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June 2007

Rural Lifestyle Radio in Des Moines

Hollow_head_vinyard_michael_l_2 For those of you lucky enough to live here in the Des Moines, Iowa area we invite you to have a look at our radio show blog for Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country.  More photos and a better outline if you click here.

Each week we talk about living the rural lifestyle complete with projects, tips and stories of importance to those of you living on small farms or acreages.

This week one of our guests will be Michael Leo.  Michael, from Austria, has always dreamed of having a vineyard.  So...with the help of some friends (Yes, that is me on the only piece of mechanized equipment allowed past week) we planted about 1,000 grape vines on a 3 acre hillside just south of Des Moines.  He'll be on the show talking about that experience and how living the rural lifestyle here is so different than living that lifestyle in Austria.

Hwy61_image_2 That's Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country heard each Sunday morning at 8am on 98.3 WOW-FM.  If you can, come on by for a visit.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us (NOT for manual labor) by clicking here.

What Happened to the Week?

Man_gun_or_noose I don't know...maybe we should have Congress pass a law that says we can only celebrate holidays on Sunday!  Four day work weeks are killing me...

Not sure what the heck happened but it is Thursday morning already and I've got three days of work to accomplish before tomorrow.

You know, I have this formula about the work week...I once worked in the "corporate world" and I came to believe there are really only two working days in the week.  Ready?

Monday - Nobody works on Monday.  Why?  Most folks are reviewing their Saturday and Sunday adventures with co-workers.  Monday is shot.

Tuesday - Nobody works Tuesday morning.  Most folks are fretting about having missed all day on Monday so work "really" doesn't start until Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday - Is a solid work day.  Unless you are a Church Elder and have a program to create before services.  (Do churches still meet on Wednesday night like they once did?  I may be showing my age again.)

Thursday - Corporate America works on Thursday MORNING.  But don't expect much on Thursday afternoon..."Hey, we've got a weekend to plan for!"

Friday - I HATE "Casual Friday".  I've been to offices where the staff on Friday looks more like "Jimmy Buffett Rejects" than business folks. just promotes the whole idea that..."Hey, we have a weekend to plan for...and it starts today!"

There you go...Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday morning...Two Working Days each week.

Excuse me...I've got to get back at it...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.

Returning to Memorial Day

Flag_wagon  Allow me a few minutes to move from a business blog about advertising, marketing and communications to "remember" a little...  I promise we'll get back to business tomorrow.

I was born five years after the Second World War ended and the year the Korean War began.  My father served four years on a Navy LST in the Pacific.  Everybody on our suburban street had a tie to the military.  Everybody.

So, when "Decoration Day" (For some reason my parents called the day by it's original name, but we knew the meaning.) rolled around it was a big deal on our street and in our town.  There were flags on every house, kids would decorate our tri-cycles and bicycles with crape paper running between the spokes and ride them in a pre-parade event up and down the block.

Then we'd pack up and head into town where bands would play patriotic music and flags flew from every lamp post.  We'd fall in line and join in the parade following the still young men who formed the local VFW.

Unknown_cemetary After the parade we would make our way to the local cemetery.    As a young boy this visit always struck me as a little odd.  After all we really didn't know anybody buried in this cemetery because we were newcomers to this suburb of Detroit.  But that wasn't the point.  We were there simply to remember.  Remember and observe the sacrifice of others, much of which was still very fresh...

That was five decades ago and that is the memory I woke up with this morning.

In between those fifty years many more young men and women have served and died while wearing the uniform of our armed forces.  Families of those touched by that loss can point to several wars and conflicts as they join the long line of mourners who today remember.

Dog_tag_helmet We're now engaged in a war that will contribute even more names etched in bronze, stone and the minds of friends and families.  Is it right?  Is it wrong?  I'm not entering that discussion. Today the politics are not important.  Neither are hot dogs, auto races or boat rides.

What matters today is that we should, as a nation, stop...and remember.  After all, it is Memorial Day.

Michael P. Libbie - Where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.

Be Safe This Weekend...

Grilling_friends It's nearly "closing time" around our place for the Memorial Day Weekend...but before you (and we) rush out to enjoy some time with friends and family we had three things to visit with you about:

The first is to ask you to do whatever you can to stay well and safe.  Hey...we know folks are really READY to get out and rev up the Summertime Fun.  And, we're all about that.  It's just that we hope you do so responsibly...come back on Tuesday...all of you.

Grace_picnic There's a bunch of stuff to do and to enjoy...but like most holidays sometimes we forget the actual reason for the time off.  Memorial Day...when we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  We're hoping you and your family might pause for a bit this weekend and remember those who didn't come back to their families. 

Hwy61_image Finally - we're on the air again this Sunday with Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country.  It's a rural lifestyle radio show for folks who live on small farms and acreages here in Central Iowa.  If you're up on Sunday morning at eight you can catch us on 98.3 WOW-FM.  To check what we've got lined up...just click here.

Have a great weekend...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.

Good Stuff Takes Time

Time The other day we were approached by a perspective new client who asked us if we could do a design project for them.  The quick answer is "Yes!" but we always ask for more information...

Turns out that the business wanted a number of things, not just one project.  All of the items could be done but then we got the "rest of the story":

"We'd like to be able to get all this done by the first week of June."

  Woman_shock We sat at the table a little stunned.  You see, the business in question wanted a new video presentation, a thirty-second television ad, a new logo design and several new brochures that would support their new message and image.  I broke the ice and asked, "First week of June 2008?"

Maybe there is somebody out there that can make this happen...we can't.  To put icing on the cake...the entire process had to be approved by a committee of their Board of Trustees.  In other words:  "Ain't No Way!"

Believe's not that we are THAT's just that the "creative process" takes much longer...  Much, much longer.

Mcdonald_logo Consider this:  When McDonald's announces a new "Value Meal" or a new addition to their menu that product and all the creative work took months and months.  A friend of mine Sam Soifer who owns several restaurants once told me the process can be nearly a year.  And, that's with a company that is used to "fast change".

And cost?  That is always dependent on the amount of time.  Rarely do we "hit"on the very first attempt.  In fact, our style is to prepare several "looks" to our client and then carefully review each for how they match the real or perceived needs of the market strategy.

Anyway, we thought we might write a short piece on may help all of us look at things more realistically.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here

Give a Little - Get a Bunch

Give_and_take Yesterday we published a short piece about the changes our Des Moines, Iowa AHL hockey team (Iowa Stars) might consider as they attempt to better market themselves to Iowans.  At the end of the piece we listed four "truths" that any business could or should follow to get noticed and drive business.  They were:

  • Know Your Target Audience
  • Partner with Success
  • Create or Invent a Reason to Buy
  • Passion for the Product

Art Dinkin, a regular reader (Here is his Blog) asked me to build a bit on the "partner" aspect.  Sure...

In The Stars case it is pretty simple...they just need to become very visible at existing large events they may not (today) see as important partners.  The old advice: "Nothing breeds success, like success." 

Give_rose_woman Art's question, I think, had more to do with how to reach out and then get noticed.  For him and for you, there are dozens of successful events and programs hungry for your leadership and vision.  The list gets pretty long when you consider your house of worship, fund raising groups, professional groups, civic groups...each one begging for help.  You just could be the person who propels the mission to further heights.  In doing so...folks notice and, once again...success follows success.

But, a word of must be passionate about the effort.  If not, you are wasting your time and you'll get zero in return.  So make the choice carefully and while you are doing good treat the effort as a business investment.  It will pay off...

So, what do you think?

Selling Hockey - Like Selling Seed Corn

Corn_kernnels This past week the Iowa Stars (AHL Hockey) replaced John Pettit who served as president of the club for the past two years.  (You can read the DSM Register article here.) John is a good guy...but the Stars need to come to grips with HOW to market the team to Iowans.  They can learn something from seed corn producers.

"What?", you scream..."What in the world does marketing seed corn have to do with selling a hockey team to Iowa?  Farmers need seed corn, Iowans don't need hockey!"  Let's look at it...

Michael_and_ron The Iowa Stars put less butts in the seats this past year (9.5% less) then they did in the first season.  Some of that is to be expected as the "first season hype" settled down.  But where the Stars failed was making the team "one of our own".

Look, there are a dozen seed corn producers.  Go to any farm show and you'll see a bunch.  They all survive because of BRAND LOYALTY.  While some will argue the small points there simply isn't much of a difference between Ottilie Seed Corn and Renze Hybrids.  But, both companies have created a solid fan base and they survive.

What can the Stars (or your company for that matter) do to capture the attention of a more broad fan (customer) base?  Here's a short list:

  • Admit you just don't know Iowa and get an Iowan to help you market the team.  It's not that these folks from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Canada aren't great guys...but you can spot them from the length of the arena.
  • Become part of other very successful Iowa events.  The Iowa State Fair, Iowa Power Farming Show, The Pork Expo are just a small sample of where you can mix it up with "regular Iowans".
  • Create a "reason" (Other than good seats) to be an Season Ticket Holder.  Several corporations in the city did not renew their season tickets...why?  Why should they?  Got to give them reasons.
  • Stop being so Politically Correct.  Hockey is a loud "in your face" sport.  Experienced fans "get into it".  If you want a sedate crowd...head to Principal Park and watch the I-Cubs.  Get the crowd into it at the game...raise the level of activity and noise.

