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James Benz Becomes Newest Member of Team Trivera


KDF_3496-1b.jpgTrivera is excited to announce the latest addtion to our team, Design and Usability Specialist, James Benz.

James has been designing websites, print collateral, tradeshow displays and just about everything in between since the very early days of the internet. A 1997 graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a BFA in Graphic Design, he has witnessed many standards and trends come and go. By developing networking relationships with several marketing agencies, James has had the opportunity to design for many national clients: including Whirlpool, Maytag, Milwaukee Tool and H&R Block to name a few. Just like Trivera, James has also won an award from Graphic Design USA in the category of Interactive Design.

Prior to coming aboard, James was Creative Director for Sunant Interactive and Top Floor Technologies.

Away from work, family comes first for James. He loves spending time with his wife and 3 children doing literally anything. On a typical night it’s not unusual to find James playing Barbie’s with his 9 year old daughter, and then 15 minutes later wrestling with his 2 older boys. He likes to relax and blow off steam by training in Muay Thai (kickboxing), fishing, and riding his blacked-out Harley. Just don’t make the mistake of talking music with him. A Rock & Roll historian (more like fanatic) since a very early age, he could literally talk for hours about Rock & Roll, past and present (and if he ever gets into music mode, feel free to sneak away – he’ll probably keep talking anyway and won’t even notice).

Cory Ampe Joins Trivera

bio-cory-opt.jpgCory Ampe has joined the Trivera team as Client Services Director.  

Cory has worked in marketing for more than 16 years. Prior to coming aboard, she was most recently at Trade Press Media Group, and before that, Fullhouse Interactive.

Cory began her career as a magazine editor where she honed her writing and storytelling skills. On the client side, she's worked for a large financial institution, a satellite-based internet infrastructure service provider and a business-to-business media company. In her agency work, she worked with clients of all sizes -- from non-profit NGOs to leading brands such as Johns Hopkins Medicine and Miller Brewing Co. -- to bolster brands and engage and convert coveted audiences.

When you trust Trivera for your digital marketing success, Cory will be your point of contact for the time your project is in our pipeline, and beyond. 

As Trivera's client services director, she will lead your project kickoff meeting, act as your advocate to our production team and be the voice of your weekly progress calls till project completion.  Leveraging her deep experience in branding; strategic communications planning; email marketing; advertising; social media; content marketing; SEO/SEM,  Cory will also develop and present the monthly ongoing reports that will help you analyze and improve the performance of your marketing efforts,

When not at Trivera, Cory is having fun with her daughter Darla (age 4.75) and son Louis (age 17 months). She enjoys camping, cooking, movies and listening to music. Shortly after graduating from UW-Milwaukee, Cory moved to her second-favorite city, Baltimore, where she worked for a boutique advertising and marketing agency to support her relentless pursuit of film director John Waters. Cory returned to the Milwaukee area in 2004 to marry Trivera Interactive alum Jeremy Ampe. She has remained a friend and fan of Trivera since her first encounter with the company and is thrilled to now be an official member of the team.

Trivera Turns 18!

happy18thbirthday.jpgRegardless of our age, we all celebrate our birthdays every year. But, there are a few birthdays that mark milestones.  Sweet 16 marks a passage to the age where one can drive a car. 21 is when one is legally allowed to consume alcohol. 30, 40 and 50 are often marked with black balloons and taunts of being over the hill. I'm facing...gasp...my big 6-0 in February (or as I've chosen to call it, my second 30th birthday), but I digress.

One of the most special birthdays is the 18th. It marks the passage from youth to adulthood. You're reckoned by society as wise and mature enough to vote, get married without parental consent, and serve your country in the military. 

Today, Trivera celebrates our 18th birthday.  Back on January 16th, 1996, we became one of the very first...and one of only a handful of...web design and development agencies in Wisconsin.

At the time, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari didn't exist, just Mosaic and Firefox's predecessor Netscape. There was neither a Google nor a Bing  - the top search engines were Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, Webcrawler and Infoseek. There was no eBay, Netflix or Wikipedia.  Joomla!, Drupal, Wordpress and Concrete5 were all years from being born. Email marketing and Social Media didn't exist. Nor did Digg, Tumblr or even RSS. Smartphones, mobile devices, tablets, iPhones and iPads hadn't been invented. Pinterest, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or even MySpace? Not even on the drawing board! There was no broadband or wifi - internet connections came via a slow dial-up modem.  And 87% of all businesses polled in a survey said that the web was a fad, and they would never have a need for it. Ever. 

Our name back then was Websight Solutions, and our tagline was "web sites with vision." Fitting because back then, anyone who was doing anything on the web had to be visionary. Jeff Bezos had just started Amazon.com. Jerry Yang and David Filo had just incorporated Yahoo!. Craig Newmark had just launched Craig's List.

And there was us.

But we convinced Usinger's, Mitchell Airport, and FrankMayer and Associates to take their first leap onto the web. In those early years, our other early adopters inlcuded Aurora and Ministry Health Care, Holy Hill, the Marcus Center, Milwaukee Harley-Davidson and Mustela. Since then, we've been proud to have also helped other noteworthy locally-based brands like Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Strattec Security Corporation, Simplicity, Perlick and Dental Associates, as well as national brands like Motorola, Lotus, Frabill, and Panasonic.  We just started working on Frank Mayer and Associates' 43rd project, and are just wrapping up Mitchell Airport's 30th. In a few weeks, InvestorsBank becomes the most recent member of the Trivera story with the launch of their new site

Despite the fact that over 18 years we've seen the web go from infancy to youthful exuberance and on to a mature and necessary component of every business' marketing arsenal, for most marketers, how to make it work is still is a mystery. So we've been honored to have hundreds of other clients ask us to help them figure it out. Some big,  some small, some household names, others obscure to all but their niche customers.  But the one thing they all have in common is that they needed someone to help them navigate through the rapidly evolving, and quite confusing world of digital marketing, web design, e-commerce, email marketing, search engine marketing, Social Media and mobile, and they chose to trust us, originally as Websight Solutions, then as wirestone, and now for the last dozen years as Trivera.  

