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July 2007
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September 2007

A Favor - For A Friend...

Chrysler300c002 This week I got one of those e-mails nobody wants to get.  My friend who has served the agriculture industry for years as a marketing guy, sent me a note with the subject line, "Reaching Out".

Jerry Nichols went on to ask how I was and then dropped the bomb:  "Maybe you have heard (I had not.) I am recovering from prostrate cancer surgery.  They are trying to make sure they get it all.  But, looking forward, I am trying to cut back on my transportation needs."

I read the sentence four or five times...

He went on to ask me if I knew anybody who would like to own a 2005 Chrysler 300-C with 32,000 miles, new tires, loaded and in mint condition.  He is trying to sell it for $24,900.

I'm not sure why Jerry thought of me...but I am glad to do what I can to help a friend.  If you have an interest, drop him an e-mail and make the deal.  The car is in Nebraska and, knowing Jerry, is in great condition.


Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...

HOT? Must Be The Farm Progress Show

Fps07ban So far in August Champaign/Decatur, Illinois have had 16 days where the temperature reached over 90 degrees.  We've been here for two of them.

Howdy from the Farm Progress Show in Central Illinois.  Tuesday we saw 96 degrees and Wednesday we got to 99.  It gets a little warm for vendors, exhibitors and guests.

Foton5f1 A quick post to highlight our client's booth.  Mayer Farm Implement out of Des Moines brought the FOTON line of compact tractors to the show along with two brand new FOTON excavators.  We helped them set up their 40 x 70 booth with drawings and sign-age and it worked out really well.

Our intent was to capture the look of the rural lifestyle that is the demographic for the compact tractors from FOTON.  We think the the little money spent on decor it came out pretty well.  The "look" was established for about $1,500 plus of course the booth price.

Foton5f3 While the weather was HOT...the traffic has been brisk.  And, that is the way we want it when showing for the first time.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're all about helping our clients perform better!

Off To The Farm Progress Show

Fps07ban Headed to the 2007 Farm Progress Show this week...on a mission.

We'll be working a booth for a client at the show but we'll also be there to do something else:  Report back to you about the "winners" and the "losers" in the marketing/public relations areas.

We'll have a daily BLOG from the Farm Progress Show that will actually show you some of the best ideas in marketing agricultural items...and perhaps some of the more questionable.

For those of you who are into small farms and acreages we'll also post a daily blog on our rural lifestyle radio publication "Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country".  We'll feature some of the best ideas in services and equipment for the small farmer or acreage owner.  Hey, we understand, you can't make it to the've got to work!

Decatur20aerial202005 This should be fun...and, so you get an idea of the size of the event...we figured we post this photo.  Lots of stuff...and lots of great ideas.

Yes, we'll be right to the white tent.  Come on by.

Catch you at the show....

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & we love farm shows...OK?



No, his name is not Art.  This is Michael Holmes of Des Moines with a couple of original paintings he did for us.  Michael, who works at Wells Fargo, is an accomplished artist whom we met several months ago. 

We wanted some "Tuscany Trees".  Something that he had never done.  It was, frankly, our first commission and his first "Tuscany Tree".  We think he did an amazing job without losing his style. But that is not the story.  The real story is how a new idea made a big difference.  And, it's something others might learn from.

Michael_holmes_5 An artist doesn't create things for the masses.  No doubt some of you are looking at these paintings and saying to your self, "No thanks, not for me."  Others see the beauty.   Marketing art is so much different than marketing consumable items like farm machinery, trucks, dog food or memberships. 

It's all personal.

Remember when your company started?  You made the decisions.  You marketed your products or services door to door if necessary.  You picked the colors, hired the workers and paid the bills.  You.

Michael_holmes_6 And, as time went on, you began giving control to others in your outfit.  A little at first.  And, then a little more.  Now you look at the numbers and try to gage the market through the eyes of others.

So, are things going OK.  Or is it time to get back in the game?  Time to find a fresh, new image?  Time to try something new? 

