Asking For The Order...

I remember attending a sales meeting at one of my first broadcast jobs. It was a little odd because the "on air" people usually didn't mix Sales Needle with the "sales people" but I was curious as to what they did to keep us...paid.  I'll never forget his wise words that ended the meeting, "Never, ever leave the sales meeting without asking for the order."

So simple yet so profound. Both the sales person and the client know what the meeting is about. I mean I've had sales people take me to lunch, have a nice chat but they never actually asked for the order. 

But this post isn't so much about sales as it is about marketing. Ready?

I'm not sure how much time you spend checking out the various reviews a business gets, say on Google. My Bride always checks the reviews before she buys anything.  And that's where this story goes:

Not long ago I did some business with a printing company for a client.  We had created eight large posters for an event and sent them to our commercial printer who we've used for years for that sort of thing. They did a nice job, they turned the project quickly, we were satisfied and our client was blown away.

Then something interesting happened.

Google Reviews ImageWeeks later I got an email from the owner of the printing company asking me my thoughts about their work and if I would recommend them.  I answered that I was impressed with not only the quality but also the pricing and the turn around.  He then asked me if I would rate them on...Google.

And, of course I did.

He asked for the order.

There is plenty of competition out there for whatever you are selling so, how can you stand out? Ask for the recommendation and make it public.  There are folks out there, like my Bride, who will dwell on those reviews and how many "stars" a product or service has. And it often makes the buying decision easier and more informed.

And, the best news is your cost is practically zero.


Where Are the Workers? Asked and...Answered.

Let's visit about the Labor Shortage.  A couple of weeks ago I was at an event organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. It is one Now Hiring of the largest business groups in the nation. The breakfast was designed to outline their legislative wish list for 2022.

During the Q & A session one business person asked this: “Everywhere you look there are businesses looking for workers but they are not there.  Where have these workers…gone?”

Well, the answer is complex but let’s take a shot but I can tell you it all starts with...money.

An MIT and CNBC analysis earlier this year found that even a $15 minimum wage wouldn't be a living wage for many families. Anecdotally, businesses paying higher wages haven't struggled as much with labor shortages and understaffing.

Show me the money…is what we’re hearing.

Man BoredThe love, hate your job issue is real. According to an Indeed survey of about 1,000 people who "voluntarily resigned from at least two jobs since March 2020," most of them (92%) said "the pandemic made them feel life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about."

Flexibility is important:  One of the industries feeling the most pain is leisure and hospitality. Even if employers in that sector increase wages, they may have trouble finding workers because those jobs have to be done in person…and there isn’t much flexibility in scheduling.

According to one survey of 10,000 knowledge workers from Future Forum, workers want flexibility in both location and schedule.

Child care is an issue. First will the children be safe and secondly child care is so expensive that many parents have done the math and it makes more sense to stay home than  pay child care costs that may be more than their mortgage payment.

Fear of illness: As the pandemic stretches on…many workers just don’t want to chance getting sick. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that, in November, 1.2 million people didn't look for work because of the pandemic. In addition, some workers may be quitting or staying out of work because they're hesitant to get the vaccine, as more businesses put requirements in place.

Early Retirement: More workers have…also…retired early…we covered that moments ago…and now some may want to come back into the workforce…time will tell.

Immigration is also a root cause of the shortage: There are about 1.2 million adult foreign workers or work-eligible immigrants who are just not here because of the restrictions that have been imposed during the pandemic.

Job Disconnect: There is also a job disconnect between available workers and the jobs that are open. 48% of jobseekers surveyed by FlexJob said that they're frustrated with the job search, because they weren't finding the right positions — and the ones that are open pay too low.  Back to pay again.

Job burnout is another factor: Some workers are resigning because of burnout, putting added stress on employers and the remaining employees. Workers are taking on extra duties as companies struggle to fill positions, leading these workers to also feel burned out.

Technology is also to blame:  Qualified workers might be applying for roles that fit them, but hiring managers don't even know. Some Employment Application are getting filtered out by hiring software. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, a Harvard Business School study found that over 10 million workers are filtered out by hiring software.

