ABCs of Affinities
Roy Lamphier
Vice President Insurance &
Affinity Services
Two Capacities for the Detroit Regional Chamber:
1. The head of the affinity programs and
healthcare initiatives at the chamber
2. Runs the National Commerce Group, Inc (NCG)
which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the
Detroit Regional Chamber.
• FY 2012-13 Total Revenue for Insurance and Affinity
• $8.8 Billion
• The National Chamber Program has more than 800
affiliate chamber relationships built around its
Office Depot program. It’s the largest chamber
centric program of its kind.
• In Michigan, roughly 100 chambers have a
relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI. The
Detroit Regional Chamber has roughly 70,000
employee and individuals enrolled in that program.
The chamber also assists other chambers across
the state in marketing and adding value to their
individual programs.
• The majority of our expenses are related to rebates
and commissions paid to affiliates. Other major
expense areas are in developing and maintaining
systems and infrastructure to market and manage
programs, overhead costs for 15 staff members
who do nothing but market and support affinity
programs and general advertising and promotional
expenses to help grow the programs.
Affinity programs can do three things for chambers:
1. Add value to membership or solve a problem for our
2. Drive new customer interactions
3. Generate additional resources to support the
organization’s core mission
The biggest challenges chambers face in achieving
results with affinity programs are:
1. Lack of time and attention to dedicate to programs
2. Limited program/product expertise
3. Insufficient resource to effectively market the program
Steve Millard, CCE
President & Executive Director
• Steve Millard, President and Executive Director
• 14,000 Small business members
• Affinity products offered
Health insurance
Shipping and freight
Workers’ compensation
Office products
• Goal of programs: To provide small businesses with
resources and opportunities they are unable to access
• Affinities vs. Partnership Programs: COSE’s journey
• Past: Discounts on products for small business
• Evaluation of purpose of programs
• Products are commoditized and no longer drive membership –
but, they can complement it
• Products need to go beyond cost savings to add greater value to
small businesses and differentiate COSE in the marketplace
• Present: Shift from discount products to comprehensive
solutions for small business
• Identify partners (not just vendors) who create solutions and
share COSE’s values and commitment to service for members
• Case study: COSE Energy Program
Small Business Savings
Transition from
captive agent
to broker
relationship for
partners with greater
FES, 2000- competitivenes
s, 2012
settlement resi. electric
Leveraging s &
advocacy establish- program
ment of
for deProviding savings to more
regulation COSE
block of
& small
than 12,000
e set of tools
audits, grant
access to
networks, and
COSE Energy
Choice Expands
Chambers (14),
Considerations in the development of an Affinity Program
• What is the goal of the program and how does it fit within your
overall mission, vision, and strategy?
– Should it drive revenue? Membership?
– How much staff and resources do you/are you able to commit to the
administration and development of the program?
• Is there an opportunity to evolve the product from a discount
to a comprehensive solution that eases a small business pain
• What does an ideal partner/vendor look like?
– How are they supporting the work of the Chamber?
– Are they sharing your values, goals and standards with respect to
the way they work with members?
• How will you measure success?
Kenn Penn
President and CEO
Who am I?
 Kenn Penn, President/CEO
 Associated with company since 1997
Who are we?
 Located in Norfolk, VA
 Serving members since 1992
 Owned and managed by chambers of commerce
What we do.
 Create, manage, and administer benefit programs
Product selection
Vendors vetting & contracting
Marketing development & distribution
Delivery mechanism
 members-SAVE® platform
 60+ local chambers of commerce
 23,000 members businesses
 250,000 employees (estimate)
Available Programs
Office Supplies
Payroll & HR
Merchant Services
Fleet card
Prescription Discounts
Hearing Program
Health Savings Account
Health Insurance*
Workers’ Compensation*
*Available in Virginia only
1. Enhance member value
2. Reduce chamber staff workload
3. Non-dues revenue
Cost of Program
 Nothing for chambers
 Membership dues for each chamber member
Why Consider Outsourcing?
 Expertise
 Benefit programs are not core to chamber operations
 Leverage shared assets
 Chamber need not dedicate staff
 Strength in numbers
 Buying power
Considerations in the development of an Affinity Program?
 Member competition
 Is this affinity program competing with “my” members?
 Support the greater good
 Will the chamber allow program success?
 Provide necessary access and communication with members
 Actively support the program(s)
 Does the chamber communicate with the “right person”
 “Go deeper” than the local sales representative
ABCs of Affinities
Thank you for joining us!
Enjoy the rest of your stay at the
2013 ACCE Convention in
Oklahoma City!

ABCs of Affinities - American Chamber of Commerce Executives