2014 will be a year of bold new plans: new customers, new partners, continued expansion, and the 5 year reunion edition of 2009's Social Media University. So Happy Birthday to us! Thanks to our awesome clients for their years of support, and our awesome team members who helped us earn that support. As we blow out the candles on our birthday cake, our wish is for another 18 years of success for us, but more importantly for all our clients because they've given us the opportunity to help them succeed.

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5 Visitor Groups Your Website Needs To Be Ready For

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Your presence on the web has never been more important to the success of your brand.  It's also never been subject to more circumstances, elements and efforts that can damage it. And the only thing necessary for every bad thing imaginable to happen to it, is for you to do nothing and think your site is doing fine. So it just boggles my mind that so many marketers and business owners choose to sit back and let failure happen.

Website success has always been about who will be coming to your site, how they will access the site, what they're hoping to accomplish, and what will..or won't...happen when they get there.  While everyone hopes that it will simply be customers who will come and engage in a business transaction, it's a lot more complicated than that.  There are actually 5 easily identifiable groups of visitors who require strategic efforts that you'd better be prepared for.

Because, ready or not, here they come:

1.) Hackers, Crackers and Internet Miscreants  

Unless it's more than a few years old, your website is likely built on a Content Management System (CMS). Just like any other software product,  that system has likely had improvements made to it over time. In addition to feature improvements, every upgrade since it was first built also contains critical security enhancements. Legions of hackers are scouring the web every minute of every day trying to find old and vulnerable installations of Joomla!, Drupal, Wordpress and Concrete5 and using them to execute mass identity theft. I don't know if it's a fear of change or just a reluctance to spend the money on repairs should a CMS upgrade "break" the site. Regardless, the thousands of out of date websites are a jackpot for hackers.  Unless you have an upgrade plan in place, there's a good chance that someday thousands of people will be getting a fake email that looks like it came from their bank, but actually came from your site. Not only that, but then they'll click a link to log into a fake bank login page on your site and give identity theives the info they need to drain their real bank account. Because this activity leads to blacklisting, site shutdowns, and even potnetial legal consequences it's not the kind of traffic you want. But if you're not regulalry upgrading your CMS, it's the easiest and mosty likely traffic you'll get.

2.) People With Browsers Newer Than Your Site 

Every time a new version of a web browser is released, design and functional elements on your website that may have worked before  potentially malfunction or totally fail on the new one. If your website was built in 2009, it was tested to work on Firefox version 3. The current release is version 24.  Internet Explorer was on version 8. They've just released version 11. Safari 4 was the current version, but has now been replaced by version 7. Unless you've upgraded your site, or conducted ongoing browser compatibility testing, you have had people coming to your website to do business with you, but either can not or choose not to because the site doesn't work for them. And while that number has grown every month, that's a growth metric you don't want. 

3.) Mobile Device Users

Smartphones and tablets are no longer just for "people on the go." For millions of people, they are the preferred method of acessing the web. If your website isn't formatted to provide a visitor an optimal visual and navigational experience regardless of the device they'e using, you've essentially told half your potential customers that you're really not interested in their business.  And they are happily taking that business to sites that are. 

4.) Social Media Enthusiasts

Word of mouth has always been one of the most effective forms of marketing. Social Media takes that power to a new level.   Does your site have a blog? A pressroom? Videos? Do your pages have Facebook "Like," Twitter "Tweet This," Pinterest "Pin it," and Google "Plus 1" icons?  The jury may still be out on the extent that your execution of a Social Media plan will create meaningful inbound traffic. However, your site still needs to be updated to include the kinds of content that is easily shared in Social Media channels, and the tools that make it easy to do so. If it doesn't, you are missing the opportunity to take advantage of the viral referral power of your visitors' social savvy and their inclination to share your brand with their professional and social networks.

5.) Search Engine Traffic

The sad fact is that, unless you've been keeping up with the major changes in the way Google produces results to search queries and making sure your site has been adapting to accommodate those changes, the number of qualified customers coming to your site as a result is steadily declining. If you think that Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird are zoo animals, and an algorithm is a catchy tune about a former vice-president, your share of the 125 billion searches per month is pretty close to zero, and getting closer every day. Those are the people who aren't coming. But if your site isn't set up to show up on page one with meaningful and accurate search results and instead send unqualified visitors to your site, the ones who do come will leave your site as quickly as they came. Those are called bounces, and the more of those you get, the lower Google will rank you in their searches.  A strategic Search Engine Optimization plan is the only way to get meaningful numbers of qualified visitors to come to your site. 

 

While there are other elements that will contribute to a successful web strategy (email, direct and traditional marketing), this list represents the minimum effort necessary to just avoid failure.  With a new year beginning in just a few months, now is the time to plan your budget for setting up and executing a strategic plan that systematically optimizes your site to create the right outcome for every one of these groups and help your web presence reinforce, and not erode your brand, and more importantly, contribute to your bottom line.

 

About Trivera:

Your growing business is faced with more challenges than ever before. Managing your online presence in the face of tightening budgets and steadily increasing customer expectations can be a difficult and complex task.

Trivera’s proven approach to web design and development builds your online brand with smart design and creative technology. We’ve been helping companies like yours since 1996, growing our capabilities along with the web to serve the needs of our diverse mix of clients.

For most compnaies, the web is a cloud of confusion. Our experienced team excels in managing your projects for the greatest return on your investment using a proven, collaborative process that delivers results on time, on budget and on target. Our mission is to provide you with the knowledge, service, products and ROI that will make you a hero.

The New Trivera Website: Responsive, Parallax and Feature Rich

Trivera Site CaptureAsserting its position in the market as a leader in the digital marketing space, Trivera has launched its brand new website. The new site incorporates many of the features it has been recommending that customers incorporate into their own sites.

The biggest, and most obvious feature is a fully responsive architecture and design. That concept provides visitors an experience where all site elements and content are automatically formatted for the specific device they're using. While desktop users will see a website optimized for a full width monitor, tablet users will see the elements readjust to optimally, fit their display, even as they go from landscape mode to portrait mode. The use of retina images provides viewers with iPads photos and graphics in stunning resolution. Visitors on smartphones will see the navigation change to a style that better accommodates finger taps instead of mouse clicks. Phone numbers and addresses take advantage of mobile functionality and while images are resized to take up less of the display, text sizes are scaled to provide greater readability.

