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August 2007
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October 2007

Lots Of People "Talk About It"...We Know It!

Hwy61_image_3 I guess that if I received a dime for every time I've been at a seminar and been forced to listen to folks "try" to explain the rural lifestyle...I'd retire from our advertising agency.

It happens all the time.  An editor from a "farm magazine" or a broadcaster from a "farm radio station" or a marketing guy from a "farm equipment company" stands in front of a room full of marketing and advertising types and tells them about the "rural lifestyle market".

But, have they lived it?  Nope.

Do they really know the market?  Ahhhh...nope.

Here is what they know:  There are 2.2 million "farms" in the United States.  A "farm" according to the USDA is any production facility that reports gross sales of over $1,000.  From experience let me tell you it does not take a lot of land to reach sales of $1,000.  Two foals sold from three acres of land...bingo you are over the limit and a "farm".

Beauthorsenhouse Here is what most folks just don't get:  While there are 2.2 million farms there are over 40 million households living on 3 - 100 acres of land.  These may be folks who have lived the rural lifestyle for generations or they may be "Ruralpolitians" who live on an acreage or small farm but work in town...full time...at white collar jobs.

Hollow_head_vinyard_michael_l Often the only thing one "rural lifestyle" person has with another is their love of the LIFESTYLE.  Not commodity farming.  And, that is what most rural marketers simply don't get.

We do...and we've been doing this for a dozen years.  Now we even talk about this group of people on the only full hour live radio show in the nation that speaks to the issues of living a rural lifestyle.  (We even help plant wine vineyards...)

If you are interested in marketing to this group...make contact with us.  If you're interested in listening live to the show you can do that by going to the 98.3 WOW-FM site and signing up.  We'll stream live to your computer every Sunday morning at 8.

Thanks for reading....and now for listening!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where the rural lifestyle rules...


You Shoot...Video Too?

Video_shoot_lyle Sure!  It's one of the options our advertising agency clients have.

We could "farm out" the production to other folks but we think the best work comes from people we already know and work with all the time.  That's not to say other companies that specialize in television or video production are not good.  Some are simply great!  It's just that when we're involved from the "video treatment" all the way through final edit the close relationship we have with our clients shows.

Here we are setting up for a shot on location in Missouri with Lyle Steinman spokesperson for Country Vet Pet Foods of South Dakota.

One of the things many clients don't understand is the TIME that goes into video production.  They are surprised that a four minute video or a thirty-second television commercial takes hours and hours to plan, shoot and then edit.

Video_shoot_directingIt's all part of the process.  The the final reward is putting our client's product or service in front of thousands, if not millions, of consumers with a well thought out and attractive piece of film.

Want to learn more?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where our shooting is usually confined to film...


Wine Making...In Your Own Winery?

Wine_pouring The advertising agency business can be fun.  New, innovative and different is what we live for.

There are many things we enjoy.  Among them is finding new and exciting ways to build a business and then passing that information on to like minded individuals (You!).

Here's one that we thought was very clever.

There is a section of Des Moines called "Sherman Hill" that was once a blight on the city.  Today that same area has dozens of restored Victorian Era houses.  It's now a tourist destination.

This past Sunday the Sherman Hill Neighborhood held a tour of homes.  For $10 you could walk the route and visit homes that were being restored or had been completed.  Fun stuff.

One of the homes on the tour also had a business that hit our passion for innovative.

Vines_to_wine_bottles "Vines to Wine" is all about having individuals make their own wines from juice imported from California.  We're not talking sweet grape juice but some of the finest varieties available.

Vines_to_wine_people Here is how it works:  Get a group of friends together, make a reservation, decide on what type of wine the group would like, pay the money, sit around learning about wine while "making" your own.  Slap your own label on the bottles two months later and vola!  You've got wine!

Vines_to_wine_eric Marketing the unique idea has not cost much and word of mouth has brought dozens of groups to the home.  Wines cost between $10 to $12 a bottle.

Neat idea and kudos to Eric and his family for bringing this idea to Iowa.  So, what do you think?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're always looking for innovative ideas...and we share.


Your Address Matters...Honest!

Address At the risk of offending some folks we need to offer some advice regarding your e-mail address.

We'll get right to it...  If you own a business, and we honestly don't care what kind of business, you need to get a business e-mail address to become credible.

No, we're not kidding.  And, yes it is real.

We'll be the first to admit that not every business out there can, at first, get their e-mail address to match their business URL.  But, seriously, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to do this quickly.

Why?  It shows you have a permanency to your business. 

We're constantly surprised that some emerging business people don't seem to understand how important this is.  For some reason they think an "AOL", "MSN" or "Yahoo" address is just fine.  It isn't and if you allow this to go on it says something about "your brand".  Ready?

Rusty_mailbox C-H-E-A-P - There is just no other way to describe it.

Look, a nice site with e-mail is not a drain on your business it is an investment.  Pure and simple.

