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April 2007
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June 2007

Gosh...Thanks Sherry!

Sherry_borzo_2 Every once in awhile I go to Google and simply type in the name of our advertising agency (Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...or simply "Insight Advertising Iowa") and see what pops up.  I also sometimes type in my name "Michael Libbie" to see what also might come up.  It helps us keep tabs on things and check our work.

Friday I typed in my name and up pops a piece from fellow Business Blogger Sharry Borzo of DSM BUZZ  (Visit them by clicking here.)that was written for the Des Moines RegisterClick here for the story.

What was really nice was when the Register asked her what business books she had read lately Sherry admitted that it often takes her too long to get through a book and said, "I find marketing consultants who blog are great to read.  Local Bloggers like Michael Libbie and Mike Sansone offer great ideas in their posts..."

Golly...Sherry:  Thanks again.  To be listed in the same sentence with my friend Mike Sansone, who got me started on this Business Blogging adventure was, well...great!

Hello_woman We've ranted before about websites that have as contact e-mails addresses such as, "Sales@" and "Info@".  We think it's dumb because people should communicate with names...not "Info".  But what about those sites where you just can't find contact information at all?  Hey Web Developers:  HELLO...Hello...anybody out there??????

We were seeking contact information for the John Wayne Birthplace in Winterset, Iowa.  We wanted to set up an interview for our rural lifestyle radio show, "Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country".  We looked, and looked...never thinking we should look under "Directions".

So, we tried the Madison County Chamber of Commerce website.  We looked for a "Contact Us" button...nothing.  Their contact information is hidden under "Tourist Info".

OK...simple question:  IF you have a website and your goal is to present information is it important that people who are reading that information have a simple way to communicate with your company?  We would think..."Yes."

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here...and yes, there is clear contact information on every page of our website...or should be.  Thanks for reading!

Rural Lifestyle Radio - This Week

Hwy61_image_2 A quick reminder that our rural lifestyle radio show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country is on this Sunday morning at 8 on 98.3 WOW-FM here in Des Moines.

The show is dedicated to those folks living on small farms and acreages in an area of roughly 60 miles around Des Moines...that's about 150,000 people!

For a full look at what wev'e got planned for this week, just click here!

Thanks for reading and now for listening!

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

So, Does Buying A Million E-Mail Address Work?

Spam_image_1 I had lunch with a friend of mine who is convinced that buying a million e-mail addresses for $2,000 will help him market a new digital product.

Will it?

I honestly don't know, but I'm willing to be told the facts.  I do know how much junk mail and unsolicited e-mails come my way.

Let's look at the numbers.  Success rates for direct mail run between 2% and 3%.  (I have seen returns as high as 50% in the religious fund raising arena...I know because we kept track every year.)  But, costs with direct mail continue to rise, Paper, Printing and Postage in addition to the names and the Graphic Design all need to be figured into the cost.  It's NOT uncommon for a mailing to cost $1.50 to $3 for each piece depending on the run.  And even if it is a good list you can expect 2% "address returns".  It just happens.

My friend is going to buy a million e-mail names for $2,000.  Not a bad price.  His costs might be an additional $1,000 for any special graphics and/or writing.  Cheap!

But, will he get 1% return?  If so, he's got 10,000 folks on board...for about $3,000 in costs.  But there are risks.

  • It depends on "what" is being offered.  (Notice his is a digital product.) If the offer is for a mass appeal item.  It might work.  However, if the item offered is more specialized?
  • Your company can get "Blacklisted".  But some of these sellers of e-mail address do the blast from their servers which minimizes the risk.
  • Do you want to join the ranks of "Money from Nigeria" or "Improve Your Sex Life"?  It's an honest question.

So...what's your take on this?  Good idea?  Lousy plan?  Had any experience?  Let us know!

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

Reading the Tea Leaves?

Hispanic_family_3 If you've been paying attention this story should not surprise you.  If it does...break out those tea leaves...again.

Several weeks ago I published a piece about the changing demographics here in the Midwest.  The story, "Are You Fluent in Spanish and Elder Speak?"  If you would like to read the entire story go ahead and click here.

It had to do with the increased numbers of Hispanics and Elderly in the central portion of the country.  Today (Thursday) the Des Moines Register (I swear my friends there are reading our Blog...thanks!) there was a headline in the Metro & Iowa section:  "Iowa grows older, more Hispanic".  You can read that article if you click here.

