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June 2008
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August 2008

Suffering From "Time Poverty"?

Woman_clock Yesterday I was visiting with Tiffany Menke the executive director of the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce when she mentioned "time poverty" as being one of the major factors that impacts volunteers.

"Time Poverty"...Can you relate?

We see it everyday in private business where major decisions on marketing and advertising are pushed out of the way to make time for ___________.  You can fill in the blank, there are lots of things that seem to come before tackling "that fuzzy marketing stuff".

So, what's the answer?  (Excuse me while I break out my sticks...time to "beat the drum"...again.)

Planning...setting aside time to really think about the brand, the market, the product and what is the very best, most productive and effective to tell your target about "it".

Man_thinking But...due to "time poverty" folks rarely really think about these things.  Making that decision damages the future of your product or service. 

There is another problem about "thinking".   So many people equate it with "inaction".   "What, you spend your time thinking?  Me?  I spend my time doing!"   Yeah...

Tiffany said one other thing yesterday that struck me...she talked about "value".  That often intangible thing many fail to build into their product or service.  Mind you this Chamber has one of the lowest membership rates in the Metro and no lack of members at 500+.  Yet she talks about the value members get well beyond their investment.   

Refreshing conversation.

Bottom line...fight "Time Poverty" by proper advance planning these economic times start to re-focus on the value of your product or service. 

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we value our relationship with these folks...nice job.

Thank You Central Iowa!

Business_people_clappingWe love radio!  For some it might be "old school" but it's one media that has room for nearly everybody. 

Sixteen months ago after seeing a report from the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB)  that highlighted the growing rural lifestyle segment of the population, we decided to start something really different. 

"Let's do a radio show dedicated to news and information about living on small farms and acreages!"

Yeah...sure.  We had to "sell" the idea to a local talk radio station (98.3 WOW-FM) who looked at us like we had a third eye.  They are more accustomed to political news/talk and "traditional Farm Shows". 

Man_hay_bale_microphone But we hung in there and started in the fall of 2006.  The first show through the tenth show nobody called.  "Hello...hello out there!  Anybody listening?"  The answer was "NO!".

The show aired at 7am on Sunday morning! (May have been a problem.)

The numbers were lousy.  In the day-part we didn't even show up.

The next book told us we had maybe 300 people listening and we moved from dead last to 15th in the market.   Great.

We kept at it...went to dozens of events, handed out lots of media at various meetings, were faithful to the shows dedicated online publication and continued to build audience. 

Hwy61_image The reward...we've now climbed to seventh place and the next stations in line are well within striking distance.  In addition we've attracted top notch advertisers like Allied Insurance, Kubota Tractors and Acreage Magazine.

Was it cheap?  Nope.

Did it happen overnight?  Nope

Did we stick with the message?  Yep

Bottom line...when starting any new venture not many things become an "overnight success".  Make sure the message is on target, the vehicle is right and follow up with plenty of collateral.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications 

What Would You Do?

American_plumb_sup_building Just for talking purposes...let's say you own a storied business.  Something that's been around for seven!

Add to that the changing face of Retail America where nearly everything can be found at a big box store at a cheaper price.

Notice the word "nearly".

And, what if your inventory and service niche is the ability to have, in stock, (or be able to manufacture) parts and pieces for just about every plumbing fixture going back 60+ years?

American_plumb_sup_signWe're not making this up.

What would you do? 

How would you market your knowledge and abilities?

Love to hear from you...

Gosh...we love this sign!!!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications....where we think this is a gold mine waiting to be found.

Cut Jobs / Cut Advertising? Tough Choice?

Man_box What's it going to be?  Lay some folks off or cut advertising?   

For many companies, large and small, this is the discussion going on in in hushed tones in closed door meetings.

Stop and think...

I bring this up because a client came by yesterday and told me about another business in town that decided to shelve their advertising plans to save two jobs.  She asked me my opinion.

Frankly, the company decision to slash advertising puts the entire workforce in jeopardy.

If that sounds "cold" wait...we wouldn't give anybody the "pink slip" either.

Tough economic times demand cooler heads and a lot more thought.  The "easy" way out of this dilemma is the "either/or" route.  The smart way is to critically review...everything.  But, many times a company waits until the last minute and makes tragic errors, like cutting advertising and marketing.

What they should be doing, in our opinion, is look hard at the effectiveness of their advertising and marketing.  Examples:

  • Is the message relevant?  It's hard to answer that question while swimming with the sharks and even more difficult if the company is doing the "same old thing" in todays market.
  • Is the vehicle right?  Sometimes businesses are tied to one form of marketing.  "We've always advertised in the newspaper."  News Flash:  Newspaper advertising and circulation has changed drastically over the past five years.  And we're not "picking" on newspapers every media vehicle has experienced amazing change...
  • Has the consumer changed?  Duh!  Even if you "think" it has has.
  • More or less competition?  What was "hot" two years ago can be a dud today.

The bottom line is the hard work in sitting down and actually spending time thinking about these and a dozen more issues.  And, if the advertising budget is more of an "after thought" the more difficult it is to get it right.

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we understand it's tough to think...sometimes our heads hurt too.

The Power of Relationships!

On_site_july_08_1 Relationships matter and keeping them active is key to getting things done.

The other day we did a video shoot for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  The site we wanted to use is Living History Farms  (LHF) which is just minutes from Downtown Des Moines. (Here we are at the 1900's Farm with Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.)

Not only did the site have what we wanted for "looks" it was easy for everybody to find yet keep government working.

None of this would have been possible had we not kept the relationships open with the staff from Living History Farms.  Over the year we've had them as guests on our rural lifestyle radio show, did several follow ups with them and showed interest in this treasure smack dab in the middle of town.   We didn't know if we would EVER need their help but we did know LHF is a fantastic addition to our state.  We appreciated them.  And THAT is the reality of getting anything done. 


On_site_july_08_5Our thanks to everybody who made it happen!  Kristen Phipps from the Public Relations/Marketing Department of LHF, Jennie Deerr (Photo with Secretary Northey), her boss, who spelled Kristen when the shoot went beyond the scheduled time (sorry again!) and everybody who pitched in, helped out and understood the importance of showcasing Iowa Agriculture to the rest of the world.

You guys were great!

In life and in business...we never know what will come up.  Better to build bridges than burn them.

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

When to Hold & When to Fold...

Man_cards_cigar Dump the brand, image, graphics and recognition or hang in there?

Clients eager for "change" often split from what has worked too soon, while others hang on forever allowing their brand to get old and tired. 

When do you pull the plug?

When you are no longer relevant.

Let's look at a couple of examples:

This week Batman returned to the big screen.  Was the brand different than the Adam West version from television?   Big time.  The goofy "BAM! CRUNCH!" gave way to darkness and mystery and the entire "brand" altered to the times.   What sold thirty years ago is no longer relevant.  That was easy...right?

Let's try this on a local level.

American League Hockey in Des Moines:  Three years ago, with loads of fanfare the Iowa Stars skated into Wells Fargo Arena.  During their first season it was "smash mouth hockey".   The 5,200+ butts in the seats loved it.  Stortini Every time Zack Stortini (R) came on the ice fans wouldn't have to wait long for him to knock somebody down, wrench off the gloves and the fight was on. But the Stars front office didn't like Zack's play so they sent him packing.  (Stortini now plays for the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL...where on Monday he signed a new three year contract...not bad).  The Stars changed their style of play, and their brand.  They became a "speed and finesse team".  The brand changed, the crowd left and so did the Stars.

Is your brand relevant to those it effects and how do know?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it unique or is your brand just like everybody else?  Fifteen years ago a product called "Simple Green" was ahead of it's time and became a giant. 
  • Does it cause a "buzz"?  Even if people can't quite figure it out but spend the time trying.  If've got them interested.
  • Are you "tempted" to change just because YOU "think it's not working".  Hint:  YOU are not the consumer...and sometimes "thinking" can get you in trouble.

Is your brand relevant to those you hope to impact?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Photo Edmonton Journal.

What? Five Years! You Gotta Be Kidding!

Boy_holding_number_five It came in the mail yesterday.  Never mind that it said, "Mr. Libbis - Congratulations!"  (There was a time I couldn't spell either.) It was a card wanting us to buy stickers telling the world that it's our fifth birthday here in Des Moines.

It took me back as I stared at the card.

Five years...

We get to celebrate that in just a few months.  Where did the time go?

We moved from Fort Dodge to Des Moines to open up new opportunities and thanks to our clients, friends, our folks who have worked hard in creative and public relations and and so many people along the's been a nice ride.  Bumps?  Sure...but worth every bit.

And, what's really great...we know more today then we did five years ago.  And, nope...we're not buying the stickers...even if they had spelled my name right.


Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...Libbis huh?

Video Production....So, How Much?

30_dec_video_4_2 "I'd like a video for our business.  How much?

Answer:  "It depends!"

Over the years we've done lots of video production in all kinds of settings in all types of weather.  (This day it was 14 degrees!  We'll not forget this four hour shoot!)  Every project is different, yet they are all the same in that the actual "shoot"...for the usually easiest part of the project.

Video_shoot_directing The tough stuff comes in distilling the message, writing the scripts, setting the shots and editing the final piece.  Sometimes it's the stuff the client never sees that eats up the time and adds to the cost.

So when we're asked how much we answer:  "Depending on what you want and how you want to present it, $1,500 to $5,000 for each finished minute."

That usually shocks the socks off of some...and they might be surprised to learn we're some of the least expensive in the business.

The next question: "How come such a difference in price?"

Video_shoot_lyle Again, it depends on what we have to do.  Recently we finished a product for a client that took ten hours in the edit...for a four minute video.  Add to that the fact they wanted original music, graphics and voice overs....every item has a cost associated with it.

I remember the very first production we worked.  It was a ten minute piece (TOOOOO Long for today's world) we did it fifteen years ago.  The price "then" for the entire package including talent was $1,000 a minute.  That same piece today?  More like $5,000 a finished minute.

How much?  How good do you want it to look?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...thanks for coming by!

Voice Mail Obsolete?

Phone_dusty_red A discussion about advertising, marketing and public relations...thanks for coming by.

Voice mail, love it or hate it, there are some who suggest it has seen it's day and now is a thing of the past.

Last year Georgie, from our office, wrote a post outlining her frustrations with incoming messages.

Now, on the business page of the Des Moines Register there's an interesting article by Karen Mracek (Workbytes) where she discusses the failure of voice mail and admits to not checking hers in a timely manner.  It seems others don't either.

None of that is surprising.

Cell_phone_text What was, however, is the report from National Public Radio that the Chinese people prefer text messages to voice mail.  The report indicated text messages are cheaper than phone calls (local or long distance?) and the message is crisp, clear and fast.  Clear? we have another way for people to ignore us.

Best line in the story is this outgoing message telling folks "just don't bother":  "Hi Workbytes here.  After the beep, hang up." about you?  Do you check and then return voice mail or are you too giving up in the idea?

For Sale - One Piece At A Time...

Auction_flag A discussion about advertising, marketing and public relations...thanks for coming by.

This week we learned of a sale and a pending sale of two icons of the United States.  In one it's only a landmark.  ("Only?)  But the public relations effects of the other?  That may be a different story.

The week started off with the announcement that the Chrysler Building, an iconic structure built in 1930, might well become the property of the folks in Abu Dhabi

Chrysler_building Abu Dhabi for cryin' out loud!

Any idea where the heck that is?  No?  Right here!  Oh...and money is no problem with the third highest per capita income in the world.

OK, for years we've been selling off buildings, toll roads and farming interests so the fall out from this latest land grab might not cause a ripple.  It should...but it won't.

Now enter the latest news story about selling another icon of America.  It's the possible sale of Anheuser Busch to a Belgian company.  This very well might bring on a gasp from the Budweiser faithful.

That could mean trouble not only in Saint Louis but more importantly among the NASCAR crowd that might not cozy up to take over company InBev.  But, then again the Busch Series of racing is now Nationwide.  However, in our best Homer Simpson voice: "Insurance, ain't beer!"

Ab_logo Domestic beer sales have fallen steadily over the past decade and folks with a fondness for "American Made Brew" might bolt the brand if things change.  And..."change" is a trademark of InBev.  Think lean....

Bottom line is not always the money made but the image served up to the public.  Our take:  A disaster for market share is in the works should we put a Belgian crown on the "King of Beers".

What do you think?