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Sunday Morning Coffee - February 27, 2011

We'll get back to the business of advertising and marketing tomorrow.Coffee Cu ps   Today, let's share some Sunday Morning Coffee.  Our time together looking at the events of the past week along with a peek into the next.  We'll offer up some news, politics, gossip...you know...the stuff we would talk about over coffee.  If you would like to keep the conversation going leave a comment below, send me an e-mail or join me on Twitter or Facebook.  Ready?  Let's go!

Wisconsin Comes to Iowa

Seems like 61% of Iowans think Union Members should pay something toward their health insurance.  Meanwhile 61% of Americans think  government should not stop collective bargaining for public employees.  Here is a quick peek at the We Are One rally held in Des Moines this past week. 

  

So, what do you think?  Here are two threads:  The Des Moines Register Poll and an article from Bleeding Heartland.  Enjoy...and let me know?

Could This Be Why?

Anti Union Sign I've been struggling with the fact that many Iowans (and others) think unions are evil.  These people have never been union members, have never worked in a union shop, haven't even been in a trade that has a union and are solid "middle class".  But, still they hate unions.  Then, this morning, this study by the Des Moines Register comes out:  "Iowa's Shrinking Paycheck:  Real Wages See Biggest Drop in 25 Years"I think I've found the answer.  That and the fact that every time you turn on a radio some windbag is telling the world unions are...bad.  Combine the two?

Charlie Sheen and UsKacey Jordan

It makes me crazy, our fascination with Mr. Scheen his "babes" and his recent melt-down.  Even Michael Medved devoted an entire hour to the subject this past Friday.   Why?  Why do you care?  So is it voyurism or just plan..."Gosh, I wonder what it would be like flying all over the country with two smoooookin' hot babes!"  Thanks Charlie for that quote.  In the photo...one of Mr. Sheen's "smoooookin' hot babes".

Networking is a Waste of Time

Unless you act.  I, and no doubt you, have been to dozens of "networking events" over the past year and I have exchanged hundreds of business cards with people.  While I usually make a contact after the event, either by mention in one of our articles or by e-mail or by DomoniqueSimone phone...so many folks don't.  You've got to follow up and make contact.  Take a lesson from our friend Charlie.  HE follows up...and gets...

I know, tacky for a Sunday Morning.  Hey, I'm going for ratings.

Gas Prices & The Economy

My Chicago friend Stuart Soifer sent me an article from The Chicago Tribune about how each penny increase in the price of gasoline impacts the economy.  Meanwhile Terry "Governor for Life" Branstad would like to increase the Iowa Tax on gasoline.  Now there is a brilliant idea as we go about the task of increasing jobs in the state.  Here is what Stuart sent me.

It's Not About Jobs - It's Social Issues

Months ago, right after the election, we suggested that Governor Terry Branstad was going to have more "issues" with members of his own party than with the Democrats.  (And...taking a look at the host ofGay  "wing-nut" bills coming from the GOP controlled Iowa House we were...right, again.)  Governor Branstad, during the campaign, didn't have much to say about social issues and focused more on the economy and jobs.  This session has been all about social issue bills members are proposing, that don't have a snowballs chance in hell.  Why?  So they can go back to the Tea Party folks who helped get them elected and say, "See...I tried!"   Meanwhile here is an Iowa Poll about how Iowans are not giving Governor Branstad a "Honeymoon".  It's from the Des Moines Register.

Steve Deace to Campaign for....

It's going to happen...we just don't know for what office.  Ultra-Right Steve-deace Wing 1040 WHO-Radio talk show host Steve Deace stepped down from his radio pulpit this month with an eye toward an elective office.  He will have the adoration of the "religious right" but don't look for much love from the "Bob Ray Republicans".  Deace loathes them.  Might he try to take on Representative Leonard Boswell in 2012 or aim for the Governorship?  (He dislikes Terry Branstad almost as much as Bob Ray.)  Or...maybe just Grand Wizard?  It will be fun.  He's got a non-compete from Clear Channel for six months.  But...we expect him to surface soon...and in some interesting places.

So, How Them Google Key Words Workin' For Ya?

We're always looking for businesses that we might be able to help market more effectively.  Last month I met a young man who is the Marketing Manager of a company based in Iowa.  We had a brief discussion about the economy, the company he represents and marketing.  As promised I sent him a follow up note several days later (see above about networking...I learned from Charlie.) to open up aOops  dialoge.  He wrote back telling me they spend most of their marketing dollars on "Google Key Words" pushing their website.  (Red Flag).  So I went "looking" for them.  Punching up as many words that match their business as possible.  Nothing.  Then I tried their company name and BINGO!  I found a hit!   Except it was in Texas...not Iowa.  And...it was not their company.  Weary kids...I get weary.

Meanwhile There Is This:

I know, I said "no business" but I've seen vehicle several times over the past few months and wanted to show you.  But, jumping out of my car to snap a photo or record video would not have been safe.   I think it's kinda neat.  

