Always Fun Being Part of a Launch - Country Vet Naturals

When you watch an idea become reality it's the biggest kick we get here Grouping horz cookies at the agency. Three years ago we started talks with our long-term client Country Vet Pet Foods about changing their formula, creating a natural dog food and packaging that matched what it was. Clearly consumers were asking for it...all we had to do was deliver. 

Then it was testing names, packaging designs, formulas and now, three years later, Country Vet Naturals is being launched at Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee.

All weekend representatives from Country Vet Naturals will be visiting with dog owners about the food and the new treats, Country Vet Naturals Quick Bite Cookies (In Oatmeal/Cranberry thank you very much!).  

Will it be sold in Des Moines?  We're hoping so.  Now that we've finished this round it's on to additional natural pet food products and loads of new ideas regarding the formulation.

We like what we do!


Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is located in Des Moines, Iowa.  On Twitter it's @InsightADV and here is our Facebook Page.  Thanks for reading!

The Hashtag and Twitter Event Management

It happens all the time.  A group or promoter is holding an event.  They have a Twitter account and they are encouraging other "Twitter Engaged" attendees to "talk up" their event but fail to let folks know how to follow.

Just last week a client of ours was attending a regional meeting for Hashtag Sign organic lawn and garden items.  It would have been the perfect place to share stories, images and more about the conference.  However, the planners of this thirty-year old event had not considered a hashtag to help folks follow the conversation and simply directed people to follow THEM using their Twitter Handle.

Nope...won't work.

Engagement between attendees should be the goal.  After all, if you are bringing people together for an event you want to help them connect with each other...and you.  Attendee "side chat" is far more effective and it's much more personal...which is what social media is all about.

Creating a hashtag isn't hard but there are some considerations:

  • Length - Remember you've only got 140 characters on Twitter if you use up twenty-five of them with your hashtag it doesn't leave much room for comment;
  • Usage - You will want to find out what is being or has been used in the past.  We recently attended an event in Little Rock and used #NTPDA13 with is the association letters and the year.  That usually works pretty well;
  • Broadcast In Advance - Long before your event start sharing the hashtag with attendees or and folks on Twitter.  You can include it in the signature of your email, on your website in your blog;
  • Don't Over Explain - But, let people know.  Folks who are "into" Twitter already get it...but who knows, some new people might be attending so at registration make sure you push the idea...even maybe with a handout: "Connect with others during the event on Twitter by following #NTPDA13".

Then, use it and start connecting with attendees, friends and fans of your event.




If you would like to comment here, feel free.  Or let's connect on Twitter @InsightADV and our advertising agency Facebook Page is right here


Trade Show Marketing

I share these stories with you because many business spend thousands of dollars at trade shows and receive little in return.  That's no way to run a business.  When your trade show ROI stinks it leaves everybody with a bad feeling about the event.  Let's change by starting with the "look" of the booth.

This past week we were at Pheasant Fest, the biggest upland bird hunting event in the nation.  Our client is Country Vet Pet Foods based out of South Dakota.  Here is the video and then I'll share the top points as to what makes this display...great.


It might surprise you that the booth is five years old but, because we used a minimum of words and focused on the images, it doesn't get...old.  In addition Country Vet did not skimp on the booth or the design.  It's paid off over the years.  A couple of other "staging points":

  • Visitor Comfort - Notice ALL of the tables are counter-top height which allows visitors to the booth the opportunity to be eye level and not be forced to bend over to "sign up";
  • Booth Lighting - There was "enough" light in the building but the added booth lighting helped make the images pop and get noticed;
  • Clean - Lots of traffic but the staff made sure the booth was clean, all the time;
  • Staff - Everybody dressed in the same shirts, colors and they were engaged...critical elements;
  • Product Placement & Samples - You KNOW what they are doing;
  • Spokesperson - Company spokesperson Lyle Steinman is at the booth meeting consumers.

While it all "looks easy" it is astounding to us that more companies simply don't put in the work to insure a great trade show event.  Congratulations to Gary Kubicek and our friends at Country Vet!



Farmers Speak Out...

This week is the 57th Iowa Power Farming Show being held at theIowa Events Center in Des Moines.  Not only is this the second largest farm equipment/products/services show in the nation it's

We took our camera to the line of folks waiting to board the free shuttle buses sponsored by our client Calcium Products and asked them to speak out about, Groundhog Day.  When is it?  What special things will you be doing?  Are you going to the sales?  And...we meet somebody who actually had family in Pennsylvania to see the Groundhog!  Royalty I tell you...


