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September 2012
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November 2012

Easy Is Not...Best

We hear it all the time, "I'm away from my desk or on the phone but your Telephone Dusty call is very important to me. Please leave a detailed message..."  Ugh...  

Who made the decision this should be the standard outgoing voice mail message? Lazy people who care nothing about actually doing business. Their real mission is to ignore you so they can dawdle away doing...stuff.

Each week we reach out to various business, not selling, but seeking information on products, services and insight on behalf of our clients only to be ignored.  We are then forced to call back again, and again until we reach somebody who might be forced to take our call.

Today is Wednesday (morning) and this has happened three far this week. Calls and VM left for the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce (nada), the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (nada) Practical Farmers of Iowa (nada).  Weary...  And these are not isolated cases.

So, let's fix it.  We're not interested in casting blame but finding answers to what we believe is cramping the growth  Here are four easy steps:

  • Demand Better - Meet with your people and share with them that voice mail is not a screening process but a public relations opportunity.
  • Explain Economics - People buy from people and the more engaged you are with...people...the more stuff you will sell. 
  • How to Engage - Have your folks change their outgoing message...daily. It only takes a moment and lets the caller know you actually listen to your VM.
  • Promise a Response - Tell the caller you will call them back.  After all you owe it to them and if you can't call back right away make a note to call the next day...but do what you say...if the "call is very important" act like it.

Stop complaining about business and do something, simple, that will make a difference.  Being lazy is not the answer...



If you want to respond here, feel free.  And, you can follow our Twitter Stream @InsightADV and our advertising/communication agency Facebook Page is

The Thrill Is Gone...

Back in 1970 B.B. King had a major hit with "The Thrill Is Gone".  It was a different song for him and it became the biggest hit of his career. (In case you don't know the's a clip from 2009.)


Why was it such a major hit?  Because it truly was...different.  B.B. incorporated strings into a blues number...and he added his trademark soul to the 1951 song...years later.

I often wonder how many folks get up in the morning and hope somebody notices their business/product/service and makes the decision to buy something.  For many "the thrill is gone" and they are just going through the motions.  Their marketing ideas are old, they rely on the same old media and their message is stale.  

We see it all the time...  But, you can fix this in an instant, if you want.

Far too often business people look at their product/service through their eyes.  It's the same eyes that may have created the business model, invented the product and/or designed the advertising.  No wonder "the thrill is gone".

You've got to have fresh eyes and ears to see and hear what the consumer is really asking for.  Some years ago our friend Michael Wagner shared with us the three reasons a business fails:

  • Wrong Facility - The brick/mortar can't support new ideas;
  • Wrong People - The folks doing the work are simply wrong for the job;
  • Wrong Product - What you are selling...nobody wants or at least fewer people see it as relevant. 

It's a tough spot to be in and unless the business seeks new input things continue to fade and truly "the thrill is...gone".

So, what can you do?

Think like a consumer.  Step away from the manufacturing/selling/doing and think.  What is it that the consumer really wants and can you supply that demand?  This is where we think the thrill comes back. When new eyes and ears look at what your business is producing and comes back with...ideas.  

Ideas keep the thrill alive...

Thanks for coming by if you want to comment here, feel free or follow us on Twitter @InsightADV or our advertising/communication agency Facebook page is right here.


The SM Break Up...Urbandale HyVee

This is a tough post to write.  You see it's about "My Hy-Vee" in Woman Heart Break Up Urbandale, Iowa.  Over the years I've become friends with several of the 600 people now employed by this, the largest store in the chain.  That's not changed. We know each other, call each other by name and have a positive personal relationships.  And, yes, I still drive an extra mile to shop these "smiling aisles"

So, I'm loyal.  And, over time I've posted a number of videos...just for fun.

However, what was also a personal social media relationship has fallen on hard times. My Urbandale HyVee, it seems, has outsourced their Twitter postings to the dreaded "Home Office" and rather than engaging their followers the Urbandale HyVee Twitter Stream is loaded with blah, blah, blah...selling messages.

They got...lazy and in getting lazy My Urbandale HyVee is losing its personality.

The Double Edge Sword of Social Media

That's the trouble with social media.  Your Friends and/or fellow Tweeps get used to your "voice" and when that changes or becomes loaded with "corporate speak" you...lose your relationship.

The answer is pretty simple but, it takes work.  Outsourced Twitter Streams can work but the folks punching the keys need to remain engaged. It's called social for a reason.  That's why we recommend to our social media clients that they...NOT US...learn the best ways to make social media work for...them. But, like everything takes...time.

If you've got a comment or question feel free to say it here or join us on our Twitter Stream @InsightADV or our advertising/communication agency Facebook Page is right here.


Some Urbandale HyVee Videos

Over the years I've had some video fun with my friends at the Urbandale Hy-Vee. Here's a sample:

Ever notice how one store spends lots of time in creating "a look"?  Here's a promo for our show Insight on Business from 2010:


That same year I went on a "Search for Sabra Jalapeno Hummus":


Then there was this piece we did for a fund raising event for JDRF - The Thrilla at the Grilla:


In September of this year we said goodbye to the "Old" Urbandale Hy-Vee and all of humanity was...sad:


A month later we gave you a look at the New Urbandale Hy-Vee:


Fun times kids...


