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November 2007
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January 2008

Ever Have One Of Those Days?

Hwy61_image We figured we had it DOWN!  We had written the radio show for this morning (98.3 WOW-FM) that's the show about small farms and acreage living.  We made sure our BLOG for Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country was ready to go just in advance of the show.

We spent the entire show promoting the BLOG for a place where people could go to learn more about each story we were talking about.

Then, two hours after the show...we got an e-mail asking where this listener could find the BLOG...because he wanted to do some follow up on the story.

We looked...it was not there.

It is now...but our apology to anybody who went looking for us this morning.  One of those days!

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications....gotta remember to hit the right button!


Agricultural Marketing Mystery....NOT!

Man_gun_or_noose Yesterday I was in a meeting with a large national company talking about agricultural marketing.  You know, trying to get a message to farmers, ranchers and rural lifestyle types.

To say the least, they are frustrated.

I was told, "We think we've got a handle on agriculture but we get so many different answers.  Who and where are these people?"

This company is not alone... 

But like so many others they have drunk the "Koolaid of Agricultural Myths"  It is frustrating.

Myth Number One:   "If I want to reach row-crop farmers by using television or radio I need to buy a "farm block" early (between 5 and 6) in the morning."

Old_tv Reality Check:  That might have been the case 40 years ago when farming was completely different than it is today.  Once upon a time farmers would rise early in the morning to complete their "chores".  And, what were those "chores"?  Mostly checking and feeding livestock.  In the row crop agricultural world of today there is no need to get up early.  Fully "diversified farming" is mostly gone.  Corn and soybeans don't need much tending.  So, unless you've got kids to put on a bus for school, early rising is becoming less a factor.  Add to that the average age of the American Farmer is approching 60 years old.  Doubt they have many kids in school.

Reality Action:  Look most media sales people also buy the fact that "farmers get up early".  They know little about farming and most advertising agencies know even less.  So, what sould you do?  Target your market.  This is not to say that TV and Radio don't have a place.  You just need balance.  Electronic Media is great for some things...like selling trucks, appliances and a host of consumer driven items. (Farmers are consumers too you know!)  It's just that selling seed corn using TV?  ....right.

Ia_state_fair_crowd Myth Number Two:  In a farm state (go ahead pick one) like Iowa you can't swing a dead cat and not hit a farmer.

Reality Check:  Here in Iowa there are roughly 60,000 full time farms (USDA Census).  Of those fewer than 28,000 have gross sales of over $100,000 per year!  (The White House Christmas Card List is bigger than that.)  But, I'm giving it away...

Reality Action:  Doing a shotgun approach for high end row crop farmers is very costly.  Why not engage them with a direct mail piece or even a Business Blog directed to them?  Remember not all "farmers" are...farmers.

There are plenty more "Agricultural Myths" out there and because we've been on both the selling and buying end...we've heard a bunch of 'em.  As always...know the target and know your limits.

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we know this stuff...really.


Dr. Flinchbaugh...Remember Him?

Dr_flinchbaugh_1 Those of you who are FEMA (Farm Equipment Manufacturing Association) Regulars have got to remember our friend from Kansas State.  He spoke to our group and I remember his feisty nature and "take no prisoners" pronouncement regarding the Farm Bill.

Remember?

Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh, when he spoke to FEMA (and I was also on board to hear him speak to the American Bankers Association in Las Vegas with our client Calcium Products) was downright sure that congress would pass a multi-billion Farm Bill without so much as a sneeze.

Dr_flinchbaugh_cas It's not working out that way and today (Monday) Dr. Flinchbaugh had some harsh words for Congress while speaking at the Indiana Farm Bureau Convention.

Our friends at Brownfield have the entire story.

You have to love a guy like Barry Flinchbaugh who has been in on all the Farm Bill discussions since...what...Earl Butz?  Who, by the way, said should be back in charge because he would force the issue and get it done. "Earl Butz would straighten them (Congress) out."

We have too few Barry Flinchbaughs in the world today.  Folks who just speak their mind and don't cow to others. 

I like him...can you tell?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations...hey...we also like Ag!


Customer Service - Advertising Media

100_5806_phone_off_hook The post we wrote about Matt Coniglio from Fastline got some traction...from others in the business.