Are we wrong about this?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications a full service advertising agency proudly based in Des Moines, Iowa.  Sorry we got so blunt....


Rural Lifestyle Radio...Is On

Hwy61_image Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country is on...this morning at 8am.  Highway 6 is the only radio show that spends an entire hour talking about issues of importance to the rural lifestyle

If you own an small farm or acreage you'll want to tune in to 98.3 WOW-FM or come on-line to listen over your computer.

We're on every Sunday morning at 8am!

On this mornings show we'll talk about compact tractors...what the heck has been happening to the sales numbers?  Look for dealers to start cutting prices and giving more incentive to come and buy those under 40 horsepower units.  We told you why...

We also talked about the Midwest decline in population and what is going on there.

Food prices getting to you?   There are up again and they may keep rising.  What in the world is going on?

We also discussed the latest additions to your local McDonald's...watch for some exciting changes soon.

Dicktremain_2 Our special guest on Sunday is Dick Tremain (L) from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service...if you have land...and want to figure out what to do to preserve or restore it...we hope you are listening.

Michael Libbie - Host and Acreage Owner.


Sales? Or Marketing? Can't Have Both...

Man_what_2 Next month the folks from the Farm Equipment Manufacturing Association (FEMA) will meet in New Orleans.  (Please remember, this is the "Other FEMA" headed to New Orleans...)

Among the many attendees will be folks with the title of "Vice President of Sales & Marketing" or "Sales & Marketing Manager" or any combination of those two duties.

The trouble is...most of these folks are more "sales" than they are "marketing".  It is a problem that plagues not only members of FEMA but a host of other companies that, for reasons known only to them, they figure "sales" and "marketing" are the same thing.

This is short sighted and ill focused.

Here is what usually happens with the "Vice President of Sales & Marketing":  Road trips.  Endless travels from state to state meeting with dealers, distributors and doing trade shows.  These "road warriors" spend 90% of their time in sales.  Meanwhile, nobody is home thinking about marketing.  And, that is the failure of the system.

In_focus Marketing is so much more than making sure sales quotas are reached.  And, while marketing people should get out of the office and into the real world to meet with not only the sales side...but also with CUSTOMERS... their real goal should be spending time focused on thinking.

Thinking of how to better position their product or service in order to attract more customers by giving them what they want...and need...should be their top priority.  But...nope, they'll be packing their bags to go visit a dealer in Denver or a wholesaler in Hoboken rather than focusing on marketing.

Airplane_broken_employee But, hey...that's OK.  Because that is how we make our living...we get to do the thinking while the VP of Sales and Marketing books another flight.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're happy to spend our time helping you think through your marketing decisions...  By the way, this one is for our friend Jerry Nichols.  A speedy recovery my friend.


Capture Your IDEAS!!!

Ideas_shower I have to pass this along to you...hey who said business blogging isn't full of great thoughts?

Not sure about you and your day...but with me the most creative moments are early in the morning...in the shower!  DO NOT EVEN GO THERE!!!  It is not a pretty sight.

It is, however, the only time when the phone isn't ringing, I'm not reading something, the e-mail isn't coming in and the door isn't swinging open.  (Good thing too.)

It's not uncommon to have five or six client ideas pop into my head...but remembering them all was a chore. 

Answer:  I put up a dry erase board in the shower!  Steam does not seem to effect it...and hey...the ideas stick around.

Ideas_shower_kunta If I get really stuck on a project I'll invite Kunta, the "brains" of the outfit, in to help.  At least he "wolf whistles" and says, "Good Boy!"  I thought so too...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're all about ideas...even in the strangest places.


"So, What Do You Think?"

Sherry_borzo I did a pod-cast interview today with Sherry Borzo of DSM Buzz.  Sherry was here to do a segment for her show "Entrepreneur People - Real Stories About Real People".  It was fun to be on the other side of the microphone for a change.

After she left there was one question that stuck out in my mind, "What did you once believe to be true about business that you no longer believe."

Great question...

My long answer you can hear once the pod-cast is loaded and on-line but here is the meat of the answer:

I used to believe that business people knew everything about their business, their market and their product.  They don't and that was a shock.

In fact, I now believe they actually know very little about their market or potential market.  And, it's a good thing because that is one of the ways we make our living.  We help business leaders / owners sell their product or service into markets they may have never dreamed of reaching or impacting.

So, who wouldn't want to find new people to sell into?

I also told Sherry that our business centers on one thing...finding more customers for our clients and then getting the customer involved in making a buying decision.  That's what we do...everyday.

Thanks Sherry for your work in helping small business owners gather a knowledge base that is free...and accessible.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we help our clients see the forest...and the trees.


Steak (Or Chicken) for 12,000 Please...

Harkin_crowd_shot Sunday, after the radio show, we decided to go to the Harkin Steak Fry...actually they don't FRY the steaks.  But what can you expect from politicians?