The home page features an example of parallax scrolling, where layers and the background scroll at different rates to create a three dimensional effect. While some sites use the effect to create an entire website that parallax scrolls from the top of the home page, the Trivera site chooses the more subtle use of the effect to avoid the damage to Search Engine placement that the other approach produces.

Years of blogs were imported into the new site, a project that was more difficult than it may appear. The previous site used Digitalis as the main site Content Management System, and used Wordpress as the blog platform. Both the site and the blog for the new site reside in a single implementation of Concrete5, made possible by Trivera's technical team performing a major re-programming of that platform's blog to include many of the Wordpress functions that bloggers rely upon.

The site makes extensive use of Concrete5's native functionality to display and rotate team and office photos.

Social Media plays a large part in the new site, with social feeds from Trivera and team members' Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and RSS feeds displaying on the home page and an expanded "Notebook" section. Blog posts contain social sharing buttons, and links to Trivera's Social Media profiles display on every page.

The website represents a quantum leap from the previous generation of website development and showcases a lot of the features, functionality and forward thinking that Trivera offers its clients.

Bob Sabinash Returns to Trivera

Bob SabinashThe newest member of Team Trivera also has the honor of being one of the oldest. After an 8 year stint at Northwoods Software, Bob Sabinash comes back to the same company he spent 6 years at a decade ago, as Trivera's Vice President of Business Development.

"Over the years, we have had several employees who were literally the heart and soul of our company, but had the opportunity to explore new opportunties. We are more than delighted to have one of them back," said Trivera President and Founder Tom Snyder. "Bob was an incredible business development specialist when he was here last time. With 8 more years of market experience, he brings even more potential...and a fresh perspective...to our team." 

Bob joins Director of Client Strategy and Business Development Chris Remington to identify companies and organizations who can be helped by Trivera's smart design and creative technology solutions, craft strategic service offerings and get those projects into Trivera's production pipeline. 

Says Sabinash "I am grateful to have been asked to rejoin the company at a very exciting time in its evolution, and I’m excited about the path Trivera is on."

Trivera recently announced plans to double in size in the next 12 months by adding a full compliment of marketing, advertising and PR services to their services, as well as adding Microsoft-based content management systems to their already robust array of Linux/Open Source solutions. 

Bob's philsophy of communication and education as key in the sales process dovetails perfectly with Trivera's. "Sharing what we do and why we do it, and asking questions, builds a solution set that fulfills the primary goal but also strategically and tactically sets clients on a path for success." Adds Sabinash. "I also believe in transparency and follow through in Customer Service."

You can reach Bob at bob@trivera.com or 262-250-9400.

10 Steps to Digital Marketing Success

iStock_000023903000XSmallIn our last blog, we listed the 6 ways your neglected website is costing you money. If you are one of the rare businesses whose website is producing piles of revenue even though you haven't updated it in years, this isn't for you.

But, if you can use additional sales revenue from your digital channels, read on.

Our mantra has always been that a web site is not an event, it's a process. That process requires ongoing effort, attention and investment to maximize revenue and value.

As a digital marketing firm, having clients who hire us to build a website, only to let it languish in neglect and produce mediocre results does neither us nor the client any good. So here at Trivera, our focus is taking responsibility for our clients' total online success by having all new clients sign annual contracts, where the website development is only the fourth element in a ten point plan for success.

Here are the steps that we believe are necessary for success, and the reasons we include each:

1.) Discovery

Your success begins with defining your goals. What specific results do you expect your digital marketing efforts to produce? If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? Whether it's increased sales for an e-commerce site, new leads for your sales staff to cultivate, heightened awareness for your brand or more traffic to improve ad revenue, it's only by setting specific goals that will give yourself a target to hit. And as your partner, we need to make sure we're all on the same page.

2.) Development of a Marketing Strategy and Tactical Recommendations

Even thinking about tactics before you develop your strategy is a waste of time. Things like "Getting on Twitter" are just tactics. Achieving the goals you defined in step one requires a broad and deep plan. Understanding your brand in a way to be able to communicate your value proposition and personality to your current and future fans well enough to determine is what helps you decide if ANY Social Media is an effective vehicle. That's your strategy. It's your guide to determine what tactics will be appropriate and effective in helping you achieve your goals.

3.) Search Engine Optimization Plan

Guessing at a few keywords and trying get on page one of Google for those keywords is the recipe for SEO failure. Unfortunately, it is the "plan" most businesses and organizations are using. Is your target audience even searching for what you offer with those keywords? Do you know which keyword phrases will produce results, and which will bounce people back to Google to find another result (something actually causes search engine rankings to decrease)? Do you know the difference between branded and non-branded traffic and why it's important? Do you know how to uncover which keyword phrases will produce the number of non-bouncing visitors you'll need to achieve your specific success goals? If you don't know the answers to these (and a half dozen other basic questions most SEO specialists understand instinctively), Google will be nothing but a constant frustration and financial albatross.

4.) Creation of a fully optimized website

The creation of a website is the sum total of what many web design/development firms do. But optimization is the necessary ingredient to a successful digital strategy that many of them miss. Turning visitors into customers requires an understanding of conversion rates and what affects them. Will your site create sales or discourage them? Will people coming on tablets and smartphones be comfortable or frustrated? Will the transactional goal of the site be easy to find regardless of how, when and where visitors enter the site, or will they get lost in a maze of unnecessary information, steps, clicks and questions?

Within a fraction of a second, most visitors have judged you and made up their mind about your brand. Virtually every element of the site... the choice of content management systems, home page layout, order and depth of the navigational choices, words per page and whether they are paragraphs or bullet points, size, position and quality of images, color choices...impact the visitor's opinion of you. Unless your approach is strategic, and your developer understands how all of this impacts your visitors' perceptions and decisions, you won't get a successful digital marketing tool, you'll get a website. Nothing more. Certainly not success.

Here's where many people stop, thinking they are now done and success will just happen. Actually, this is where the real work begins.

5.) Execution of website content marketing efforts.

