Based on geofencing data collected on October 8, 2020, consumer foot traffic recorded at 200 leading brands across Los Angeles is down 70% since February 2020. This marks the lowest foot traffic since mid-April.
With many businesses struggling to adapt their business model to fit within government regulations, CDC guidelines, and changing consumer demands, there’s a growing need for guidance and direction. Of course, financial assistance is a highly sought after resource, but there are other ways organizations – such as a chamber of commerce – can offer local businesses support. In order to identify how and where support is needed, there must be a clear understanding of the specific challenges being faced.
Having been closely involved with our city’s Chamber of Commerce throughout the years, we’ve seen firsthand the value this community of business leaders offers each other and the county as a whole. From information and educational resources to networking and promotional events, this organization is a great example of how support for local businesses can come in many different forms.
As previously noted, to best support the local business community it’s important to first understand the most pressing challenges. This method will ensure the resources offered are relevant and timely. Start this process by reaching out and engaging business leaders directly. Ask for their feedback and input regarding their short-term and long-term obstacles and objectives. Furthermore, include consumer feedback within a cohesive series of research efforts to provide additional layers of context and insights.
Here are a few tactics that every Chamber of Commerce should be considering right now:
Tactic 1: Market Mapping
Think about the last time you put together a jigsaw puzzle. Didn’t the image on the box cover make it easier to get started? Having that macro perspective of the entire layout is helpful when sorting the individual pieces and considering how they fit together. Market Mapping is to business development what the box cover is to a jigsaw puzzle; a high-level perspective that helps make sense of how the micro elements fit together.
This focused, objective snapshot of the broader business environment as it exists today will identify the most important variables, and offer insight into how they may be impacting the community of business leaders. Looking closely at social and political trends, emerging competitors and possible disruptors, and a number of other attributes, you’ll have the external awareness needed to develop a suite of resources that have practical value.
Tactic 2: Business Owner Outlook Survey
Having conducted Market Mapping as the exploratory phase, the Chamber is equipped with specific points of focus based on real-world market conditions. An in-depth survey can be designed to further examine how businesses are being impacted and reveal areas in which they need outside support. Through this process, the Chamber can test existing theories about which support resources would be most beneficial and uncover opportunities they hadn’t yet considered.
Any time feedback is collected, the goal should be to produce actionable rather than merely observational insights. So, before reaching out to local business leaders, clarify the purpose of collecting their feedback. In this case, a Chamber of Commerce is looking to understand the most pressing business challenges in an effort to provide impactful support resources. This clearly defined objective will help ensure survey questions are concentrated on relevant topics and designed to produce actionable insights.
Tactic 3: Consumer Confidence Tracking
After examining current market conditions and hearing directly from business leaders, an additional layer of insight will come from consumer feedback. In this particular scenario, topics such as consumer confidence and purchase intent will offer further perspective on which types of support the Chamber of Commerce can provide local businesses.
In addition to the value these tactics provide existing members, they will strengthen the Chamber’s position as a leader of the business community; which will help attract new members.
At MacKenzie, we’ve spent the past 35 years refining our approach to equipping brands with the data-driven insights needed to achieve their goals. By turning analytics into action, we drive agility, innovation, and growth for our clients.
Whether you’re a Chamber of Commerce looking to expand your suite of resources or a B2C brand interested in strengthening relationships with customers, we have the skills and experience needed to get the job done.