  

Not Sure What To Think...

This week CityView, a local free paper, published their Best Of edition.  You know:  "The Best Foot Massage in Des Moines...", "The Best Cheeseburger in Des Moines...".  It's a brilliant move on the part of the paper as "The Best Of Businesses" rush to place advertising in this edition.  Brilliant.  Anyway, and this is what is troubling,readers selected Hy-Vee, a regional grocery store chain, for "The Best Chinese Food in Des Moines". I like Hy-Vee but...really?  For the love of Iowa...do not spread this around.  Folks in New York and California will be convinced we are a bunch of rubes.

It Will Come Back...Honest

This past week I was working on some video for a client, Mark Main at Main Construction and ran across this:

 

Gosh, remember when it was...warm?  Nice houses huh?

That's it kids...gotta push this out before my friend Jeff Bratz starts whining on Facebook that I'm late. 

Tomorrow, at noon, in the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business with Michael Libbie - seen live or in archive form at Webcast One Live we'll have some folks in to talk about the Maplenol Dairy Barn and why they think it's worth saving...while the City of West Des Moines and the West Des Moines School Board think it should be torn down.  It's been an interesting public relations issue that has divided the town...come on by to learn more.  Noon tomorow.

Have a great day...enjoy your Sunday! - Michael

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Shopping Cart Abandonment - $18 Billion and You

You would think the fact that e-commerce is losing an estimated $18 billion a year because 70% of people, who start a shopping cartWoman Emply Cart  experience but abandon the effort before check out, might get the attention of e-tailers. 

You would...think.

However only 34% of on-line merchants have a system in place to attempt to engage customers who leave before completing their transaction.  I'll bet that if seven out of ten consumers who entered your brick and mortar store left without a purchase...you might try to find out why.

But...maybe this will help.  Here are some solid ideas you might put into place to slow the hemorrhage of business:

  • Engage the Consumer First - Before a consumer enters into the shopping experience ask for some information.  Even if it's as little as an e-mail address. 
  • Be Careful HOW You Ask - We don't suggest that you simply have a form for them to fill out.  Be real.  Something like:  "Hey, thanks for shopping with us.  In order to help us both could you give us your e-mail.  Just in case something goes wrong.  And, nope...we'll not distribute to anybody.  It's between us."  Even if only 30% fill it out...you're ahead of the game.
  • Offer Real Time Help- Sites on "auto-pilot" are on...auto pilot.  Offer to engage with the shopper person to person through chat or a real phone.  Think...Zappos?
  • Offer Free Shipping or a Discount - You want to lure your customer back...what can you offer to make the transaction stick?
  • Use Video - A quick :15 message from YOU to the consumer about the experience and why customer service is important to you can help in a big way. All of a sudden you are...a person.  Not a robot.

There you go...enjoy and if we can help...let's connect.  Shoot me an e-mail, join us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or head to our Facebook Page.  Thanks for coming by!

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Cause Marketing & Your Business

Last week on our daily business news hour, Insight on Business with Michael Libbie, (Part of Webcast One LIVE) I spoke to the power of cause marketing and small business.  How partnering with a cause can, for a rather low investment, push your brand among people you wish to reach Rrvt_ani while increasing your marketing footprint.

I know..."He's just preaching again, Sally.  This stuff doesn't really work."

OK...so let's have a look:

Saturday night I attended the sold out Membership Banquet for the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association (RRVTA).  The event was held in Panora, Iowa at the Lake Panorama National Resort Conference Center.  The goal, at their only fundraiser was to gather $18,000 for the RRVTA's annual budget. 

Hold on...I've just introduced you to three different groups/businesses you may never have heard of...before.  Three down...more to come.Raccoon River Trail Feb 2011

The folks who are the real drivers of the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association are Chuck and Carla Offenburger and their engaged and active board.  Here they are pictured with Brian and Sharon Duffy and Don German.  Hmmm there is a Des Moines Register link here...me thinks. (9 introductions)

On hand for the event were folks like Kevin & Molly Cooney (they purchased a 12' Kayak during the auction donated with the help of Scheels and the Green County Conservation Board).  Kevin and Molly work at KCCI-TV8in Des Moines. 

Christie-Vilsack-Mollie-Kevin-Cooney The guest speaker was Christie Vilsack Iowa's former First Lady and avid cyclist who told stories about RAGBRAI, the Iowa Library System, growing up in Mount Pleasant, the number of bikes she has owned and how visitors from places like Washington, DC are amazed at her depth of knowledge about agriculture and what the heck we do with Iowa Corn.  Nice job Christie!

Let's see...we're up to 18 mentions...but who's counting?

My friend, Jason White from the Midwest Partnership was there...we had met several years ago and keep up with each other on Twitter and Facebook.  My friend Forrest Ridgway from Bike World was there.  And I learned about companies and local businesses...all because they were involved in this event.  (Let's see...that's 22 mentions.)