Employers also filter out workers because of preexisting biases and inequities.

Roughly 70 million workers don't have a college degree, but are known as "STARS" — Skilled Through Alternative Routes. They account for two-thirds of American workers, but many may be filtered through educational requirements…that often really don’t match the real world job requirements.

Often felons are filtered out:  And there continues to be a big divide when it comes to white workers vs. black workers…with black unemployment still high.

Entrepreneurship:  Finally…people are done working for others and want to become their own boss.   According to Bloomberg's reporting on business applications from the Census Bureau, there have been a record number of applicants in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the first nine months in previous years.

The US reached its highest number of unincorporated self-employed workers during the pandemic so far in July 2021 — also the highest number since the last big crisis to hit our country in 2008.

So, where have all the workers gone…?  Lots of possibilities.

IOB LOGO BWAbout Insight on Business the News Hour:

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


The Podcasting Fad...

Back in 2010 we added podcasting to our business. We thought it was the next iteration of blogging so we hooked up with Podbean and Studio May 22 2009 started podcasting the business news interviews from Insight on Business the News Hour. For some reason we figured people wouldn't want to listen to the business newscast. Wrong, and it took us several years to figure that out. Just like the 24/7 cable news shows consumers, it turns out, want the news on their time...not ours. (Photo is from May of 2009)

Our numbers in those early days were rough. We would post up the podcast and share with our guests and they, often, just ignored the opportunity to share those links...even though we sent out a "one-page" on how to get even more traction from their interview. Some even suggested they thought the whole podcasting thing was just another "social media fad".

But, we kept it up and it's turned out to be very successful. So when I saw this article from Inside Radio it didn't really surprise me.  But it might you.  The top line is this:

    "The just-released third quarter Share of Ear report from Edison Research shows that podcasting has captured a 14% share of ad      supported audio listening among Adults 25-54, the age group that advertisers focus on more than any other. That is more than twice    podcasting’s 6% share among ad-supported audio four years go."

MPL and IOBAnd when it comes to the financial side of podcasting check this line: "In terms of revenue, the Interactive Advertising Bureau/PwC outlook for next year forecasts a 31% growth rate."

We'll take that.  If you would like to read the entire piece from Inside Radio here you go!

Today we're on six different podcast platforms all fed by our friends at Podbean. If you would like to follow along just Google Insight on Business the News Hour and pick your favorite platform. Or this might make it easier:

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.

 


Retain or Replace Your Customers?

Recently we did an interview with Basel Nassar the founder of Boss Nation, a collection of dog and cat food, treats and gear. During that Basil Nassar October 2021
conversation Nassar talked about relationships and how important those are when he is enlisting stores to carry his products. He said, "My marketing team wants me to spend thousands of dollars in social media outreach, and while that is important, I don't believe it is better than building solid personal relationships with the people who carry our brand."

He is so spot on.

That comment led me to this Marketing Tip and it's about building relationships with those who sell your product and those folks that buy your product. The bottom line is that we all, each of us, want to matter. We want to matter in our personal and our business lives. If we matter (or have a Customer servicerelationship) we are much more inclined to stay with a product or service and often for years.

That is true of startups and established businesses…but sometimes the bigger we get…the more distance we put between our business and our customers.

Click the player to listen to the entire story. It takes only five minutes but it could change how you think about your...customers...you know, the people who matter.

Thanks for reading and for listening.

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Staying Vital in Small Town Iowa

It's a return visit from Lyle Muller of Iowa Watch - The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Today we're talking about the Lyle Muller MPL 1118 incorporated and unincorporated communities in Iowa and the success/failure of business, population growth and quality of life. How some small communities are doing when it comes to all manner of business issues. We'll also talk about broadband and how some towns have been able to go it alone. It's a fascinating conversation that is not unique to Iowa.  Here is that article and here is our conversation. 

Thanks for listening! 

