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Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This past week has just been packed full of really great things here and it got me on the track of how things are constantly evolving and how that is continually impacting us in our everyday lives. We talk about change a lot in Tech Savvy and even though change is a recurring theme, I don’t really ever feel that we’re “stuck in a rut” on what we look at.

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This week I wanted to take a short break from our review streak and look at some of the things that we’ve been looking at in our office and let you know about what that means for consumers, and also on the business end of things.

If you recall about a month ago I wrote about how a coworker and myself underwent Google AdWords Certification training and learned about a whole host of services that we would soon be offering to our marketing customers. This week was really phase two of the process as we spent the entire week working with our staff and training them in those same products and services. It started with Google AdWord Certification for everyone and then we started into the new services that are in demand and being used to create marketing relationships between consumers and the brands they buy from.

The AdWords Certification in itself is a pretty in depth look at not only the marketing and advertising side of search engines but also in the back end of things and how they work together. In a nutshell you have two basic information “fields” when you use a search engine. You have your organic results which are the top pages that are relevant to your search and you have the related links that are the marketing side that show relevant links to marketers who have similar products or services.

The organic results are dictated by the content of the source and other components that are called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The related links use many of the same criteria to determine their relevance in a search but are paid for and give businesses a chance to use another avenue to promote themselves within search results. This marketing is called Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Used in tandem, these two methods create a connection between your website and content and the consumer world. Without detailing all of the options and add-ons that create this “SEO Juice” we can suffice to say that by using a combination of these methods creates both long, and short, term results that helps businesses promote themselves to a number of people.

On the consumer side of things, SEO, SEM and many of the service based programs benefit us in myriad ways. Having high quality SEO and SEM programs mean that our searches will provide us with more personalized service and much more relevant results for search queries. Having integration with social media, text services and responsive web design mean that will be able to find additional sources, get better suggestions and be able to use our mobile devices more efficiently within our lives.

This coming Tuesday, April 30th, I will be sitting on a panel with Brandon Knowles of Faster Solutions, Frank Soukup of Grand View Lodge and Kathy Sell with Atomic Learning speaking on many of these items. We will be at the Tourism and Online Marketing Summit hosted by Grand View Lodge and the Brainerd Chamber for the half-day seminar covering a wide range of topics. I would encourage anyone that is interested in some of the upcoming changes in social media, SEO, video or branding to attend. There is still time to register and having been involved for a number of years, I can tell you that the information we cover is very interesting and will give you some insight into what is changing in the world of Tech.

Back to the changes in media within our staff, my final thoughts would be that I find it extremely interesting the avenue we have turned down. We have departed from the idea that businesses sell products only and now we are selling relationships with our businesses. To me it makes a ton of sense. I had the privilege of being educated and trained in the hospitality field and spent six years working at Madden’s Resort and they really do a good job of showcasing what service based selling is all about.

It’s no longer enough to just sell someone a meal, or an ad, or a tire and expect that the product alone will be enough to bring them back time and time again. In this day and age, consumers have come to expect a relationship with the businesses they frequent. They expect the business to keep them updated on new products and services that are relevant to them, they expect individual service and they expect to receive the service when the consumer asks and not later. In that sense, businesses have come to expect that, too, and rightfully so. Because of consumer demand for more interactive and immediate service from the business, the business expects that from their service providers. This includes folks who handle marketing, provide raw product and handle customer relations.

The majority of the training we have been putting our staff through focuses on those aspects — how it’s no longer enough to set up a short term schedule and “let it ride” without checking in from time to time.

At the end of the day we are in the business of building partnerships with our marketing customers and we are continually working to add services and options that will give them more opportunities than they have had before.

The changes in media and technology can easily be felt by the consumer — new mobile devices we can buy, new apps we can download and constant information that we can glean from online. What makes this unique is has caused a fundamental change in not only the way businesses communicate and serve their customers but in the way that businesses work with each other. In our case it’s redefining ourselves as more than a newspaper and that we are a media company offering services that make us more a marketing partner and agency than ever before.

Hang in there Tech Savvy fans, the tech change rollercoaster is just getting started, get ready to experience a whole new way we interact with our world!

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