The New RAGBRAI Logo

When we first saw the 2015 RAGBRAI Logo we LOVED it! And, because Soviet Ag Poster (some of us are old enough to recognize some historical things) it looked faintly like a Soviet Agricultural Poster from the Stalin Era. See...

That made it all the better...great lines and the "red star" made it even more attractive. (Commies....)

Then our friends from the "cycling community" started to voice concerns, "It looks like the tractor is running over a bicycle!" was the most 
RAGBRAI Logo 2015common.  And, indeed, if you look at the logo with that eye...it does.

"News Flash!" (Yep, the words of the RAGBRAI Director...) Clearly the Des Moines Register graphic design folks must have read the piece written by our friend Kyle Munson just days before the logo reveal (maybe not) which centered on the killing of a cyclist in Calhoun County early this year.  The judge set down the maximum penalty under Iowa Law, $1,500.  If you didn't read that you can listen in to a segment of the Business News Hour where it was discussed. 

Did we happen to mention that Iowa has fallen in the rankings of "bicycle friendly states" from 6th most friendly to...25th?

But, this isn't about the pitiful way in which Iowa treats its cyclists.  Or how many folks in Rural Iowa think bicycles have no place on the roads of our state.  Nope, it's about the logo...which, by the way, we still like.

Now, if only, we could get more folks in Iowa to love cycling for more than the dollars it brings some of our hamlets, THAT would be super!

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Spending Some Tech Time with Marco

One of the things we love to do is bring in other media types to the News Hour and have a Marco Santana 10 April 2014 discussion on their speciality. Here is Marco Santana from the Des Moines Register talking up technology in Iowa...and the economic impact it brings the state.  

We continue our "All Tech Thursday" discussion with Marco Santana. We visit about the "Tri-Techta" that went on this week from the Technology Association of Iowa: The Prometheus Awards, Pitch & Grow and I2Iowa and more.  And, yes, we did lots and lots of "name dropping"!  Here is that conversation:

 
Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is heard Monday - Friday from 5PM to 6PM on 1350-KRNT, Des Moines.  Connect with us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour and, for more fun, here is our Facebook Page.
 

Business Development - Betting on Rural Iowa

Betting on the future of Rural Iowa Calcium Products, Inc. has purchased a vacant  1960’s school building located in tiny Gilmore City (pop. 504) DSC_1840 web and is in the process of transforming it into their corporate offices. “We’ve needed more space for a very long time”, says Craig Dick, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the firm which manufacturers north America’s most effective soil amendments. “The offices we co-located at one of our manufacturing plants.  You cannot imagine how dusty our old offices were. This arrangement will allow us to keep a presence in Gilmore City and give a boost to the local economy.”

Craig Dick said Calcium Products is seeking to add a number of people to their growing support team including customer service representatives, DSC_1842 webaccounting and administrative roles, and employees for other various positions. “We’ve been asked if we thought being in such a rural area would hinder our hiring. While it can be a bit more difficult to find people, when you do find someone in a rural area, their quality as an employee is unrivaled. When people are offered a good job with a very stable company and can stay in the community or return to the community they grew up in, it’s a winning combination for everyone." (Image: Accountant Susan Flurer standing in the gym area which will be transformed into offices.)

The employees of Calcium Products, Inc. aren’t the only people excited about this move.  Dick “Putter” Jergens is the mayor of Gilmore City and was helpful in securing the abandoned building. “I’d say it was sitting empty for at least fifteen years”, said Jergens.  “The local Catholic Church once had used it for their school and social functions.  But, as time went on and the congregation aged the building was used less and less.”  When asked about the cities relationship with Calcium Products, Inc. Jergens was quick to respond, “We are so proud of Calcium Products and their founder Larry Moore.  He and his family have done so much for Gilmore City and this is just another example.  This is good for Gilmore City because it’s a major boost.  Heck, if they add five new jobs that’s one-percent of our population and that’s a good thing.”

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If you wish to comment here, feel free or connect with us on our advertising agency Twitter Stream @InsightADV or our agency Facebook Page which is right here.

The Friday Wrap - July 6, 2012

Each Friday we offer up some advertising, marketing stories you might Friday have seen...or may have missed.  Each is laced with our comment.  We call it The Friday Wrap and give you some things to think about over the weekend.  To see these stories just click here on The Friday Wrap.  This week:

  • HyVee - They Are Smiling...Again;
  • Customer Retention - We like this idea...a bunch;
  • Andy Griffith - A vintage Post Toasties ad from the 1960's;
  • Mike Rowe - The Perfect Spokesperson;
  • Rural Hip-Hop? - Kansas farm boys do it;
  • Video on the Cheap - Not all video has to be expensive to be effective.

Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful weekend.  Wasn't it weird having a "Mini-Monday" in the middle of the week?  Here, once again, is the link to The Friday Wrap.

