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February 2007
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April 2007

Rural Lifestyle Radio Show

Hwy61_image Just a brief reminder for those of you in the Des Moines market...our Rural Lifestyle radio show is on the air Sunday morning at 8am on 98.3 WOW-FM. It's a signal you should be able to hear for at least 50 miles outside of Des Moines.

If you would like to read what we're talking about tomorrow all you need to do is click here and you get to go the the Highway 6 Blog.  It's that easy.

Quick note:  I spent most of the day at the Iowa Horse Fair with a couple of clients.  What a great experience to be able to work a client booth and learn first hand what the consumer wants...and needs.  Spent most of the time listening to the consumer...what a great time.  Now, what we do is go back to the table with new ideas and new marketing methods.

Thanks for reading and now for listening!  Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising Marketing and Communications where you can always reach us by clicking here.


Radio & TV Disclaimers....

Radio_mpl So, I'm cutting these radio ads the other day for a client and while in the studio I listen to somebody's ad that has the back twenty seconds of the sixty second spot filled with a disclaimer...

I started working in broadcasting with Marconi. (Yes...I'm that old...or feel like it sometimes). Back "in the day" we didn't much worry about long disclaimers when we cut a radio or TV ad.  You know, all that fast language or small print that the industry lawyers have insisted be in advertising for "the good of the consumer" or business.  Trouble is...nobody can read it...and when heard it's hard to figure out what the speeding mouth is really saying.

Man_what So, what's the point?  Really?  Sure, I guess a "fool and his money" are soon parted and if you are advertising a pack of lies or "something too good to be true" you should be forced into warning the public that if they really buy it.  It's "buyer beware".

So, the real question might be:  Why bother?  When you hear or see an ad that has all the disclaimer language do you really trust the message?  Why not spend the time, when you are shouting out the wonderful pricing or benefits of the product or service, simply tell the truth.  Right there...during the ad.  It's easy, truthful and more believable.

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we help you make your good product or service...great.  You can reach us by clicking here.


Old Fashioned Marketing

Harry_oconnor This weekend we're headed to the Iowa State Fairgrounds to do some "old fashioned" marketing.  The event is the 25th Iowa Horse Fair and we've got a couple of clients we're going to work with.  Our job?  Listening.

It's called being in touch with the customer.   No, we're not going to actually "sell" our clients products.  We're there to listen to what potential customers have to say about our client. 

Rh_brochure_cover We want to know if anybody has heard of Running Horse - Elite Equine Nutrition products.  We want to know what people think when they see the signs, the bags, the brochure.  We want to gain some first hand knowledge about the consumer...in other words...what do we need to do to drive business and help our client make their good product...great?

We'll also be hanging out around the FOTON Compact Tractor booth.  For those of you outside this area you may never have heard of the brand.  That's OK...the local dealer Mayer Farm Implements has sold over 70 of these units (25 - 82 horsepower) over the past 20 months...pretty good.  We're also there to learn more about what we're doing right...and what we might do better.

So, why am I telling you we're gonna do some O.T. this weekend?  Because it's important to have an advertising or marketing agency that does that sort of thing.  If your agency doesn't...you should demand it.  If YOU don't do it..."listen to the consumer"...you should be.  But, remember it's hard to listen while you are selling.

If we can help...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we help our clients make their products...great.  You can reach us by clicking here.


"Thank You" Still Works

12faceoff Last night the Iowa Stars Hockey Team (AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars) held their annual Season Ticket Holder Party at Wells Fargo Arena here in Des Moines.  Fans had access to the staff and players for over two hours and...

while the team was saying "Thank you" to the fans for their support I was touched by how many of the fans I heard say, "Thank you for your efforts." 

It didn't much matter who was in earshot fans and players alike were involved in an evening of recognizing the importance of each other.  Sure, we pay for the privilege of going to the game and watching these young men play for themselves and for the team...but it's always neat when both sides understand how important the relationship is.

Iowa_stars_dave In addition to the mutual appreciation event the fans were also treated to an evening of one on one access to players and coaches (Photo: Coach Dave Allison).  We got to ask pointed questions and they got to respond.  How refreshing!  (I still think we need an "enforcer".)