Hispanic_young_couple The bottom line is that there are now 114,700 Iowans who said they were Hispanic or Latino as of July 1, 2006.  Ahhh...that's a 39% increase since 2000.  The story goes on to say that these numbers may be "under-counted".  In other words, due to immigration issues, there may be many more.  The fact is that the Hispanic and Latino portion of Iowa is growing more rapidly than the Black or Asian groups.

Meanwhile 14.6% of Iowans are over the age of 65.  Iowa ranks fourth in the nation behind Florida, Main and North Dakota.  For folks over the age of 85, Iowa ranks third.

So, what's all this got to do with you and your business? 

If you are an Iowa business how are you positioning your product or service to capture this growing market?  Do your existing products work for this market or do you need to consider new ideas or look to other markets to bring those ideas here?  If you are from outside this state what has worked in other areas with large Hispanic populations or older individuals?  Will a tweaking of the marketing plan work here?

Are you paying attention?

It helps...cause it's a heck of allot easier than reading those dang tea leaves!

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

Racing To The Customer - Business Blogs

Bicycle_race_blur There is a race to communicate with existing and potential customers.  The question is, "Are you going fast enough to win?"

Not too long ago I wrote about a client who made the decision to create a business blog so they might better get noticed, be found on the Internet and communicate with customers and clients.  It's worked for NTPDA and if you care to visit the article, just click here.

What is a bit vexing are the individuals we visit with who either don't believe us or try to create a business blog but fail simply because they can't see the value.  Even when it is right in front of them.

It takes a certain mentality to devote your company or business to finding out what your existing and potential customers have to say about your product or service.  Some folks prefer not to know.  Others seek out input and realize that it doesn't matter if it is positive or negative...both are things we can learn from.

Over the past two months we've worked with two different corporations.  Both needed coaxing to begin their business blogging adventure.  One kept it up and the other stopped after a couple of weeks.  No matter how much we tried to help and "coach" they simply decided to let it go.

Businessman_winner One wins...

The other loses...

But hopefully they both learned a little about themselves.

How about you?  Or, should we just save our breath?

Thanks for reading!

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

Good Guy - Great Job = Success

Rodney_miller Sometimes everything works out just right...even though it might look black for a bit.  It's something people of faith HAVE to believe in...

This is my friend Rodney Miller.  I've known Rodney for a long time.  His family was in the implement business in Southern Illinois, he still has an active farming interest of 1,600 acres there and he has worked in the tractor industry nearly all his life.

I knew Rodney when he was with Mahindra Tractors (from India) and when he was with Valtra Tractors (from Finland).  A couple of years ago when Valtra became part of AGCO Corporation he found himself on the short end of the transition.

Rodney took a job with Montana Tractors out of Arkansas.  Montana had been purchased by the Hunt Family (J.B.Hunt Trucking) and Rodney was chosen to become the CEO.  From my vantage he did a great job.  He took with him to Montana a whole crew of salespeople and professional tractor folks and helped Montana climb from a nothing into a company with nearly 350 dealers.   The dealers loved him and he responded.  It was his passion and his faith.

Several weeks ago we blogged about his sudden departure from Montana (You can read that story by clicking here.)  It was a surprise to the industry and I'll bet many dealers, Rodney had brought along, were shaking their heads.

The last day of April I got an e-mail from Rodney telling me that he had accepted a position as Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for McCormick International USA

It's a smart move for McCormick International.  In Rodney they will find passion and a sense of fairness.  But most of all, they will find the same kind of understanding for dealer issues that another friend, Joe_michaels Joe Michaels, brought to McCormick when they did their debut with Vermeer Manufacturing Company.  Dealers loved Joe...and they will love Rodney.

So, why take up your time with this post?  It's just a reminder that there is passion, commitment and faith among us.  Focus on those things and lift it up...and it's got to be success.  And, No!  McCormick is not a client of ours.  It's just friendship.

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

I'm OK...Thanks for Asking!!

Ok Hey thanks for the e-mails this morning!  Yes, I'm fine and glad you missed the daily business blog!  Its been one meeting after another today.  But...I've been thinking...