Your site is tested and launched, but almost immediately your blog, press room, content, product details, demonstration videos and other content will require ongoing effort to maintain their freshness. Keeping the site updated is only a part. Keeping the rest of the places out on the web that drive traffic to your site updated is even more important. That means email newsletters and promotions, outbound PR, commenting on other sites' blogs, and legitimate link building.

6.) Execution of ongoing SEO and SEM tactics

Just as your website is not an event, neither is your SEO. The algorithms that determine who makes it to page one of a search change frequently. What worked last month probably doesn't work this month. Knowing what has changed and what you need to do to take advantage of those changes requires effort and expertise. And it never ends.

7.) Execution of Social Media tactics

Here's where agencies and gurus who only do Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, fail. Sun Tzu said "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." I've dealt with this topic enough that it doesn't need to be repeated here other than to say this step will only help your digital marketing plan become successful if the tactics are being used as part of a larger strategy.

8.) Execution of traditional marketing tactics

Just because this is a digital marketing plan it doesn't mean you need to stop doing traditional marketing. If your strategic target can be effectively reached via direct mail, print and traditional electronic media, you hurt yourself by regarding them as obsolete or irrelevant. You'll just want to make sure you're tracking your efforts to make sure you only continue the ones that result in demonstrable results.

9.) Monthly measurement of key performance indicators

Remember those goals you outlined 7 or 8 steps ago? How are you doing? Tools exist to measure site traffic, bounce rate, conversion rates, popular navigational paths, transaction values, SEO ranking, social media sentiment. You don't have to be using them daily. Weekly or monthly may be adequate.

10.) Adjustment of efforts to continue to produce maximum ROI

Because targets and goals are part of your strategy, and you're measuring your results, you know what you need to do more of, and what to do less of to produce the results you're striving for. And you're in the zone of increasing your results, and reducing your costs.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. If success was easy, everyone would be successful. Whether you hire a firm like Trivera, or handle it internally, the steps to success are still the same. How many of them are you neglecting?

Trivera is looking for a Web Designer

t_logo_sqTrivera is looking for a passionate, experienced Web Designer that can design compelling websites and user interfaces based on the right composite of client direction and current best practices for navigation, design and UX. While we have a deep bench of dedicated front and back end developers on our team, an ability to efficiently produce clean code using PHP, HTML and HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript and jQuery to integrate that design into Content Management Systems and E-commerce platforms is a plus.

If you are like us, you:

  • are a total team player, and love to collaborate with other professionals
  • take pride in your work and keep up on the latest techniques and trends
  • have an informed opinion and enjoy being a part of the creative and strategic process
  • are self-starting, detail-oriented, and passionate about building attractive websites and interfaces that work in all current browsers and devices
  • appreciate the fact we don't expect you to work evenings and weekends, but also aren't a "40 hours and out" employee.
  • are proud to be a part of one of the area's most prestigious, high profile and soon to be fastest growing agencies

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Ability to conduct a thorough creative discovery with every client, and presell their design to the client before the reveal so the first comp presented to the client exceeds their expectations.
  • Proficiency in Photoshop
  • Strong knowledge of code (PHP, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, etc.), and browser compatibility a plus.
  • Good understanding of CMS platforms is required (WordPress, Concrete5, and Magento are preferred).
  • Responsive and mobile production experience a plus
  • Excellent communication and problem solving skills
  • A team player who can engage enthusiastically and professionally with clients and staff.
  • Is comfortable with the concept of "tracking billable hours" and capable of accurately entering time in a project management system like Basecamp.
  • Can provide a portfolio proving an ability to create clean, professional design and web interfaces

This is a full time employee position that would require you to work on site in a crazy cool historic building in the center of Menomonee Falls, WI. We offer good pay and benefits, including health and life insurance, PTOs, staff birthday lunches, an amazing culture and we wrap up the week with the legendary Trivera Happy Hour, except when we're cutting out early on Friday for summer hours. We are a casual but focused work environment. If you have had the your fill of a soul-less corporate culture, and are looking for a fun place that is like family, this position is for you.

Email your resume to empinq@trivera.com with links to your professional portfolio, and tell us why this is the right position for you.

(Women and minorities are enthusiastically encouraged to apply!)

Trivera Office - A gallery of Photos

Trivera Interactive is one of Milwaukee's oldest Web design and digital marketing agencies. We have an amazing space located in the historic Mill building in downtown Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Here are some photos of our amazing creative and collaborative space.

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Trivera Interactive - Serving Milwaukee and the world from the Mill Building.

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Trivera Interactive - The view from the loft

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The megadesk - Command and control for all Web site design projects

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Wall of Fame of Trivera Website design clients.

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Miss Muffett guarding Trivera's Icon wall.

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Trivera upstairs small conference room

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Trivera - Website design...and air hockey...happens here.

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Inside Trivera's small upstairs conference room

Future Web: Skating to Where the Puck is Going

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky attributed his success to a simple philosophy: "Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is. It ain't where the puck is, it's where the puck will be."

What your company is doing with the web is a lot like a hockey game. If your only focus is a web site based on an assumption that all your visitors are sitting at their desks viewing your site on a 1024 x 768 resolution desktop monitor, you're skating to where the puck was. Even if you've begun to toy around with making your website more mobile friendly, you're still skating to where the puck is.

As an early adopter of the Internet as a powerful marketing tool, and founder of one of the Midwest's first Web development firms, I remember the days when 87% of all businesses polled said they would never have a need for a website. My challenge for over 16 years has been to be chasing after the future and dragging clients kicking and screaming behind me, hoping they'll keep up.

And it's about to get even harder.

Over the past few days, I've been spending time with the presentation Stephanie Rieger gave to the Breaking Development conference in Orlando, Florida. It's an eye opening look at how the web is evolving. Where it used to be something you'd go to the computer or your mobile device to "do," it's rapidly becoming something that's always on, connected to everything we use to provide us with any knowledge we need just as we need it. As Brad Frost aptly put it:, you need to get your content ready to go anywhere because it's going to go everywhere. Skating to where the puck is going means moving to a world where internet touch points go beyond browsers, smart phones and tablets to now include treadmills, refrigerators, cars, and a million other "smart things" that we haven't even begun to imagine. A world where search engine queries are replaced by contextual information fed to us based on our interests, needs, and location, the keyboard having been replaced by GPS's, our voice or even our retinas. The journey to where the web is headed has shifted into hyper drive, and in the process is shattering the paradigms. And it's about to leave many businesses, and even some self-professed "web development firms" in the dust.

