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Updated by Marjorie Steele on Mar 22, 2016
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Grand Rapids Business Journal

What's your inbound marketing strategy?

A local digital agency is ready to open up about its strategic re-focus on inbound marketing. The AMA West Michigan is hosting an educational luncheon on Feb. 9th, featuring a presentation on “Revamping Your Inbound Marketing Strategy” by Pete Brand, CEO and co-founder of local digital agency Mindscape. Brand will be sharing specifics of his agency’s methodology, including successful case studies, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at New Vintage Place in Grand Rapids. Registration is $30 for non-members. Considering the breakneck speed at which the digital . . .

Unpacking SEO: An insider's look at search engine optimization

Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is emerging as one of the most-important tools in a modern marketer’s arsenal. Yet, it remains largely opaque to those outside of the industry. To help the broader community understand this often misunderstood niche, local digital marketer Jason Dodge, founder of Black Truck Media + Marketing, and I have interviewed one another, exploring perspectives on SEO basics and the industry’s ever-shifting landscape. More industry-insider discussion can be found at the American Marketing Association of West Michigan’s luncheon on Thursday, March . . .

Uncovering hidden marketing potential with Google Analytics

Google Analytics, the free website tracking tool provided by search behemoth Google, is beloved within SEO and webmaster circles. But to most marketers outside of the digital niche, Google Analytics seems cumbersome and impenetrable. Although Google Analytics is used to track website traffic and conversions, its implications reach far outside the digital medium. Local SEO expert Adam Henige, managing partner at Netvantage Marketing, recently shared insights about the implications Google Analytics has on cross-platform measurement and how strategically gleaned data can positively impact the bigger . . .

Nonprofit lessons on storytelling and the science of generosity

International aid organization Food for the Poor has its direct mail fundraising campaigns down to a science. With programming comprising 96.4 percent of the organization’s total expenses — a ratio even higher than the Red Cross’ 91 percent gold standard — Food for the Poor is clearly making the most of its direct mail-driven donor engagement strategies, despite the supposed high cost of print marketing. Like many nonprofits, the values of Food for the Poor’s donor base make it essential for the organization to operate . . .

Multi-channel marketing breathes life into print

It’s no secret that print channels have taken a beating lately, with consumer demand shifting away from traditional media. Millennial audiences are immersed in digital media and, at a glance, seem oblivious to the impact of print. “Content is king”has been Internet marketing’s rallying cry since 2009, and modern marketers have focused campaigns more and more exclusively on pushing out digital content via blogs, social media, online ads and search engine optimization. So what does this mean for print? Is lowered demand for long-revered media . . .

End-of-year giving should be part of your marketing strategy

While CFOs are busily closing the books on 2014, it’s that time of year again to get in last-minute charitable giving. End-of-year donations may be great for an organization’s accounting department, but they can offer much deeper rewards for companies that are willing to invest in a thoughtful strategy. Giving to nonprofits offers the perfect opportunity to cash in on tangible triple-bottom-line values, and when a company has integrity with its core values, it has a much more powerful story to tell. Actively demonstrating the . . .

The power of story: building brand authenticity and engagement

Over the last year or so, “brand storytelling” has established itself as the marketing industry’s latest darling. As often happens in the fast-paced world of digital communication, the phrase has become ubiquitous, even though most businesses are still struggling to figure out exactly what it means. The truth is that “brand storytelling” is nothing new. Brands have been leveraging the power of narratives to build emotional connection with their audiences since the advertising industry was invented. Just look at Coca-Cola over the years. From their . . .

What's the bottom-line case for sustainable business?

"I believe that business has this wonderful opportunity to change the world for the better. Not because we must, but simply because we can." That was the crux of the lecture Fred Keller, founder and CEO of Grand Rapids-based Cascade Engineering, gave at last year's TEDxGrandRapids conference.

Forget travel: Grand Rapids is a top destination for business development

Last December, the popular and off-the-beaten-track travel website Lonely Planet ranked Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan's Gold Coast at the top of its " Top 10 US travel destinations for 2014." This hasn't been the first time a major media source has shone a spotlight on Grand Rapids.

Park votes nurture urban life

The city of Grand Rapids’ fiscally responsible choices over the last several decades have laid the foundation for economic growth. Thanks to the tough choices of our city leaders and the ingenuity of local businesses, entrepreneurs and advocacy groups, Grand Rapids is not only poised for growth - we’re leading West Michigan’s urban revitalization.

What's going on at Monument Park?

Most of you have noticed that there's Something happening at the corner of Fulton and Division. In recent weeks, Monument Park (the little triangular park with the soldier statue which, incidentally, sits right in front of our soon-to-be-new-home at the Kendall) has gone from a tranquil, quiet park to a giant sandbox filled with bulldozers and jackhammers.

Top 10 West Michigan charities for 2013 donations

It's that time of year again: time to select a few last charitable organizations to support through end of year donations. Whether you're making donations from your own personal funds or on behalf of a company, giving is an important part of building and belonging to our community - on a hyperlocal, national and international scale.

616 Vendor Profile: First National Bank of Michigan leverages community banking model to ABC

Development deals - like most complex transactions - never happen in a bubble. Here at 616, we are grateful to be surrounded by a superb team of advisors and vendors who, in many ways, make it possible for us to do what we do.

Does the creative class create urban growth?

Urban development heavyweights Joel Kotkin and Richard Florida got in a kerfuffle at The Daily Beast recently over the role of the creative class in urban growth. The crux of the disagreement: whether incubating the creative class and urban density truly result in sustainable growth for urban areas or whether these are just ineffectual attempts to make cities "hip."

How does 'the new normal' in community banking affect dealmaking?

Editor's note: This is the first post in a two-part discussion on local commercial lending and real estate development in a post-recession regulatory environment. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, new banking regulations and procedures have dramatically changed the financial market, and there are few industries that have been more impacted than real estate.