We heard, via e-mail, from several other advertising agencies and even some clients about how poor most advertising media people are with their follow up. 

And it's true.

Our phones ring daily with calls from media sales people pushing "last minute deals" or "special pricing opportunities".  Sometimes...depending on the client and the "deal" we can make a buy.  Remember, media plans should be flexible to do just this.

However once the ad is placed we rarely hear from the sales person again.  In fact...I'll wager that only three or four people have ever called back to check with us about our client reaction or even just to...call.

We recently placed $30,000 worth of business with a company for a two month run.  We've not heard a word from them since the original order.

Man_moneyIt's not that we want to be fawned over...but this isn't retail where you buy a scarf and never set foot in the place again.  (However at Von Maur...one of the very best upscale department stores in the nation... sales people will usually send out a personal note following a sale....)

It should be about relationships...but sadly it's often the quick buck. 

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...thanks for reading.


So, Does It WORK?

At our agency we're always looking for that advertising medium that "works".  Does it produce calls?  Does it help sell products or services?  Does it help produce an awareness of our clients product or service?

We tend to work a lot with agricultural clients.  That is good...and GOOD.  The GOOD is that we actually know about farming and ranching.  Many agencies don't. 

The good is that the agricultural based market is a very narrow focus.  Remember, there are only 2.2 million farms in the United States.  Unlike general consumer based advertising we, and our clients, know right away when an ad works...or when the media works.  How?

Phone calls, website visits and general interest in the product at a special event. It's pretty grassroots stuff.

I just returned from a Farm Show in Lincoln (remember Kate?) and we had a great amount of interest at our client booth for Calcium Products, Inc. In addition, over the past couple of weeks we have watched the number of visits to the Calcium Products website increase...at a rapid rate.

Why?

Matt_fastline It might just be the reaction to the magazine company this guy works for.  (OK...it's not Kate...and it is an odd photo of a guy standing next to a lit up ice cream cone!)  This is Matt Coniglio who is the National Accounts Manager for Fastline, an agricultural equipment magazine.  I've known Matt since he assumed that position with Fastline.  He's always been honest with us and upfront with the pride he has in his product.

Best of all, he keeps in touch.  Never, right away asks for an order but offers some piece of information or simply asks us our advice about a project or a plan.

Customer Service.  Maybe it's a tactic other media sales people should learn.  And...when something really works for our clients...we don't mind taking the calls.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


Rural Lifestyle Radio - Sunday Morning

Hwy61_image_2 Back from a very successful Farm Show in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The Iowa/Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association put on an excellent event.  Our thanks and a tip of the hat to Andy, Tom, Donna & Will for their hard work and effort.

We were there to assist our client Calcium Products, Inc.  Our thanks to Craig Dick the Nebraska rep for Calcium Products for allowing us to work the booth for a bit.

Coming up on Sunday morning we'll be on with our rural lifestyle radio show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country. This is NOT a farm show.  It is a show about living on small farms or acreages.  Folks can listen live to 98.3 WOW-FM here in Des Moines or follow this link and get yourself hooked up using your computer.

Sand_creek_barn_horse_2 We'll talk about the issues and events that impact folks living in the country and we'll also spend some time with the owners of Sand Creek Post and Beam.  They make Barn Kits!  No kidding...

Find out how building your own wooden barn can help build a community with an old fashioned Barn Raising...all that and more about wooden barns and adding value to your property.

Remember, Sunday morning...8am.  On 98.3 WOW-FM...or on your PC.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications a full service advertising agency.


Let's Hear It For Holiday Inn Express

113724737334 When traveling communication is critical for an advertising agency...like ours.

Clients have questions, demands and sometimes only the person who "writes the checks" can answer.

That's why we carry all kinds of things to "keep in touch". 

We've posted before about how the higher priced hotels rip us off with "Internet Charges" for the room.  We hate that and don't know of many people who don't.

Holiday_inn_express So...today I am in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Holiday Inn Express posting from their Business Center.  For FREE!

Cost of the room:  $86  Having access to the Internet, at high speed and secure from the FREE Business Center:  Priceless.

We'll have our review of this first ever Farm Show sponsored by the Iowa Nebraska Farm Equipment Dealers AssociationNebraska_farm_show This is their first attempt here in Nebraska...following years of doing an excellent show in Des Moines. 

Our client, Calcium Products, Inc. is here with their booth...we we'll be shaking babies and kissing hands (watch it!) most of the day.  Our review tomorrow.

Guess who is signing up for the Holiday Inn Express Rewards Program?  Yep...just "Staying Smart".

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we are grateful for the little things in life.


"Let 'em Go...They'll Be Back"

Dsm_fireworks IF...and it is a BIG IF...the folks at the Iowa Department of Economic Development were listening to our radio show banter this past Sunday they no doubt felt a little uncomfortable...or angry.

Mark True of REL Productions and I were discussing the angst so many in Iowa feel when the topic of outward migration of our youth comes up.

Everybody from Governor Culver to our state universities bemoans the fact that so many young people leave Iowa.  Commissions study the issue, educators suggest new ways to lure young people from other states and the legislature comes up with goofy tax incentives to keep "Twenty Somethings" in the state.

Some even want to hire famous folks like Tom Arnold and Ashton Kutcher (both left Iowa...we doubt they are coming back) to encourage people to move here.  Silly.

Suitcases We said, "Let 'em leave.  Or better yet, encourage them to get out of Iowa...they'll be back."

For many the wanderlust of youth is overpowering.  "Mom, Dad, don't be upset but I just know the grass is so much greener in (you can fill in the blank)!  So, I'm leaving Iowa.  I'll be back for Christmas."

And they leave.  They get jobs, use most of their paycheck to rent a 500 square foot apartment and come home to re-charge (and get more money).

Then it hits them..."Iowa, ya know it's a pretty good place to raise a family."  They come back.

Smarter.

You know, if we were really thinking we would change our marketing plan and simply go with, "Iowa - A Great Place To Raise A Family".  It is you know.

Dsm_ny_times Today there's a piece in the New York Times about Des Moines being a cool place.  And it is.  It's also written by a guy who has been coming here for years. While the article is heavy on "what is cool" you can also tell he seems to understand that we've got something going here. 

We like to think of it as a sense of community...and a great place to raise a family.

What think you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we love it in Iowa, it's just that kind of place.

(Photo of East Village - New York Times)


The Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour

Tis_logo

Some of you might know that we have The Iowa Sportsman Magazine as a client.  We've done their radio show on 98.3 WOW-FM for well over a year.

If you are into hunting, fishing, biking, walking, skiing or any number of great outdoor sports we have here in Iowa.  We hope you'll tune in.  It's a good time and we even through out some interesting marketing and advertising messages.

For example, tonight in one of the segments we're going to talk about the financial impact hunting and fishing has on the national economy.  It's no wonder more and more big box outdoor stores like Cabela's, Sportsman's Warehouse, Scheels and Bass Pro are popping up all over the country.  This is BIG business...and getting bigger all the time.

We'll also discuss out of state hunting tags.  Should the state increase availability to out of state hunters?

We'll get into the issue of the Second Amendment and what the Supreme Court may decided in the Washington D.C. case they have agreed to hear.

Dsc02812_2 My co-host is Thomas Allan who is the Executive Editior of the magazine.  Hope you have a few minutes tonight at 7 to catch the show.  Either live at 98.3 WOW-FM or you can stream it live by clicking here and logging on.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications....Yes I know...we're doing a bunch of stuff.


Don Imus Is Back...Now What?

Don_imus "Imus in the morning on...."  He's back...and starts his gig tomorrow on WABC and other Citiadel Broadcast outlets.  His eight months in radio limbo are over and everybody is betting on what he'll say, if anything.

Frankly, we don't care...it will be good to have him back.  I met Don thirty years ago when I was just starting out in radio.  Rather than shake my hand and say, "Good luck kid." He glared at me and said, "So...what the hell makes you think you'll be any good?"

I liked him right away.

If you want to read the entire story please do...but what we found interesting in all of this is that he will be simulcast on RFD-TV!  "Huh?", you say.  Yep...RFD-TV that hits a very rural crowd usually more comfortable with guys like John Lyons and Craig Cameron.  (Go ahead...you can look EM up if you want - horse trainers.)

Imus...on RFD-TV.  Now that is a mix for you.  Maybe they figure it will work toward his favor...with the ranch link and all? 

Anyway...the airwaves will be richer tomorrow morning at 6am Eastern Time.

Welcome back Don...think you'll be any good?