So, why post this?  Because you can also have some fun when you're marketing.  Honest.  Thanks for coming by.  If you want to connect leave a comment here or follow us on Twitter @InsightADVHave a GREAT GROUNDHOG DAY!


Pickups Loaded With Cash...

Today begins the three-day run of the Iowa Power Farming Show.  ItIowa Power Farming Calcium Products marks the 57th time producers, manufacturers and loads of 4-H kids flock to the Capitol City to see what  What is "new" is the fact the Iowa Power Farming Show now ranks as the 2nd largest indoor farm show in the...nation. (The National Farm Machinery Show based in Louisville still holds the number one spot.)

 Over the years my friends at the Iowa/Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) have guided this show (and it's twin based in Lincoln, NE) to new heights.  And it has been deliberate.  Four years ago, as we sat in Kansas City, my friend, Andy Goodman the President/CEO of INEDA told me his goal was to build a larger, bigger show, support a new downtown hotel and help move the renovation of Vets Auditorium...two to go.  But there is more:

Agriculture is riding high.  Land prices in Iowa have set records, corn and soybeans prices continue to put cash in the pockets of farmers and rural manufacturing has seen the benefit.  This week, as thousands of pickup trucks rumble into the Capitol City, they are filled with cash.  But, for the most part, urban retail centers are not noticing.  They are unaware and that's too bad.  Think of the possibilities of attracting consumers with cash to spend.

And, if you're locked into one of the downtown buildings take a walk to the Iowa Events Center and have a peek at the power of agriculture.  I think you'll be impressed.

If you want to leave a comment here, feel free or let's connect on Twitter @InsightADV.  And if you are tweeting about the show try #IPFS12.  Thanks for coming by! - Michael 



Trade Show Tips - Make Them Work

Trade Shows, if done correctly, can bring real, measurable success to yourTrade Show crop investment.  But, like anything else you've got to focus on the event and go with a plan and a booth that works.  Let's review several critical areas that can make a difference in your ROI.

  • Know The Show - Is your target market attending?  Is the show...stale?  Would another show be offer more for the exhibitor and the guest?  Bottom line is:  Just because you've "always gone" to this show doesn't mean it should stay in your plan. 
  • Attractive Eye Appeal - Clutter does not work.  Old does not work.  Clutter does not allow the visitor to know your focus.  Old means...old.  If your booth is over five years old...change it.  It's served it's purpose...move on.
  • What's The Plan? - Somebody on your team must be responsible for not only the booth but also the plan.  Just heading to a show, setting up a booth and hoping folks will stop spells disaster.  What is your focus?  What new, different, exciting stuff can you share with visitors and then there is this:
  • Follow Up - You've spent money on the booth, travel and lodging, salaries, media...time.  Now, you must follow up with the folks that came to visit with you.  Stats tell us that over 76% of leads never get followed up on...let alone go into a system.  If you fail to follow up...stay home.
  • Engagement - Don't "sit there".  In the trade show booths I supervise there is not a chair in the booth.  They do not belong.  There are exhibitor lounges where you can go and make calls, rest your feet, eat.  Your job is to stay focused on the visitors.  Engage them.  Ask open ended questions and offer positive statements about the reason you are spending time and money at the show. 
  • Comfort For The Visitor - If you are asking people to fill out forms, contact information, contest entries...make sure they don't have to bend over.  Have a tall top table in the booth.  This also allows for conversation to continue.  You won't be talking to the back of some body's head as they bend over to write.
  • Do Something Different - Have a contest, use video, comedy, photos and fun.  The idea is to GET NOTICED.  Enjoy and get the attention of the visitor.

And, then there is this.  A quick video I did at a recent home show here in Des Moines...pretty much sums it up huh?





If you want to comment, feel free or join me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie (personal and business), @InsightADV (business only) and here is our advertising agency Facebook Page.  Have a great day and thanks for coming by! - Michael

Four Trade Show Tips

We love helping our clients do a better job during trade shows.  It'sTrade Show crop   exciting to see a real return on investment rather than simply pouring dollars into an event and walking away with very little.   Here are four simple tips you can do at your next event which will bring you rewards and help build relationships with consumers.

