Over the next 48 hours you'll be treated to the "best of" everything from music to news as media outlets "Look Back on 2010".
We would rather look forward and offer up what we think are five solid business predictions (read tips) to help you make the MOST of 2011 and move your bottom line into an even better position. Ready?
Getting Smart - Chances are you use a "smart phone", 49% of business owners do. So...why wouldn't you use it to connect with your consumer base? We think small and large business will adjust websites and messages for easier use and marketing into the smart phone world.
Better Websites- 54% of small business owners have a website. But most of them are no better than an old "tri-fold" brochure. That will change in 2011 as business realizes the vast majority of consumers look first to the Internet to gauge the quality of products and services. If your "digital experience" sucks...so will your bottom line. We believe that business will spend more money on better, more interactive, robust websites.
On-Line Shopping- We find it amazing that only 30% of small business owners sell their product/service on-line. Why would business intentionally restrict their selling area to geographies? That will change in 2011 as more and more manufacturers and retail centers see the promise of on-line selling. Word of caution...it's gotta be good with solid customer service.
Getting Social- Last year business started to realize there was "something" to this Social Media "Stuff". So they went to seminars, dabbled in Twitter and maybe started a Facebook Page. But...then, "because it didn't work" they gave up. That will change in 2011 as smart retail folks begin to understand that, as with everything, there needs to be a plan to the social media experience. It's not cheap...but it does work!
Bringing REAL Value- It's highly likely that what you are selling consumers can find...anywhere. So what can you do to set your business above the others? Add value to the transaction. Let's say you sell vacuum cleaners and somebody mentions they have a fireplace. Can you offer additional value by recommending a chimney sweep who is in your network? Or how about offering "Lunch & Learns" for customers about topics they are hungry for? And, how do you know? Because you've been asking questions and following trends. By adding value to the transaction you'll win.
There you go... Hope you have a bright, successful and rewarding 2011. Let's continue the conversation! You can leave a comment here or join us on Twitter, @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV or Facebook. Thanks for coming by!
If you would like to carry on the conversation leave a comment here, join me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV or shoot me an e-mail. Insight on Business with Michael Libbie is a Monday - Thursday business news hour dealing with marketing, consumer trends and business practices seen live at Noon Central and anytime using our podcasts.
Sunday Morning Coffee...a great time to catch up on the stories of the past week and take a peek at next. And, because this is a conversation feel free to leave a comment below, send me an e-mail or join the discussion on Twitter, @MichaelLibbie. Grab a cup...
Is it...safe? The Christmas Holiday is a memory (and we hope a good one for you and your family) so...going shopping today? Returning stuff today? Worst present from 2010? Come on...tell all. A side note: I'm invited to a Christmas Party the second weekend in January. Are they early or...late? Confusing stuff.
My bride "loves snow". When it's in the forecast she can't wait and gets excited as the first flakes drift to the ground, "Look! It's snowing!!" Me? I see 40-minutes of work (shoveling) for every inch of snow. Friday I found out a little secret. We got about 4" early on Friday morning and because we lack a snow blower and have a driveway the size of a football field I enlisted her services for the business end of a shovel. She says, "I've never shoveled snow in my life." Now I understand...you can really love snow if you don't have to move snow. Our neighbor took pity and showed up with his snow-blower. Thanks Sean.
I case you missed it the brand new Hyatt Place Des Moines - Downtown is now open. Very nice. Here is a link to a quick video we took when we got a private tour on Thursday. Thank you Jenny! Notice that we always have to say "Downtown" when we write about Hyatt Place Des Moines. Notice in the sign it clearly says "downtown" rather than just "Des Moines". (Does that mean there is another Hyatt Place on the way...that will be located elsewhere?) Hmmmm
Did you know that Aldi, the "no frills" grocery store chain where you pay up with a quarter to use a shopping cart ownes Trader Joes? Just wondering...
When the Iowa Stars and the Iowa Chops were in town we spent a bunch of time (and money) at the Iowa Event's Center. Like nearly ALL the home games for three years. I wasn't much of a Global Spectrum fan...and said so. But...this article by Kyle Munson about Matt Homan helps to change my mind a bit. From our friends at The Des Moines Register.
Looks like that "evil" Iowa Power Fund will stick around for a bit. That is the same fund that "Candidate Branstad" said had to go to save money and lower taxes. NOW Governor-Elect Branstad says it has merit and will keep the fund rolling on. Is that a "flip" or a "flop"? There will be more. Just wait until his own party starts working on him. Things were easier "back in the days of Robert Ray Republicans...today? He could get more headaches from members of his own party. Watch.