There was Ausberger Photography from Jefferson, IowaSnyder & Associates out of Ankeny, Powerlift from Jefferson, Horizon Printing from Adel, the Home State Bank in Jefferson, Pioneer Hy-Bred, Farmers State Bank in Yale, the Guthrie County State Bankin Panora, the Graham Groupof Des Moines and United Contractors, Inc. of Johnston.

Do you know about the Oak Tree Bed and Breakfast?  How about the Santa Maria Restaurant in Carroll or the Green Bean Coffee of Jefferson?  Not me.  I didn't know that in Perry, Iowa there was a place called the Hiawatha Bicycle Company or here in Des Moines the Butler House on Grand.

I quit counting....

And there were many, many more that I can't list here but had the opportunity to make an impression on not only me...but 300 others who packed the facility.  They also witnessed a presentation of $15,196, the value of 200 shares of McDonalds Stock, from the family of Alice Ann Andrew.  (BTW, Carla Offenburger reminded the crowd that money was extra and didn't count toward their goal of $18,000.  Didn't want to spoil the live or silent auction fund raising.)

Cause marketing has only one major drawback.  Most companies don't know how to create a bigger buzz about their efforts and so they getChuck Offenburger and notepad  involved to be neighborly. That's ok...but there are loads of ways you can capitalize on cause marketing...if you work it and have an active plan.

Congratulations to the RRVTA to my friends Chuck and Carla and to everybody who made this event possible.  One last thing:  Once a newsperson...always a news person.  Here is a shot of the rear-end of Chuck Offenburger...notice the reporters notebook tucked in the pocket?  Classic Chuck...great to see you guys and thank you for what you do. 

OK...ONE MORE THING:  The event raised $17,776 about $7,000 more than last year.

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Sunday Morning Coffee - February 20, 2011

Sunday Morning...that time of the week when we can sit back, look at theCoffee Cu ps  past week and peek into the next.  Sunday Morning Coffee is just that.  It's a conversation between friends of some of the happenings we've experienced and the hopes of next week.  And, because it's a conversation...let's keep in touch.  You can post a comment below, send me an e-mail, join me on Twitter or head over to my personal Facebook Page.  Grab a cup and let's go!

They May Have Gone Too Far

Emboldened by the November elections the "moon-bats" who make up the loudest and most shrill voices in the Republican Party may have Madison Tom Lynn Photopushed just a bit too much.  This past week thousands of people descended on Madison, Wisconsin to protest Governor Scott Walker's budget bill.  Yesterday the crowd was estimated at 70,000 people.  Teachers, students, union activists and...regular people  have now been galvanized with a cause.  It's what the Democrats have needed.  Seasoned members of the party will tell you that "wonkish" ideas, while important, don't move the masses.  This is different.  One does not have to be a "union person" to appreciate the forty-hour work week, vacations, job security.  Even the most "pro-business" person now realizes that it was not the unions which put Wisconsin, or Ohio or Iowa into budget problems.  It was...government.  Unions in Wisconsin have already given back over $120 million in pay and benefits.  That was in what is called bargaining sessions.  It's what we do...in America. (Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Tom Lynn)

The Protests Spread to Other StatesWe Are One AFL CIO

While this isn't Cairo or Tienanmen Square...yet.  Protests in support of the Wisconsin Workers are springing up all over the country.  Here in Iowa, on Tuesday at 1:00PM the Iowa Federation of Labor will hold a rally on the West Steps of the Capitol.  "We Are One" is inviting not only union workers but all "concerned Iowans" to the event.  This could get interesting.

A Simple Business Question

If you had millions of dollars in red ink would you terminate over 25% of your labor force to save $125,000 a year?  And, let's say that labor force has, as it's focus, the mission of insuring the safety and security of some of he most vulnerable of individuals...the elderly or infirm who Rod-roberts-300x210 reside in nursing homes.  That's exactly what the newly appointed director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals did last week.  Rod Roberts, in his brief, yet failed, bid to become governor on a platform of "creating a more friendly business climate in Iowa" slashed the number of nursing home inspectors.  In January the Des Moines Register suggested that the budget cuts for the DIA were less than anticipated.  So, where did Roberts cut the budget and...why?  Here is the story from Bleeding Heartland.   Oh...and another nod to the Des Moines Register for this background story about...why...Branstad selected Rob Roberts for the DIA position.  (Photo - Iowa Independent)

Had Enough?  Me Too - On to More Fun ThingsPedro the Pool Boy Feb 17 2011

 

Marketing can take many forms and this story proves it.  My bride decided to hold a jewelery party at our home this past Thursday evening.  Knowing that even the most strident of her friends might balk at going to an event where they are expected to...no...nearly forced...to buy jewelery she came up with two marketing schemes.  1)  All invited guests were to bring with them a food donation for the Iowa Pet Project's "Pet Pantry".  (Who could say no to hungry puppies and kittens?) and 2)  The ladies who came would be "served" by "Pedro" the "House Boy".  In what some might call a "tasteless expression of stereotyping a minority" "Pedro" showed up, did his very best impression of Foster Brooks and was the hit of the event.  Marketing kids...marketing.