Finally the management, staff and players all had great things to say about Iowa and Des Moines.  While we've got a couple of Midwest players (Minnesota and Michigan) Most come Iowa_stars_team from quite a distance...Canada (both rural and urban - French and English), Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and many more.  All of them...each and every one praised Des Moines and the people of Iowa.  That was really nice.

Bottom Line:  So...do you say "thank you" to your customers often enough?  Do you take the time and spend the money to listen to what they have to say?  Is your relationship with your customers one sided or do you really want to learn?  Finally, just like there are other cities...so too there are other products like yours.  Do you spend your time building up your product or tearing down others?

John Pettit and his staff weren't betting on a Business Blog this morning...but they did something all of us can learn more from.  Thanks!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're not only grateful for our clients...it's our business to be listening. 


They Should Ask First...

Kosherexpresslogo Pug_logo_2 Rh_logo

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Logos are an important part of brand building and we spend alot of time with clients making sure things match...  We want the logo to match the market, etc.

That's why, when I saw the brand new Iowa Department of Agricultutre and Land Stewardship logo, my first question was, "Are they drinking that heavy down at the Wallace Building?"

Logo_9_14 Here is the "old" IDALS logo.  It's pretty simple...round...and just  two colors.  But it's served pretty well and gets the point across that the agriculture department is focused on more than just corn and soybeans.  The department two months ago changed the red to green and we figured that was the only change to be made.

Idalslogo But, yesterday we got this.  Two words..."Oh, my!"  Gosh gang...if you had only asked us first we would have been happy to spend some time and help you create a good looking piece...  But this?  And in yellow and green....  Wonder if John Deere made a big contribution to the campaign?  Problem is it already looks tired and old...and it's only been around for a couple of weeks.

If nothing else...at least we can do a geography lesson with the new logo..."So, where do you live?"  Me?  Pretty close to the silo and we've got an acreage up by the "I" in agriculture.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us...by clicking here.


Are You "Selling" the Right Thing?

Garage_sale Yesterday I was out selling our Rural Lifestyle radio show here in Des Moines.  I stopped at a retail store that is perfect for the demographic the show is attempting to reach.  It wasn't my first visit there...but what I heard from the owner... 

The owner told me he was struggling to figure out what type of advertising works and what does not.  Common issue.   I asked the owner "what" he was advertising.  I think he was surprised by the question...like, "What do you mean what do I advertise?  I advertise the stuff I am trying to sell.  You idiot!"  But he was nice...he didn't say "idiot".

He told me exactly what most retailers would say..."I advertise the products I am trying to sell."  Trouble is...he is advertising the wrong things.

Here is what he should be advertising...and yes, I told him:

  • His Location - He is situated in one of the very best places for the type of product(s) he is selling...very near where people who would use his product(s) gather several times each year...in mass.
  • The Quality - His store is the very finest in the region...note I did not say area but REGION.  It is that nice!
  • Him - I think this is the most important thing he is NOT advertising.  The store owner has real working knowledge of the products he is selling.  Many buyers of his product need to know that...so they make an informed buying decision.

Did he listen?   I'm not sure...but I felt so strongly about this...and some other issues he told me about.  I sent him a detailed letter FOR FREE outlining these thoughts and others.

I hate to see people struggle...with the simple things.

So, are you selling the right "stuff" in your advertising and marketing messages? 

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we can help...and you can make contact with us by clicking here.


Compact Tractor Problems...Continue

Foton_tractor_200 Dealers selling under 40 Horsepower Compact Tractors must have looked at the recent Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Flash Report and collectively shook their heads...saying, "Told you so, the compact tractor market is dead!  Now, what am I going to do with these things?"

For the record, the AEM report released this past week reflects sales of equipment for the month of February and it said under 40HP tractors tanked by 20%.  A big number...but we think meaningless.  In other words....dealers should now ramp up their marketing efforts...not slow down.

Farm_machinery_sign We posted about compact tractors back in December and if you wish, you can read that post here.  We're stickin' to it.  In addition, we think this report tells us what we know:

  • Dealers are already stocked and because manufacturers have promoted "just in time" delivery...why buy in the winter tractors you are not going to sell until April?
  • Many more players are entering the market.  We hear yet another player will arrive from Europe within the next six months.
  • There is a sense of "jitters" (oh my!) in the market.  John Deere changed their advertising agency relationship this past year, Montana tractors last week changed internal direction by shaking up their leadership and a host of other companies are fighting for market share.  Kubota?  Adding product.
  • Compact tractor manufacturers have a serious disconnect with their more traditional dealers.  Translation...the dealers still don't "get it" while manufacturers are (after five years) still teaching.