The saga of Union Bank and Trust Company of Lincoln, Nebraska rolls on. For months we've been trading letters (mine personal - theirs form) that we have, and have had, insurance coverage on one of our vehicles. That didn't matter to them so THEY took out an insurance policy for US...at the hefty price of $2,100 a year. Finally, eight days ago, they sent us a letter (personal) saying. "Opps, our bad. Forget it. No problem.". On Friday we got a collection letter from them telling us that we owe the regular payment (which was made on time) and another $1,100 for insurance. And, this ISN'T a BIG BANK...only 144 employees. Come on kids... Maybe we "don't belong"? You make me crazy and you also make Sunday Morning Coffee (And no doubt Insight on Business) come Monday.
I didn't know that Leonardo was a bastard... We went to Da Vinci Da Genius last week. Very neat...don't miss.
Does packaging sell a product? Sure it does and here's proof: This package of TUL pens was on display at Office Max...I had to try the pen. Works well but what really "sold" me was the great packaging. Not only good looking but you can also "open" up the "blister pack" without it being a "laceration pack". Very, very cool! Go get a package...K?
Here is something interesting about...dog food. Last week @GeorgieGurl and I were wandering around the East Village and stopped into Jett & Monkey's Dog Shoppe. Jennifer, one of the owners, and I got to talking about dog food (we have a dog food manufacturer as a client). Jett & Monkey's sells an all natural product called Orijen which is imported from Canada. A 29.7 lb. bag sells for....a whopping $77.99. I asked, "So do you sell much?" "Yep, about $2,000 worth each...week." Uhm.....
The other day I asked somebody what they thought was the deciding difference in retail between the robust East Village and the anemic West Glen. The answer: "The East Village is real, real people, events and full of charm. While West Glen feels 'man-made' and...plastic." Her words, not mine.
We recently had dinner with friends Larry and Susan Moore and Mary and Bob Sobiech. What fantastic conversation with bright, energetic and articulate people. The six of us ran a table of topics from family to faith and Des Moines to Chicago...it is a "must do" again.
Do you REALLY understand all the flap about business and health insurance? I don't either...but we'll all get smarter on Tuesday as Insight on Business with Michael Libbie sits down with Brian Gillette and talks the Health Care Bill and the impact on business...and you. Join us, noon Central only at Webcast One LIVE!
OK...that's a wrap. Just some gossip, stories and stuff over Sunday Morning Coffee - We'll be back with business tomorrow. Til then...have a great Sunday and thanks for reading!
Aldi, Branstad, Brian Gillette, business, Christmas, Des Moines Register, Dog Food, East Village, friends, Insight on Business, Iowa, Iowa Events Center, Kyle Munson, Michael Libbie, Office Max, Politics, retail, Sunday Morning Coffee, Trader Joes, Union Bank & Trust, West Glenn
I've been asked by Elegant Living, a regional magazine based out of St. Joseph, MO to write an article about "Marketing Predictions for 2011". Figured I'd share with you as well. Ready?
Shop Local - This is a consumer trend created by the recession and fueled by smart retailers who once found themselves being swallowed by "Big Box". For years there has been duplicity in the local chamber of commerce. "Buy Local" also meant buying at chain stores that just happen to be in the city limits. This new "Buy Local" trend is about helping your local merchant, your neighbor, and making sure most of the cash stays in town. Events like Farmer's Markets and new ideas like Market Dayhave all pushed consumer awareness that buying plastic from China or steak from a chain isn't in the best interest of the family next door.
Creating Relationships...First- The growth of social media gives smart retail owners "two way communication" that builds relationships with people who have never set foot in their shop. By using Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and a Business Blog retailers have the opportunity to not only "broadcast" a message but also LISTEN to what consumers want. The trick is using it wisely. Simply starting a blog, joining Twitter or pushing people to your Facebook Page is not going to work. You need a...plan. But for sure this media is "word of mouth" on steroids.
Mobile Technology - Remember when folks clipped coupons? Now, consumers get promotions, coupons and messages on their smart phones. Often when walking into their favorite store. This year products and services will find the consumer...first.
Hyper-Local Media - As traditional advertising (radio, television and newspaper) continue to deliver their product (and your ad) to fewer and fewer people, while raising their advertising rates, retail will seek out new "Hyper-Local" outlets in niche markets. Pipe dream? Not at all. Our company is involved in Webcast One LIVE a news/entertainment platform that reaches thousands of people each day. In addition, many places (Fort Dodge, Iowa - Grinnell, Iowa, Brooklyn, NY) are creating hyper-local news platforms on the Internet and beating the pants off traditional media for speed and interesting content. And, advertisers are following. It's a new "hyper-local" world on something as huge as the Web. Great concept.
