No, Don't Ignore It!

I was having a conversation with a business friend of mine who was railing Man Noiseagainst "these social media sites" that share customer input on their experience.  That would include Yelp, TripAdvisor and yes Facebook and Twitter among others.  He said, "I don't know why they complain on social media how come they don't say something when they are in the store so we can fix it there?"

He has a point but, welcome to the digital age where anything and everything goes.

I asked him what he does when he gets a social media complaint and he said, "I ignore it.  It's just stupid and it will go away."

But, it won't.  There is a way to deal with social media complaints that, as you do it, actually boosts your brand.  Here are some tips:

  • Acknowledge to Goof - If something happened that ticked off a customer don't hide from it.  Use it as a way to show your ability to listen to the customer;
  • Offer to Make It Right - True, some folks just want to play mean but if the complaint is real find a way to fix it and say so. And, don't be afraid to do it publicly;
  • Be Nice - Look, we get it...nothing feels better than to fire off a Tweet or a Facebook Post so you can "get back".  That is until somebody out there copies the post, circulates it and then who looks bad?  Resist the impulse;
  • Use the Moment - While it's true that in the digital age anybody can complain about anything and often stay anonymous.  No matter if it's a "troll" or for real.  Use the moment to help consumers better understand who and what you are really like.

I really liked this piece from Hootsuite and how they used negative comments to re-build:  



Who OWNS Your Website?

Our firm has been working to help a non-profit re-claim their website. Huh? Own It Words Yep. We've now run into this a couple of times and it's something you should know.

You may "think" you own your existing website but, not so fast! Sometimes the web-developer continues to hold the magic keys and when there are "issues" that can't be resolved they "own" it and can take it down.

Because your website is, most always, the first point of contact with consumers you need to make sure you hold the keys.  Here are some quick tips:

  • Ask the Question - When you're in development make sure you ask, "When we're done with this project do we have control over the site from updates to hosting?"  And, get the answer in writing;
  • Non-Profit Boards - I've been on hundreds and because they are made up of volunteers who have "real lives" often the record keeping is pretty bad. Make sure the "contract" or "agreement" is on-file and everybody has a copy;
  • Cheap is Not Always Good - Non-profits (and many small businesses) don't have a pile of cash to invest into their website. However, cheap is still cheap and not always the best of solutions. Get some professional help. Your job is to run the non-profit mission or business not become a marketing professional;
  • Document Unresolved Issues - If you already have a website and you've been experiencing slow updates, a developer who is always busy and doesn't have time to help make sure you document the interaction between your board and the developer.  It keeps everybody in the loop and, if legal issues follow, you've got a record;
  • Stay Professional - It can be frustrating to work with unresponsive firms but stuff gets "passed around" try, hard, to stay professional in your email conversations.

Each non-profit board member has a "friend in the business" and the member really wants to help.  That's great but when it comes to business (and make no mistake your non-profit is a business) don't short-cut the decisions.  It could all come back to bite you.


Own Your Space!

Most small, or owner managed, businesses simply don't have the resources Own It Wordsto cover all the media bases available. So what often happens is they "dabble" in several.  A little money goes to print, a little goes to radio, a little goes to television.  Then they add the "free stuff" the many social media platforms thinking they must be on everything because so many people use social media.  So they dabble in Facebook, Twitter, have a Blog, maybe Pinterest maybe LinkedIn. 

Dabbling rather than owning their space.  And, by dabbling they are hearing a great sucking sound and not much impact from their advertising. Spending lots and not getting an ROI.

If any of this sounds familiar.  I get it.  That's why you need to alter your marketing and "Own Your Space".

Once you identify where your target demographic is hanging out get in there and don't just "dabble", own it.  If it's print (newspaper) be there several times a week.  If it's radio be there in a rotation that will make it seem like you own the station. If it's television don't buy just one as many as you possibly can. not DABBLE.

Here's how you start.  Right now add up all the advertising you are currently doing:  Radio, Print (Newspapers to "Neighborhood Magazines"), Professional Online Listings, Trade Shows, Billboards, Google Ad Words, etc. The Chamber Membership that has never brought you a dime. Even include the High School Sponsorship you've been doing for ten years after your kids have graduated because you feel "a relationship".

Bet it's a pretty good chunk of change.

Now pick a media, one that is in concert with your target demographic, and "own your space".  Learn how to say "no" to everybody else until your seeing measurable ROI.  Then, and only then, move on to another media.

One other thing.  If you are "owning your space" in whatever media you use, make sure you alter your message.  Stay with the over-reaching theme but change things up so folks don't get tired of what you are saying. 

Thanks for reading!







The Folly of Digital Start Ups?

I am about to peek behind the curtain.  You know, that old bit from The Jack Matthews March 2015Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"  This is not intended to cast doubt or to discourage our digital start-up community. It is intended to point out that the goal of business is to produce a profit. Making money, we would think, beats out the latest "wowza web-based, app infused techno company".  Stay with me on this.

