I’m Ed Burzminski with Chamber Marketing Partners. What is driving the trend for chambers of commerce to publish their own business directories and community guides in-house?

One of the major reasons that we’ve seen chambers of commerce taking their publications in-house lately is control. They want to have control over the entire process. They want to have control over the bottom line. They don’t want to be tied to a 10, 12 or 15 percent royalty.

They want to know exactly how the budget works. They want to know where they can adjust the budget where they can tweak the budget so that they can maximize their bottom line.

Chambers want to be involved in the decision making process and they want to make sure that members are participating and bidding on the projects or components of the project.

They want to know that if they want to add eight pages because they want to add an article or two that’s really important, they can. Or at least they’re educated with the budget on whether they can or they can’t.

And if the Chamber wants to distribute 10-thousand more copies because they see a need, instead of ten or fifteen thousand, they want 20 or 25-thousand, they can get the bids, put it through the budget and know what they can do financially and make that decision themselves, rather than not having financial control when they’re using an outside turnkey publisher.

So, chambers of commerce recently that have wanted to take their publications in-house have been doing it primarily for the control.


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Bonus Video – More Reasons Chambers Are Publishing In-House

One of the driving reasons for chambers of commerce to take their publications in-house is that they really want to make more money out of their publication. They want to realize more return on their member investment in advertising.

A typical turnkey publisher will give a chamber 10 to 15 percent or thereabouts, return on advertising. Well, chambers sometimes wants to make more, and they realize that by publishing in-house they could make significantly more. So, they want to keep control of their budgets. They want to know how much they can make on the bottom line, and where they are able to adjust their budget to really maximize their returns. We’ve seen chambers making anywhere from 20-30 percent or more return on their publication. And that’s using an outside project management company like Chamber Marketing Partners, so the chamber is not taking on the entire staff burden of publishing completely in-house.

Another very important reason chambers are taking their publications in-house is for those chambers that have been around for a while. I should say those CEOs that have been around for a while. They want to protect their chamber from the failure of outside turnkey publishers.

Now this doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen where a publisher is in the process of putting a publication together whether they’re in the middle of sales, whether they’re in the production process, or whether it’s just about ready to go to press, a publisher collapses. Advertisers have paid the outside publisher for their advertising and the Chamber learns that there is no publication coming. So what ends up happening is just a cascade of nightmarish events. The member will go to the chamber and say “where’s my ad, where’s my publication? I paid the chamber.” It’s not going to do the chamber any good to say “no, you paid the outside publisher” because a member, in their mind, believes they paid the chamber.

So, by publishing in-house, either completely in-house or with the benefit of an outside project manager, the chamber controls the cash and protects that member investment. So there’s always money to produce the publication and the chamber has complete control over their members’ investment in advertising and protects the chamber from an outside publisher collapsing because there is no outside publisher. That’s how the chamber has protected.