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March 2007
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May 2007

Getting Your Website Found

Hide_seek If you sometimes have the feeling that your Website is hiding from the rest of the world you can take several steps TODAY that will help you force the site into the open...

When I spoke to the Board of Directors of NTPDA (The National Tractor Parts Dealers Association) in January I told them they could boost visits to their website and better communicate with members, perspective members and end users (farmers & dealers) if they did just three things:

  • Review and replace some outdated key words in their description.  We did that in about twenty minutes.
  • Encourage members of the association and vendors to create a link to their page.  This took a little longer...
  • Create a Business BLOG and make it part of their home page.  This took a couple of weeks.

Three things, all accomplished in less than a month.  By February Executive Director Phyllis Cox was blogging at least three times a week...and watching the number of visits to their site start to increase.  (You can visit too by clicking here.)  Meanwhile Kim Carroll, the Administrative Assistant of the association, sent out reminders to members, perspective members and vendors about the effort and encouraged folks to click through to learn more.

Arrow_dollar_signs Here we are at the end of the first three months and the site now has visits (Unique and Existing) up by well over 100%.  Where there once were hundreds visiting the website NTPDA now has thousands coming by for a visit.

Easy?  Well, not really.  It takes commitment, vision and an understanding of how to be found...  It also takes a willingness to desire communication with customers.  NTPDA wanted to accomplish all of these things...and they are doing well.

So...can you be found?  Or is your website hiding from the world?  Or...do you know?

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


Sunday Morning Coffee

Coffee_cu_ps Let's catch up a bit...Sunday...a great day to kick back with a "Cup of Joe" and visit about the week and our hopes for the week to come.  Let's get it started...

For those of you who like to keep up with the radio show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country we've got a report on this morning's show...if you click right here.  Great information about the meat goat industry and the people who are working it.

First_umc_dsm Sticking with agriculture for a moment...  I had the opportunity to speak this morning to members of the First United Methodist Church here in Des Moines on issues of Orthodox Jewish practices and a book by David Klinghoffer.  Prior to my talk I was able to catch the final ten minutes of a video that deals with the 2007 Farm Bill.  The films message centered on the way in which the government subsidizes farmers.  And this practice needs to be changed in an effort to boost the rural population and assist in supporting "family farms".  It was an interesting discussion from a social point of view.  The reality is there are very few small family farms where farming is the sole income stream.  Will changing the 2007 Farm Bill to make it more fair for small farmers change that reality?

Ethanol_plant So, who is investing in the Iowa ethanol plants that are popping up faster than spring dandelions?  There is a wonderful article in today's Sunday Des Moines Register that helps answer that question.  Worth a read and you can see it if you click here.

Mouse_hand Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be writing about a case history of how a client of ours has doubled their website visits...in three months.  Thousands, rather than hundreds, now visit their site.  It's a great story for those of you seeking help in getting noticed...and found on the Internet.

Stars_faceoff My Iowa Stars (hockey) won the first divisional playoffs Saturday night beating AHL Western Division leaders the Omaha Knights!  Yes!!  The score was 5 - 2 and the crowd was electric.  The Iowa Stars have been in existence for two years and have reached the divisional playoffs both years.  Last year we lost the seventh game of the first round to Milwaukee.  We now move on in the contest to face the Chicago Wolves in a best of seven game second round series that starts in Chicago this Wednesday...go Stars!

Short Sunday Coffee Post....cause I gotta get out and enjoy the weather.  Something about a 20 mile bike ride in my future.  Thanks for reading!

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


Rural Lifestyle Radio - Sunday Morning

Hwy61_image A quick reminder for those of you in the Des Moines, Iowa market - The rural lifestyle radio hour, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country is on Sunday morning at 8am on 98.3 WOW - FM.

The show deals with news and issues and "how to" topics of interest to the thousands of folks in Central Iowa who live on 3 - 100 acres.  For a full review of the Sunday show, just click here.

Klinghoffer_book Sunday morning it's back to the First United Methodist Church here in Des Moines to lead an adult class about Orthodox Judaism - Practices and Faith.  Last week we had a great session and pleased to have been asked to come back for Round Two.  The text we'll reference this week is a wonderful book by David Klinghoffer, "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus".  An excellent read for committed Christians and Jews.  Here is an interview with Klinghoffer that pretty well describes the book and its contents.

More pet food recalled (click here for the story)...and now the FDA and USDA suspect the chemical melamine may have entered the Hogs human food supply through hog and chicken feed.  (More here.)We said at the very outset of this issue that it would deepen.  Each day brings to light a new and more troubling aspect of the problem.  In a rush to lower costs and inflate profits some suppliers have turned to sub-grade feed products that are imported without controls or testing.  At least that is our take on the issue.  Watch for more.

