GRAND RAPIDS — With e-commerce sales on the rise, Mindscape hopes that a newly launched training and consulting division can help clients navigate the increasingly complex world of digital marketing.
Pete Brand, CEO of the Grand Rapids-based company, believes that proprietary curriculum will assist traditional marketers in increasing their knowledge of SEO, blogging and social media in an effort to drive sales growth.
“So it's really important that companies are showing up in that search or they won't even be considered unless they're an organization that really … everyone knows,” Brand told MiBiz. “I don't like to use the word ‘magic’ but there's a way to get all those tactics working together to help a company show up in those search results.”
Brand’s preferred inbound marketing strategy aims to attract strangers to a company’s website and convert them to customers and eventually promoters of a brand.
Given the continuous growth of online sales in the United States, there’s some credence to Brand’s notion that it can prove challenging for companies to be discovered through search engines.
In just the second quarter of 2016, U.S. e-commerce sales hit $97.3 billion on an adjusted basis, an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous quarter, according to an August report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“I wouldn't say things are changing but they're finally getting to the point where (the tools are) no longer independent, disparate tactics and there is a way to tie them together so you can actually leverage them to higher or better results,” Brand said.
The executive said he wasn’t sure whether other firms had similar divisions but he noted that the particular curriculum taught by Mindscape is proprietary.
Much of the curriculum was originally designed by Brand for use at Grand Circus LLC, a Detroit-based I.T. and coding “boot camp,” that he eventually decided to bring in-house.
Mindscape kicked off its fourth cohort this week, Brand said. Each group consists of between five and seven people and lasts eight weeks. Classes are taught in-person or online.
Longer term, Brand says his goal is to help all participants grow their businesses by a cumulative $10 million, which he expects will take approximately two years.
Announcing that goal instills a certain amount of trust in an industry that has a history of bad actors, he said.
“That builds in more of a reporting relationship and it gives us accountability to make sure we're not just those people that regurgitate a bunch of information, collect the money and walk away,” Brand said. “We want to make sure they feel comfortable calling and reaching out and speak to any challenges they're facing. Ultimately, we want to see those results.”