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Times They are A-Changin’: What Does Your Business Want to Be When it Grows Up?

Insights October 7, 2013

There’s no shortage of inspirational quotes, historical one-liners, and famous lyrics telling us how to feel about, react to, or approach the infamous concept of change. To give ourselves a working definition, good-ol’ Merriam-Webster claims that change means “to become different, to make (someone or something) different, or to become something else.” When starting or continuing to run a business, the brand and organizational structure should be reassessed repeatedly within the context of ever-evolving eras. For some, this is an eventual, unavoidable state of things that must be dealt with (“turn and face the strain”). For others, it’s something to embrace and encourage.

At Terakeet, we both believe in and have first-hand experience with the process of reinvention. Without it, we would not be where we are now. It has become our job to predict the sometimes uncertain, but always inevitable moves of Google in order to naturally secure and maintain our clients’ online visibility (albeit without fear). Whether you believe it yet or not, it’s your job as a company — small or large, non or for-profit — to know that it matters.


As modern marketers, we must be both experts and proponents of change. Without said expert team, you as a company will undoubtedly encounter something akin to what I refer to as the Publishing Problem.


The Publishing Problem

Book publishing: it is a historical cycle of innovation and response, but the problem is that publishers are notoriously slow to react. In the late 90s, contracts for book publishing were mere gentlemen’s agreements. In the early 2000s, publishers weren’t paying any attention to the subtle ebook rumble arguably growing in the Internet’s stomach since the 70s. Ebooks were considered a completely separate form of media and no one stopped to consider them in terms of book and volume publishing rights. In 2010, when working as a corporate publishing intern, I alone was responsible for editing, (read: printing), thousands of sheets of paper a week rather than using the beauty of word processing comments and track changes. Don’t get me wrong; I love the incomparable feel of pen to paper as much as if not more than the next person, but it seemed like an unnecessary problem with a simple solution (if you were to ignore the nostalgic authors still working on typewriters, that is).



Today, as is common throughout the industry’s history, big name publishing houses are scrambling to merge. Random Penguin? Penguin House? On the vendor side, there are the chain stores and their dooming reliance on undiversified physical storefronts and the sales of blockbusters. Borders quickly sunk, and while Barnes and Noble is still kicking, they are merely treading water — surviving instead of thriving. A special few independent bookstores remain. Amazon, a dirty word to most parts of the publishing world, arguably looked ahead and capitalized. Some prefer to use the word “monopolized,” but that’s a different article.

Using the book publishing business may seem like an extreme example of this fear or failure to adapt, but that’s what makes it a paradigm case. How can an inherently physical entity contain such an overwhelmingly digital destiny? Rather than taking the time to focus on the history of this question, what’s important is recognizing that it happened. Pessimistic opinions consider this a death of industry, while others view it as an exciting transformation with endless possibility. Conceivably, the experienced struggle with the actualization of this lucrative digital metamorphosis came from a lack of foresight, complacent resistance, and a fear of “becoming something else.”


Avoid the Struggle

The book publishing story shows us the potential that exists where we cannot see it. At the same time, one of the biggest and most discussed hurdles of book marketing is discoverability, or how to make the right audience aware that it exists — a perfect problem for SEO. What we are able to do at Terakeet is find those pockets of potential, both within our industry and within those of our clients, and organically keep ourselves and them at the top — a spot that is earned, not paid for. We bridge the gaps between clients and their audiences.

Google is always evolving to stay on top of the search industry, which adapts and shifts to fit its ever-changing users. Any trustworthy SEO organization must be equipped to be sustainably proactive as opposed to reactive. This means knowing where Google is headed before Google does, and being able to immediately transform, or in some cases create, any necessary department accordingly. No sweat.


Why Care?

The statistics of SEO speak for themselves. Be wary of your certainty that SEO and online visibility are irrelevant to your business model. Off-the-map companies, if willing and paying attention, can become the digital kings of the future. In other words, you can be whatever you want when you grow up. Transformation is not synonymous with a loss of history or value in what has come before. Growth is a powerful mix of old and new, with the right kind of nurturing.

There is a place for what has worked and for tradition, but you are doing your business a disservice if you try and force that tradition on itself, thus becoming a landmark instead of a living entity. So, “you better start swimmin,’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin’.

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