That's why I'm so fortunate to have the team here at Trivera. While still understanding the need to provide superior, best practice web experiences for our clients (delivered on time, scope and budget), we take regular time out of the office every Friday to talk about, and plan for, the technologies, platforms, tools, ideas and directions that will help us embrace the future web.

As a result we've continued to push the envelope and come up with some pretty amazing stuff:

  • You have an e-commerce-enabled B2B website but still achieve your highest sales with your independent distributors? How about a fully integrated tablet-based tool for them to use in the field to coach them real-time to up-sell, cross-sell, check inventory, lead times and create and submit an order.
  • Your customers are voicing a common complaint that's not your fault, but due to their forgetfulness? How about a reminder with the appropriate information sent to their mobile device when it detects exactly when and WHERE they need it?
  • You have a brand with a huge community that needs Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and Flickr functionality, but has huge archival resources you don't want to trust to those Social Media sites? How about an online community with full desktop, mobile and tablet compatibility with check-ins, photo uploads, topic threads, member chat and any other features the members say they need?
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I've always been totally flabbergasted by traditional ad agencies who say "Oh, yeah, we do web too." Many are still trying… and still failing…to embrace even 10 year old best practices, and thus skating to where the puck was. A few conceptually get it but don't have the breadth, depth and length of experience to hire, manage or direct a team with the necessary skillsets, and so also are still skating to where the puck is. In the minority are the brave, visionary few who not only are embracing concepts like responsive web, but even seeing that as an experience we'll one day look back on with the same quaint nostalgia that we have for stuff like Cue Cat, Flash, 56k dial up and AOL.

I guess there are parts of the marketing world where a business just needs a small desktop-sized brochure-ware website, and the agency that does their direct mail, yellow page ads, and print handouts can create a cute little site for them. And there are other parts where an agency is able to convince a business to pay megabucks for a pay-per-click-supported big honking Flash landing page.

You won't find Trivera or our customers there. We're all too busy skating to where the puck is going.

Trivera Websites Win National Design Competition

Trivera Interactive, one of the Milwaukee area's most established digital agencies, has been recognized by New York-based Graphic Design USA for its excellence in website design.

Seven websites created by Trivera were recognized for outstanding work in internet and interactive design. They include:

. "The 2011 American Graphics Design Awards attracted a remarkable 8,000+ entries; a very select 15 percent are recognized with an Awards Certificate of Excellence," said editor/publisher Gordon Kaye.

'We are thrilled to have our work recognized as part of this national competition," said Tom Snyder, President/CEO of Trivera. "Our designers have been doing great work for clients since our founding in 1996, and it's great for them to be recognized on a national stage" Snyder added. Andy Frahm and Ian McDowell are Trivera's designers who will be listed, along with examples of the winning designs, on the Graphic Design USA website and in a full-color 300-page annual in the near future.

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Graphic Design USA has presented national design competitions that spotlight areas of excellence and opportunity for creative professionals For nearly five decades. The American Graphic Design Awards is the origi­nal and the flagship, open to everyone in the community: advertising agencies, graphic design firms, corpo­rations, institutions, publishers and more. It honors outstanding work across all media: print and collateral, advertising and sales promotion, corporate identity and logos, internet and interactive design, packaging and p-o-p, broadcast and motion graphics.

Trivera Interactive has been helping businesses re-enforce their brands by leveraging Web technology since 1996. As one of the Midwest's oldest and most respected digital firms, Trivera continues to lead the way in Web and application development, Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media and Mobile Web and Applications creation from their location in the historic Mill Building in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For more information, contact Tom Snyder, 262-250-9400

Trivera Becomes an Ingredient in Regal Ware's Recipe for Success

Regal Ware Worldwide™ is the leading United States manufacturer and marketer of high-quality stainless steel cookware.  Creating world-class multi-ply cookware, stainless steel cookware, gravity-cast aluminum cookware, and in-home water purification systems for nearly 100 years, with quality and consistency second to none.

An established Direct Sales brand, Regal Ware had decided to leverage its manufacturing expertise by re-entering the retail market and focusing on mid- to high-end retail cookware. With two major conventions on the horizon, and a Web site falling short on clearly and professionally communicating their branding message, they needed a polished team to rescue their Web site in short order.

Regal Ware turned to Trivera, another company with a long history of quality and consistency to help take their new message "bring people back to the family dinner table," to the public. Trivera was awarded the responsibility to develop a new site that would quickly and precisely convey the new brand, all in a matter of weeks for their first convention in Germany.

Tasked with creating that new Web presence, Trivera quickly became part of the Regal Ware  team, first understanding what their hosting, design and marketing needs were and then getting to work. Trivera's programming team implemented a powerful, open source content management system solution that would run on Regal Ware's servers and be feature-rich while still easy to use and manage. Trivera's strategy team reviewed the highlights of their new marketing and branding message and crafted a clean, intuitive site map to address it all. Using their expertise in best-practice, Trivera's design and development team built the new site. And finally Trivera's trainers made sure the Regal Ware internal Web team was fully instructed to take over the administration of the site. It was a total solution that not only addressed their needs but exceeded their expectations.

Trivera's ability to oversee details, work with Regal Ware's other outside vendors, understand and communicate clearly and efficiently the overall marketing message, all came together to produce a first rate, search engine friendly site, all in time for their first convention.

The momentum created by the initial engagement is continuing with ongoing strategic consultation, analysis of success metrics and discussion of new initiatives like Email marketing and Social Media as tools to help re-enforce this powerful brand to old and new markets alike.

Trivera Proves the Third Time is the Charm for Frabill

For 70 years, Frabill has been one of the most trusted names in the fishing industry. While Frabill is an industry leader in creating the world's best fresh and saltwater fishing products and accessories, their ability to find a Web services vendor wasn't as successful. A product of two different developers, the Frabill Web site was an underperforming, malfunctioning pain point. Needing a new developer and not having any room for error, Frabill made the decision to trust Trivera.