Here is the fun part of the Michael Holmes story:  Just last week, before we had even seen the work, Michael took these two paintings to a well known and exciting art gallery here in Des Moines.  The owner "went nuts" and has asked Michael to create a whole new collection, based on this idea, and invited him to display "front and center". 

It's a huge break and we're glad we were part of the discovery.  All it took was a fresh suggestion and the artist did the rest.

Is it time for you to paint your own "Tuscany Trees"?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we like to look at things with a fresh set of eyes and use imagination.

Rural Lifestyle Radio - Sunday Morning

Hwy61_image_2 Sunday Morning at 8...that's the time for Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country the only full hour program in Central Iowa (and now on line) that deals with news, information and tips for acreage owners, small farms and folks just enjoying the rural lifestyle.

We've got a great show lined up on 98.3 WOW-FM and if you're not "local" you can pick it up on-line by heading to the website and registering...for free yet!

On the show we'll talk about Faith Based's quite a story.

We'll also cover the latest Wal-Mart recall over dog treats...the saga continues.

Some states are making toll roads out of their Interstate System.  How come?  We'll talk about it.

182215_6802_dollars Need some extra money for your volunteer fire department or community project...we know where you can get between $500 and $15,000...all you need to do is apply and get folks involved in supporting your bid.

We'll tell you the difference between a Yam and a Sweet Potato...yes one is not the other.  In fact, if you live in the US you more than likely have never seen a yam.

Marty_sort_of Our Tip of the Week is about dog adoption...We've got Marty's story...and how you can adopt a pure breed if you know what to do.  All that and more on this week's edition of Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country.

If you want to check out our link to the show, all the stories will be live at 8:00 Sunday morning and all you have to do is head to our Blog Site!

Here's to the the final Sunday in August....catch you on the radio...or from your Internet hook up.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we love the Rural Lifestyle!

Knowing What You Are Buying...Helps.

Business_conversation So, I'm in this meeting the other day.  (Truth in advertising:  No...that is NOT me in the photo.  I'm more...seasoned...yeah, that's it!)  The folks I was visiting with were deep into telling me an advertising agency horror story.  So they thought.

What happened was this firm asked an agency if they would do a project for them and how much it would cost.  The agency, which had NO prior relationship with this client went to work on cost estimating.

When done.  They submitted a bill for $1,600.  It was for their time estimating the costs of the project.

Needless to say, the client (who had never used an agency before) was shocked.  When I saw the work...I was too.  But, it happens.

Time If you are considering using an advertising agency understand that most of us get paid by the hour for what we do.  That hourly charge varies from staff member to staff member.  There may be one rate for professional writing and another rate for graphic design and yet another rate for creative.  You should receive a detailed billing statement that explains each entry.

The problem here was there had existed no client relationship.  The agency was simply telling the perspective client how much it would cost them to use their services.  And...they had the chutzpah to charge for it. 

Needless to say, the agency did not get the account and by the time we talked to the client...they were a bit fearful of being "taken" again.

Know what you are buying.  Ask up front for rates.  But, also understand the nature of an advertising agency.  We often do the leg work on a project because we KNOW where to go and get the answers.  Which, in reality, saves you time and money and mistakes. 

In this case however, the agency goofed and the client is "gun shy".

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we have learned more information is better...than assuming.

It Must Be That Time...

Blank_book It's a day or so after the Iowa State Fair, a couple of days before school starts here in Des Moines and people are already planning for 2008.  That is a good sign.

Maybe it's something we said...or wrote.  Because we've been getting lots of calls over the past couple of days from clients and perspective clients asking about the future.

No, we don't predict the future...we do help you plan for it.

There is a blank book in front of you as we are about to finish the third quarter.  Companies are wanting to fill those pages with success and some are realizing that success comes with proper planning.

Man_what Now is the time to start forecasting your marketing and advertising position for next year.  What went right so far?  What was way off the mark?  What can you do to give your product or service a face lift?  Where will you go for new customers...some you've never even considered as even being customers?

Now is the time to take time and ask yourself some key questions.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're also doing the asking

Does The Image REALLY Matter?

Charles_shaw You are really going to like this one...  It's an interesting story about consumers and how they react to image as reported by Science Daily.

According to a Cornell University study released last week, the simple changing of a wine label increased the consumers positive dining experience AND resulted in a diner being more likely to book a return reservation to the restaurant.

Forty-one diners at a restaurant in Urbana, Illinois were offered a free glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with their up-scale meal. Half of the wine was poured from a bottle that was labeled, "Noah's Winery of California" while the other half was poured from a bottle labeled "Noah's Winery of North Dakota".

Those folks who were drinking the "California" wine rated the wine AND the food as tasting better.  They ate 11% more of their food and were more likely to book a return reservation.

Chuck_wine The kicker?  The wine was the same.  An inexpensive wine, in the $2 a bottle price range, from Charles Shaw.  All that was different...was the label.

It was all about expectations.  But in this study it was a "triple whammy" of sorts.  Not only was the "North Dakota" wine disliked more but so too was the food and the consumers were less likely to come back to the restaurant.

As a business owner...are you paying attention to things like "image" and "perceived image"?  Think your "logo" doesn't matter...or your business cards, letter head or website won't make a difference?  How about your print advertising message...does it drive folks to you...or away?

What does your label say?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're in the labeling business....

Rural Lifestyle Radio..Is On!

Hwy61_image Sunday morning at 8 we bring you Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country on 98.3 WOW-FM.  Even if your not in the market you can join us on the web by logging on and listening to our live broadcast.

On the show Sunday we'll talk about the Iowa State Fair with Bridget Anderson of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation.

We'll also discuss a new magazine designed to bring people closer to their food.  HUH?  Yep, you would be surprised at how many people actually think milk comes from the store...

We'll spend some time on consolidation issues and ask if that is really healthy for any of us.

We'll have a Tip of The Week and a host of other information on the only one hour live rural lifestyle radio show in the Midwest.  Catch us on Sunday morning on the air...or on your computer.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where's we're glad you took  the time to come by and listen a little...

Radio - Is It Right For You?

State_fair_2007_032 Radio Advertising - It can be a huge hit for you...or a major failure.  For it to "hit" you need to know the markets, how to write a creative ad AND stay focused on the message.

Those of you who know me know I love radio.  I cut my broadcasting teeth doing a weekend show at WHFI near Detroit about the time Marconi was a young man.  Yep, a long time ago. 

I've witnessed the fads, the formats and the failures...I also learned the power of focus.

For your radio marketing campaign to win...FOCUS is exactly what you need.

But, it's difficult for many reasons.

Today the radio market is significantly fragmented.  Multiple stations broadcasting to similar audiences, a host of syndication programs, a lack of local involvement and local ownership have all made "choice" a more difficult decision.

State_fair_2007_036 But, make no mistake.  Every radio station has "somebody" listening.  Picking the right station to match your product or service is the key.  Even if you are in a "one station market" the local station the best buy?  Maybe...maybe not.  You need to know.

Creative is as important as the broadcast outlet.  Good, no excellent, creative is critical to getting noticed.  Often radio stations will write your copy for free...and you get what you pay for.  I remember, as a young broadcaster, having to write copy for twenty different clients a day.  After a bit...they all begin to sound the same.  To stand apart from the crowd you need to dazzle your copy and the sound.

Finally, staying on the sales message is critical.  I'm amazed when I hear radio (and some TV ads) that drift so far off the sales mission I end up wondering why they made the buy.

Three things:

Target - Excellent Creative - Always Sell

So, can you tell us about your broadest experience?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're involved with two radio programs "The Iowa Sportsman" (Thomas Allen and Me above) and "Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country" both on 98.3 WOW-FM - Des Moines.