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October 2011
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December 2011

Ever Heard of Central Iowa Bloggers?

Update: December 2, 2011 - There were not many of us but those of usCIB Dec 2 2011 who gathered (about ten) were introduced to new ideas, new direction and some positive business.  I'm telling you kids...this stuff is good.  Thanks for coming by and sharing thoughts, fun and some great ideas!

There is an ebb and flow to all things, even informal gatherings of bright, independent thinkers who love to share information and friendship.  The status of Central Iowa Bloggers, that informal group of thinkers and friends, is at one of those crossroads.  Absent of a strong promoter the group, which meets on the first Friday of the month at Panera Bread on University in West Des Moines, has...ebbed.


I miss it...

But I'm not quite ready to stick a fork in CIB which started well over five years ago with Mike Sansone inviting a few of us out for an early morning chat about...stuff.  Mike was the most amazing connection point.  He made sure that everybody met everybody and engaged everybody in conversation.  Once he stepped out of the picture CIB sputtered along for a bit.  This month there isn't even a mention the Social Media Club of Des Moines email blast.CIB Logo

Not that I've been attending on a regular basis myself.  Last the last moment...a client called so it was work first.  But maybe, just maybe we might "get the band back together" and give this another run? 

If you're into learning, sharing and making friends let's get together THIS Friday morning to mingle a bit.  For those of you who have never beento CIB don't worry.  You will be comfortable and you'll enjoy yourself.  Bring your business cards and and open mind.  There is no formal agenda just lots of ideas.  Hope to see you somewhere and we run until about nine-thirty...ish.

See ya Friday...






Are You Connecting With People?

We know a bunch of companies who put together "newsletters" thatNewsletter cartoon contain lots of self promotion but very little "news".  We're not sure that is what consumers are wanting.  We think your business should take a more active role in promoting the "people side" of the business rather than overt marketing of stuff.  Maybe hit it 75/25 with people being on the larger end.  Wanna know how?

Share The Back Story

Max Production Room Feb 24 2011We think consumer are interested in what goes on "behind the scenes".  It's one of the reasons that "blooper reels" continue to be a hit.  To get to this point you have to be very comfortable with your brand and not afraid to poke a little fun at yourself.  Maybe turn part of your "newsletter" into a video format and follow a product from the warehouse to the consumer.  Maybe interview the folks that work "in the back" and have them tell their story.  The goal here is to become real to the consumer.  Here's Max working the production of one of our shows.

Don't Push...Ask

It is very subtle but it works.  Rather than blowing up about your new product/service you might begin the "conversation" by saying, "We've been asked to carry/offer this product/service by many of our customers...and the customers of our competition.  We listened and want to share the story."  Or you could simply say, "Its new because of you.  Wanna see?"

Pictures Are Great - Video is Better

Consumers LOVE video and with todays technology creating short, interesting pieces about your product/service is easy, quick and effective...if done right.  If you are sending out an e-newsletter consider making part of it with a short video.  You can introduce a new product/service, new employee even a short testimonial from a very satisfied customer.  But, even if you can't yet master the least use tons of photos.  Here, let me show you....


But, What About The News?

OK...if you've really...really got some hot news make sure you get thatNews Typewriter in but make sure you headline it correctly.  Even headlines can become "personal".  Instead of saying "We've Moved" why not write, "We're Exhausted...But Happy!".  It gives the reader a reason to find out...more and it's not just about brick and mortar.  Just about any piece of "news" can be handled with more personality.

Four solid tips to turn your "newsletter" into something people really want to read.  If you want a "real world" example try picking up a Trader Joe's Newsletter.  Bingo.  If you would like to connect feel free to leave a comment here or we can connect on Twitter @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading/watching! - Michael





Take A Break - SMC

Sunday Morning means a break from business and a cup of SundayCoffee Cu ps Morning Coffee.  Today we've got politics, religion, news from Windsor Heights, Urbandale, Mason City, Hate Crimes, Vodka, Shopping Local and Mormons...whoa.  It's like we're picking on...everybody!  We'll get back to business tomorrow...but for now, grab a cup.  But careful, it's hot!  Sunday Morning Coffee.


Thanksgiving Thank You....

We took some time on Thanksgiving Eve 2011 to go out and ask some folks what they are thankful for.  Thanksgiving is that one American Holiday that screams "family".  Here is what we heard:


For those of you who don't have family close or, perhaps, without family members...know that we're all connected in that bond of humanity that, as we learned today, can be very special, warm and loving.  It can be...honest.

From all of us at Insight...have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.  If you want to leave a comment here, feel free.  Or join us on Twitter @InsightADV or here is our advertising agency Facebook Page.  Thanks for coming by! - Michael



75/20/5 And Why...

This past Sunday our friend, Joanne Boeckman from the Des MoinesWoman Emply Cart Register, wrote How apps, codes and the smartphone changed shopping.  I was pleased to offer some insight into the story...from the world of marketing and the power consumers have to boost or sink your brand. 

Here is a bit of an expansion to the story.  If you own or manage a business, any size business, I want you to take some time and consider the 75/20/5 Rule.

From the article:  "Libbie offers seminars for retailers across the country to talk about the power of using new marketing techniques, such as social media."

“What’s astounding to me is the vast number of people who pay no attention to this — and don’t know it’s there,” he said. “Only about 5 percent of retailers are moving forward and using it.”


I know that when I walk into a room of business people and I start telling them about the power of social media and it's connection to consumers seventy-five percent of my audience is dismissive.  They don't or won't come to the reality of how technology has changed brand messaging. They leave the seminar and continue to work the same old, tired advertising plan that worked thirty years ago.