Again, for those of you in the Des Moines market...catch you on the radio Sunday morning at 8am.  Thanks for reading...enjoy the sunshine!  (here in Iowa that is...)

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


Are You Fluent in Spanish and "Elder Speak"?

Farmer_older_2 At our agency we spend most of our time working with clients who advertise and market into the agricultural and rural markets.  Yes, we do other things...but over the years our love for the rural lifestyle has directed much of our efforts.

One of our talents is to be able to better describe target demographics for our clients.  Because we know the rural lifestyle, have lived the rural lifestyle and keep ourselves in tune with what is happening in Rural America we think we bring an understanding of the market to the people we help.

Farmer_older_w_dog That's why we were not surprised by the headline, "Population Dynamics Are Changing the Profile of Rural Areas" that was in the recent USDA Amber Waves publication.  (If you would like to view it, just click here.)

The nutshell of the report is that not only is Rural America "graying" at a faster pace than Urban America it is also quickly moving toward a place of increased cultural diversity.

Mexican_flag The message here is that Spanish speaking individuals are moving to rural parts of the country...quickly and there is an increased market in several key areas of the United States.  Where?  You many be surprised to learn that leading the charge in the growing Hispanic population is the Midwest and Great Plains.  That's right Missouri and Kansas and Iowa...."Ola"!

Farmer_older So, the question to our existing and perspective client is this:  What are you doing to attract and retain both of these very important markets?  When it comes to the older demographic are you focusing on print size, color, images and methods that will move this demographic toward your product?  Or...are your marketing people recent college grads that, as I did at one time, consider a person of 30 years to be "old"?

Likewise, how is your ability to communicate a message to the growing Hispanic Community?  Or, are you hoping this will go away and you won't have to deal with this growing population?  If so...big mistake.

So...something for you to chew on as the sun and blue skies return to Iowa....  What say you?

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


Hockey & Promotion

Stars_faceoff The Iowa Stars (AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars) last night played to a 3 - 1 win over the Omaha Knights (AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames) to take a 3 to 1 advantage in the best of a seven game first round Calder Cup Playoff.  They can close out the first round on Friday in Omaha should they win. (To those of you who don't like or have any interest in hockey...hang on...there is another message here...read on.)

Anyway, it IS a big deal for those of us who follow the game and, frankly, it is a big deal for Des Moines to have this caliber of hockey played at the new and beautiful Wells Fargo Arena at the Iowa Events Center.  Or so you would think...

This morning the sports page of the Des Moines Register had two stories about the win and that was nice.  There was also a note that the Stars rank last among the 16 AHL teams in the Calder Cup playoffs.  (1,453 fans on Monday  and 2,111 last night) That is NOT surprising...

It's not surprising because some of the major sports reporters simply ignore the Iowa Stars...and that is a shame.

Jim_zabel Yesterday I spent several hours on the road and I was listening to WHO - Radio (the statewide 50,000 watt 'blowtorch' of a radio station out of DSM)  They have regular "sports reports" with the venerable Jim Zabel.  There was news about the Drake Relays, a story of Cub's pitcher Mark Prior who is out for the season and even a story about yet another Ferentz signing with the Iowa Hawkeyes football.  Jim gushed (yes gushed), "Yet another Ferentz joins his coach father Kirk at Iowa..." 

Nothing...not a mention about the Iowa Stars on the "Sports Authority".

So, what is the point?  The Iowa Stars are NOT a big deal...at least in the minds of the people that help inform and build momentum.  OR...could it be that the Front Office of the team needs to build better relationships?

Sure, this is a post about marketing and advertising and it is clear the Iowa Stars could use some major help in both...and maybe a little public relations might help a bit. 

Hockey_equipment Here at our little place we like to think of this as yet another business trying to "go it alone" in the world of marketing and advertising.  Once again a business says, "Hey, we know our business better than anybody...so we should be able to market our product/service better than anybody".   Sadly, that is not always the case.  In fact it usually spells disaster...or worse no mention at all.

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


Rural Lifestyle Radio

Hwy61 Hey, a quick note for those of you living in the Des Moines area.  We're back this Sunday morning at 8am with Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country the original rural lifestyle radio show here in Central Iowa.  The show is about equipment, critters, shelters, homes, wells and a host of information for "Ruralpolitians"...those nearly 150,000 folks living on 3 - 100 acres here in Central Iowa

You can hear the show on 98.3 WOW-FM each Sunday morning at 8am.   We invite you to listen and take part.