I Spent Tuesday Afternoon in a Court Room

It is said that one of the reasons the Second Temple was destroyed was the baseless hatred of one Jew toward another.  So central to our faith is Second Temple Burning that thought that we mark the day of the distruction and talk about baseless hatred during the observance of the 9th of Av(Here's some background information.)  But...there I was in Small Claims Court as the Des Moines Jewish Orthodox Congregation, Beth El Jacob, represented by Aaron Beckerman and Valerie Cohen, sought $5,000 from congregation member Jess Bernstein.  In the end the judge found Mr. Bernstein should pay his 2012/2013 dues of $650 and dismissed the suit.  Good news for Mr. Bernstein, who was forced to drive from Milwaukee to answer these charges.  It's truly a shanda.  Clearly some Jews in Des Moines need to spend more time learning about their faith and less time exercising baseless hatred.  It can also destroy a congregation.

I know...I said...  "more fun".  Sorry...I'm in a mood.

A Tale of Two Media FolksTed-williams-on-CBS

Last week Ted Williams, the "Man with a Golden Voice" spoke for the first time since leaving rehab.  Telling the CBS Early Show that he felt too much pressure and could not focus on getting his personal and professional life on track Williams entered a less restrictive group home which monitors his sobriety.  Here is the full story from Entertainment Weekly We can only hope...

Serene-branson Meanwhile the Internet was buzzing last week when CBS2 reporter Serene Branson, reporting from the Grammys, did a live stand-up but her unintelligible

 speech fueled speculation that she had a stroke.  Less friendly types posted "This is soooo funny!" suggesting that she had been drinking.  On Thursday Branson made the rounds of the talk shows explaining that her doctors confirmed it was a severe migraine Here's the story from The Stir.

Raccoon Needs $18,000

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association Annual Event in Panora, Iowa.  I wasn't alone.  It wasRaccoon River Trail Feb 2011  me and about 250 other friends of "The Trail".  There was Carla and Chuck Offenburger (the drivers of the association), former First Lady Christi Vilsack (who offered a great speech about bikes, RAGBRAI and Iowa), bicycle activist and artist Brian Duffy, Kevin and Molly Cooney(KCCI-TV8 folk - He bought a kayak at the auction....just sayin'.) Jason White of the Midwest Partnership Economic Development Group, the Alice Ann Andrews family who donated 200 shares of McDonald's stock valued at over $15,000 to the effort.  (Carla Offenburger reminded attendees that these funds were, "...extra they don't count towards the total needed.").  Mayors, county supervisors and just regular folks like me enjoyed an evening supporting, what has become for the little towns that dot the Raccoon River Valley Trail, an economic gift.  It's great to see neighbors helping others.  And, it was fantastic to see Chuck and Carla who have experienced some serious health issues look and be so well.  (Photo: Carla, Bob German, Sharon Duffy, Brian Duffy & Chuck)

Chuck Offenburger and notepad One other thing.  Those of you who know Chuck Offenburger know that he worked in the newspaper and news business for years.  (Back in the days when the Des Moines Register was a nationally recognized news authority.)  Proof that once a news-person...always a news-person is in this photo.  A reporters notebook tucked into his back pocket.  Classic my friend...

Christi Vilsack for Congress?

The stories have been going around for...years.  There was speculation that Christi, who is wildly popular in Iowa, would run against Sen. Charles Grassley.  That didn't happen.  In recent months the speculation has been that she would run against Congressman Leonard Boswell forcing a primary.  I don't think so.  The Iowa Democrats are notIowa Map maybe  looking to divide and Boswell has shown that he can take on some big names...and win.  And, if the map you see here (thank you Bleeding Heartland), is close to being adopted it sets up a Boswell - Latham contest.  Boswell wins, easily.  So...where else might Mrs. Vilsack look?  How about a run at Steve King in the current 5th District?  It would do two things...eliminate an embarrassment to Iowa (sorry Tea Party & "Birther" friends) and Iowa would elect, for the first time, a woman to congress.   Hmmmm....

