Previous month:
January 2009
Next month:
March 2009

Having It "Whose Way"?

The other day I met a friend at a fast food facility.  We were headed out of town and I was driving.  He wanted something too eat.  I met him inside where he was trying to order a "Number Three".  That would be a Bacon, Cheese, Egg Biscuit, hash-brown.  It comes with a "drink". The perky counter person, asked, "What would you like to drink?"  He said, "Nothing...just give me the sandwich and hash-browns."  SHE:  "That will be more money."  HE:  "More money...but I don't want the coffee, I have one in the car."  SHE:  "I'm sorry sir if I don't give (waste) the coffee I have to charge you more."

He left the coffee sitting on the counter...

Charging more...for less.  Sometimes it's a good thing.  I'll explain:Hydrosave_v2

Most of the print ads we create for our clients don't have a lot of words to them. (Here's an example from HydroSave & NatraTurf).   We tend to think that most consumers don't want to know the WHOLE story in one sitting.  So we drive the consumer to multiple locations for more information.  Or, when we do radio ads...we don't try to cram 40 seconds of copy in a 29.5 second ad.  The listener gets lost...and, well, we think they just don't work.  (Don't even bring up putting telephone numbers in radio ads...can you spell silly?)

And often we have to fight our clients because for some reason they believe the print and the radio ads need to be a full of stuff as possible or they are not getting their "monies worth". 

But...when "less is more" it often creates action rather than confusion.  And, because professionals are creating the ad...the cost may be higher...for less words, less photos.  But more action.  And, that's what you really want.  Right?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we don't guess...we know.



What If...

The fear is real.  It is as thick as fog in the countryside.   It's being spread on talk radio,Foggy Road by television talking heads, writers and speech makers.  Not since the agricultural collapse in the 1980's have I seen business leaders tremble as they do today.  Everyone seems to agree that the  We see and hear it all around us.  But, what if....

In recent days, economic leaders are talking about "recovery".  And while Wall Street, the same folks who's lack of fiscal morality has been exposed for what it is, may not have gotten the memo...there is talk of the end.  What if this talk proves to be...true?

Where will you be after the fog of fear lifts?   What if entrenching today means loss of market share...tomorrow.  It could happen.

For months we've been preaching to our clients, and anybody who will listen, that cutting back on marketing and advertising today will cause some to disappear...tomorrow.  That instead of "socking it away" now is the time to take advantage of the media market and build market share.  Now...while there are gaping holes left by those companies who have decided to retreat.  Now, while you can negotiate great prices from willing media sellers like newspapers, radio, television and print. 

What actually expanded your reach and built market share today?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...where we know the market and the marketplace.  It's what we do...everyday.



Can/Does Social Media Sell?

This past week two things happened that re-enforced my belief in using social media for advertising.  One had to do with a physical product (Templeton Rye) and the other regarding a religious congregation.  Strange "bed-fellows" with something in common.Boys Sharing Secret

Social Media

In the first example I had been following Templeton Rye on Twitter for some time.  A friend had purchased some of their product and raved about this Iowa based company and history.  Little by little we came to understand the "voice" of Templeton Rye courtsey of Twitter. That led to a guest appearance on our rural lifestyle radio show (Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country) and follow up items (again by people listening to the show using their computer who found it through our BLOG and then connected with us, asking questions using Twitter)  letting us know folks in New York were "thirsty for more Templeton Rye".  But, because it's only available in Iowa and did it get to New York in the first place?  A blogger friend from our social media circle purchased some and went east a month earlier.

In the second example a congregation here in Des Moines is looking for members.  Because Beth El Jacob is an Orthodox Jewish congregation they can't just pick somebody off the street and have an "Insta-Jew".  They began working with social media.  A new website hosted a new blog and the new blog also has Twitter (JewishDesMoines).  Three weeks after announcing a grant program for new Orthodox Families moving to Des Moines they got their first success story.  A family with five children from New Jersey has made the decision to move to Des Moines, Iowa.  They found out...on he blog.

In both of these stories traditional media played only minor part.  We will not tell you it is "easy" to get into and then continue social media projects.  The business or the agency needs to stay on the project.  Work it at all hours of the day and be prepared for some negatives.  You must also be prepared to answer the market outside your traditional market area.

But, does it work?  Sure...IF the product or service can meet or exceed the demands or expectations of the consumer.  And in this case...they did and do.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're a believer in Social Media Advertising....are you?


Cutting Away The Blindfold...