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Getting Stuff is Getting Harder

There are two signs Americans are seeing almost everywhere. The first are the "Help Wanted" Out of Order Sign signs or the "We're Hiring" flags posted in the hope that somebody...anybody will show up. The second most common sign is "Out of Order". Here it is on an ice machine at a very nice property at Lake Okoboji in Iowa. The staff told me it's been out of order for a couple of weeks. "We just can't get parts", she said before she took my ice bucket into the closed restaurant (COVID Hours) for a fill up.

Getting stuff is getting harder and it's no wonder. As I write this there are 125 cargo ships at anchor off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. Two weeks ago there were 75. Some have been there for weeks waiting to dock. But there are fewer dock workers, fewer trucks, fewer drivers.

The trucking industry says it is anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 truck drivers short. I spoke to one industry executive who told me they are no longer able to guarantee delivery on a specific date. His company recently had to settle with a customer who shipped a trade show booth by truck only to have it show up days late. 

Retail experts are saying that if you are planning on giving gifts this holiday season you might want to purchase them now because inventory is low and there isn't a light at the end of the supply chain tunnel. It's becoming more likely that what sits under the tree this year might be a picture of the gift...rather than the real thing.

All of this has a serious impact on price. If you remember your old Econ 101 class on supply and demand you get it. High demand and low supply means higher prices for consumers.

Maybe we're starting to get it. Retail sales numbers for August were up by .8%. Economists had predicted a drop of .7%. That is a major miss on the guess and should be a bright spot for the economy but what about the future?

I'm a journalist and a marketing/advertising professional. I don't have much of an answer other than to suggest that you shouldn't over promise, or perhaps even promise, delivery of your stuff by a date certain. Be honest with your customer. Let them know upfront that supplies are tight and that you'll do your best. 

Consumers have become conditioned to "one day shipping" so it's going to be tough for them to wait but, waiting is becoming the new reality.

One other point that makes a big difference is how you and your staff handle the supply chain crisis. The cheery woman at this property with the "Out of Order" sign told me there was another ice machine at the far side of the facility but then said, "Let me have your ice bucket, I'll fill it from our restaurant machine. It will only take me a minute."  Sure, I could have walked the hall but she made the effort, was honest and it was truly appreciated. And that little gesture boosted their brand and in the end that is what I'll remember.


Effective Communication Tools for NIACC

Hello...as I indicated in the video below I was to have presented a business class this past Monday on Zoom. For some reason students were unable to connect and I really feel bad about that.  So....check out the audio portion below the video to hear about my thoughts regarding Effective Communication for business and your personal life. My thanks to Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner for their insightful book, "Your Invisible Toolbox - The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation". I use this fantastic book all the time and highly recommend it to you. What is really neat is that while over 100 topics are discussed none are longer than two and a half pages.

 

The audio portion of my presentation on Effective Communication is below.  All you have to do is click to listen.

NIACC Effective Communication August 2021

Thanks again and I truly hope we've got the Tech Bugs behind us.  Hope to visit with you each Monday at Noon through the North Iowa Area Community College. The link to the program is here.

You can reach me a number of ways: MPLibbie@gmail.com or IOBNewsroom@gmail.com or my direct line is 515-331-3207.

Take care!


Join Me at EntreFEST!

It will be really special! People from all over the country will be converging on Cedar Rapids, Iowa for EntreFEST June 10 - 11. Why? Great MPL ENTREFest image 2021 question.  People will be coming to learn and earn for their startup dream or their current entrepreneurial business. On hand will be a host of speakers on topics from finance to marketing to wellness, diversity, sales...you name it. If it has to do with business you'll find something here that clicks.

This will be my first time at EntreFEST and I'll be speaking on Podcasting for Business. I'll cover topics from why podcasting rocks to equipment, sales, promotion and more. Plus, for those who want some "one-on-one" time I'll be available for questions and offer some coaching tips.  So why me on podcasting? We've been doing the daily Insight on Business in podcast form and on the radio for a dozen years.

In addition, because we do this every day.  I'll be there to record some "evergreen" business interviews that we'll use over the next several weeks.  Hey, you get to be part of our "studio audience" as well. 