We had NO idea it would take us nearly three hours to get to the site, which is only 30 miles from our office.  But, when you crowd all those vehicles on two lane roads just outside of Indianola, Iowa...  I'm not sure what I expected but it was big.  Considering over 12,000 people showed up.  Which is interesting from just a numbers point of view.  There were 33,000 at the Republican Straw Poll in July.

Six of the folks running for office from the Democratic Party were on hand to blast the Bush Administration, the war effort and offer themselves to the crowd as the Iowa Caucus gets closer.  I'd give you all the details...but this is not a political blog.  Here we talk about advertising and marketing.  But, a couple of observations:

Hillary_signs Hillary Clinton must have too much money.  Honest.  Starting at least four miles away from the event there were Hillary signs every three feet.  No kidding!  Must have been thousands...and if you do the math...that would be 7,040 signs.  And, some were in some odd places.  She did well with her speech. I asked one of the national reporters about what he thought of the event and the speeches.  Hillary_speech_harkin_event His only negative note was about her speech.  "She's got the 'speech thing' the cadence that 'sing-song' way of speaking.  It's kind of a negative." Never mind that...her supporters were in full force.

Chris_dodd_harkin_event Chris Dodd was angry.  I don't know...he just seems angry.  Maybe he is and according to him he has a right to be that way.

Bill Richardson easily had one of the best speeches.  I've seen him before and he just gets better.  Richardson_harkin_event Maybe it's because he's a governor and is used to talking to regular folks?  Not as many signs...or supporters as Hillary.  But, like one CNN reporter told me, "Richardson seems to be a regular guy and people like that.  Not a lot of "air" with him.  Substance."

Barack Obama.  Good speech...very interesting logo.  Obama_logo Really, it is artsy and hip.  It is different than we've seen in the past and Kudos to the folks who thought it up.  Nice touch.  The senator did bus folks to the rally...about three of them we were told.

Edwards_harkin_event John Edwards was excellent.  Honest.  Just enough anger, just enough force.  Elizabeth_edwards_harkin_event His wife Elizabeth also made the trip and folks were really, really touched by that.  Edwards also had some inventive attention grabbers like the platform outside the site that was 30 feet in the air with a hot air balloon basket and a guy sending flames into the air.  (Global Warming???) He also had a large crowd...we met one guy from Alaska who is working on the campaign.  For some reason he didn't see much use in supporting Mike Gravel...who did not make the trip to Iowa.  (Nether did Dennis Kucinich...Hey...I noticed!)

Joe_biden_harkin_event Joe Biden.  I was ready for a fantastic speech I had seen him before...but it didn't happen.  And for the first time his delivery seemed slow.  And...I believe he was the only person to use notes.  It showed.  The other observation was that Senator Biden just seemed tired.  Not sure what was up...  But, after the speech he shined.  Senator Biden was STILL "holding court" with anybody who would listen a full hour after the event ended.  Even if it was just one-on-one.

Joe_biden_harkin_2

Senator Biden walking with a reporter...still holding court.

OK...now for the BEST thing to come out of the event:  Ready???

Candy_crowley_harkin_event_2 Candy Crowley.  The senior political correspondent for CNN stayed after most folks had left and just talked with people.  No, she was not interviewing them.  If anything she was giving interviews.  And she was engaged with the folks talking with her.  I've always been struck by her straight forward reporting style.  She is quite a woman and, I think, was very flattered by the attention she was getting.  One lady asked for her autograph.  I think Candy wrote a paragraph to the woman.  Candy_crowley_harkin_event She gave advice to a young woman wanting a career in broadcasting, she laughed, was serious and just enjoyed the people.  Candy Crowley...she's not running for anything...but she was a real winner Sunday afternoon...here in the heartland.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...now, if only somebody would invite us to a GOP function!  (In Iowa...)


What Is A Guy To Do?

LevinsongarymThis is my friend Gary M. Levenson, MD.  Gary is the senior physician for the pulmonology group at Mercy Medical Center of North Iowa located in Mason City, Iowa.

I spent several hours with Gary and his family this past week and we talked about his recent honor of being published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings which is a peer reviewed journal sponsored by that most prestigious of hospitals.

He gave me a copy of his article, Intrapleural Fibrinolytics Combined With Image-Guided Chest Tube Drainage for Pleural Infection.  OK, I admit...by just reading the title I had only a vague idea of what his landmark study was about.  He was able to fill in the rest during our visit and it is exciting stuff.

I then told Gary about the world of the Business and Medical Blog and suggested that he give it a try.   Well, I know Gary only too well so I decided to do the Blog for him. 

The reason?  Well, what is a guy to do to prove the power of the Blog?  I hope to allow others out there to be able to notice his work and get folks in other professions to understand the potential of the blog.  Thanks, Gary for the information and the time we shared together. 

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications