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Rural Lifestyle Radio - Sunday Morning

Hwy61_image Let's do it again!  Coming up Sunday morning on 98.3 WOW-FM is the rural lifestyle radio show - Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country.  If you are in the Des Moines area...give us a listen.

The show has a focus on living the rural lifestyle...and around here that's about 150,000 folks living on 3 - 100 acres of land.  Most of these people (64%) work in management or have professional type jobs.  They travel into the city to work.  When the end of the day comes they head back to their acreage or small farm. 

And, we talk about it.

On this week's show we'll raise up the issues that have surfaced this past week, give some practical rural living tips and have a special guest.

The survey of "ruralpolitians" tells us that 89% of own at least one dog.  Compare that with 64% of urban dwellers.  So, this Sunday our show is going to the dogs...sort of.

Lyle_kneeling Our guest will be Lyle Steinman of rural St. Joseph, Missouri.  Lyle and his retriever "River" just won the Super Retriever Series Crown Championship.   

So you are reading this and saying, "The what?".

Does the number $55,000 mean much?  That is what Lyle and River took home for winning this remarkable event.  And it was tough...but also heartwarming.  We'll talk about that special bond of family and their critters.

And, yes...Lyle, his wife Debby and the family live on an acreage so they are the type of folks we talk about each week.  Their place is Castile Creek Kennels.

For more about the show head to Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country and learn more.

Oh...and if you miss that show...tune in on Monday evening at 7:00pm for "The Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour".  It's the other show I do that focuses on outdoor activities of all kinds.  Lyle will be our guest on that show as well.  Also on 98.3 WOW-FM here in Des Moines.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we love our dogs too!

Can You "Speed Network" At My Age?

Speed_networking_2 So, I get this call from Adam Steen who tells me he wants me to participate in a "Speed Networking" session at Wine Styles in West Glen.  (Thanks to Andrea McGinness and her great shop!)  I ask Adam if it has anything to do with physical activity that would cause me any pain and he assures me it's simply an opportunity to meet some bright energitic folks who have business and professional needs and match them up to some of us that have been around for awhile (read..."old" here).

Wednesday evening we did some "Speed Business Networking" (five minutes with each particpant) and it was a great time.  I met some fantastic folks that I now get to introduct to you:

Minna Minna Khounlo is a graphic designer and owns Fugee Design & Marketing.  And, also involved with an upcoming Scrapbooking Expo!  What a fun conversation about our business and hers.

Amanda Brend now has her dream job with ITA Group.  She's fun, motivated and energitic about her work.  That was very refreshing!

Speed_network_1Anthony Marinaro is an event planner/manager with a new compay Out of Box.  His need is to hire some folks so he can get out of the kitchen and into the world.  Know any excellent chef types who enjoy creating a top notch event?

Katebw1 Kate Klein was electric.  If there was ever somebody that is destined to do great things it is Kate.  "Design on a dime...Fashion on a shoestring".  Too cool.

Amy Day is the corporate relations specialist from Simpson College Adult Learning who is trying to get some folks there to understand the power of the Business Blog.  Delightful!

Speed_networking_3 Mitch Mathews of "DoYouQ?".  Mitch has more energy than wonder he partnered with Adam, Tom and Hannah Steen to pilot this adventure.

Jenni Pullen who is an account manager for Adecco of Des Moines came by my table for a visit and it was a good meeting for both of us!  I made a recommendation just this morning on her behalf.

I did meet a number of other folks but, sadly they had no business cards...and I wasn't writing.  (Note to folks wanting to succeed...get some cards.  Us "old folk" can't always remember important stuff like who you are and what you do.)

Final word:  It was so cool to meet so many people who read our daily Advertising, Marketing & Communications business blog.  Well over half the folks I visited with are regular readers and had some great comments.  They usually started out with, "Gosh, you look familiar.  (I hand them my card.) OH!  You're THAT GUY!  I read your blog all the time."  I was humbled.  Thanks.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...we're into

So, I've got this question...

Ear ...and I'm listening.  We talk about business blogging as being a conversation with customers and clients and folks who simply have an interest.  So...let's try one out.

Listen up you web developers...I want your take on this:

We're right in the middle of building a new site for a client and I had a question posed about putting names of folks who actually run the business on the website.

The more I thought about it...the more it seems to make sense.  How often do we go to corporate websites and find NOTHING.  No humans at all.  Sure, there may be a "Contact Us" page...but a name?

What do you think?  I'm really interested. 

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations where you can fund real people just by clicking in.

A New Foal Hits the Ground!!