So, how often do you do a direct mailing to your perspective customer base or even to your existing customer base?  Once a year?  Twice?  Never?

I was thinking about that after we did a consumer mailing for a special event.  The piece went out to about 3,200 people in a set geographic area.  We had 45 returned or well under 2%.Mailboxes_003

The message was clear and to the point but better yet it was a TARGETED message to the key demographic for the client.

So, the question comes back.  How much direct mailing are you doing now...and will that change now that postal rates have increased?

Let us know?

Thanks for reading..

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

Sunday Morning...scratch that...Sunday Afternoon Beer

Coffee_cu_ps It's summer..or darn close to it.  So, coffee on Sunday morning is still the drink of choice.  However...I'm getting darn close to calling this little visit, "Sunday Afternoon Beer".  Ahhhh...maybe not.

This is, however, the time when we get to "catch up" on a whole series of events we didn't have time to post or talk about.  So...grab a cup...or a bottle...and let's visit.

I think, as my wife says, it must be a "God Thing".  Huh?  I'm talking about failing eyesight.  The other day I put my glasses on while in the bathroom combing my hair.  I have NO idea who that old man was that was there with me. Maybe that is another reason we tend to lose our ability to see?  The transformation is sometimes tough!

Today I rode my bike for 21 miles.  It would have been 22..but I cramped up at mile 21 and had to walk (actually hobble) back home.  Meanwhile my wife rode over 30 miles.  No walking. Way to go!

This past week I heard a bit by Ben Stein on National Public Radio.  He was talking about the disconnect between the war in Iraq and what is going on here at home...gosh like record Dow Jones averages.   It was a brilliant piece and points to the "disconnect" we wrote about months ago. (Click here.) Now, Ben Stein is NO liberal... but he makes a solid point.  Click here to read the entire post.  Yes he calls for the draft and yes he says we are fighting a war without end..because we're not serious about winning.  Great reading.

So, did you enjoy Mother's Day?  Me too.

My Iowa Stars are done for the season.  Too much from the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night in Chicago.  The final was 5 - 1.  Hey, the Stars are two years here in Des Moines..and both years they have made the playoffs.  Gotta love that.  Here is the story.

Here's one for you....let's say you want to do some television or radio advertising. The sales person from the broadcast facility is in your office.  You buy because the sales person had told you they have 25% of the market.  You assume that they have 10,000 people out of 40,000 folks.  BUT, is it a good buy?  Perhaps not...because 20% of everybody may not event HIT YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC.  You need to ask more questions...  Do will save you money!

OK...have another cup, that's it!  Coffee...and we'll check with you tomorrow! Thanks for reading...

Michael P. Libbie Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communicatons where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.

Rural Lifestyle Radio

Hwy61_image Just a heads up for you folks living here in Central Iowa:

Our rural lifestyle radio show update can be read if you click here.

We're on Sunday morning at 8:00 on 98.3 WOW-FM preachin' to the choir of roughly 150,000 folks living on 3 - 100 acres.  It's early enough so you can get a little news and information and still enjoy plenty of daylight!

Thanks for reading...and for listening!

Michael P. Libbie - Acreage Owner and Host

Can We Talk? Maybe Visit?

Business_conversation Blogging for Business is all about conversation and communication with existing and potential clients...

At least that is what we tell folks.  So, let's visit. 

I know, you're busy...we're busy too but we're all here to learn from each other so give let's hear about:

  • Your take on Marketing Plans.  Do you have one?  Do you think it might be valuable for you and your business to sit down and consider "what" your top three demographics are and then create a solid plan to go after them?
  • Your customer or client.  Who are they?  Really.  Why do they buy (or not buy) your product or service.  What are you doing to motivate them and/or change your message?
  • Branding.  What are you doing to enhance and magnify your brand amoung your key demographics?

That's it.  Simple and short.  If you've got a minute drop us an e-mail or you can enter the conversation right here.

Us_rodeo WOW!  Congrats to our friends at U.S. Rodeo Supply and Timothy L. Johnson of Carpe Factum. According to another Central Iowa Blogger, attorney Rush Nigut, that now makes eleven members of our small group of about 20 - 25 who have made the business page of the Des Moines Register! (Here is the story.) Well done...somebody there is reading and paying attention and we're all grateful.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations where you can always make contact with us by clicking here...thanks for reading!