About twenty percent will be interested enough to "try" using social media to help push and pull consumers into a conversation, into a relationship.  But, after a couple of months they quit because they don't see an instant return on their investment.  The trouble isn't social media or new technology.  The base problem is they "think" in terms of old mass marketing like radio, television or print advertising.  When all you had to do was put out an ad and people would...or wouldn't respond.  This form of brand marketing is totally different and it

Five percent get it, use it and work it.  They build strong digital relationships with consumers, mentors and employees that roll into real flesh and blood relationships.  It happens every day but it  That nasty word that most business people want to replace with the word "advertising". 


The article is correct, consumers do have the power.  What is missing is Main Street often fails to connect with them. If you read the article you'll see loads of big companies who use social media to attract and retain consumers.  If it's good enough for Target...

Thanks for reading and if you would like to leave a comment here, feel free or let's connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie (personal) or @InsightADV (business) and here is our advertising agency Facebook Page.  Have a great week! - Michael


Agriculture & Rural Lifestyle

Our advertising agency has had, for years, a focus on agriculture and the rural lifestyle.  That doesn't mean we've not assisted urban based companies with branding, marketing and's just that we get a kick out of  Here we are in Illinois:


Over the past several months we've been on a major video project for a client based in Kentucky.  We've traveled to farms in Georgia, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio and at each location we've met some of the best people in the  Folks who produce food and fuel for the rest of the world.  Some shots from Central Iowa:


Some of our new friends farm thousands of acres...some just a few hundred.  They all share a concern over the environment, the rapid advancement of technology and what the future of their industry will look like in the next ten to twenty years.  When you think about it...that's much the same as your concerns.  And our friend Bart from Georgia:


Thanks for visiting...if you would like to leave a comment here, feel free.  Or let's connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and here is our advertising agency Facebook Page. - Michael


We're Excited!!

Earlier today I received an email from a friend who wanted to show me the major advancements his company was making with social media.   It was tongue in cheek.  He knows we're greatly involved in SM so he wanted a reaction.  I read through the eight page memo that had come from their social media consultants.  It was all there.  They had words like "consumers", "viral", "Facebook", "Tweet" and on and on...

They also had words like, "The Social Media Team" and they forgot words like "YouTube".  It was a pretty good "first look" at social media but it won't get used...well.  How do I know?  Because the memo was part of a corporate conference call encouraging various divisions of the company to use social media.


It wasn't organic.  It was not full of was full of another word: "Marketing".  People don't want to be "marketed" to they want to be inside, have a conversation, enjoy the benefits of "membership".  They want to be heard not preached to.  Like I wrote back, "Looks like there is plenty of business for me well into the future."  And, yes...we included the first couple of seconds of the "set up" above.  A peek at the back story?

Oh, here is some "Yellow Gold" from Ohio....


If you would like to connect feel free to leave a comment here or on Twitter it's @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and here is our advertising agency Facebook Page...  Thanks for coming by!




Losing Your Voice...

For years we have counseled business owners and politicians about theMan Question importance of their "voice" in describing Business Blogs, Twitter and Social Media in general.  When you take the time to communicate, in your voice, through a blog or Twitter consumers/voters become familiar with who you are, how you think and what to expect.

That's why it amazes me when companies/people "outsource" their voice and hire people to manage their Tweets or write their blog.  It's phony...and you lose creditability.  Yet, we see it all the time.  We railed on former Iowa Governor Chet Culver, in person and on-line and pleaded with him to communicate with his constituents directly. (He lost the election by the way.)  Now Governor Terry Branstad is doing the same's not his "voice" but his handler Tim Albrecht


We're so committed to this line of thinking that we've turned down business from perspective clients who have come to us asking that we manage their social media.  "No, we are not you.  You have to be real, you have to do the work."  People don't want to hear from a "hired gun" they want to hear from you.  What are YOUR thoughts?  What do YOU have to say?  What can we LEARN from YOU that will help us better know you...and who you are?  Sure, we'll teach you how and what and when...but you can't hire us to do your work.

Perhaps Ashton Kutcher can turn over his voice to a handler...we think it's silly...but OK.  But not you.  Not your business, not your future...not your voice.

You can add your voice to a comment here or follow us on Twitter: @MichaelLibbie (personal) or @InsightADV (business and here is our advertising agency Facebook Page.  Thanks for coming by! - Michael



Learning Through Networking...

We all network.  It's really called talking but somebody thoughtMarva Mike Mingle Nov 2011 "networking" was a cool we network.  Networking is an amazing "word of mouth" method of marketing.  Early on Thursday morning the Urbandale Chamber held a "Monthly Morning Mingle" at In the Bag.  The event was sponsored by realtor Marva McCarty of RE/MAX who told us this information about the Des Moines Housing Market:


Meanwhile, for back up, here is the information the Des Moines Register had on the same topic. (Just so you know we're not making this stuff up.) Good news for the Metro and shocking for folks living in other parts of the country.

Later Mike Taylor of In the Bag spoke about his business and some rather new spin-offs.  One part is about appreciation marketing and the other was an introduction to Eagles Wings River Retreat


Not everybody talks politics or sports...from time to time folks gather to celebrate small business successes that go on despite what is happening in the rest of the world.  Networking, if you ask the questions, becomes a great learning tool.

If you want to leave a comment here, feel free.  Or we can connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie (personal & business) or @InsightADV (business and here is our advertising agency Facebook Page.  Thanks for coming by! - Michael