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Sunday Morning Coffee - January 8, 2012

We'll get back to business tomorrow.  Today you've got the chance toCoffee Cu ps drink up some Sunday Morning Coffee; our look at sex, politics, gossip, opinion.  The stuff you crave.  Don't just sit there, you know you want some!

This week:

  • Chris Hagenow - Week 47
  • Iowa Caucus - It's not just the GOP
  • CNN - We talk Social Media and...The Weather
  • President Obama - Grows some...
  • The Holocaust - A weight loss answer from Dubai?
  • Rick & Newt & Mitt - Huh?
  • Penguins - Happy Feet meets Raiders of the Lost Ark

Don't just sit there grab some Sunday Morning Coffee right here

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You are welcome...Michael

What Makes It "Click"?

I know dozens, if not hundreds, of people who look for that "magic bullet" that willMPL Twelve Thirty allow their product/service or campaign to click in the minds and wallets of consumers.  I want to share the secret(s).  It's timing.

Here is a great example:  Over the past eight months the State of Iowa has been the political and media focal point.  For months we've had to endure listening, reading and watching folks opine about our state.  Often missing the mark...completely.  Mix that fact with creative folks (tip #2) like Scott Siepker and Paul Benedict who have been (tip #3) paying attention and you get...this: (NSFW Edition...sorry it works better.)

 

535,000 views...and counting.  Oh, there is one other thing that needs to happen to make something "click" in the hearts and minds of the consumer you need to (tip #4) take action.  Just having the timing, being creative and paying attention won't get the job done.  You need to mix those with actually doing something and chances are...you'll click.

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If you would like to connect you can leave a comment here, or on Twitter it's @MichaelLibbie (personal) or @InsightADV (business baby...business) or our advertising agency Facebook Page is right...here.  Thanks for reading! - Michael

Got A Business Idea?

I'm working on a story line with a CNN producer who lives in New York.Iowa Sign  During yesterday's conversation I had the opportunity to answer some questions she had about Iowa.  We talked about the business climate here, the opportunity that exists and how Iowa has been spared much of the recent recession...pain.  While there are still many folks seeking work some have turned their time and attention to building their own startup.

And now there is more...help.

Proof that there are creative people seeking a way to promote ideas and small business is this piece from CBS News regarding StartupIowa.  My friend Christian Renaud is a tireless worker who promotes loads of solid ideas.  That's the stuff that comes out of our "fly-over state".  Exciting...No?

If you wish to leave a comment here...that's great.  Or we can connect on Twitter @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is right...here. Thanks for reading!

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Marketing...Education

I'm going to step out on a limb here...you see I'm not a teacher (to borrow a Holiday Inn Express line) but I know some and had children inChildren Classroom 1 public schools.  That being said, I am concerned with the recent data released this week from the National Assessment Governing Board and reported in the Des Moines Register.

In a nutshell the report tells us that Iowa students, who twenty years ago ranked in the top national percentages in reading and math, have slipped to the "middle of the pack".  And, it's across the board, white kids, minority kids, rural, urban...  That's troubling for...business and it should concern you.

I don't have an answer as to "what to do".  I'll leave that up to Jason Glass the Iowa Education Director.  However, as a "life long learner" who is fascinated with consumer trends let me offer up some marketing advice to all sides:

  • It Isn't Political - There are some folks who will latch on to this information and run to their partisan corner of the world pointing fingers at the other corner.  Stop it.  Consumers, the public, are sick and tired of that behavior.
  • Consumers Want Action - It doesn't matter if you're talking about telephone service or education.  Consumers do not understand how it is that hundreds of administrators, often without field experience, can tell the grunts how and what to do.  It ends in non-action and that is frustrating.
  • Be Simple - If you can explain "education reform" in thirty-seconds do this:  Film the answer and get it in front of as many people as possible.  We want answers.
  • Be Honest - Education doesn't have to be "fun"...it has to be "interesting" but if children spend six hours in an interesting classroom and go home to an "emotional wreck" with stressed a stressed out parent(s) it doesn't work.  There is a direct tie between economics and education.
  • Old Isn't Better, It's Different - It's not time to say, "When I was a kid..." it is time to look at how we use technology in the classroom and in the home.  When the folks that are writing the lesson plans don't understand how technology works...how can it work for students?
  • Parents - When will somebody start a media campaign that looks into the camera and asks how much time you, as a parent, work with your kids...learning?  This isn't all the responsibility of "somebody else".  Seriously...if companies can spend millions selling a new beer to consumers can't we find a way to sell the idea of responsibility to parents?

I'm just a marketer, a guy who creates desire among consumers.  Maybe its' time to create a desire for learning.  More rules, more tests and more politics don't seem to work well...  Sorry for the musings...it just bothers me.

If you want to leave a comment here, feel free.  Or we can connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie (personal) or @InsightADV (business) and here's is our ad agency Facebook Page.