Iowa_meat_goats_2 This week...we're going to take a look at raising Meat Goats with Eric Finch the president of the Iowa Meat Goat Association.  For more about the show and our sponsors, Country Vet Pet Foods and FOTON Compact Tractors just click here.

Thanks for reading...and perhaps for listening!

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


Radio...Right For Your Advertising?

Radio_old At one time RADIO was King!  There were only a few stations in a market and those radio stations were THE entertainment factor.  Advertising messages to the masses could be in newspapers, magazines or on the radio.  My how times have changed!

But, this isn't a history lesson.  We are asking the question, "Is radio advertising right for you?"  Some of you who know me also know I come from a broadcasting background and still host two radio shows here in the Des Moines market.  But, I'm going to try to give you an answer to our question that is, hopefully, without bias.

Radio_old_car Radio has changed and so has the feelings of many who, at one time, included radio in their media mix.  No longer do we have the "Easy Listening" station" where folks would advertise expensive jewelery or the "Top 40" station where you could hawk "pimple cream" and feel, in both cases, you were hitting the demographic that matched your product or service. 

Radio_new Today, radio has become so fragmented with so many stations playing a "variation" of some type of format...it's just hard to know where to make the buy.  Oh, and yes, many stations still have "numbers" to show you from various surveys but is that the best guide?

I was recently in the office of a new client and the client, when we started to talk about radio, said "We don't use radio here.  It just doesn't do us any good."  And, I'll bet he was right.  But he was wrong about radio.

Using radio with a coordinated advertising plan, we believe, can make the difference between success and failure.  I can give you a quick example:

Several years ago a new client was considering getting out of a particular farm show.  They told us they simply did not have an active participation.  "Nobody there", I was told.  We knew that was not the case...so we suggested an aggressive radio campaign just ahead and during the next years show.  It was a huge success.  Why?  Because we tailored the message to the show and to people who were already coming to the show. 

It's a much longer story...but the fact remains that, with a little help and understanding, radio can make success out of potential failure.  And the story above is just one of many, many examples we can site from our experience.   

The difference is that advertising agencies look to ALL forms of advertising and we're not "stuck" on one opinion.  Being stuck...and saying, "Radio doesn't work" is just not right.  But like any form of advertising the message needs to be targeted, direct and memorable.

Go ahead...give it a try...and if you would like some guidance.  We're always available.  Thanks for reading!  (And for listening here in the Des Moines market!)

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


Bird Herding & Advertising

Bird_herding_1 Years ago a couple of us tried to herd "beach birds" in Daytona.  For those of you who have walked along the beach and seen these flighty critters you know this is an impossible task.

As the years went on my friend and I would often make reference to "Bird Herding" as a way to describe hopeless business situations where, in the end, everything simply worked against the goal of "getting your stuff together".

Bird_herding_2 That's often the way business owners or "Sales and Marketing" folks view their jobs:  "So many places to advertise our product or service, so many decisions to make, so many people calling or coming by!  Do I continue doing the 'same thing' as we did last year?  Who can I believe?  How do I make the right decision?" 

Bird Herding...

It was one of the reasons we started our advertising and marketing agency.  We saw a continuing need to help people, who were already overwhelmed by the day to day issues of manufacturing or service provision, with their marketing plans.  It was a way in which a company could quit guessing and start acting on solid knowledge and recommendations.  It was a way to measure the return on investment, a way to think about new uses for products and about new ways to advertise what we discovered by interacting with existing and potential customers.

Bird_herding_3 Maybe we can help you improve the impact of your advertising and marketing dollars.  Maybe we can show you new ways in which to reach out to your key demographic.  Maybe we can help you "take a breath" and think...  Maybe we can help you get "your stuff together".  It's what we do...everyday.

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


Sunday Morning Coffee

Img_0199_t Hey, it's Sunday Morning...time to catch up with each other.  Sunday Morning is the time when we can pour a cup and sit down to reflect on so many things.  Some business, some personal.  Pull up a chair, pour a cup of Joe and let's visit.

I was so grateful to get home from Panama City Beach...22 or 23 hours of travel from there to Des Moines.  What a Monday!  Here is the story.

Panama_city_shul I had a real kick last Friday night in Panama City Beach!  I went to services at this little congregation run by Sonny Glass.  What a wonderful evening and a great story of his drive and desire to build a house of worship in his adopted city.  I was really moved.  Here is to all the folks who follow their dreams and make it happen.  Here is to Sonny Glass.  Oh yes...the photo is from the back end of the sign on the highway.  So....cool.  Click here to visit the site.

