them. A ‘noise’ is made (could be a yell, whistle, bell, etc) and the right side line begins their 45 sec. infomercial. Yes, they say their name, company, what they do and what is a good lead for them. Always repeating their name and company at the end, the ‘noise’ is made again and the opposite, or left line begins their spiel. After another 45 seconds and another ‘noise’, the movement is initiated. Resembling the Ice Capades or Rockettes portion where the last in line fervently tries to catch up with the line, one person on the end ‘drops off’ and goes the the head of the line, with everyone shifting over one person. And thus it begins again. Effective? Heck, yes. Noisy? You got it. Valuable? Absolutely.

Will we hold the Networking 2.0 event again? DING-DING-DING!!!!!!!

Get the Word Out – the Right Word

All businesses strive to break through to consumers or prospects with advertising. How great is it to be a “household name”, for all the right reasons?

What does your advertising say about you or your company? Is it relaying the right message?

Watching Superbowl 44, like many others, I look forward to the newest commercials. They are often fun, creative and….expensive! And everyone talks about them the next day. Certified Guerrilla Marketing expert and co-author, Al Lautenslager, is always sought after on the DAY after — the Monday after the Super Bowl. Why? Everyone wants to hear what got a ’10’ and who the failures were.

But why is an ad a failure? Does it drive customers to your website, door or phone? Does it turn prospects off, offending them or insulting their intelligence? Did you chose the best avenue — the medium you picked was visible to and visited by many?

What do you remember of those $2.5 million-per-30-second bits of entertainment? Was it the house constructed with beer cans? The violin-playing beavers? The Motorola phone photo-snapping bathtub occupant, the dog-collar-swapping-Dorito-eating pet, or the straight shooting movie trailers?

Some sensed a theme of testosterone vs. estrogen.

Lois Martin/LoisMarketing.com found the ‘manly man commercials’ for Dodge Charger and Dove Body wash very entertaining. Tweeting comments on Twitter during the game (or maybe not!!), she noted that the men at her gathering did some chest thumping, retreating to the patio for a beer and a cigar after some of those.

I think the economic downturn was reflected in decrease spending on wardrobe. Budget allocation decreases were noted in the attire, or lack of it, in both Career Builder and Dockers ads.

As for the Coca-Cola ad with the sleepwalking dude who went overcame danger just to get their product; this strongly conveyed that “gotta have it” message.

Whether you portray your product or service as something that people cannot live without, or show what sets you apart from the competition, it’s important now more than ever to GET THE WORD out about your biz. Besides, with so many budget cuts, less competition is out there. Like the Superbowl time slots, prices can come down and be more affordable (!?!!).

Shout it from the mountaintops! And let others shout for you, too! Leads groups and referral organizations entice membership because of the fact that fellow members refer business to you. Other groups, like chambers of commerce, also refer business through website listings, phone call inquiry responses, electronic newsletters and ADS! Whether it’s a banner ad, ‘physical’ flyer stuffed into a mailing or your name on a sponsor sign, consider your options, be creative and relay the right message!

Nice shape!

QR Code for the Carol Stream Chamber

This is what we look like!

If you were a QR Code, what would you look like? Here is what the Carol Stream Chamber looks like ‘in QR.’

They say some cell phones with special software, when waved over these codes, can scan and process them. It launches their internet browser and takes the ‘scanner’ to the information intended by the code owner.

Wikipedia says, “The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.”

A QR Code can be created or ‘generated’ by a QR Code Generator site, such as http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

The code can be put on company business cards, newspaper or magazine ads, a special mailing and much more. You could drive prospective customers to a specifically designated site, easily trackable, to determine the success of this marketing idea.

Have you seen such a code? Where?

So what will we put our QR Code on? Well, tell us what you’re putting YOUR QR Code on first.
Very truly yours,
QR Code for the Carol Stream Chamber

Sources:
http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code

2010: 365 Days…Starting…NOW!

Is 2010 a new decade or just a New Year? Different people have different opinions on that topic. Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll decide to make 2010 a great one. What will you do with your 52 weeks – your 365 days – 8766 hours? Is it just me or do the days, weeks and months fly by faster than they used to? We cannot get back yesterday or a great day we had last year; we can just make the most of today…and tomorrow.

How will you make the most of this year when it comes to business? Will you vow to be more organized, spend more time with family, improve follow-up on leads, seize opportunities you have otherwise taken a pass on?

Realizing the economic situation affects most of us, how do you view your chamber membership? Do you look at the luncheons as the most efficient 1.5 hours you can spend per month? Do you check out the chamber advertising and sponsorships and consider them when planning your year? Are you taking full advantage of the free online resources and free Business After Hours and Ribbon Cuttings?

What will 2010 bring? Speaking for the Carol Stream Chamber, I can tell you it brings some new and unique opportunities. Watch for Member Benefits such as the new Mobile Alerts, a Leads Group beginning, a Candidates’ Night and a ‘meeting’ to help introduce you to ‘power partners’ and beneficial connections. We continue our Chamber Video Opportunity, New/Prospective Member gatherings and multiple Expos, so that you can have the chance to meet others, learn from others, and build your business through others.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season, new decade…or not!