A major CIRAS tool for helping Iowa companies get the most out of their internet marketing efforts is moving permanently online.
The Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp, a popular CIRAS event that has existed for roughly eight years as a two-day deep dive into topics such as search engine optimization and web analytics, was repackaged for the first time in May as a series of webinars and follow-up consultations.
CIRAS project manager Paul Gormley said the change had been in the planning stages for months but was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. CIRAS moved all of its spring and summer events online to facilitate social distancing.
Gormley said the new format has proven popular and will continue beyond the pandemic, including multiple events planned for this fall. Participants are finding it easier to attend the event, easier to absorb the information, and easier to share it across a company.
“Before, it could be difficult to clear two entire days on your schedule, and then it would feel a bit like you were drinking from a firehose,” Gormley said. “It’s not that way quite as much if you can spread it out over a longer period of time, and you can go back and look at the recordings.”
Instead of two days of lectures and one-on-one expert assistance, participants now get 10 live webinars spread over a week and available for viewing later. CIRAS experts then follow up during a subsequent week with one-on-one online sessions to answer questions and apply techniques to individual companies.
Rebecca Quesnell, research and product development director for TransAgra International in Storm Lake, has attended boot camps in both formats. The difference, Quesnell said, is that online makes it easier to spark enthusiasm among the people you’ll need to make change happen.
“Last time, we were all excited and ready to do all these things, and then we came back to the organization and hit a wall,” she said. “This time, I’ve been able to show everybody the videos and what we need to do, and I think we’re going to be able to move forward” with some changes.