Author Archives: Chris Bessler

About Chris Bessler

Chris founded Keokee, 'way back on May 1, 1990 - or at least, that's the date he started paying the office rent. He's a journalist by background and along with managing company affairs does occasional writing and photography.

Schweitzer marketer takes his work to the high places

Schweitzer Marketing Director Sean MirusWhat goes in to becoming a successful marketer? We get that question from clients. The answer is that, as with any undertaking, hard work and natural interest and the curiosity that inspires learning are the foundation. But the skill set required for good marketing can develop from a wide range of experiences. Here’s a great case in point: Schweitzer Marketing Director Sean Mirus. Check this insightful profile of Mirus’ path to marketing, just published on SlopeFillers, a ski resort marketing blog by Gregg Blanchard.

Click to read it»

What’s up on the Internet: The annual review of trends

An Internet trends guru, Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, gave her annual assessment on May 31 at the Code Conference in California. For trend observers, here are some takeaways of major Internet trends:

  • Smartphone use has slowed. In 2015, smartphone shipments grew by 10 percent; last year, the growth declined to 3 percent. This mirrors continued slowing of growth in Internet use.
  • Why type when you can talk? Voice is replacing typing in online queries, especially those made with mobile devices. Some 20 percent of mobile queries were made via voice in last year. Accuracy of voice is now about 95 percent.
  • Internet is replacing television. In just 10 years, Netflix has grown from zero to more than 30 percent of home entertainment revenue in the U.S. Meanwhile, TV viewership continues to decline.
  • Immigrants are powering tech companies. Last year in the U.S. a tally showed 60 percent of the most highly valued tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation Americans; collectively they employ about 1.5 million people. Those tech companies include such giants as Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook.

For much more in-depth info from her annual analysis click to see the slideshow from her talk (355 slides).

‘Keokee presses past quarter century’ looks at our history

25 yearsKeokee hit its silver anniversary in May, marking the 25th year since the company began on a shoestring in May 1990. Way back then a reporter at the local Daily Bee named David Gunter wrote a “new business” story about our startup. Twenty-five years later, lo, the same David Gunter wrote up a story for the May 31, 2015 Daily Bee on Keokee’s first quarter century. It’s a profile of our company founder and bit of a history about how Keokee got started. You can blame it on the earthquake.
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This project is for the birds. Really is.

Osprey and 'geegle' cams

Top, the osprey checks the nest platform at Sandpoint’s Memorial Field; below, mother goose on her eggs in the eagle nest at Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.

One of the “most fun” projects we have carried out with our own publications the last couple years has been the osprey and eagle cams we stream live onto our community portal website, Two years ago in partnership with the City of Sandpoint, Avista and Northland Communications we placed a web cam on an osprey nest at the Sandpoint Memorial Field; it proved immensely popular as people were able to watch the ospreys build their nest, lay two eggs and successfully hatch and rear one chick. Last year, however, the cam produced a surprise, as geese took over the nest and prevented the osprey from using it. The geese provided an interesting show of their own, including a dramatic scene when the baby goslings hatched and then had to leap down from the 100-foot-tall nest. Meantime, also last year we worked with the Friends of Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge to stream a cam they had placed on an eagle nest at the refuge, but again with an unexpected result; the eagles laid two eggs but neither hatched.
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‘Succeed by adapting’: Spokesman-Review’s take on Keokee

SpokesmanR-Bessler_300Every once in a while, Keokee wins a bit of publicity. Here’s a story by Michael Guilfoil, for the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Sunday business section on March 9, 2014.

Among other interesting factoids, it mentions how the Freddy the Pig books helped lay the foundation for Keokee (in a manner of speaking, of course).

Click the image to read, or click here to go to The Spokesman-Review»

Reports of print media’s death (sort of) exaggerated

w14coversWe’re winding up our biggest publishing season of the year, having just finished the autumn production of the three magazines we publish: Schweitzer Magazine, released in October; Sandpoint Magazine on Nov. 1; and, just now shipped to the printer, Flyfisher magazine.

We’re happy with the final products in all three cases, and the feedback on each so far has been excellent. That is our goal, of course: to produce compelling publications people want to read. If we succeed with that, then we deliver premium exposure for our advertisers.

But marketers who know how digital media have overtaken the print media should ask: Are magazines and newspapers still a smart place to advertise? Continue reading

A little backstory on ‘Eats & Drinks’

Eats-DrinksThe new Summer 2013 Eats & Drinks Pocket Guide is out and in distribution around town. This is a product we developed about six years ago in response to a need by both visitors to town looking for good places to eat, and the restaurants who want to connect to those hungry folks.

It’s our attempt to give restaurants a way to leverage their advertising dollars by providing multi-platform but targeted marketing vehicles. (It doesn’t hurt that we all here enjoy the active and rich culinary scene Sandpoint’s terrific restaurateurs produce for our town.) Interestingly though, the Pocket Guide arose not because restaurants were asking us for it but rather as a direct response to the local hotels where we distribute Sandpoint Magazine, after several told us Continue reading

Are those QR codes effective, or not?

QR Code

Go ahead, scan. We bet you’ll skip it.

QR codes, those scrambled-egg bar codes that appear on advertisements or packaging for smart phone users to scan and see a web page, are getting the heave-ho by many marketers.

As they take up valuable real estate in an ad (and are pretty ugly to boot) it’s good to ask: Are QR codes actually effective?

The latest Comscore stats say Continue reading

Whoooo was that feathered visitor?

Baby great horned owl at Keokee offices with Blake Schiöberg of Birds of Prey NorthwestWe like our human visitors, but they generally can’t match the cuteness factor of this baby great horned owl that came by our office yesterday. One of our editors, Billie Jean, came across this little fellow after it fell or was kicked out of its nest. Too young to fly, it would have almost certainly perished, so our heroine Billie Jean gathered it for Birds of Prey Northwest, and handler Blake Schiöberg swung by to pick it up. BOP Northwest does amazing work in raptor rescue, and director Jane Fink consults with us on our osprey webcam. See a little more about the owl episode on our Sandpoint Online Facebook post»

Summer Sandpoint Magazine stirs it up


Our new Summer 2013 Sandpoint Magazine hit the street on May 16, and feedback has been very positive. Our cover story on wolves kicked off a robust Facebook argument about the reintroduction of these apex predators in the Northwest – as we hoped it would, in fact, because we think the discussion is healthy for all sides to understand one another’s point of view.

As we put together this issue, the decision to play wolves for our cover story kicked off a good discussion right here in our office. Continue reading