Following an analysis that identified deficiencies and uncovered new opportunities, the Trivera team embarked on a search and repair mission. The first phase of the project migrated the e-commerce portion of the site to Magento, currently the world's fastest growing e-commerce platform, and the rest of the site's content management to Wordpress. The selection of those tools, combined with Trivera's process, passion and proficiency quickly convinced Frabill's decision makers that they had made a wise choice.

While the site was still under construction, Frabill was already enthusiastically recommending Trivera to others.

"How refreshing it is to work with a design company that values communication," said Frabill's Jim Horvath. " Between the staging area, email updates, and 24/7 access to the project portal, the whole team has done a superb job to date in making sure we are apprised of improvements to the site...it is deeply appreciated."

Since the site has launched, they have become even more enthusiastic. Frabill immediately began experiencing the increased sales due to Magento's shopper-friendly features and improved performance. Their content developers are appreciating the ease with which they can maintain the site and keep it fresh and relevant.

Having earned their confidence, Trivera is now a true partner, with both companies working together to develop and execute a strategic plan over the next 12 months for further improvement of Frabill's online presence.

Frabill is happy to know they have found a partner that won't leave them flapping like a tip up on windy winter day.

12 Interactive Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

by Chris Remington

Here are 12 things to think about as you take your interactive marketing to the next level in 2010:

Have a plan - Yes, there are many tentacles to the interactive marketing beast, but with a well-crafted strategic plan it can be tamed. Start small if you must, but the important thing is to have a plan, execute it, and refine it over time.

Analytics are your friend - WebTrends, Omniture or Google Analytics; no matter which one you use (you do have analytics on your site, don't you?!) take time to mine for the nuggets of information they offer about your site, your customers and how they consume your interactive content. Use this to power your plan (see H above).

Pretend you are your customer - You are too close to your product(s) and your industry. Think like your customer would think. Knowing what they would call your product(s), how they would search for it on a search engine, and where they gather online to converse about it, will help you massage and finesse your web content so it speaks to them in their language.

Performance indicators are key - What are the top two or three goals of your website and interactive marketing strategy? Customer engagement? Brand awareness? eCommerce transactions? Lead generation? Pick your goals, ensure you can monitor and track them, tailor content to achieve them, and track the effectiveness of your actions.

You can do it - While others would argue the fact, interactive marketing is not rocket science. It is still about the 4 P's from Marketing 101 - product, place, price and promotion. Smart online marketing is no different than smart offline marketing. Research, plan, execute, monitor, refine. Repeat. Know the limitations and aspirations of your internal team as they relate to your interactive marketing efforts. Empower them. Empower yourself. You and your team know your strategy best. Go for it. Hire outside help when (if) needed.

Not doing anything still has a cost - Yes, the website you built and paid for in 2003 still functions, but does it still work? A website with old or static content and a tired look sends a message that you are complacent, not innovative, and don't care to engage your customers. Can you really afford to NOT spend money on your interactive strategy?

Embrace change - See N above. Research to see if your customers (and your internal team) have an appetite for consuming your web content in video form, on mobile devices or via Social Media. Don't change for change sake, but if your customers and industry are 'going there' you should too. With a plan, of course (see H above).

Web-enable content - See E above. Your website can likely streamline workflows and improve customer service with only minor enhancements. Would product installation videos on your site reduce customer service calls? Would a password protected media room enable your customers, dealers or distributors to download their own sell sheets, logos or ad templates? If so, web-enable this content and free up your marketing support team to pursue more important projects.

YouTube? Twitter? Facebook? - Social Media is all the rage. Make sure you are ready to embrace it. If a goal of your Social Media presence is to drive traffic to your website, ensure the site is rock-solid first. If the answers are yes when you ask yourself if your website content is compelling, if it is up-to-date, if it is user-friendly, and if there is no doubt about the site's call(s) to action, they you are ready to develop a Social Media strategy. Think of your website as the bull's-eye of a target - only when the bull's-eye is rock-solid should you venture to the next ring of Social Media.

Engage your audience - Your customers are talking about you online. How good of a job does your site do to encourage and facilitate that conversation? Do you know where else these conversations are occurring online? If not, learn. If so, what value are you bringing? Recognize and thank those who talk positively about you. Reach out to the naysayers and turn their lemons into lemonade. You will be viewed as someone who cares and 'gets' the new transparent world where your customers, not you, are in control of your brand.

Authority, Relevance, Popularity - These are three things that search engines consider when ranking your site. Look at your website content and interactive strategy through these lenses and if what you are doing shows search engines (and the consumers who use them) that you are an authority, your content is on the mark and others find it useful, you are on your way to better rankings and more traffic. If your interactive marketing efforts aren't enhancing your authority, relevant, or positioning you as a popular player in your space, don't do them.

ROI - The great thing about interactive marketing is it is quantifiable and measureable. Return on investment is easy to analyze. Assign action items to your interactive marketing strategy like obtaining more leads, increasing eCommerce transactions or reducing customer service calls. Measure, adjust and measure again. Repeat. The important thing is to have a plan, make the investment (see N above) and monitor the effectiveness.

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crthumbChris Remington is an account executive for Trivera Interactive. Trivera specializes on Online Brand Management for companies and organization that understand and appreciate the power of the Internet and Social Media to re-inforce their brand. In addition to helping Trivera clients, Chris also speaks at local business events, and teaches at the University of Phoenix.

Out with Old, In with the New

It's been said "Don't look back, unless that's where you're headed."  But I hope you'll accept my apology as we take a look at the adventure that was 2009 one last time before we launch into an exciting new year.

One year ago, my wife/business partner predicted that something big was going to happen this year. We had no idea at the time, but she was definitely right.

A big story of the year was the economy.  As budgets were cut and some  companies even went out of business, Trivera committed to keeping our staff intact, a move that enabled us to superserve existing clients, but also helped us gain the confidence of a large list of new ones. New to our staff this year was a great addition: account manager Chris Remington, who has also added "Trivera blogger" to his duties with a great end of year contribution.