Over the past several years I've asked dozens, if not hundreds, of "digital dreamers" if they are making money.  I get answers like, "Not yet but soon." or "I'm doing this for the love of creation." or "We're building it to sell and that will come."  Meanwhile they compete for angel investors, first round financing and the attention consumers with an ever growing array of tech choices.  The work, the dedication and the dream are all celebrated...but who is making money?  

Meanwhile, Jack Mathews, the close to 80 year-old newspaper guy who retired two decades ago, gets bored. He sees opportunity with a hyper-local news site.  Our Grinnell launches in 2007...long before folks knew what "hyper-local" meant.

Last year Jack went back to publishing a newspaper (yep...a NEWSPAPER!) that shares the back story of economic development. The Grinnell Business Journal started as a quarterly, now is published every two months.  The goal, says Jack, "Is to make this a weekly business news publication."

One other thing, Jack is turning a profit.  And he's doing it with an old school media piece called a "newspaper".

Just like my friends that are in digital design he has passion.  He has, just like they do, talent and knowledge of the business.  He also has a product that is tangible, familiar, usable and adds value in a space that is not currently covered.

We just think it's a great story and something for business to think about. How can you add value to a niche of consumers that are under-served?




The Perfect Customer

I was buying some things for the office and, not exactly sure of the Happy Customerspecifics of what I wanted, I let the owner guide be to the right items. That adventure got us talking about "The Perfect Customer".

"You know", he said, "We had a meeting not long ago where we started writing down the qualities of the perfect customer. Now, don't get me wrong, we would sell our products to anybody that comes in. However, the perfect customer appreciates the relationship we build and our product knowledge over price. If somebody were to say to us, 'I can get that for a dollar cheaper over at the big box store.' We would match the price but if it is always about price vs. value and building a solid relationship.  Well, we'd rather spend our time with those perfect customers."

I get it.  If you live by die by price.  There is always somebody that can beat or match your cost. However, when you focus on product knowledge and work at building relationships with your customers you'll keep them for a very long time.

That's the real value in The Perfect Customer...


Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!

Business, Gatekeepers and The Magic Bullet

It's astounding that business gets done.  So, does your business employ Woman Gatekeeper a "Gatekeeper"? You know...somebody that has instructions that unless the Governor don't want to be disturbed or do you simply use your voice mail system as your gatekeeper?

Either way you may be missing "The Magic Bullet" that might propel your business to the next level.

Here's the deal...if you are in marketing or advertising or if you have a closely held business and YOU are the marketing and advertising department and you don't listen to every pitch that comes to your may be missing out.  Besides, if you are the marketing department your job is to listen to each pitch that comes by.  You never know who has the next bright idea that will be trans-formative.

Don't have time?  Sure you do...and you know it.  Best business advice you might get this month:  Listen...and return those phone calls. Somebody might be trying to help.


We're Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and you can find us on Facebook and we monitor Twitter @InsightADV. Thanks for reading!

This Week on The News Hour

Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie and a new KRNT Logo Web 2 week.  Each day Monday - Friday starting at 5PM on 1350-KRNT, Des Moines (click here for the Podcast Page) we not only bring you the business news but also interesting interviews with business leaders, start-ups, entrepreneurs, non-profit executives and news-makers.  Here is the line up for this week:

Monday - We welcome Becky McCray to the studio to talk about rural economic development and later in the hour Brianne Sanchez-Young about a new professional non-profit program.

Tuesday - From Indianola we make welcome Jason White from the Warren County Economic Development Corporation to talk...economic development and more. Then we'll visit with Katie Roth of Portico Staffing what is it and what do they do for business?

Wednesday - Ernest Phillips of TUG Consulting will be our guest.  We're intrigued by what it is he does. Then in the second half hour Adam Obrecht will visit with us about building wealth.

Thursday - We're going to do some in depth work with Amy Fredrichs from The Principal.  What's going on in the US with small business owners and more. Then from the Grimes Chamber we welcome Brian Buethe to talk up Grimes Development.

Friday - Our friend Darcy Maulsby will visit us and we'll have a conversation about rural economic development and more.  We end the week with our friend Lindsey Smith of Exhibit Smith and talk...museums.

Insight on Business the News Hour is made possible through the support of Mr. B Clothing of Clive, The Fireplace SuperStore of Urbandale, The Warren County Economic Development Corporation of Indianola, The Kreamer Law firm of West Des Moines, ReMax Real Estate Concepts of Des Moines, Westside Auto Pros of Clive,  West Bank of Des Moines, Merit Resources of Des Moines, the Iowa Computer Club of Des Moines and The Rick Davis Team of Des Moines.