One Time This Week Try...This:

Add a little kick to your scrambled eggs.  Just before you finish cooking them add a table spoon of Sabra Jalapeno Hummus to the eggs.  Whip 'em around a couple more times and.....  WOW!   If you happen to live in or near Urbandale, Iowa I KNOW the Urbandale Hy-Vee has in their case @MichaelLibbie Sabra Jalapeno Hummus... ;-)

Union Bank & Trust Company

I don't believe I have ever been punitive in my blog.  In the over 1,000 posts I've written about people and business who do good...and those Union Bank Linclon Building who just can't, for whatever reason, get it right.  Union Bank & Trust seems to be one of those companies who...sadly doesn't get it.  Backstory:  We have had an account with Union Bank and Trust in Lincoln, NE for several years.  About eight months ago they started sending us collection notices saying they had no record of our vehicle being insured.  Mind you, this was a year after we made the purchase.  They had, out of the goodness of their heart, purchased an annual auto policy for us.  The premium: $2,000.  I know, a little high.  We wrote, called...but nothing changed.  Finally in December, after sending a letter requesting the name of their legal counsel, we received a reply from Scott Tolle, Assistant Collections Manager telling us they had made an error and our insurance company had confirmed we had, and have had, coverage.  Of course the letter included, "I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you." I'm just sure you are Scott.

Meanwhile, and the new wrinkle, our monthly payment to Union Bank & Trust is due on the 13th of the month.  We pay automatically on the 11th from our Des Moines Bank.  Yet...seven days AFTER our payment has been made Scott's little "Consumer Collections Department" starts calling us saying we are delinquent.  We'd love to call them back but the robocalls don't answer. I'll share more tomorrow during Insight on Business...at Noon.  But..it's just silly and a huge failure...Scott.  By the way, I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  Grumble...told you I was in a mood....

Also tomorrow Insight on Business with Michael Libbie has as our guest Sean Sullivan...join us for the Metro Monday Edition here at Webcast One LIVE.

That's IT...I know...way too long...but so much going on in all our worlds. Have a fantastic...SUNDAY!

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Sunday Morning Coffee - February 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Coffee that chance to catch up on some things thatCoffee Cu ps  went on last week and a peek forward into the new.  Not a bunch of business, we'll get back to that tomorrow, this is a conversation between friends at the local cafe.  And, because it's a conversation...let's connect here where you can leave me a comment, on Twitter @MichaelLibbie my personal Facebook Page or shoot me an e-mail.  Easy...no?

Valentine's Day - Weekend Edition

When "The Holiday" happens on Monday...it's not a one day event.  Valentine's Day takes up the entire weekend.   You know I am speaking Couple roses truth here...  Romantic dinners out or at home started for many of us on Friday, rolled through a Saturday "Date Night", more today and then....the Grand Finale - Monday!  This has made several people very happy.  The ladies...and retail centers.  It's been a great way for business to get a handle on first quarter sales.  Sorry...had to get a business note in here.

Which takes us to this story about Boesen the Florist - In a very cool move The Brand Chef, agency of record for Boesen's, launched a smart-phone app that allows customers to log in, order and send flowers in just a few easy steps from your phone.  And...just in time for Valentine's Day.   Here is the story from my friend, Andrew B. Clark...The Brand Chef.  See, we say nice things about others in the marketing/advertising world. Must be the spirit of the holiday...Jasmine_bowl_logo_transparent

Got time for a foodie love story? - This was featured in this mornings Des Moines Register about a man from Africa, his Asian bride and their Des Moines restaurant The Jasmine Bowl.  Very cute...and fun!

Ain't love grand?

Steve Deace Exits 1040 - WHO Radio

Just in time for Valentine's Day, ultra-right-wing (and we're not talking hockey) Steve Deace leaves the ultra-right-wing radio station in Des Steve-deace Moines.  He is next going to lead:   1) The Iowa GOP?  2) The "I Hate Mitt Romney and You Should Too" committee?  3)  The "I Think Michele Bachmann is Hot" committee?  One listener commented on Twitter, "Please bring back the format of Sue and Jerry's Drive Time Des Moines in the afternoon. I'll start listening to you again."  We don't think that will happen.  Who likes "vanilla" when you've experienced a blood lust?   Best of luck Steve, we know you'll do well...and Michele is sorta hot.  Here is the story from our friends at The Bleeding Heartland.

Miss Taylor is TWO!Taylor Birthday 2 Feb 12 2011

It was a house full of folks as friends and family got together, and brought many offerings to the Child of Light.  Our grand-daughter celebrated her second birthday with a fun party.  Her Mom and Dad...rock.  The feature was this cake (and some yummy cookies) from Larita's Cakes & More based out of Fort Dodge.  That woman can bake up some great stuff.  I couldn't find a website...so you've got a Facebook Link.

Speaking of....baked goods closer to Des Moines - I just learned about Melt a Dessert Bar and BakeryGreat looking website...  Go on, have a look...we'll wait!

The Des Moines Home & Garden Show

DSM Home Show It's going on this weekend but, if you follow the news on Twitter, you would not have known it.  I don't understand what people "think" Twitter is.  @DSMHomeShow has had a Twitter account since November of 2009.  They have managed to post a total...TOTAL of NINE updates...NINE!  They have twenty-one followers.  Hell, our parrotKizzy Box   @Kizzy_Bird is more active.  I'll bet, if you ask them, they will say:  "Twitter?  Nah, it doesn't work.Tell that to Melt.  I found them on Twitter, @MeltDessertBar.   GRUMBLE....