Major new Web projects for existing clients Mitchell Airport, Usinger's, Halquist Stone, Zach Builders and Nuemann Development worked their way through our pipeline this year. We also worked with long time partner ClearVerve Marketing to implement a re-design of their site. Frank Mayer and Associates, Mustela USA and ATL continued aggressive Search Engine Optimization programs with us.

But new clients represented the lion's share of our traditional Web business in 2009.  Among the clients who were able to experience the joy of working with Trivera for the first time: Frabill Manufacturing, Strattec Security, Sellars, Vaportek, US Peacekeeper Products, Renewable Energy Solutions, Chemrite Copac, Breckenridge Landscape, SoHoBizTube, Amici's Restaurant, JailHouse Restaurant, Deductive Energy, Studio 5-D, Western Racket and Fitness, Fresh Coast Partners, and South Shore Dentists.

We also began a great partnership with Chicago agency TargetCom, which resulted in projects for US Cellular and Kellogg School of Management.

But the huge story of the year was the emergence of Social Media as a powerful tool in brand strategies. Our Social Media University - Milwaukee event in July drew nearly 400 people to the Italian Community Center for a day of hands-on learning. As a result of that event, Trivera has helped dozens of businesses create their Social Media program, and several of them have contracted us for more significant ongoing SM implementation. Those include Mitchell Airport and two major political campaigns. The event, our ongoing work and a dozen speaking engagements by Trivera staffers has launched Trivera into the media spotlight as an authority on Web 2.0. And the power of Social Media manifested itself in a big way by creating dozens of new collaborative partnerships with other businesses in our space.

As you can see, 2009 has been a year worth looking back at. But as we wrap up a solid year, we look forward in anticipation to an even better 2010. Our move back to a historic building in Menomonee Falls will give us an infusion of great creative energy.  A large project with a national brand through our partnership with TargetCom is slated to begin in first quarter. Several other big projects with companies whose names you'll recognize should fall in line in January. And we we begin our first major collaborative relationship with Hartman Design, a neighbor in our new space, in serving new client Regalware.

And we're planning on an even bigger and better sequel to Social Media University - Milwaukee in March.

So with seatbelts and tray tables in their upright and locked positions, we're ready for takeoff. We hope you'll grab a seat with us as we wish both you and ourselves a shamelessly successful New year!

Trivera Moving Back to the Falls

After 5 years in the Fountain Square Business Center in Germantown, Trivera Interactive is moving to Menomonee Falls. The 13 year old Wisconsin Web site development, Email marketing and Social Media consulting firm is moving from their current office space to the top floor of a 119 year old historic landmark. Effective January 1, 2010, Trivera's new home will be the Schlafer and Huebner Mill Building, erected in 1891 on the bank of the Menomonee River in downtown Menomonee Falls.

Trivera founder Tom Snyder says "Having been raised in the Falls, I've always had a love for that building. And when space became available with our current lease ending, I couldn't turn down the opportunity to move our business there."

Said Snyder, "These old buildings have such character they just radiate creative energy. Milwaukee's Third Ward is replete with firms in our space that occupy similar buildings. We love the concept, but didn't want the daily downtown commute."

The new office is actually two floors tall with a high ceiling, rustic wooden beams and a loft that overlooks the conference room, reception area, production and sales areas. Snyder's office will occupy the loft. Large windows provide lots of natural light as well as views of Menomonee Falls' signature waterfall in the heart of the village and Lime Kiln park.

Although Trivera has spent the last 5 years in Germantown, they are no strangers to Menomonee Falls. After a few years in a basement in Butler, they moved to the Falls Business Park on Hampton and Lilly Rd in 1998. Further growth spurred by the dot com boom, and acquisition by a West Coast firm required a move to larger office in the same park. After 6 years there, and the unwinding of the acquisition to return the company to Snyder's ownership, Trivera moved to their current location on Rivercrest Drive, just North of the Germantown and Menomonee Falls border.

Snyder recounts: "It's sad to leave the space we've been in. With thousands of cars driving by the freeway right outside our front door, we've had tons of visibility. Everyone knows the blue fountain next to my office. The building owners, JBJ Properties, did an awesome job creating a productive workspace for us. And we'll miss our patio out back. Some lucky business will grab that space quickly."

But Snyder only looks back briefly. "As one of the region's oldest and most respected Web firms, our vision has always been forward looking, so we're excited about the change and a new 5 year commitment to our future, the relationships we have with dozens of existing clients and the new ones we are about to build."

Photos of the new space as construction continues can be seen here.

The new address as of January 1, will be N88 W16447 Main St Suite 400, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051-2891. The phone number, 262-250-9400, will remain the same.

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Trivera Interactive is an online brand management firm that uses Web and Interactive technologies to help their clients reinforce their brand with their customers, communities and media. For more information, contact, Tom Snyder at 262-250-9400.

Invasion of the Brand Snatchers

Posted by Tom Snyder

Don't look now, but you've lost control of your brand.

Yeah, we could make all sorts of other movie title jokes about it. Like "Dude, Where's My Message," "Silence of the Brands" and "Raiders of the Lost Trademark."

But it's not a joking matter. Brand managers are scared. They should be. The simple fact is that Web2.0 takes control of your brand out of your hands and places it right in the hands of a vocal, viral and painfully honest public.

Back in the good old days of Web 1.0, companies still were able to maintain a great degree of control of their brand. The Web was just another platform that allowed them to control the message, the appearance, the terms of engagement and the public perception of their name, their message, their reputation and what they wanted the public to know or believe about their product or service. Happy customers told one person, unhappy customers told ten. Not a good ratio, but it was still manageable. And it was easy to drown out a couple thousand unhappy people with a big newspaper ad, pr campaign or TV Commercial.

Web2.0 has changed the game. A customer can still tell one or ten, but with Social Media elements like Blogs, Facebook, MySpace, online communities, sites like Epinions, YouTube, and Twitter, that customer can also tell 1,000, 10,000, 100,000... a million. And each of those can turn around and amplify that same message to hundreds of thousands of their friends, and their friends' friends.

And you can't stop it.