Here is your link to purchase tickets for EntreFEST 2021 and BONUS...if you use the promo-code LIBBIE you'll get 20% off the price.  Also, if you're not keen on making the trip you can join the event virtually as well.  So, no excuse for anybody anywhere on the planet to miss this great event.

See you in June!


Baby, I'm Amazed...

The ability to connect with customers, clients and co-workers has never been greater. Go ahead, pick a platform from traditional media use Connecting Puzzle Image to podcasting to a host of social media platforms. Never before has there been so much opportunity yet utilization, real utilization, and the understanding of how to make it all happen tends to rest with just a few of us. I'm amazed.

Last week I joined Clubhouse (thank you Ben McDougal) and was involved in a deep dive into journalism. From how people are consuming the news to the many platforms that are available to a deep concern about an aging population that still relies on print and what happens when that goes away. We talked about news silos where people only get their information from a source that aligns with their personal/political view. We chatted about independent writers and journalists that are freelancing and publishing on Substack or on their blog or in an electronic newsletter. Baby, I'm amazed...

If everything that I wrote in that second paragraph reads like some sort of techy gibberish you would not be alone. Think of that entire ecosystem as a layer of knowledge and activity that is going on in what would seem like an alternative universe. And, to a point it is. News Typewriter

While the vast majority of people and businesses survive on some traditional and "old school" models of marketing, advertising and information gathering you need to know those old models are quickly going away or being replaced with other means of connecting. And, that...can be a blessing our a curse.

It all depends on your target market...the people that really matter to your business.

I was watching "Better Call Saul" the other night (If you've not seen it...go...you will not be disappointed.) when the main character Jimmy McGill, a down on your luck attorney and the person who later becomes Saul Goodman, recognizes an opportunity to do something called "elder law". Jimmy_McGill Saul You know, doing wills and trusts for older citizens.  In one scene we see what appears to be a long-term care facility day room with dozens of elderly people talking, playing cards, doing puzzles and the staff is handing out Jell-O Cups.  As the people eat the Jell-O there is a message printed on the bottom of each cup that says, "Need a Will? Call Jimmy McGill" and an image of McGill's face.  And, of course, McGill is in the room glad-handing each person and giving some really over the top complements.

Brilliant...  You see Jimmy knows his customer base and it would be a waste of time and money to try to reach these folks with traditional media and so he does some inventive "direct marketing" on a personal scale. Now, the show doesn't tell us how successful this method is but if he gets just eight people, out of the sixty there, he's made a good return on his investment.  But, the key was he KNEW who and how to connect.

So, where is your key customer? They may be consumers of local radio or television. They may be die-hard print subscribers or they may be digital consumers or early adopters of various communication tools from Clubhouse to Twitter. The question to you is, "Where are my customers/clients/co-workers spending their time gathering information?"

Figure that out and you...win.

 

 

 


Voice Work - Keeping it in the Family

Over the years we've been doing Insight on Business the News Hour I've been able to work with some very talented people. Voice work Hunter Voice Work Dec 2020 from Jimmy Olson, Tyler Hackenmiller and Mariah Lewis all from the Des Moines Radio Group. There's Jane E. Morgan from my old station 94.5 KKEZ in Fort Dodge, Iowa and Mike Fellers/Stu Stevens another local Des Moines, Iowa independent. All great folks and still call on them from time to time.

Several years ago I needed some voice work done...FAST but everybody was booked or maybe I was just too anxious. 

That got me to thinking about our daughter Hunter Pease who has always delighted friends and family with her many comic voices. You've got to see it to really appreciate her talent. Anyway she was close and had the time so I asked her if she would read some liners. Bam! She did a really good job for never having done anything like this...and she became "The Voice of Insight on Business the News Hour".  And, yes, we pay her...so she is a professional.  Here's some of her latest work that we turned out just this week.

Hunter Focus and Find Sample

Pretty good for never having any formal training.  I think we'll keep her.

Thanks for reading and letting me brag just a bit.  And, if you want more of what we do you can subscribe to the newscast that comes with long-form business interviews by doing a Google search for Insight on Business the News Hour and picking your favorite podcast platform. Or, I can make it easy and have you head to Podbean to subscribe.

Thanks for reading!