Hwy61_image_2 Seems that Meredith Publishing here in Iowa is finally getting around to a radio show about "ruralpolitians".  (A term that I created about twelve years ago in a radio interview in Evansville, Indiana.)  Ruralpolitians are those folks living on acreages but with one foot in the city.  News is that we have been doing a show about the rural lifestyle for nearly four months. It is called Highway 6- Your Road to the Country.  (Click here for info.)  If you would like to check out the DSM Register Story about their NEW venture..  Just click here. Hey...you want to hire me...

Kathy While in Panama City I visited with "Kathy".  I had been to The Boatyard (a restaurant) in February and she so impressed me with her dedication to customer service (We had a group of 130 people descend on her one evening) that I've talked about her passion to see to customer needs several times.  Well, I did not have a photo of Kathy....but went by her place last week....and had her smile for the photo.  Folks who DO GOOD WORK...need to be lifted up.

Frank_cownie The Mayor of the City of Des Moines (Frank Cownie) held a 20 mile bike ride to promote biking trails this past Saturday.  The event, started 20 years ago when we had about 3 miles of trails, by then Mayor John Pat Dorian has since swelled from a couple of hundred riders to nearly 1,000.  It's all about raising money for the series of trails that are all over the city and for future trails all across the metro.  Here are a couple of shots from the lunch and the festivities held at the "end of the ride".  Great day...great project..thanks Frank..and thanks Pat for your vision!

Mayers_bike_ride_food Mayers_bike_ride_music

Take that Bob Schnell of FEMA...it is a public joke!

First_umc_dsm Finally this weekend take me to the First United Methodist Church here in Des Moines for a speaking engagement planned by my dear friend John Courter who was a wonderful fund raiser for Wesley Retirement Services some 15 years ago.  My..how far we've come!  I get to speak there this Sunday and next.  If you are in the area...hope to see you there both events take place at 9am.

Whew...you tired yet?  Lots of stuff...and just trying to keep everybody in the loop.  Thanks for reading and being involved.

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


Writer's Block?

Blank_book No...this is NOT a post about having trouble finding something to write about.  (So many things happen in the span of 24 hours in advertising and marketing that I often have a problem sorting "which" issue to write about!)  No...this is about the block some folks have when it comes to web publishing.

I have a good friend, John Benage, who is a writer, and lives in San Antonio.  John_benage He sent me an e-mail the other day saying his "agent" is not moving fast enough on the second edition of his novel "Oak Grove".  He told me his agent wants him to have a personal website, "So publishers can see his work and consider his talent."  His agent is happy to produce a one page website...for $195.

A couple of things...

Oak_grove_book "Oak Grove" is a delightful first novel filled with the romantic notions of growing up on a small acreage in western Missouri.  Yes, there really is an Oak Grove, Missouri but the story is mostly fictional and set in the 1950's.  Really, for those of us who love that lifestyle it is a great read and you can buy the book at most major book stores or go to Amazon.com...that you can visit if you click here.

(This just in....John will be my guest on our Rural Lifestyle Radio Show on Sunday the 22nd!  8am on 98.3 WOW-FM here in the Des Moines Market.  To read more about this show...just click here.)

$195 for a one page website?  To do what exactly????  I visited with John and encouraged him to consider writing a BLOG over a static web-page.  Reasons:

  • An Internet published article has more "life" than a static site.
  • A web based published piece can direct interested individuals to actually BUY the book.
  • A web based published piece can REALLY showcase a writers talent...and do so...ongoing.
  • A web based published piece can engage the readers in a way that no static web page can do...period.  Remember..CONVERSATION!
  • Web based publishing allows you to BE FOUND.
  • Finally, talk about a great way to collect thoughts and ideas for the next big novel!

Zx2 So, I'm driving and talking (about 100 mph...my mouth not Big Red!) and when I stop and take a breath I hear my friend say, "A Blog huh?"  In sort a dismissive way.  I then remind him of my friend from Chicago, Liz Strauss who is a full time writer and web publishing professional and said to him. "Go ahead, Google author and hit the Blog Search...you will be astounded at the number of writers that also are published on-line."

Shutterstock_2300100_amen Once again I was sounding like the Sunday Preacher from the First Amalgamated Church of the Divine Blog.  Can I get an Amen?  But, I actually believe this method will make a big difference in his ability to reach out to a broad public like nothing he has done to this point.  So, you dropping dollars in the plate?  Are you on your feet clapping?  Or...am I full of hot air?

Thanks for reading...

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