Get On-Line...Yesterday- As much as folks "buy local" they also "buy global" if the product or service is interesting, engaging and fun. Once upon a time retail sold to folks "in town", then it was "regional" now...retail (even small) can sell global. But there is a trick: If your website looks like 1999 most shoppers will yell "PASS" and never come back. Get somebody to look at your site and get it right. If you are not selling on-line...get there...NOW.
Dwolla - Imagine spending $.25 per Internet transaction rather than say three or four percent. If you take credit cards for your business you know how the costs add up. As a retailer why give CitiBank more of your money? Now, you have a choice. Get hooked up with Dwolla... Never heard of 'em? Homegrown in Des Moines, and now national, it will save business thousands of dollars each year. It's the real deal.
None of this means that what we've "done for years" is going to go away? No...not right away. However the way we market to consumers and do business has undergone a vast change. As with anything you have choices. You can choose to be in the parade or simply watch it pass by. Us? According to the trends, we think we (and our clients) are marching in the right direction.
Thanks for reading...feel free to comment (below) send me an e-mail or join me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie (business and personal) or @InsightADV (business baby...all business)
Sunday Morning Coffee, that time to sit down and catch up on the stories of the past week and peek ahead into next. It's sorta like hanging out at the coffee shop with friends. And, because it's a conversation leave a comment, send me an e-mail or join the conversation on Twitter. Let's grab a cup and go...
This is the second story in the past two weeks about the failure of West Glen a shopping area in Beverly Hills...errr, West Des Moines. If you read the story the merchants blame the poor business on EVERYTHING but THEIR marketing efforts. I did a little snooping into the Social Media traits of several of the grumpy merchants. One word - Dismal. While the shops in the East Village thrive...no matter the size, these guys are having trouble. Lots of possibilities and an interesting study. I can tell you the answer is NOT entirely what the shop owners are saying... Thanks for the story from our friends at the Des Moines Register.
I'm sorry...starting out "Coffee" with a business story. Shame right?
Crushed - Cityview came out with "Des Moines' Sexiest People - 2010" and I was, once again, not in the running. However...the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Tiffany Menke made the list. We agree she's a "hot momma" and a smart business executive. When you talk about Tiffany among other "chamber types" they all say when they grow up they want to be just like her. Nice choice.
It's a good thing I don't do politics or I'd have to tell you about how Fox News is helping the Iowa GOP with a fundraiser in Ames. Or so says our friend at Bleeding Heartland. But...I don't do politics.
Or do I? The talk around town these days is that Christie Vilsack, the very charming, smart and connected wife of former governor and now Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is going to run for congress. But...against who? I can tell you that loads of people are hoping she will run and become the first congress-woman from Iowa. Something to watch...and you know Leonard Boswell and Tom Latham are paying close attention.
And for those of you celebrating Christmas, MERRY CHRISTMAS! See...even a Jew can say it so lighten up those of you who are fearful of taking "Christ out of Christmas". Just stop it...you're really...silly.
I'm trying to figure out why Cabaret West Glen uses images of the 801 Grand Building and the EMC Insurance Building in their print ads. Those buildings are Downtown Des Moines...West Glen is in Beverly Hills...opps, West Des Moines. Hmmm...maybe those merchants have a point? But, then again, showing a Super Target wouldn't be quite as...sexy.
Two Menards Stories - Never enter into the "Express Lane" at Menards because it's anything but express. Three times this past week made a visit and each time (against my better judgement) I visited the "Express Lane". Slower than 40 weight oil on a cold Iowa morning. I finally figured out why: Most of the folks that are going through the "Express Lane" pay in dollar bills or coin rather than roll out the debit card. Sometimes folks can't count out the cash and sometimes the cashier has issues counting out the change.
Menards Part Deux - If you are looking for a Queen/King bed frame skip Homemakers ($60), skip Big Lots ($70) and head to Menards - $37. Or pick one up on Twitter from a friend for $20. A public service announcement.
I've not been to shul (synagogue) for over a week. Since the Board fired my rabbi...I've just not got the stomach to look at these people or be in the same room with evil. I've always said, "Religion is a great thing...until people get involved." I'm sure that works for you too...no matter what faith you attach yourself.
I enjoy introducing you to new and interesting people. This is Connie Pruitt a new friend and artist for her own business The Painted Whimsy.
Interesting stuff, no?I met Connie at a recent "Food Raiser" for the Food Bank of Iowa. Much success to both. Oh, if you want to contact her drop me an e-mail. She's just started going "commercial".
