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September 2007
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Rural Lifestyle Radio - This Sunday

Hwy61_image Here's your weekly reminder that Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country airs this Sunday morning at 8 on 98.3 WOW-FM here in Des Moines.  If you're not in this area you can always listen in using your PC.

Our show is not a farm show...but it is about living in the country.  It's about living on an acreage or small farm.  It's about rural towns and the people who live there.

On this week's show we'll do a quick follow up from the event held last weekend, Farm Crawl 2007.  It was held last Sunday and was a huge success.  Farm_crawl_debra We're hoping for some numbers from the event.  We can tell you we met dozens of people from the city that made the trip to the five small farms.

We'll also talk about several issues that have come up over the past week or so and report on rural lifestyle issues across the country.

Jennie_deerr Our guest this week is Jennie Deerr who is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa.  She'll spend some time talking about what goes on at "The Farms" during the winter months and give us a preview of the many special events that are held all year long.  In addition...we'll hear about what is going on now...during harvest.

Walnut_hill_fire Jennie is also going to visit about the tragic fire that occurred this past month that destroyed so much of a historic building on the grounds.  We'll talk about the damage and what their plans are to rebuild.

All this and much more on the only full hour rural lifestyle radio show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country...hope you tune in.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Made In America or Made By America?

John_ratzenberger There is a difference...

Coming to Iowa on October 17th is the "Keep It Made In America" tour with television personality John Ratzenberger.  The event will take place at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines at 6:30pm.

So...why are we writing about it?

Two reasons:

The first was that the Alliance for American Manufacturing put out the call to many of us who are Central Iowa Bloggers to cover the event, live.  The remarkable thing is the endorsement and recognition of this influential form of communication.   

The second it's a subject we are keenly interested in due to our membership in the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) which will be holding their annual convention later this month in New Orleans.

The vast majority of the members of FEMA are small manufacturing companies, many of whom are family owned.  They realize the value of American Made products and services...but the pressure is on.  That pressure is in the form of increased revenues if the American company purchases parts and finished products outside of the United States.

Kerri_houston We'll be attending this event and offer our thoughts on our Blog and our radio show the following Sunday where we'll visit with Kerri Houston of the Alliance.  Kerri has an impressive resume and it will make for a spirited show.  More on that as we get closer to the 21st.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications 

Know Your Audience...And More!

Kggo An advertising agency, like ours, not only needs to be aware of our clients target demographic. We also need to be aware of other "publics" or demographics that might have an influence on the "message".

Here is a real life example of what happens...when you don't.

The image (above) is from a recent public relations and marketing campaign for KGGO-FM a classic rock radio station in the Des Moines market.  When we first saw it we thought it matched the station pretty well and is on track to impact their prime target audience of adult (if there are such...) males. 

Needless to say, it's got "the look".  And, we suspect that was what the station saw.  "Perfect!  It not only attracts our prime target demographic but it also mirrors the style of music we play."

The trouble is when the campaign went public...on 33 billboards in Des didn't play well.  In fact the station was forced to remove them.  Public pressure was too much.

Corndogs The next week the same station got into hot water with the Iowa State Fair Board over their "erotic corn dog contest".  This is where young ladies are invited to "demonstrate" their "oral talents" on the staple of fair food...corn order to win tickets to shows.  The Fair Board is reviewing the event...and it may get canceled.  "It's not family friendly", says the Board.

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll...well, two out of three anyway.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we try to help our clients understand not only their target...but also the folks that target them.

Free Marketing Ideas...From An Attorney Yet!

Rush The smiling face belongs to attorney Rush Nigut who is a member of the Central Iowa Bloggers (Central Iowa Blogga Nostra) and attorney for the Des Moines Law Firm of Sullivan & Ward.

This morning my friend posted a great BLOG for those of you interested in marketing...  While the reference is from the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal and is called 50 Ways to Market Your Practice it is a great mixture of ideas for any business.  All you need to do is replace your business name for the word "practice". there are a couple of ideas that are specific to lawyers...but even if you pick up one or a dozen ideas it will help you in your continued efforts no matter if you make farm equipment or have a service oriented business.

One major oversight Rush points out was they did not consider Business Blogging...but should have.

And, this consultation!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Hey, some of our best friends are lawyers!

Rural Lifestyle Radio - Let's Talk About It

Hwy61_image We do that every Sunday morning at 8 on 98.3 WOW-FM here in Des Moines.  If you would like to pick up the show on your PC...just click over to their on-line service, sign up and we'll be there.

This morning we'll talk about food vs. biofuels...and you won't believe who said what.

YouTube and getting young people interested in making a move to rural communities.  Neat stuff.  And we also discussed our time with three young people from New York who visited Iowa for the first time...ever...this past week.  What did they think?  We talked about it.

Richard Doak from the Des Moines Register wrote a great article about Iowa.  Top stuff about the beauty of the rural lifestyle and we talked about it. we've banned horses from slaughter...can deer be far behind?  Watch out hunters!  We also talked about goats in Seattle...

All of this and so much more.  If you own a small farm or acreage this is the show that talks about you.

If you would like to read the BLOG for Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country, the only full hour radio show in the nation dedicated to the rural lifestyle, we would welcome the visit.

