Jason Kocina, Checkerboard Strategic Web Development

Title: President

Age: 38


Jason Kocina, president of Checkerboard Strategic Web Development, is ramping up the online marketing firm’s creative prowess even as it celebrates winning three national graphic design awards.

The awards were for Checkerboard’s design of the Wellness Advisor, a consumer magazine it produces for Cargill Inc.; the design of a mobile website for CoroWise.com and the redesign of Checkerboard’s logo, business card and website. The competition’s sponsor was Graphic Design USA, an industry publication.

“We’re getting a lot of customers in the nutraceutical industry, larger customers that have more unique products and try to stand out,” Kocina said.

Checkerboard also continues working with small businesses, including restaurants, gasoline stations, tree trimmers and hardwood floor installers, Kocina said.

Kocina has been in online marketing since 1995, making the transition from the technical side of the Internet after finding that he liked building websites more than running computer networks.

In recent years, Checkerboard has almost exclusively used WordPress, a free, open-source blog and content management system, to build websites for companies of all sizes, said Kocina, who has an engineering degree from North Dakota State University. The resulting sites are easy to update, optimize for search engines and connect to e-mail systems and social media.

Planning, building, launching, documenting and supporting a company’s online marketing platform, including training, typically costs $7,000 to $15,000, he said.


Q: Why should a business go to Checkerboard?

A: We’ve gotten good at it. We know what questions to ask. We understand the expectations of clients and work so the end result matches or exceeds them.


Q: What prompted your transition to online marketing?

A: I was fascinated by the Internet. I look at it as being akin to the Gutenberg press. And I enjoy working with all of the different marketing directors and business owners.


Q: What do you say to a business owner who is leery of online marketing?

A: We emphasize the business purpose. It’s all about staying more connected with your clients and prospects. Most tend to say that contacting their customers on a more regular basis would generate more revenue. So we say, ‘‘Let’s build the infrastructure so you can do that easily.’’