Rh_logo Many of you who come by to read our business blog know that we're really into rural lifestyle advertising and marketing.  Frankly, we believe that is one of the best possible marketing and advertising areas to work.  Great people, fantastic products and a professional attitude. 

So, we're really excited when a client listens to us and let's us pretty much ride with the ideas we present. 

Recently we launched the new website for Running Horse Elite Equine Feeds.  Nice colors and it has a rustic feel without being too "antique". 

We also think the features work pretty well.  You can dig as far as you want to find information on specific products complete with ingredients and analysis of each feed.  Some folks think that is important and we gave it to them.

Rh_brochure_cover The design also matches some of the other work we've done, from brochures to even the letterhead. Great name...Running Horse!  It's easy to work with and lots of images come to mind.  Besides the tag line, "For The Long Run" fits really well.

We're just sharing this with you to help you understand that the branding of a product takes place all across the spectrum of media you'll use to attract and maintain customers and clients.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.  "Git on yer pony and ride!"

Failure Offers Lessons/Style vs. Substance

Failure Here is a post you won't see too often:

We were pretty crushed.  We had answered an RFP to do the marketing and advertising for a company we've been associated with for a long, long time.

We know their business inside and out.  We've lived in their shoes for over ten years.  We knew the players and we have a clear understanding of what issues they are up against. 

What's better...we had solid answers for them.

But we didn't get the gig.

Business_loser The e-mail we received said in part:  "We thank you for your efforts however we've decided to award this contract to another firm."

OK...rejection isn't all that bad.  It's happened before.  When I answered and indicated we were a bit surprised at the decision but understood.  We got a return e-mail that was the final blow."

"They were chosen because their presentation was very slick."


Like in...smooth or greasy or polished?

"Slick"?  Like in style over substance?  What, slick?

It became a learning lesson for us.  We should have seen it coming.  Maybe we under performed in our answers.  Maybe we took it for granted.  Maybe we forgot that in our society it is often style that wins over a real understanding of the issues.

Little_league_pitch The bottom line is that the next bid we make for a project will be a knockout.  A home run.  Out of the park!  Oh....we'll also know what we're talking about.  But, we'll keep that part to ourselves until after we get the contract.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you'll find a bunch of really sick (opps...SLICK) people willing to work for you.

She's In...She's Out...She's In

Copy_of_kunta_050 Kind of quiet here at the office this afternoon so Kunta and I were talking about the latest developments in the ongoing saga of Paris Hilton.

Me:  "Say, Kunta...what do you think about this business with Paris Hilton being sent back to jail?

Kunta:  "Hello Kunta!"

Me:  "No, stay on track...I'm really interested in your take on this.  After all you are one of the brightest professionals here at Insight."

Kunta:  "Are you OK?"

Me:  "Sure I am.  Just answer the question.  I really would like your input."

Kunta:  "Where's Mom?"

Me:  "She's at the store, no doubt buying you another toy."

Kunta:  "Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!"

Me:  "This isn't funny Kunta.  Look most of the world out there knows about this goofy woman and her troubles with the law.  In jail one day, out three days later, back in jail again today."

Kunta_computer Kunta:  "Where's Mom?"

Me:  "We're not talking about Mom...we're talking about PARIS HILTON!  Come on everybody is talking about her."

Kunta:  "Whoooo Whooo!"  (Hear "wolf whistle")

ME:  "Yeah, she is a looker isn't she.  Even in her booking photo.  I think she had it retouched."

Kunta:  "Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha."

Me:  "Can you imagine being famous for nothing?  Nothing but being the ultimate "bad girl" and people actually take up their time with this woman and her issues.  I wonder what the Sheriff and she had going that he let her out with out the judge and courts being involved.  Man, this whole thing is really silly.  I mean I think  society is going upside down.  We're more interested in this little tramp than we are about the serious issues of our time.  Where is our concern about energy issues, the environment, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, families in trouble, the Farm Bill and a whole host of things?"

Kunta:  "Good boy!"

Me:  "Thanks Kunta...I thought that was petty profound too.  I knew I could count on you to help me work through it."

Michael P. Libbie - Where you can always get in touch with us "deep thinkers" by clicking here.

You Really Don't Believe Do You?

Paris_hilton_jail Sometimes we just expect it.  Ms. Hilton spends three days of her already reduced sentence of 23 days in jail...and she's out.  Even though the judge said she would not receive any further reductions...none of us were surprised.

So, what in the world has this got to do with advertising, marketing and public relations?  It is all about creditability.

We live in a world of's just that simple.  Nobody seems to demand creditability in anything.  And, frankly we've become so used to it we almost expect to be lied to. 

Here is your question of the day:  When you advertise your product or service...are you being honest?  Or do you use "loss leaders", inflated promises and promises of low, low prices only having to then come back and fill the back end of the radio or TV ad with loads of "disclaimers"?

Really, other than what your spouse says...(well sometimes) do you really believe anything you see or hear?  Like I just wrote...we've come to expect it.

On the radio right now is a nationally syndicated show featuring our friend from Sikeston, MO.  I don't really believe anything he's just entertainment.

Elected officials, we expect, to tell stories...hey, it's politics.

Premium dog food...ends up being made in the same plant, in the same way, as the stuff you get from low end "discount" stores.

"Ethanol is the answer!"  Meanwhile nobody addresses the damage corn on corn production can do the the soil much less talk about how ethanol plants use excessive amounts of water.

And don't get me started on international politics and the Middle East...that is just wacky with disinformation.

So, it comes down to our use of advertising, marketing and public relations.  Sometimes we are the ones that reduce believability because the claims we make are just too outlandish.

Hey, thanks for letting me rant for a moment.  But this is a set up for our next post:  "Truth in Advertising".  We'll give you a real world example about how it worked for's a great story...come back.

P.S.  I wonder if she had her mug shot retouched?  Amazing...

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

Volunteer A Little...

Volunteer20graphic The clock is still running...   We track just about every minute of work we do here at the agency.  It's how we make a living.  So it was a little surprising when we checked the amount of time we are spending on a volunteer project for a non-profit here in Des Moines.

The clock is still ticking...meaning we're still not finished.  But, I can tell you that over the past three days.  We've logged over 55 hours on this one project.

Nope, not bragging...just an observation.  Someday we'll gather up the data and see how much time each of us, here at the office, volunteers for organizations and groups.  I'll bet we would be stunned.

I'd be interested...what amount of time do you think is a "fair share" to give back to your community and the organizations that need so much help?

Go ahead...let us know, we really are interested!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications...where we think it's important to give back.  You can contact us by clicking here.

"So, How Long Will This Take?"

Pink_clock We all know this is the question you want to ask...  "So, Michael, tell me.  How long will it take before the product we are rolling out begins to catch on and folks start to buy it?"

How Long?

In an sense it is a fair question.  You as the person who has manufactured this product or who has created a particular service want to know how long it's going to take to see some return on your investment.  After all, you've spent thousands of dollars on the concept, the design and the final product. "So, just when will it catch on?  How long will it take?"

The honest answer...we don't know.  And, no advertising agency in their right mind would be able to even guess.  Why?  Because there are so many factors.

  • Is it a niche market product or service?
  • How does it stack up against the competition?
  • Is there real value...enough to make people switch loyalties?
  • What is the "buzz" about the need for this product or service?
  • Does the choice of media match what we're trying to sell?
  • Have you left enough flexibility and allowed creative to do a good job?
  • Did you listen to your agency?

Oh, more:  Did you spend enough money on the launch?

Another question to ponder well in advance of taking a product public is:  "Just how are we going to measure the return on investment?"

Arrow_dollar_signs_2 The answer can not be: "Sales!"

Long before somebody actually buys something...they have to be aware that it exists.

Three things you can do well in advance of your product launch:

  • Take the time necessary to allow your agency to do some market research.  Discover who, what and where this product or service might work.
  • Allow the agency enough flexibility to be creative.  Even if you don't like the idea...listen to the rational.  It may be a learning experience.
  • Decide early how you'll measure your ROI.

If we can help...give us a call.  It's what we do everyday.

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

Photos...You've Got Photos?

Steincamp_river_out_of_water Last week we traveled to Missouri to do a photo shoot for a client.  (Yes, we do that too...)  It was a great trip and we made some new friends along the way.  If you don't mind...we'll share a couple of photos and a short story about the effort.

This is a shot of River taken last week during our shoot at Castile Creek Kennels.  She's seven years old and can work for hours.

Our client is Country Vet Pet Foods and one of the spokespersons for the company is breeder/trainer Lyle Steinman.  Lyle and his wife Debbie were super hosts and the hours we spent with them, working the dogs and getting the shots, was well worth the 2.5 hour drive south.

Steincamp_sending_river During our time at Castile Creek Kennels we shot over 350 photos just to get six to eight we could use.  OK...maybe more but the point is when you're doing this type of work getting "the right shot" takes time. 

In addition we were fighting rain and wind that did a number on our reflectors and equipment.  But, the end result was great.

Thanks Lyle, Debbie, Amanda, Mike and...I think Josh.  It was a wonderful experience and we can attest to the fact that Lyle Stienman is quite the competitor...but so are his dogs.

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