The Friday Wrap for Business

The Friday Wrap takes a look at several business/marketing stories Friday all loaded with our opinion.  If you want to comment, feel free!  Also you can follow the conversation on our Twitter Stream @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page, which is right here.  OK then...don't leave the office until you've read these stories from The Friday Wrap:

  • Old Ads - We love looking at what our craft created years ago and if you enjoy a chuckle or two our pick of the week is Old Ads Are Funny.
  • Facebook - Our friends at Facebook celebrated 1 billion users this week with a neat video on "connecting".
  • Meanwhile The Big Lie - However many small/medium business folks get caught up in marketing by using Facebook...often poorly. Our thoughts.
  • Central Iowa Bloggers - Gather the first Friday of each month.
  • The Goal - When you do a print piece your goal is to get noticed here's a creative piece from our friends at Hy-Vee that begs to do just that.
  • 5 in Twenty-Four - This week we were pleased to present to the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Business Women's Association of Iowa.  What did they learn?  We'll let them tell you.
  • Rural Blogging - Hampton and Franklin County, Iowa play host to writers and photographers from across the country...and Japan. What can your business learn for nearly free.

Here's the link for The Friday Wrap. Thanks for coming by and have a superior weekend!



The Big Lie...

Sorry to be so blunt.  The issue is Facebook and how neophyte marketers Man Lie Dectector "think" Facebook will be the marketing silver bullet propelling them to greatness.

It ain't gonna happen.

A week doesn't go by that we don't hear about some marketing person selling Facebook "Likes" as the way he/she will pull in loads of customers/clients by simply writing this type of post: "It's a wonderful day today. Make it better by coming in and buying a brand new car/boat/house/kid."

This week we received a call from a specialized marketing company who was being taken to task by their client (stay with me on this) because the client complained their Facebook link (located on the marketing company directory page) was not generating enough..."Likes".  

For fun we looked at the Facebook page of this client and it was filled with...crap.  Ya can't sell...crap especially bland crap.  

Here is the truth about social media marketing...ready? It Takes Work.

There you have it.  Posting "nothing to say" once a day does not drive traffic, create customers or engage consumers.  It's just...crap.  So, what does work? Here's a quick list:

  • Stay Personal - People buy from people. Share short stories about real stuff going on around your business;
  • Use Photos - Fact:  Photos get more "looks" than words;
  • Be Helpful - No matter what industry you are in consumers are looking for answers.  You are the expert in your industry...share your knowledge;
  • Facebook Ain't Enough - Unless you are a mega-company with a solid brand there little success in posting to Facebook only.  Use other social media tools to tell the "back story" of your business. Yes, that means
  • Traditional Marketing - Here's a shocker...not all of your customers know you have a Facebook page.  Most don't care but, even if they did what's in it for them.  Use traditional marketing to share the fact consumers can connect with you online but remember to give them something of value even if it's only the "inside scoop".
  • Video - Yep...but that too

The downside off this list takes time. Nothing is free.  Thinking Facebook, or any social media or traditional media marketing tool, will solve your consumer connection delemia buy using a lazy approach won't work.  The consumer is way too wise...

If you want to comment here, feel free or let's connect on our Twitter Stream @InsightADV and (yes we have one) our advertising agency Facebook page is right here.  Thanks for reading! - Michael Libbie



The Goal? - Open the Offer...

We love it when our clients listen to us and create a dynamic direct mail HyVee Dog Food 1 or print insert piece that will get noticed, opened and read.  While Hy-Vee is not our client (However they should be for the social media side of things...we could help.) they do have some pretty cool advertising stuff and here is an example. (Go ahead and click on the image...they get larger.)

It's a Des Moines Register insert from this past Sunday and it begs (pun intended) to get noticed.  And, what you'll open.

While Hy-Vee could have opted to send out a flat piece the die-cut makes it stand out...and that's what you want.  

HyVee Dog Food 2Inside there is plenty of room for specials and pricing. However, because it's so darn cute I wonder if folks will cut out the coupons?

A piece like this isn't cheap to design, however stock photos help.  And it's not inexpensive print.  But, remember we want people to notice and then open your direct mail or insert and this piece shows the way.  HyVee Dog Food 3

If you want to comment here, feel free or follow us on Twitter @InsightADV and/or here is our advertising agency Facebook Page. Thanks for coming by! WOOF!



Buzzing in Franklin County, Iowa

We spend time in the world of social media works.  We want...proof.  OK, let's visit about tiny Hampton, Iowa in Franklin County Harvet Tour 2011 Franklin County. (Who, by the way, scored a congressional debate last month.)

This is about creating a buzz about something when you have very little budget...but lots of friends..."with benefits".

Deb Brown & Greater Franklin County

Last year Deb (far left), who is a connected social media expert working with the The Chamber of Greater Franklin County, suggested a "Harvest Tour" and invited several of her connected social media friends to come experience Rural Iowa.  The result was loads of content plastered across many social media platforms.

Spending a fraction of what it would cost to bring in a "big name" person or act Deb was able to help her community reach out to thousands of Franklin County Harvest Tour 2011people by using social media. 

So Now What?

While, according to Deb, the general community is still working through what a "bloggers tour" is there is no doubt Greater Franklin County has caught the attention of...many.  So many that this weekend is the Second Annual Harvest Tour with writers coming from as far away as New Hampshire and public television from...Japan.  


For more about the Greater Franklin County Harvest Tour you can head to this link.  We'll be there sharing some insights.  Hey, it's what we do.


If you would like to comment on this post, feel free. Or let's connect on Twitter @InsightADV or our advertising/communication agency Facebook Page.  Thanks for reading! Michael Libbie