This morning I had coffee with a friend, Jack Mathews.  Jack is the former president of the Des Moines Cycle Club and a retired advertising guy from Grinnell, Iowa.  We get together every once in a while to share stories, ideas and dreams.  Jack loves to Man blindfold sissors's that way with advertising executives.

We talked about the obvious (to us) and how others simply can't "see" the idea, the product placement, the market, the brand...the message.  It's that way with advertising types.

And, so it hit me..."Seeing what others don't, or can't is really part of our job."   It is what we do for our clients...because that is NOT their job.  It's ours.

Our job, in the world of marketing and advertising, is not only about putting together a great campaign, doing a fantastic television ad or creating the print piece.  Our job is to look beyond the obvious, or in some cases, see the obvious and then be able to explain that vision to our current and future clients.  Our job is to cut away the blindfold and help our clients see the market potential.   That is what we do...if we're serious about the adventure.

Some business people understand that...but sadly, many don't.  They are not ready or able to grasp new products, new markets, new media...even if it means the difference between success and...well, you know.

Are we right 100% of the time?  No...but if business listened to the dreamers, even 50% of the time...think of the possibilities.

Ready to do some dreaming?  Call us, we're always "on".

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications, Thanks Jack for the coffee and the's great to hold the scissors.





Are You "Invertising"?

While it's not a new idea the fact that Pepsi took their new advertising campaign to their employees first reminded me of how critical it is to "clue" everybody in on the corporate message.  It's called "buy in" or in this case "Invertising".Pepsi can

Here is the story from Ad Week.

It brings up a critical flaw in many corporate marketing campaigns where the employees (who can often be your best or your worst critics) often find out...last.  Learning about the new logo, the new television campaign or the new radio or print message "with everybody else" can backfire.  Besides, being "in" on the message might just help avoid major issues you, our your advertising agency didn't see.

It reminded me of a story from another life.  I was the PR guy for a large medical facility.   The president of the firm made the decision to buy a new laundry van.  The old one was in really bad shape.  So, he went out, made the purchase, had it painted with our logos, etc . and made a big presentation to the guy who actually drove the van.

Two days later they took it in to be totally retro-fitted so it  It seems nobody asked the employee what he actually needed to do his job. 

In other words, it might be helpful to do some "Invertising" before you actually do the advertising...

What do you think?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


Effective But Different - Advertising Idea To Consider

The other day I was with my friend Peter Tarpey talking ideas.  I love visiting with Peter, his energy is electric and when we're in a room together ideas bounce around like a gross of ping-pong balls let loose at once.  I like folks who think...and then act.

Here is an idea that makes sense and is a great target market.Airline schedule

Peter has gotten approval from the Des Moines International Airport to run advertising/marketing messages on a screen in the waiting area.  Right next to the screens where the arrival and departure information is located.  So why is this a good buy?

  • If a person is flying...they've got jingle.  Higher end consumer;
  • Very reasonable rates per 1,000 ($400 a month!)
  • Captive group - even for a short time.

The fully produced (think TV) ads run 3 times each hour, all day, everyday.  I've got at least one client that should buy this without a second thought and we've recommended the buy.

We think it's a great idea for even out-bound travelers suggesting a specific action when they get to their destination.  And, if you want to see the quality of the production, just click here and you'll view about two minutes worth...

How about you?  Interested?  Drop us a note.  I'll be happy to get it done for you.  And, if you need the ad created....we can do that too!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Meeting The Future...

Note:  I don't usually offer up personal reflections on family stuff but this was "too cool". So if you came by looking for advertising and marketing stuff...check back tomorrow?

This past Thursday I met the future.  Taylor AnnMarie Libbie was born at 1:55 in theZaydee Taylor afternoon here in Des Moines.  Our son, Aaron, could not be more happy and our daughter-in-law Mandi was happy...and very tired.  (Nice job!)

While this is our fourth grand-child it was the first time I had been "on-site".  Our girls (Holly and Hunter) live out of state and while we were there shortly after the births...this was the first time "at the scene".  So to speak. 

Aaron and Mandi recently back to Iowa from San Antonio.  She is a teacher and he opened up a new business, Aquafuzion of Iowa.  And, so there we were waiting and hoping.  The new parents opted NOT to know the sex of their new family member and that was great.  It added to the excitement. 

So, forgive the personal stuff for today. We'll be back with more business related items but this was too fun. And so, welcome little girl...Sailor, Jake and Jovie are anxious to get to know you.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we take time out for important stuff like this, back to business.

Leave Your Desk & Listen. You Will Win...

Let's say you own a business that sells a product or service to customers.  Here is the simple question:  When was the last time you (no NOT your VP of Sales & Desk empty Marketing...YOU) got out from behind your desk and actually listened to your customers.  And, no...we're not talking about the folks who have already "bought into" your product and/or service...I'm talking about those who do not buy...or who have quit.

Too busy? just "think" you are.

Put away the graphs and charts.  Shelve the "marketing report" offered up by the staff.  Skip the business meeting with senior staff (who more likely than not are simply telling you what you WANT to hear) and leave your desk empty for a couple of days a month and get out there and listen.

Don't talk...listen.

You might be surprised at what you hear.

In the "heady days" of your company startup it was all about listening to your potential customers.  After all, that's why you started the business.  You were filling a void that existed...then.  But, it's different now?  What about that first customer...are they still yours?  Are you listening to the needs of the consumer?  You....not somebody else.

Here is a 1989 United AIrlines Television Ad that speaks to this issue.  While it's a little dated (Fax???) it is exactly what I'm suggesting.  Get out from behind the desk...visit with your current and potential customers (maybe even those who have left you) and listen.

Then bring that information back and let's get to work "touching" your customers with what they want and need....

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we get to do this with our clients every day...and....they are growing, even in this business climate.


Please Stop It...Please...

It has come to this...I am now begging.  During the course of any business day I Man begging communicate with hundreds, if not thousands of people.  Some are clients or employees of clients, some are readers of this, or our other publications, some on Twitter or from our radio show...the list gets long.

But, sometimes the simple act of communication is difficult.

Some companies I want to communicate with set up barriers.  They make guests coming to their websites fill out a number of questions.  Their goal is to mine data.  Our goal is simply to ask a question.  If your website has this type of've got to stop...please.  You are hurting yourself and your company.

The latest example is this painful communication between me and "Polly". 

I do a radio show about small farms,acreages and the rural lifestyle.  I often search out guests for the show and I came across the BLOG/Site, Your Organic Gardening.  Seemed like a natural!  After all we talk about this topic with experts from all over the country.   So I click into the "Contact Us" page for Your Organic Gardening.  You can go there is the link.

Notice the...(gulp) form?  I mean we're talking organic gardening...not Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles for cryin' out loud!  

The bottom line is this (Polly...forgive me it's just that yours was the most recent example.) Take a hard look at how you communicate with visitors to your site.  If you are putting information "out there" you might want the feed back?    Asking your "guest" to fill out a form to be able to "Contact Us" is....old school?     Please stop it.  Please...  I'm begging you.

Quick side note:  I did fill out this "Contact Us" form but in the Twitter exchange we had later...Polly told me they never got...  And, nope, I don't think she wants to be on the show...she told me she isn't into the "Rural Lifestyle".


Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we just want to get along...

Does Radio Have A Future?

I love radio.  It is where I got my start in advertising and marketing.  But, radio is failing our society in the same way Wall Street has...we're talkin' greed and it pains me to write Radio Mic small this.

Here in the "hometown" of our advertising agency there are roughly 19 radio signals.  Less than four are locally owned.  And, these tend to be marginally commercial.  That leaves the bulk of Des Moines radio being owned by three outside radio groups with headquarters and management "out there".  And the programming proves it.

Back in the day, radio (and all of broadcast media) was required to "serve the public interest in their city of license".  The spirit of that regulation has largely been gutted and so we have "news stations" that offers opinion in the guise of "news" (with zero local news)  and "public interest" activities take on a "pay to play" role.  Every moment is monetized.  Local "stars" are replaced on a whim with "voice tracks". 

How can this be?  Maybe because the owner is not involved...

A bean counter in an office in a city where it's warm in February looks at  revenues and makes decisions that effect thousands of local folks.  Why is it this way?

There is no way a signal in Des Moines, Iowa that captures 15,000 listeners a week can sell for $15 million dollars.  It does not cash flow.  Period.  But if you look around you realize signals have been selling on the "multiples" for years.  The scam works like this:  The outside corporation buys a signal many times it's billing,  holds it for a few years and then sells it again "on the multiple" to another corporation that will then try it to sell it to somebody else.  There are stations in this market that have been through this four or five times in fifteen years.  That's how a radio station that bills a million dollars (not many) a year can sell for 15 million.  It is a "house of cards" and it is that culture of corporate greed that is bringing broadcasting to it's collective knees.

Meanwhile advertisers are asked to pony up more advertising dollars...for less.  "Local stations" find themselves serving their "master corporation" rather than the "public interest". 

Will it change?  Perhaps new technology will force the issue, perhaps advertisers will become more savvy buyers, perhaps the public will demand some attention.  In the meantime...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we still buy radio for our clients...but carefully.