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Eric Cook Michigan
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After graduating from college, Eric Cook began his professional career in the banking industry where he started as a teller, eventually moving into marketing, human resources, a "little bit" of lending and various roles in technology and operations. Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer and Regional President for a publicly-traded, Michigan-based community bank. Over his 15-year career, he discovered a love for the Internet, building the bank's first website in 1995 and starting a business in 1999 to take care of small business web development needs.

Following his passion for the Internet, in August of 2007 Eric stepped away from his banking responsibilities and started his own Internet Consulting Practice, focused on helping organizations better understand and leverage the power of the Internet. Eric combines his years of banking and real-world business experience with industry-leading Internet knowledge to help not only his banking clients, but other businesses and non-profits to compete more effectively online.

While in banking, Eric served his industry through a variety of committee positions with the Michigan Bankers Association, most notably as chair of the Operations & Technology Committee for the three years prior to starting his own business. Eric holds a double-major BA in Business Administration and Psychology from Alma College, earned his MBA from Western Michigan University and is a 2003 graduate of the prestigious Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he currently serves as a faculty member, teaching Internet strategy and social networking to banking professionals from around the country.

Eric earned a Web Marketing Association WebAward in Financial Services Standard of Excellence in 2008 for his very first project. He continues to use his banking expertise and in-depth understanding of the Internet and technology to help community banks benefit from their website beyond simply being a place to "log in" to online banking.

Eric is a sought-after speaker in the banking world, presenting for state bank associations across the country on the topics of social technology and innovation.

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  • Mobile. It's More Than a Chanel, It's a Behavior - With more people accessing the web now on their mobile devices than traditional computers, it's apparent that mobile is here to stay. Google changed its algorithm to take into consideration "mobile-friendly" websites in mobile search, and even created a special tool to better help organizations be prepared. Responsive web design is now the "standard" way to develop a website and we're connecting via social media, sharing photos and communicating via text and SMS messages. But, despite all this, many are ill-prepared to compete in today's mobile world. This session will help ensure you understand critical mobile factors that help lead to success and how to better serve the customer that's no longer sitting at the computer browsing the web.

  • The Shifting Landscape of Social Media - Let's face it, in today's social media-driven world the only thing that seems to remain certain is that things change (all the time). You're likely already using some form of social media to engage and keep connected with your customers. But as the networks change and evolve, new features become available, rules change and customer preference shifts. Do you know if you're getting the most out of your "social activities" now and that you're getting optimal performance out of your efforts? This session is designed for the business professional to review the popular (and upcoming) social platforms and review what's changed, what's gone away so that you can keep on top of your "social game" and remain relevant to your audience.

  • Content Is King - How to Think Like a Publisher and Remain Relevant - They say the three most important things in real estate are Location, Location, Location. Well when it comes to your "online real estate" (i.e. your ability to be found online) these are Content, Content, Content. Those that want to be (more) visible when consumers go online searching for the types of services you offer, you need to embrace a "publisher" mentality and have a strategy in place to create, syndicate and promote helpful, fresh and relevant content. No longer just words on a page, content is being defined as images, video, presentations, webinars, newsletters and more. This session will explore the importance of having a content plan, who needs to be part of the process and how it can make an impact for your institution.

  • Building Your Social "Sales Force" - Engagement Strategies for a Connected Workforce - Social media is quickly becoming more of a "communication channel" than a "marketing function." Just as we would not imagine of operating without a telephone or email, getting your employees to become an extension of your institution's social efforts will help to extend your reach to an audience that likely would not have heard your message in the past. But to do this effectively, you need to have a solid policy, process and training plan in place to make sure that your staff understands (and abides by) necessary regulatory and legal requirements.

  • The Four Components of a Social Tech Strategy - When we hear the term "social" most people immediately think of Facebook, the one billion million-member strong online network. But, did you realize that online social "technology" can really be divided up into four distinct segments, each with their own purpose and strategic focus? In this session we'll explore the areas of Social Networking (building connections), Social Media (sharing information), Social Relevancy (online reputation) and Socially Enabled Tasks (creating business value). We'll share examples for each of these key segments and give you real-world advice on how to leverage these different segments in your activities in today's social web.

  • Three Components of Success Online - The Importance of "D.C.L." - When it comes to succeeding online it's important that you have a strategy that looks at the big picture (and not just what seems to be the current "trend"). For many businesses, that means evaluating your Destination (most likely your website), the Conversation (what you're saying on the web, and what it's saying about you) and your customers' Location (such as the mobile device). When utilized collectively, it increases the chances of being successful online. You'll learn why these three elements are no longer able to stand on their own, and how each of these three elements plays off one another to create a complete online strategy.

  • Search, Surf and Social - The Three Conversations Online - Gone are the days of being able to rely on the Yellow Pages, newspapers or radio to deliver your message and connect your institution with the right audience. Today, in our online connected world, consumers are "Googling" for your products and services in the search engines, getting news and entertainment from the web and other electronic devices and hanging out with one another in social sites and talking about you. If your institution is still using a traditional marketing strategy, there may be tremendous opportunities being overlooked as the shift to a digital life continues. This session will explore real-world strategies for leveraging a search, surf and social strategy to get more business for your institution.

  • Can You Hear Me Now? Communicating in Today's Social World - The typical consumer is bombarded with messages from a variety of sources every day. Advertising, e-mails, text messages, social media conversations, online seems like the stream of information is never ending. So, if you want to be able to effectively communicate your message, what options do you have to stand out and actually get heard? This session will explore some of the new ways of participating in the "communication process" and getting heard. What you'll discover is that to be successful, it's important to first take the time to listen to what's being said so that you ensure your participation remains relevant and is something that can help get you noticed.

  • Understanding User Behavior on Social Media - It's no secret that people are spending more and more time connecting and communicating via social media. But do you really know what consumers are doing online, what networks they are using and what the growing trends are? While you may not get your next mortgage applicant via Snapchat, having an understanding of what's happening in the world of "social technology" is vital to ensure that you're looking down the road and ready for what may come along. This session shares insight on the trends when it comes to the digital consumer, the various networks and opportunities that exist via social media.

  • Leveraging LinkedIn Networking Strategies for Business Success - As the #1 social network focused on the business professional, LinkedIn is growing at more than two new members per second. Considered by many to be an "online resume," it's much more than simply a place to list where you went to school and what your job title is. LinkedIn provides numerous opportunities to connect, engage and share information to help not only build up your "personal brand," but also benefit your institution and make you a more intelligent, valuable business partner to your customers. This session reveals some take-home strategies to help ensure that you're getting the most out of your time on LinkedIn and you'll come away with ideas you can implement immediately to get more out of the network.

  • Ways to Find Interesting Content Online to Share or Inspire Your Next Blog Post - They say the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. Well, when you think about your "digital real estate" these three are content, content, content. Thinking like a publisher of helpful and desirable information instead of a business trying to promote a product will be the difference between success and failure in today's social economy. This session reinforces the need for a solid content strategy and shares several ways to find information that will keep you top of mind with your connections. We'll then talk about strategies to share it across multiple networks or how you can use it as inspiration to help create your own valuable content (all will freely available tools that are online and ready for use).

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