Most marketers...and hopefully you, too...know that your brand is not your logo. It's also not your visual identity, print brochure, jingle or Web site. It's the expectation of experience. And everything you do either re-enforces or erodes that brand. While you can control the use of officially sanctioned graphics and information in your own promotional materials, you no longer can control the expression of the opinions people have about the experience they've had with your company, product or service. Social Media takes the actual quality of that experience and makes it the amplified message, drowning out your mission statement, your spin, your talking points or your finely tuned ultimate selling proposition.

Web2.0 makes the masses your new ad agency and PR firm, uncontrolled and uncontrollable. And their only campaign is to take the unvarnished truth about what your company does, and how well it does it, and make that the public face of your brand.

Some believe they can choose not to participate in Web2.0. But the bad news is: you already are participating, whether you have chosen to or not. Ignoring it won't make it go away... it actually makes it more likely that your company will be affected in a good or bad way. You may have a great-looking, perfectly search engine-optimized Web site, and think you're safe. But, with a growing number of people preferring posted opinions, recommendations and Tweets over what they find in the search engines, your efforts could be for naught. And you won't even know what hit you.

So what should you do?

First take a hard look at who's in charge of your Web strategy. Know that not every Web developer understands brand. And our experience is that, at least locally, a shockingly low percentage of advertising agencies even know what constitutes best-practice Web1.0. As you'd expect, most Technology and IT firms are out of their element on either, as are a lot of internal "experts." To do both right AND get Web2.0? It's a tall order indeed.

Look for a firm that understands and specializes in Online Brand Management. They will first make sure that your Web1.0 program uses creativity, design and technology correctly to effectively, efficiently and transparently re-enforce your brand. Then they'll help you understand the perils and power of Web 2.0 and leverage Social Media to your advantage. Finally, they'll help you use the synergies that exist between Web1.0 and Web2.0 to craft the proper email and SEO strategies to execute a successful TOTAL online brand program for your company.

Web2.0 prevents you from ever having total control of your brand again. But if you understand it, embrace it and take advantage of it, you'll at least be better equipped to compete, so your brand won't be "Gone with the Web!"

Tom Snyder @triveraguyTom Snyder is Founder, President and CEO of Trivera Interactive, a Midwest New Media firm. Tom is a Web guy, wine snob, music junkie, Ex-Milwaukee Radio Guy, HDTV expert, and political wonk.

New Look for Zach Building Company Web Site

Milwaukee high-end residential home builder Zach Building Company has launched a newly designed Web site. This week's launch of the re-designed site coincides with the 10th anniversary of the relationship between Zach and Trivera Interactive, one of Milwaukee's oldest and most respected Web development firms.

The new site uses a wider design to take strategic advantage of the higher desktop resolutions of today's monitors by allowing more content to appear "above the fold." To add a bit of visual impact, Trivera's design team embedded an animation on the home page that displays a montage of some of Zach's signature home construction examples. A new navigational scheme allows visitors to navigate the site easily and intuitively. That combination of best practice usability guidelines, and the embedding of the montage as a Flash element instead of creating the entire site in Flash, strategically preserves the site's high placement in the search engines.

Affiliates, lots and models are given new attention. The site offers prospective customers and home shoppers the ability to view floorplans, learn about the quality features that go into every Zach-built home, view photos and take virtual tours of several of their homes. Also featured on the site is the new book, "Building A Quality Custom Home" written by company owners Mat and Bill Zach.

The Zach Building Company is a family owned custom and high end Milwaukee area home builder that has provided quality home building services to customers in the Milwaukee area since 1947. Zach specializes in new home construction in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Jefferson and Walworth Counties.

Since 1996, Trivera Interactive has been helping businesses solve challenges and build stronger relationships with best practice and state of the art web design, e-commerce, email marketing and Search Engine optimization.

Frank Mayer & Associates Launch New Web Site

Since 1931, Frank Mayer & Associates has always led the pack. An award-winning Midwest-based in-store merchandising solutions provider, they were one of the first in their space to leverage the power of the Web to re-enforce their brand, and shortly after began to help their customers do the same. For over a decade, Trivera Interactive has been honored to be called their partner.

With an amazing fourth generation Web presence already in place, Search Engine dominance in their keywords and a well-conceived, superbly executed Web strategy, developing a new Web site that improved on all that is no small task.

So it is with great pride that we announce the launch of the new FrankMayer.com.  With improved customer interface and enhanced marketing-at-retail programs, the site has been redesigned offering the latest in-store merchandising, interactive kiosk solutions and promotional marketing programs.

Frank Mayer's VP of Marketing Dave Zoerb says, “In today’s competitive market customers are looking for a company that offers a comprehensive marketing program.  As a result , the redesigned Web site expresses  the custom solutions offered by FMA and expands on exclusive trends and looks of the most current successful retail and interactive programs.”

Trivera President Tom Snyder elaborates, " Frank Mayer and Associates is the best in their business. Our relationship with them has been great because they know that, unless their Web strategy re-enforces that fact in every aspect, their message will be lost. We share their passion for excellence."

The launch caps off a four month collaborative process between the Frank Mayer staff and the team at Trivera. Moving ahead, Trivera will continue to administer their Search Engine Optimization strategy, assist the Frank Mayer internal team in maintaining fresh and up to date content, and map out their Web2.0 strategy.

Chris Remington joins Team Trivera

With a 10 year track record as one of Milwaukee's leading Interactive and eBusiness strategists, Chris Remington joins Trivera Interactive, a Germantown based Web site Developer and Search Engine Marketing firm as Senior Account Manager.

Remington's career includes successful stints at Mark Travel, Reiman Publications and most recently Hanson Dodge Creative.

Tom Snyder, Trivera Interactive President says, “Our paths first crossed nearly 8 years ago when Chris was the Interactive Account Manager for a company we were discussing a partnership with. The partnership never materialized, but meeting Chris was, in hindsight, the ultimate takeaway from that situation. Trivera has always prided itself in having a team of the best and brightest in the region. Chris allows us to continue that philosophy.”

Remington will also continue to serve on the faculty of the University of Phoenix, Milwaukee Campus where he teaches eBusiness, Management, Critical Thinking and Strategies for Competitive Advantage.

Trivera Interactive, since 1996, creates and develops Web sites, as well as developing and executing Search Engine Optimization, E-Mail, Mobile and Web2.0 Marketing Strategies.