Meanwhile, also on Twitter, a good friend wrote about the Des Moines Home Show: "Yeah, but they didn't seem to have anything new or exciting.  It was booths of siding, fences, hot tubs and insulating foam."  But...the folks running the show will...never know.  Weary, I get weary.

Let's  move to something more up-beat...OK?

I heard it yesterday and from an Iowan: "Ethanol?  Don't talk to me about ethanol!  That's the reason our grocery prices are going sky-high because they are using up all the corn."  That's not quite...correct.

 

Ethanol uses #2 Corn which is NOT used in food production.  Or so the experts tell us.   It is used for cattle feed BUT...so are DDG's a by-product of ethanol that is protein rich.  The reason beef prices are high is because farmers/ranchers have less cattle on feed.  Hope this helps...and  I know, it's easy to blame something else.  But it's not ethanol. Meanwhile, the price of corn is $7 a bu.  YIKES!!

It's From VermontCabot Cheese

I'm out of Cabot Cheese the Horseradish flavor rocks by the way.  Just sayin' Candace...  Must get back to the Urbandale Hy-Vee for more.

Guess You Heard About Groupon Advertising Pulls

Always a little querky, Groupon let their querk get ahead of their brains when they produced three new ads and aired one during Super Bowl XLV.  Five days later they pulled them from network rotation and issued an applogy.  The ads just didn't work and because they offended so many consumers, no matter the fact they were donating $ to charity, they axed them.  Millions of dollars in production, talent fees, and airing gone.  Sometimes business trys too hard to be...cute.  Here's an example with Elizabeth Hurley no less...

 

Told ya...

While We're On Bad Advertising Examples

Caught this story in the Des Moines Register about how schools are now advertising for...students.   That's right.  If you click the link to read you'll see that some schools are spending $15,000 in advertising in other districts.  Also...take a moment to click on the video.  Once again...if business (and schools are) serious about looking good...call a professional.  Nope, I can't teach French...but you can't create a quality video either.  Tip #1:  Never wear a striped shirt in video and Tip #2 Short, high quality is better than twelve minutes...  Yikes!

Am I grumpy this morning?  Shouldn't be...  It is Valentine's Day Weekend!Flo IA Power Farming

Which also means I must now go tend to my lovely bride, the woman of my dreams, the idol of our home...  The very talented @GeorgieGurl who deserves far better than me.   Far better...  Have a great Valentine's Day Weekend!!!

OK..need to push this out...NOW.  I played last night rather than work on Sunday Morning Coffee....sorry for it being late getting to you.

BTW - Tomorrow on the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business with Michael Libbie, part of Webcast One LIVE, we're talking with the folks from Urban 515.  We're live at Noon Central...or archived for anytime you want to watch or listen.  Have a great Sunday....

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Market Leaders...Beware!

Sixteen months ago I had a conversation about Blackberry and theBlackberry  future of Research In Motion (RIM).  It wasn't good.  The conversation, and we've reported on this in the past, revolved around the fact that soon (and this was over a year ago) Blackberry would lose market share to others who had continued to keep a robust R&D as well as increase their marketing budgets.

In other words - other companies continued to invest.

RIM didn't and today we've got the numbers from ComScore who released their study on the use of Smart Phones in the United States.  The raw numbers show us that in the 4th Quarter of 2010 63.2 million Americans owned a smart phone.  That's a 60% increase over the same time period a year earlier.  But what else?

  • Blackberry / RIM remains the leader in market share but dropped from 37.3% in September 2010 to 31.6% in December 2010.
  • Apple and Android saw the largest growth with Apple up to 25% of the market but Android surpassed Apple for the first time growing by 7.3% to hold a 27.7% share.
  • Microsoft and Palm - 8.4% and 3.7% respectively.
  • 

So, what is YOUR "take away" from this information?

Market leaders today may not be market leaders tomorrow.  We're already seeing shifts from companies who made the choice to duck during the recent recession.  We said over and over it was a mistake...now their finding out we were right.

Now that Verizon has entered the iPhone market watch these numbers soar.  And watch Blackberry wither even further.  Your question should be..."What partnership can I develop for my business that will move me beyond my competition?".

Look for more traditional advertising from Blackberry, something they have not had to do...  Your message:  If you made the decision to slow your marketing budget in 2009/2010 you better ramp it up...now.

With Smart Phones rolling into the market from all sides...can you spell Mobile Marketing?  Want to?

In short, market leaders...to stay market leaders need to continue to improve, continue to work their R&D, continue to market themselves.  Never take it for granted...that you'll stay on top.