Did you know there was an "Extended Stay" facility called The Cottages at Stoney Creek Inn? Me either. At the same event I ran into Carl Drautz and a cast of helpers.
Seems this property has been around for a long time. While we've been to Stoney Creek many times we didn't realize there was an extended stay facility. Just another public service...
Gosh we got LOCAL on this one huh? OK...that's enough. Got to push this out the door. Have a great Sunday and a reminder, tomorrow is the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business with Michael Libbie. We'll be talking about some of these stories and our special guest is Joe Hobot, an interesting guy who Tweets about Des Moines and loves it. Seems like a good choice?
business, Christie Vilsack, Christmas, Cityview, Connie Pruitt, Des Moines, Des Moines Register, Insight on Business, Iowa, Joe Hobot, Leonard Boswell, Menards, MIchael Libbie, politics, Sexy, Stoney Creek Inn, Sunday Morning Coffee, Tiffany Menke, Tom Latham, West Des Moines, West Glen
We all get distracted, pulled in different directions...and take out eye off the goal. Sometimes we cause those distractions...sometimes other folks come by and move us "off point".
I know...because it happens to me...and you.
This week I learned a valuable business lesson from Randy Kong a "Street Performer" who "offices" in several places on the Des Moines Skywalk.
Two months ago, on my way to do our news/information show, Insight on Business with Michael Libbie, I saw Randy doing his thing and invited him up to the studio for an impromptu performance. We talked for a bit and he did an original song. We exchanged e-mails and I promised I'd have him back.
This week, there's Randy, singing away, guitar case open, loaded with dollar bills. I put in a buck and said, "Randy, how about coming by tomorrow to do a piece on the show?" He said, "Gee, Mr. Libbie I can't I'm sorta busy here. Maybe after the holiday."
"No problem Randy. Have a Merry Christmas..."
The next day I got this e-mail:
"This is Randy Kong. I'm the skywalk performer you spoke with today. ( Wed Dec 15 )
I feel compelled to send a short email because after we spoke I felt like a total %$#&@ declining the invitation to visit your show at the studio the following day. Just wanted to let you know I felt bad and to clarify my reason a bit better.
I have been flabbergasted to find that since the Monday after Thanksgiving my daily take on the skywalk has quadrupled. I think part of this is because people are in a festive and charitable spirit during the Christmas season. It may also be due to the fact that I'm doing an all Christmas song show ( with a few hanakkah songs as well ) and people may be responding to that. It's probably a combination of both.
I'm pretty sure this is a seasonal bump and business will go back to normal once January hits. So I am definitely taking advantage of it while it lasts. Sadly, the show is broadcast right in the choice period where the most money comes in. On a regular day this is no big deal but surprisingly I am almost like a retail shop at Christmas doing extra business.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you a better explanation and let you know that I felt bad.
Do want to reinforce how eager I am to come to the studio again and very much hope the invitation will be open again after January. Also, want to thank you again for the opportunity.
Very heartfelt wishes for a great Christmas season and a super 2011."
Nearly two years ago when a group of us began broadcasting over the Internet folks called us "crazy". "Nobody knows you are around." "What? You are broadcasting news and information on the Internet? Who listens to that?" "If I can't get you in my car you're not real." We heard it all.
Some of it may have been deserved. After all, we were cranking out content on blogs and video/audio from our tiny studio located in a closet that was in a Clive watering hole called Miss Kittys'. Hardly impressive. (Ask my friend Billie Sucher.)
But we kept it up...through break-downs and break-ups.
The report says that Americans are now spending as much time on the Internet as they do with Television. As for radio, they have lostabout 15% in the past five years. Meanwhile listening to or watching online content has grown and Forrester believes there are over 42 million Americans engaged in this new form of media.
Are we "there yet"? Nope...but we're close.
Somebody once asked me why I spend five hours a day preparing and delivering Insight on Business with Michael Libbie, a news show about business and consumer trends, "on the Internet". I told him that I'd much rather be IN the parade than watch it pass by. The research tells me we're marching in the right direction.
Billie Sucher, business, Courtney Tompkins, Des Moines Register, Forrester Research, Insight on Business, Internet, Internet Broadcasting, Internet Radio, marketing, Michael Libbie, Radio, Television, Webcast One LIVE
Over the years we've helped hundreds of people learn about social media and how to use it. Some do well yet the vast majority don't have a clue...because they don't have a plan.
Now comes a new study saying a large number of restaurant owners "don't have the time for social media". BizReport released a study of 1,300 restaurant owners and while 42% "invest time and money" in social media I wonder how well they are doing. My bet is...half are investing but not seeing a return.
Meanwhile 23% say they have "no time" for social media.