But, that is only our take....  What say you?  If you have a stake in this market...we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can see our work...or make contact with us by clicking here.


Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour

Iowa_sportsman_2 Some of you may know we do a radio show on 98.3 WOW-FM about the Rural Lifestyle...but since November I've co-hosted an outdoors show on the same station each Monday evening at 7:00PM.

Thomas_muzzbuck_06_017_2 My Co-Host for the show is the Executive Editor of The Iowa Sportsman, Thomas Allen.  Thomas is THE hunters hunter and fishers...fisher?  That didn't come out right.  He is as accomplished with a bow as he is with a shotgun or rifle.

Each Monday evening we talk about the Iowa Outdoors, what to do, where to go, and things that should be of concern to people who hunt, fish, hike, bike, camp...just love the outdoors and our great state.

Robin_on_air_2_2 On the show tonight we'll have Robin Pruisner from the Iowa Department of Agriculture.  She is the State Entomologist and is going to share with us a story about the Emerald Ash Bore.  It's no laughing matter...these little green insects have been known to destroy acres of Ash trees in as little as a growing season.  Currently the EAB is not in Iowa...but our mission is to keep it out.  We'll have some solid tips.

We're also going to talk about a Bill that is currently stuck in a legislative committee.  The Bill has to do with Iowa air and water and property values.  HF 873 sets some space restrictions and regulates how far from rivers, streams, lakes and private property a builder can construct a hog feeding facility, cattle feed yard or a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. (CAFO).  If you like the Iowa Outdoors...you should pay attention to our discussion tonight.

It all gets underway this evening at 7:00PM on 98.3 WOW-FM here in Des Moines.  Apologies to our out of area readers...more tomorrow about advertising and marketing...your things!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can make contact with us by clicking here.


Sunday Morning Coffee...

Img_0199_t Sunday mornings are a good time to catch up on a wide variety of items...some business...some not.  All, we hope, have a grain of information you might use.  Thanks for coming by...pour a cup and let's get started.

You have them...we have them...and they can be the very best thing or a nightmare.  Talking about employees or co-workers.  Here is a quick question:  Would you rather have an employee who thinks outside the box and questions the rules and regulations or somebody who accepts the rules and stays out of trying to make sense of the policies?

I'm interested in your thoughts...

Rep_mark_kuhn Some of you know we do a weekly radio show targeting the rural lifestyle market here in Central Iowa.  This past week we spent most of the show talking about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations...or CAFOs. (Kay-Foes) with Rep. Mark KuhnHF 873 is a Bill designed to offer some protection to rural landowners, rural homeowners, lakes, streams and the environment. It's opposed by folks who should be embracing the legislation...and some big money.

Good20capitol So, what's this got to do with advertising, marketing and public relations? Lots. It impacts quality of life issues, tourism and economic development.  If you are an Iowan, no matter city or rural, read the bill and decide for yourself.  If you are motivated make contact with House Majority Leader, Pat.Murphy@legis.state.ia.us and Senate Majority Leader Michael.Gronstal@legis.state.ia.us and ask they allow the bill to come out of committee for debate.  It's the right thing to do...no matter what the Farm Bureau says.

Kunta_computer Even my Bird Blogs!  This is Kunta and he's BLOGGING.  See, I told you this is serious stuff!  Not only are there Bird Blogs but also Blogs for cats and dogs.  Now, if only some of our clients would get serious about their Business Blogs...we'd be onto something!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking right here.


Rural Lifestyle Radio...Hwy. 6

Hwy61_image A quick reminder for those of you living in the Des Moines, Iowa market.  Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country airs again Sunday morning at 8am on 98.3 WOW-FM.  It's a rural lifestyle radio program that speaks to the issues of life in the country as well as offering listeners the opportunity to call in and take part.

If you'd like to check out the line up for this week's show...simply click here and you'll head right to the Highway 6 Radio Blog.  Thanks for reading...and now for listening!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where, if you want to learn more about our agency...just click here.