Let's continue to conversation?  On Twitter it's @InsightADV, you can leave a comment here, send me an e-mail or come by our Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications Facebook Page.  No religion...no politics.  Just grown-up talk about...business.  www.InsightCubed.com

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Make the Unhappy Customer Your Best Customer

It happens even in the best retail/service business.  You'll get an unhappy customer who can/will make your day...lousy.  Are thereWoman Angry  some things you can do to turn this angry person into your best advocate?

We think so...

Here's several ways to turn unhappy into...very pleased.

  • Listen- No...I said....LISTEN.  Do not talk, take the time to allow the customer to vent.  Let them blow and pay attention to what they are really saying.  Maybe it's not you or your company/service/product maybe what happened did not live up to their expectation.  There is a difference. 
  • Anticipate - To go through life thinking there isn't going to be an angry customer is to deny reality.  Sit back and really examine your product and service.  What holes might there be that you can plug...before the anger event.  And...how might you deal with them.
  • Break the Rules - We've all got policies...and policies on how to deal with the policies.  Your customer does not care what your policy is...so know when you can break the rules, take ownership and move.  Even your boss will thank you.  If they are smart.
  • Know the Difference - Some customers want restitution others want retribution.  The customer who wants to be taken care of or wants "restitution"...you can work with.  If they want a piece of your hide...there's not much you can do. You must be able to know the difference because thinking it's retribution when it is really restitution will sink the deal.  Ask questions...and see number one...listen.
  • Say "I'm Sorry." & Mean It - I don't need to explain.  An angry customer will see through the pandering.  Think of how you can put yourself in their shoes...even for a moment.  It works.
  • Free Stuff - It's not always the best way...but it works.

Enjoy the day...and let's do the business of keeping business.

Let's keep the conversation going.  You can send me an e-mail, write a comment below, check into our Business Facebook Page, join me on Twitter @InsightADV or...use that phone thing.

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Arturo Fernandez the Photo Editor of the Des Moines Register will be our guest today during the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business with Michael Libbie. We'll talk about the power of images in news and in advertising. Join us - Noon Central at www.WebcastOneLive.com

Arturo Fernandez
Here is the recorded show with Arturo along with the best and worst ads from Super Bowl XLV and...why.

 

Thanks for coming by...

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Sunday Morning Coffee - 02/06/2011

Sunday Morning Coffee - We'll get back to business tomorrow but forCoffee Cu ps  today let's visit about some of the things we might talk about at the cafe or coffee shop over a "cup of Joe".  And, because it's a conversation, I'm interested in what you've got to say.  Leave me a comment below, send me an e-mail or follow me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or my personal Facebook Page.  Grab a cup...

Zach Wahls is a student at the University of Iowa.  When I spoke with him last week I was certain he was involved in political science or pre-law.  Nope...engineering.  But he was on the West High debate team and it shows in this powerful address to the Iowa House of Representatives who were debating the issue of Gay Marriage.

  

It shouldn't matter what side you're on -  You've got to admit this a great speech and who wouldn't be proud?  Over one million people have viewed this...just saying.

We're getting a divorce.  It's a difficult time here in Iowa, and when we Ring Goodbye wed we should have realized why marriage is sanctioned by the state.  We thought love and commitment and honor were the basic bedrock issues of marriage...but we were wrong.  Last week we learned from State Representative Richard Anderson(R) Clarinda (photo) that the reason Iowa permits people to marry is procreation.  "It's not about love.  It's not about romance.  It's about driving state policy toward responsibleRep Richard Anderson  procreation."  Because Georgie and I have grown children we had/have no desire to bring any more into the world.  We deceived Iowa and it seems we, now, are in conflict with the State.   Because we've always seen ourselves as law abiding members of society it's clearly time to end this scam and come into compliance with true family values.  We're sorry...honest.  Here's the story from the Des Moines Register.

Side note:  Last night I did a little "Facebook Contest" and said whomever correctly guessed the identity of the Iowa House Member who would be named in Sunday Morning Coffee would win a $20 Gusto Pizza Gift Certificate.  It took Jamie Fitzgerald nine minutes to get the correct answer and it was his first guess. It's on the way Jamie.  This guy knows his stuff.

One more?

If you work for a member of the Iowa Republican Party or an elected official of the Iowa Republican Party please do not stand up and applaud the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court during his annual message to the legislature.  Worse...do not post anything that might be against the "party line".  Just a heads up.  Here's the story from Tyler Kingkade from the Iowa State Daily.

I don't know, but do you feel a little...uneasy?  Or is it just me?

Do Dire Predictions and "End of Times" Warnings Work?  Yes.  Just  ask the folks from the Iowa/Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association whoWeathercaster  saw attendance evaporate during the first two days of the 56th Iowa Power Farming Show.  "Weather Guessers" from all the media channels started last Saturday warning anyone who could pick up their signal that the IowaWinterDeathStorm2011 Part One was bearing down and if you should go outside...you would be struck down. "Stay home!  Do not venture on the roads.  The Iowa State Patrol advises against travel..."  All being done from the roadside with wind and snow whipping against their logo crested windbreaker.  Usually the fifth largest indoor farm equipment show in the nation brings nearly 20,000 people to Des Moines.  They were lucky to see 10,000.  