Three weeks ago a friend of mine, who also owns The Oasis, a restaurant in downtown Des Moines, sent me an e-mail: "Michael, I need to drive more people to my place and I'm ready to start using social media. Where do I start?"
I sent my friend three simple steps to follow, just to begin, and offered (at no charge) to visit with him one-on-one to get him going. He didn't respond. I finally caught up with him last week and asked if he got my message. He said, "I don't have the time for all that stuff!" And...that...was...that.
Here is what I believe is really going on, I do not buy the "no time" angle. It's an excuse for:
"No time" really means, "no plan". They don't have a recipe for social media;
"No time" also means I don't think it's worth the effort or "it's a fad".
These are critical errors in judgement. Last week Proctor & Gamble quit, after 77 years, sponsoring "soap operas" to put their efforts/money into social media. Selling food is highly more personal and personable than selling soap. Yet...P&G "gets it" and my friend doesn't.
Sad because the numbers don't lie. Business: You've got the time...you just don't have the desire or the understanding and you're simply not willing to admit it. This is not rocket science but it is about connecting with people and listening to what they have to say. And it works.
I'll still write about his restaurant...because it is...good. And he is a great guy. Stop in and see Jeff and Marsha at The Oasis on 4th just a 75 feet north of Court Avenue. Let them know you heard about them through...social media. Thanks for reading...if you want, leave a comment below or follow us on Twitter: @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV.
Not a bunch of business today, we'll get back to that on Monday. Today is a day for (hot) coffee and a quick chat about the stuff that's gone on and some things to come. It's a visit with friends...it's Sunday Morning Coffee. Have a sip?
Ever heard of Spruce Hill Tree Service? Me either until late Friday afternoon when Joe came by. He was "knocking doors" looking for jobs. When I told him I'd be interested in a quote for the big tree in front of the house he said his boss was in the area and would try to get to me. Ten minutes later Kevin Stiller came up, gave me a quote and five minutes after that 7 guys descended on the front lawn. In 20 minutes the work was done with an EXPERT clean up. Impressed? Ah...yes, big time. They are out of West Des Moines (sorry those of you elsewhere) 515-991-4403 or 888-325-2869 call 'em. You will not be disappointed.
Chanukah was wonderful and unlike Christmas it takes us less than thirty seconds to take down the decorations. Wanna see?
Thanks to all the well wishes and conversation about the holiday. It's been fun.
What is a Soap Opera without...soap? After 77 years Proctor & Gamble is pulling the plug on their sponsorship of daytime television. Where are they moving their dollars? Social Media. Look for more from P&G on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And, so you don't think I was making it up: Here is the story from the LA Times. I know, this social media stuff is just a fad.
I was going to wait until Thursday and "The Worst Ad of the Week" to post this...but...I dunno look like "DUMB" to you? Hey, three out of five we showed it to said, "Yes".
I'm sorry...less "business" and more "stuff" to go with your coffee...
Politics and The Law - Once Iowa voters made the choice to listen to the "No, No, No" voice of Bob Vander Plaats (and his out of state funding machine) to kick out three Supreme Court Justices my attorney friend Rush Nigut told me even more out of state folks would pile on. He, of course, was right. Now, an Indiana (the model economic state for Terry Branstad...don't even go there...) attorney has filed suit in Iowa to change the selection system. Here is Rush on Business and his take. I...agree.
Anybody do business with Union Bank & Trust Company out of Lincoln, NE and enjoy it? Just asking as they've been a real pain to deal with. We've now sent them four letters with proof our vehicle is insured and they keep wanting $2,050 for their inflated insurance policy that we didn't need...because we were already insured. One cool thing about this, I get to visit with Kim Gomez from Joe Mauro'sInsurance Networking Systems on a regular basis. Word: At least we did our insurance business with a local company we trust and with whom we are on a first name basis...we'll remember that next time somebody suggests a bank.
Meanwhile - How cool is personal service and can the "big guns" still offer it? On Thursday I sent a "Tweet" to the Urbandale Hy-Vee store http://www.Twitter.com/UrbandaleHyVee asking if they could get Sabra Hummas, the Jalapeno flavor. (Which is the very best!) A few hours later Curt Sills sent me a tweet saying there were two containers waiting for me at the deli. Did I feel special? No...because they do this for folks every single day. It's MY Urbandale Hy-Vee you know... Thanks Curt!
Going to roll this out the door and check the depth of the snow....grumble. If you want to carry on the discussion, leave a comment below, send me an e-mail or let's connect on Twitter, @MichaelLibbie. Oh, we also have one of those Facebook Thingys. Have a great Sunday!