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Farmers and Snow Invade Des Moines

The first three days of February will not only see the year's first big2002%20color%20logo  snowfall in Des Moines but also the 56th Iowa Power Farming Show a presentation by the Iowa/Nebraska Farm Equipment Dealers Association.  Andy Goodman, the association Executive Director tells us, "We've had our moments this year with Veterans Auditorium going through a major renovation.  That meant we had to move displays to the Polk County Convention Center and along the skywalk between there, Hy-Vee Hall and the Wells Fargo Arena."

Billed as the "Upper Midwest's Largest Indoor Ag Equipment Show" the Iowa Power Farming Show will play host to 640 companies occupying 1660 booths.  "We're ranked in the top six indoor farm equipment shows in the nation," says show manager, Tom Junge.  "If the weather treats us well and the farmers get to the show they'll be Flo IA Power Farming able to enjoy a great three days of exhibits and seminars all directed to profit."  Last year the show saw nearly 20,000 attendees from many Midwestern and surrounding states.

This will be the third year our friends at Calcium Products, Inc. of Iowa will sponsor the shuttle buses that take farmers and exhibitors from the Iowa Cubs Principal Parking Lot directly to the doors of the show.   There is no charge for parking...or for the ride.  "We've got some new things this year", says Calcium Products Sales Manager, Craig Dick.  "We'll be showing a video on each of the three busses that shows some of the highlights of our seminars from last year where we talked about soil science, increased yield and theIowa Power Flo on Buss  importance of soil nutrients such as sulfur."  Each bus will be escorted to the show by a "waitress" from the "Calcium Products Cafe" who will be handing out information cards about the daily seminars and helping attendees get to the right stop.  Seminar times:

  • Tuesday - February 1 - 11:30am - Hy-Vee Hall - Room 7
  •  Wednesday - February 2 - 11:30am - Hy-Vee Hall - Room 8
  •  Thursday - February 3 - 12:15pm - Hy-Vee Hall - Room 7

 

In Iowa, agriculture is king...and this event is where the king and his court gather to celebrate all that is new, exciting and innovative in the world of farming....see you at the show!

If you want to continue the conversation feel free to leave a comment below, send me an e-mail or let's visit on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV.

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Talking To Yourself?

I had a client ask me a question about the value of Twitter; which weTwitter_logo2  think is an amazing business tool. That got me to poking around to see how some folks use this social media giant. 

I plugged in the word "Iowa" in my Twitter Search and just started in...not so much looking at personal or individual Tweeps (that's what we call folks who..."Tweet"...I know...) but at those Twitter Accounts that push themselves off as "news" or "information" sites.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • @fwix– LocalDesmoines - Des Moines News – 18,500 Updates – Follow 20 People – 290 Followers – Tweeting Since January 2010
  • @thenewshounds – 17,100 Updates – Follow 0 People – 844 Followers – Tweeting Since June 2010
  • @IowaHawkeyeNews – 4,330 Updates – Follow 5 People – 248 Followers – Tweeting Since September 2010
  • @MedicalInformer – 14,026 Updates – Follow 74 People – 450 Followers – Tweeting Since November 2010
  • @IowaBlogs – (Iowa Bloggers) – 9,783 Updates – Following 0 People – 575 Followers – Tweeting Since August 2009
  • @BlogforIowa – (Blog for Iowa) – 1,750 Updates – Following 155 People – 722 Followers – Tweeting Since December 2008

And the Grand Prize Winner@DesMoinesNews with a total of 57,900 Updates - Follow 0 People and have 988 Followers  @DesMoinesNews has been "Tweeting" since 2007...

2007!

A couple of observations:

  • If I were pumping out over 15,000 Tweets in a year and have few followers I am just here to “broadcast” and I care nothing about relationships…or learning.
  • If I were “billing” myself as a “News” outlet and had less than 1,000 followers I’d have to ask myself…”Why am I spending all this time talking to myself?”
  • Some folks just don’t work hard – I figure there are more than 722 “Progressives” in Iowa…but then again…maybe not.  And 1,750 updates in two years.  Not much going on?
  • If you are a “celebrity” maybe it’s not important to follow folks but if you’re not…you’ll never get there.

Man Pain But...nearly 60,000 outgoing messages and only "broadcasting" to 988 people...in THREE YEARS?

They've got more time than I...and...must like talking to themselves.

I'm not being a Social Media Snob...but this tool takes some work and effort and I'm surprised how media just can't seem to understand...media.  To be fair...some of these folks might be doing this as a hobby...  I hope.

If you want to carry on the discussion - @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) or @InsightADV(business baby...business) leave me a comment here or join us on Facebook..we've got one of those thingys too.

Thanks for coming by...  OH...And a Tip of the Hat to the people at the Des Moines Register...  @DMRegister with 7,133 Updates - 9,799 Followers - Following 4,947 People - Tweeting since February 2008.  In addition many of their writers also Tweet.  An "old media" seems to "get it".  Interesting.

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