Man Confused If I told you that I know of a business that, for over a year, encouraged consumers to fill out an on-line form for "more information" but then never connected with any of the 800+ people who did...would you believe me?

Egypt is a mess, Jordan is foaming, Yemen is changing...  What the heck is going on over there?  Is it really democracy at work or is it a move by radical Islam to gain power in "western style" countries?  I dunno.  What do you think?

I'm going to become a surgeon.  Let's say things are not goingMan Xray  well.  You go to a doctor and say, "I've had headaches, blured vision and blood coming out of my ears..."  And the surgeon says, "Hmmm, I think we should do some tests and find out what is wrong."  Would you say, "Nah...it's just the altitude.  Thanks for your time."   Nope.  But that's what folks in marketing get when a business owner says, "Business sucks, I can't seem to get traction.  Nobody seems to know about my products/service and I'm losing money."  We say, "Let's talk about your customer base, what consumers you want to attract and ways to do it right."  They say,  "Nah...it's just the economy.  Never mind." 

Weary...just weary.

Gusto Logo Meanwhile - 91 Pizzas in 2.5 hours last Saturday night at Gusto Pizza Co. in Des Moines...during their "soft opening".  Zero spent in traditional media.  Never mind...social media doesn't work.  I forgot.  But...just in case you would like to "tweet" with them:  @GustoPizzaDM - Why do we like these guys so much?  Because they "get it".  They understand it's not only "sales" it's also "listening to consumers", creating "relationships" with "tribes" who will follow, talk about and help promote.   Makes me proud.

Just heard about Right Turn Feed in DeSoto, Iowa.  Looks like they've been around for awhile.  See, traditionall media (radio in this case) works.  I heard and went looking.

I don't know what happened with the story above.  Sorry...weird deal with the font size.Juli Rita Chuck Griggs Urbandale 2011

Last Thursday my Bride (I was just kidding about the divorce...I hope.) and I were guests of Juli Griggs Applegate who sells for Waste Management here in Des Moines.  She is the incoming president of the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce.  Originally from Fort Dodge, her father Chuck Griggs was the sheriff there for many years.  I had not seen Sheriff Griggs or his bride Rita for years.  It was nice to connect with them again.  Thanks Juli! it was also great to see your sister Lori!  Been way too long!

News Corp is selling MySpace...surprise?  Nope. 

Last week put up my workbench in the workbench room.  Shared the story with you on Facebook.  Now...I've got to figure out what to do with it.  Work...I guess.

Arturo Fernandez I'm excited about Monday!  My guest for the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business is Arturo Fernandez the Photo Editor for the Des Moines Register.  He's done some amazing work and we'll show some of his favorite news photos and share with you what makes news photography work.  Arturo has been at this for several years and we so admire his "eye".  It's a visual thing.  Insight on Business with Michael Libbie is live at Noon Central - Monday - Thursday here at Webcast One LIVE.  Join us?

Speaking of the Des Moines Register - They have grown up.  If you've not been to their site recently...go.  Clean lines, lots of white space.  What once looked like a classified newspaper page now is easy to read and navigate.  Congratulations Gannett...nice move.

This week the trial of Wendy Weiner Runge begins and it will be something to watch.  Wendy, an Omaha native, is accused of takingWendy Runge  $1.85 million in tax credits from the wildly understaffed Iowa Film Office.  On one hand it's a complicated story...on the other it's pretty simple.  I've visited, at length, with Wendy over the past few months.  I am sure, once people hear the entire story, they will see what a botched system Iowa had in place and she will be found innocent.  There are loads of very important people who approved contracts, encouraged contracts and have since lost their jobs...that's going to be the interesting story...isn't it Mr. TramontinaHere's the latest story by Lee Rood.

Meanwhile the idea of a Public/Private agency Governor Terry Branstad would like to see take over the Iowa Department of Economic Development has run into "struggles" in other states.  Debi Durham, the new director of the soon to be defunct department, says the study by Good Jobs First isn't "...objective nor comprehensive."  What do you think?

President Reagan Finally it's the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan.  I didn't vote for him but did get to visit with him in the Rose Garden.  It was the spring of 1983 I was there with the other state presidents of the United States Jaycees.  (Back when Iowa had 15,000 members)  I was standing near the steps, not paying attention and without fanfare I hear, "Hi, Ron Reagan."  I turned around and the president was next to me.  I shook his hand, muttered something about Iowa and he said, "Broadcasting huh?  I used to work in Des Moines."  Hope he forgave me. 

It's Super Bowl Sunday - Watch the ads...and the game.  Have a Super Sunday and we'll catch you back here tomorrow...with some business.  Thanks for coming by!

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