The News Hour is a production of our advertising agency, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and you can join us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour and here is our Facebook Page for photos, videos and more.  Thanks for reading.

WOW...Stunning and Thank You!

Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie celebrates nine IOB_RGB web 1 weeks of broadcasting on 1350-KRNT. Nine weeks ago we began doing what nobody else in the Des Moines Metro thought was voice to business with an hour-long, local and live broadcast that features the business stories of the day, economic development items and interviews with news-makers, business people, start-ups and more.  The response has been wonderful and we are grateful.

And, because we know you can't always listen on "our time" (5PM to 6PM) we've created a podcast page where you can download the broadcast interviews from your desktop to your mobile device.

And, here is the link to the Mobile site.  During these nine weeks over 13,000 of you have come by to download a broadcast.  Thank you!

Yes, we stripped out the news portions so you can enjoy the insight of our wide and varied guests.  For example, just this week we've hosted:

Greg Edwards - Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau;

Tom Swartwood - From Drake University on start-ups and entrepreneurs;

John Hale - From the Hale Group on direct care givers in Iowa;

Steve Wilkie-Shapiro - About the economic impact of rehabbing buildings;

Gordon Fischer - From the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation;

Chuck Kuba - From Iowa Diamond with an entertaining interview;

Ralph Rosenberg - From the Iowa Environmental Council about water;

Brent Isenberger - Small business owner and business photographer.

And today (Friday, November 1) we'll be visiting with Steve Mathews from the Radio Garage adn Chaden Halfhill from Silent Rivers.

As you can see, we burn through plenty of people each week.  If you've got a story for us or know of a unique business let us know.  Our news email is And, thank you for listening!

Insight on Business the News Hour is made possible through the support of Mr. B Clothing of Clive, The Fireplace SuperStore of Urbandale, The Warren County Economic Development Corporation of Indianola, The Kreamer Law firm of West Des Moines, ReMax Real Estate Concepts of Des Moines, Westside Auto Pros of Clive,  West Bank of Des Moines, Merit Resources of Des Moines, the Iowa Computer Club of Des Moines and The Rick Davis Team of Des Moines.

If you want to follow us on Twitter it's @IoB_NewsHour before, during and after the broadcast and here is our Facebook Page for the photos, videos and back-story of the News Hour.

Celebrating A New Month!

October 2013Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie has been on the air, broadcasting the business news of the Des Moines Metro, for over a month! Each day M-F we bring you the news of the small, medium and large businesses of our communities along with interviews of news-makers and business people. Our broadcast partner is 1350-KRNT, Des Moines.

This week we've got a number of scheduled interviews:


Leisa Fox is the Vice President for Membership of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. We'll visit with her in the first half-hour. Then Kyra Jacobson and Taylor Thomsen from the start-up White Willow Events join us after the stocks and ag report.


Creighton Cox from the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines. Then, Laura Gaulke is in to talk about the upcoming social media class at DMACC.


State Senator Jack Hatch will visit the News Hour followed by Chris Coleman who will visit about the Beaverdale Neighborhood Project.


Aaron Hoffman comes in to talk about I/OWA the tech and start-up conference coming to Des Moines this month. Then Rick Davis from the Rick Davis Team talks home-ownership.


Tom Welchans is the president of the Iowa Junior Chamber of Commerce. They are in town for an annual meeting.

Join us for the business news and interviews all this week. Should you want to join the conversation before, during or after the News Hour log onto Twitter we're @IoB_NewsHour and we monitor our feed before, during and after the broadcast. And, for some of the back-story of the News Hour head to our Facebook Page for photos, video and more.

Insight on Business the News Hour - What You Doing?

Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is our Monday - Friday broadcast about economic development, business news and  KRNT Photo interviews with news-makers. We're live at 5PM just after the CBS News on 1350-KRNT, Des Moines, Iowa. Connecting with us is easy, on Twitter it's @IoB_NewsHour and we monitor that stream before during and after the broadcast.  If you use Facebook and want to connect to see some of the "back-story" from photos to videos just click right here.

Today, along with the news, Wall Street Journal Report, Stocks of Local Interest and the Report from Agriculture we're packing in several "rapid-fire" guests with their stories.

In the first half hour we welcome Jason White from the Warren County Economic Development Corporation.  We're going to talk about the ground breaking that went on today as Warren County welcomed the expansion of C&L Industries. 

Also in the first half hour we've got Gunner Olson from Des Moines Area Rapid Transit (DART).  It's been several months since DART moved into the new transit building and rearranged some routes.  We'll check on the progress and ask how business is going.

Then a conversation with our friend Alexander Grgurich who is TEDxDM.  They recently had a successful event and are planning some new items in the near future.  Alexander and...TEDx.

We'll also visit with Rick Davis about how to finance the "big dream".

Those stories, the news and more today at 5PM on 1350-KRNT, Des Moines.