Thanks for reading...and maybe for listening!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications a full service advertising agency proudly based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Burning Through Your Ad Dollars?

Field_fire_2 It's the Fourth Quarter and many companies are finding more "advertising opportunities" then then funds to pay for them... 

It's a real problem.  There are countless ways for you to spend your advertising dollars.  We know that because we get 15 - 20 calls a day from folks pitching their magazine, newspaper, TV, radio schedule to our advertising agency clients.

Here are two important considerations:

Piggy_bank_smashed First:     The Fourth Quarter is NOT the time to run out of advertising dollars.  If your projected revenues are not where they should be, cutting back on your marketing opportunities is usually the wrong "first step".  A clear Marketing Plan is essential and if you do not have is a good time to start for 2008.

Img_2759_customer_service Second:  We listen to all the "pitches" from advertising sales people.  Why?  Because somebody might have the exact match for our client...even if it is not in the budget and even if we've not done business with them before.  We never say, "We don't want to speak with Company X."  Who knows...they may have the "magic bullet".  If we fail to listen...we might miss it.

To things:  Plan & Listen

Thanks for reading!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...where we help our clients Plan and Listen.


Are You Among The "Five Percent"?

Man_frustrated Yes?  No?  Maybe?  Need more information don't you?

A couple of weeks ago I attended an early morning seminar on advertising and marketing.  (Yes, we try to keep learning...)

The presenter was my friend Drew McLellan and he did a great job in front of about 75 eager business folks. 

When he got to the part about marketing/media planning he asked the group if they realized that only 5% of the corporations in existence today had a written marketing plan that they followed.

It was a stunner to the audience and when he asked, who in the room, had a written marketing plan...only six or seven hands went up.  Proof.

We've written about this before (several times) but it was nice to know somebody else sees the importance in the old sage: "What gets written...gets done."

Ready to start writing your marketing plan for 2008?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're buying additional printing cartridges...just in case.

Taking Responsibility....We Are Not Alone

Man_free Our advertising agency has long held to the belief that if you BLOG you should be responsible for what you write.  We've written about this before...a couple of times.

For awhile we thought we were alone...

But, thanks to Rush Nigut and his recent posting about a ruling in looks like we've got friends.

The bottom line is that you should not be able to hide behind the face of anonymity and say any darn thing you want. 

That has been our gripe with regard to newspapers who tell us that "digital natives" demand anonymity.  We think it is ducking responsible do others.

That has been our "caution" when it comes to Business Blogging...because anonymity hurts the entire industry.

Thanks again to Rush for his insightful comments...

Michael P. Libie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Working With The Competition


As an advertising agency part of our job is to assist our clients with promoting a positive image through public relations projects.  Here is a story that is on point...

There are roughly 700,000 people in the market area for the Iowa Stars to draw from.  The American Hockey League team is just now starting their third season in Des Moines.  (2nd pre-season game against the Quad City Flames above.  Iowa won both 6 - 3 and 2 - 0)

There is another team in Des Moines.  The Des Moines Buccaneers (a USHL club) has been in the market for years and have a dedicated fan base.

They haven't gotten along well.  And, they don't even play each other.

That's not to say that the players don't respect each other...they do.  But management and fans of both clubs have had "issues" over the past two years.  That acrimony has led to some public "in-fighting" that hasn't helped either cause.  Monday night the "competition" got together to raise money for youth hockey in Des Moines.  The Stars needed a place to play (seems a conflict in schedules kept them off the Wells Fargo Arena ice) and the Bucs Arena was available.

It's a good move and a positive sign for the new management team heading the Iowa's something many of us in business can learn from.

In the highly competitive business world companies often spend way too much time "worrying" about what the "other guys" are doing vs. having mutual respect and even working together on projects that would boost their respective images.

Stars_08_team Winning is a good thing.  While youth hockey got a boost from the money raised last night.  The two hockey clubs also got a boost in their public relations image...winning is a good thing.

In the end...both sides win the public relations battle.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we help our clients with their public relations issues...every day.

Pictures Tell The Story....

Lime_cloud For the past four years we've been fortunate to have Calcium Products, Inc.  as a client, for our advertising agency.

The company, which began over 15 years ago, crushes calcium and limestone and then makes uniform size pellets from the crushed rock.  Farmers use these products to adjust soil pH and soil structure so they might use LESS fertilizer and improve the quality of their soil.  It's an excellent product and we're proud to have them on board.

Traditionally, however, producers have used ag-lime to adjust their soil pH.  But, one of the major problems with ag-lime is the amount of waste associated with the product.  If it is too blows away.  If it is too just doesn't work.  Here we're talking about the drift problem.

Nothing works like photos.

Lime_cloud_2 Here are two photos taken by Calcium Products staff member, Craig Dick that shows the drift issue clearly.  There is no denying the fact that these clouds of dust, created by spreading ag-lime, is not only an issue of waste.  It might also be a lousy public relations problem and when used near a road...a public safety issue.

The reason we posted this is to call the attention to what some simple photography can do to tell a story.  And, in this's only two photos. 

Are you using the right photos in your advertising and marketing efforts?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications.  Who needs a lot of words when the right photo will work....and, yes, we also do photography.