Did we suggest these things to John and the team over the past two years?  Yes.  Response:  "0"

These four things work the same for selling hockey, seed corn, insurance or compact tractors

  1. Know the Target Audience
  2. Partner with Success
  3. Create or Invent a Reason to Buy
  4. Passion for the Product

Thanks for reading...what say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations where we love our Stars and our passion for marketing and can reach us by clicking here.

Shhhhh...Keep This Between Us!

Dsm_fireworks Well, not really!  It seems like Des Moines, Iowa continues to celebrate getting noticed by the rest of the country.  So, we thought we'd help spread the word.

When we moved our offices to Des Moines a little over three years ago we did so because we believed it would be a positive move for not only business but also our quality of life.  And we were so right.

Forbes_logo A couple of weeks ago we reported to you that FORBES had Des Moines listed as the fourth best city in the nation for business and careers.  (Go ahead, have a look and go to FORBES by clicking here...we'll wait!)

Old News?

How about this:  The Urban Land Institute listed Des Moines in the Top 10 Turnarounds in their April - 2007 Issue.  Here is what the article by Ron Nyren said:

Mayers_bike_ride_music "After decades of decline, American downtowns are back - and not by accident.  Ten cities illustrate downtown revival that came about by popular demand.  A vision plan developed during the early 1990's established an initial blueprint for downtown Des Moines's revival, and in 1995 business leaders created the Downtown Partnership, now called the Downtown Community Alliance.  The results include cultural, entertainment and sports attractions; the new central branch of the public library, the 17,000 seat Iowa Events Center and the 110,000 square-foot Science center of Iowa museum all of which opened in the last two years."

East_village_dsm "The downtown continues to add hundreds of housing units each year, and the pedestrian-friendly East Village neighborhood hosts a thriving nightlife, with restored historic buildings and retail and restaurants pitched to a young, creative crowd.  Currently underway is the Principal Riverwalk, a 1.2-mile series of landscaped walking paths and bridges linking downtown from east to west, designed to tie the new developments together."

All of this and a fifteen-minute commute.  This is great, thanks Des Moines!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations - proudly settled in the Des Moines Metro and you can make contact with us by clicking here.

I'm The One...Blame Me!

Millie This is "Millie" the vehicle I use for Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications.  I just wanted you to get a look at her because she'll be going much slower in don't hit her or give me the single finger salute...

Actually, I should have gotten a good photo of the rear of "Millie" because if you live in Des Moines and you see somebody traveling BELOW the speed'll be me.

This is called, taking control and not waiting for others, like the government, to come to my rescue...they are it's up to me.

Gas_sign_329 This is why I've come to the realization that in town I'll drive no faster than 30mph.  On the highway no faster than 55mph.  A week ago the cost of a gallon of gas was $2.95.  Today, as you can see it's up to $3.29 and projected to go higher by the weekend.  (By the way..the reason AAA says it is going higher...ready for this...this is sooooo inventive that I'm holding you in suspense for a moment longer.)   The reason AAA says the price of gas has gone up is because, " stays light too long"!  I am NOT making this up.  Now it's God's fault!   I figure that if God is now involved in setting gas prices I need to change my ways.  So, I'm done...finished...kaput!   And where possible...out comes my other method of transportation...

Billie Meet "Billie"! (Goofy name...but work with me here!)  "Billie is now the vehicle of choice to go to the post office, bank, and a host of locations all within a couple of miles.

If the travel is less than a couple of miles...I have another alternative mode of travel:

Willie Meet "Willie"...yep, I'm walking!

With fuel prices on the increase and two things are certain.  1) We've got to come up with more inventive excuses and 2) We predict that soon it will look more like Taipei around here than Des the way:  You making any changes in your travel methods?  If so, we'd like to hear from you.  We've got readers all over the country so we're honestly interested in your take.

Taipei_street By the way, this is what it looks like in Taipei...just in case you were wondering.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always get in contact with us by clicking here.

Making Any Changes? You Should!

Business_man_remote There are some shocking numbers out there suggesting that the public, in general, is very, very skeptical about what they are told and about the future.

The Associated Press story which appears in the Monday Edition of The Des Moines Register (Page 2 or click here for the article.) indicates the mood in this NOT GOOD.

So, what's this got to do with you and your business?  In a word:  Everything!

Now might just be the right time to gather your marketing people together and really examine your advertising and public relations efforts.  Look at the message you are sending out and ask yourself if it is believable and creditable.

According to the story Americans are looking for "leadership".  The stretch from that quest to a creditable sales and marketing message is not very big. 

Look at what you are projecting...are you over promising, offering something that seems too good to be true or using words and phrases that (in another time) might have worked but now can raise the level of skepticism for your target demographic?

Now...there is another thought:  Because people are SO hungry for answers and leadership they just may buy any message that even remotely sounds good.  Gosh!  I think we're on to something...

The problem is...we don't do political marketing.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can make contact with us by clicking here.