  • Approach & Be Approachable - If you can walk outside of your booth it.  Engage people with a smile and direct eye contact.  Say, "Hello."  Act as if the event is the most important thing in your day (because it is) and get attendees to talk.  Say something memorable.  Engage...that's why you're there.
  • Ask Open Ended Questions - "What brought you to the trade show today?" is a good start.  Then...listen to the answer.  You, or you may know of someone at the show, might just have the solution to their quest.  (Bonus Tip:  Make sure YOU walk the show too and make a note about other businesses that have unique products/services and refer when you can.) When you ask a question that fails to get an answer you've got zero to build on.
  • Have An Approachable Booth - Please stop fencing yourself off from the attendees.  If you must have a table make sure it's tall and only in one corner of the booth space.  Put your phone down.  No eating in the booth...  Want to check messages, sit or have something to eat?  Head to the exhibitor lounge area.  Make sure your booth graphics are crisp and clearly identify who and what you are.
  • Get Information - Find a way to pull information from attendees who stop at your booth and then follow up after the show.  If you're not serious about doing business how can you expect your potential new customer to be serious about what you're selling?

If you would like some additional trade show tips and SEE what I'm talking about.  Here is a post I did last year with video.  Are you getting the most out of your trade show effort?

Thanks for coming by.  If you would like to carry on the conversation, leave me a comment below, send me an e-mail, come by out Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter:  @InsightADV



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.


A Video of Trade Show Problems

If you're in business it's a safe bet that you're running to trade shows.  Either as an attendee or as an exhibitor.  I've done it bothFEMA Showcase  ways.  I have attended and been responsible for hundreds of trade shows during my career.  I've seen the good, bad and downright ugly when it comes to marketing products and services.  When you have a poor exhibit and poorly trained people exhibiting your product or service it's a huge waste of time, talent

If you exhibit at one show a year maybe you can afford to screw up and do it badly.  However, most companies I know exhibit several times during the year often making trade show marketing one of their largest advertising investments. 

And the majority exhibit and work the trade show...poorly.

Here is a video I shot at the Farm Progress Show showing some examples of what not to do. (It's not a knock on agriculture, I've seen the same problems at trade shows for aircraft, industry, construction, plastics, banking, consumer goods, equine events...on and on and on.)

Meanwhile, here is a video of some pretty good booths and workers.  Not perfect...but parts of each are excellent.


So, what about you?  Need some help in proper planning and execution of your trade show program?   I bet you do...and I know that if you follow our advice you'll see an immediate return on your trade show investment.  (Which by the way can be a huge portion of your advertising and marketing investment.)

Let's do it right?



Bump on a Log - Trade Shows

This week I was visiting with a company about their future marketing plans when the issue of trade shows came up.  I asked if they had considered trade shows as a way to market FEMA Showcase their product to consumers who would benefit from its use.  "No.", was the reply, "We've never had any luck at doing trade shows."

I didn't find that odd...because I've seen them "work" trade shows.

They, like so many other companies, "work" the show in this manner:

  • Set up the booth - Making sure there is a table between them and the consumer;
  • Drag out the chairs;
  • Sit there, munch lunch and wait for consumers to be overwhelmed by their booth.

Trouble is...they are not alone.  I've been to hundreds of trade shows and the majority of exhibitors make the same mistakes and come away from the event saying, "That was a lousy show, we're not going back to that one."

What should you do?  Here is your check list:

  • Plan for the show - Trade Shows are MAJOR investments in time and money.
  • Train for the show - How to set up the event, what should be said, how should people interact with consumers; who should go...
  • Pre-Sell the show - Most exhibitors don't and that's a mistake.  Why not create the insurance that people will come and be interested in your product or service;
  • WHO should work the show? - This may surprise you...but I've found "salespeople" are the WORST to send to shows.  Public relations skills...not sales skills are... needed;
  • Follow up - Business fails to follow up on 79% of the leads generated.  You must assign this to someone and make sure it's done.

Do THOSE things and your investment will pay off.  But...then it's work...

If you are REALLY interested in improving your trade show skills here are TWO video interviews I did with "Trade Show Master" Tobias Eichberg from Germany.  Spend ten minutes with Tobias and make your next trade show a success... 

Let's connect on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and because this is a conversation as well as a "teachable moment" feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.  I'm interested in your take.