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November 2008

Hangin' Out At Twitter?

Twitter_logo_2 Several months ago I signed up for Twitter.  Didn't use it much and at first, thought it was a giant waste of time.

Until the past couple of weeks and I'm hooked.  Sure, sometimes it's silly like when today I wanted to learn if my fellow "Twitts" would help me out and vote on a burning office question we have here:  "Is Chili...soup?"  Hey... we wonder about these kinds of things. 

The substance to Twitter is that you can get a broad range of people talking about a wide range of subjects.  Today one of my Twitter Friends asked the question about "Hyperlocal News" and if traditional news sources could ever play a role in hyperlocal news. Or might localized news might come from some other medium?  It's a good question and one that I would never have thought to ask or consider as we market product and services for our clients.

Chili_2 So..what is the point?  Learning.  I don't have much of a chance to hang with 30-somethings. We run in different crowds.  But, this gives me the opportunity to learn what they are thinking and talking about. That, my friends helps us know more about future trends in marketing and advertising. 

What is your primary demographic thinking and talking about?  Do you know? 

Oh, according to my Twitter Friends - "Chili is, for sure, a soup!"

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Sometimes communications comes in the form of a Twit.


Connecting With Your Base?

Sarah_palin_4 Over the past few months we've heard plenty about "connecting with your base".  We are told the emergence of Gov. Sarah Palin into national politics did that very thing for the McCain campaign.

However, defining exactly who that base is gets complicated because it changes...depending on who you ask.

So, we turn our attention to you and your business:  Who is your base?  Do you know?  Have you spent the time figuring them out?  What is it they want?  Are you sending mixed messages?  Do you have multiples in your base?  Do you take your base...for granted?

These are important questions you need to answer with facts before you start into your next advertising campaign.

Small_tractor_blades_use Here is an example:  I have some good friends, that are not clients, who manufacture small scale farm equipment.  Over the years I have watched them spend loads of money in farm related magazine ads that totally miss their base.  Rather than marketing to their core (small farmers and acreage owners) we've seen their ads running in some major traditional row crop magazines.  Misplaced advertising...and it continues...all missing their base.  Or worse, they have no clear idea WHO their base is.

It's kind of like marketing to Joe-Six-Pack but then dropping $150,000 on clothing - 75K at Neiman-Marcus, 50K at Saks...nothing at Wal-Mart?  No doubt Joe-The-Plumber can relate.

Which of the two above examples is worse?  Our friends in the farm equipment business.  Why?  1) It's their money and 2) Not marketing to their base will have a lasting effect on missed sales and revenue.

And, that, my friends, is the real shame.

The other example?  As Hollywood fashion designer Vicki Sanchez said about Gov. Palin, "Hey, she looks damn good.  Get over it!"

You betcha!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we'll help you not only find your voice...but also your base.


Stating The Obvious

Bike_riding_iowa_fog Some of you know my wife is an avid bike rider.  Two weeks ago she did 127 miles in a day and last week 60 miles...as you can see it was just "a little foggy".

This image (go ahead click on it and read the sign) got me to thinking about how some companies spend way too much time stating the obvious. 

We've seen car dealers load up a newspaper ad with ten to fifteen images of vehicles and then in bold print declare they have cars for sale.  No kidding...

Customer_number_one

What comfort do you think consumers get when you tell them in the ad that your customer is "number one".  OF COURSE THEY ARE...or should be.

Is your place of business really "A One-Stop-Shop"?  OK, that was cute...25 years ago!

Some day I really want to go to a "Blow Out Sale"...I've always been fond of explosions...or birthday cakes...or whatever "blow out" means.  How come advertisers still use that tired old phrase?  And what the heck does it mean?

Grain_bins_use Or the agriculture ad for grain bins complete with a color photo along with the name of the manufacturer and the words:  "Grain Bins"  Really, gosh I thought you might be selling corn planters...

You get the point.  Sometimes we treat our customers like they are idiots. 

Enough....

Get creative and give me some solid reasons why your product or service will answer my needs/wants.  Do that and win.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Yes, I am proud of my wife...nice going!


Building Business In A Bad Economy

Money_for_beer Despite the gloom we see from many parts of the country now is not the time to do a "knee jerk" reaction and stop building your business by attracting new customers.  Now is the time to build by marketing with some smarts.  Here's how:

  • Don't Cut Back "The Core" - You might be tempted to cut back even on your core market advertising.  Don't do it.  You can be assured that your competition will be watching and waiting to swoop in and attempt to claim your market share.
  • Buy Smarter - Our office has been hit in recent weeks by a number of "special sale" offers by both national and regional advertising giants.  They are enticing us to buy advertising for our clients at reduced rates.  If we're getting those kinds of messages you should be able to negotiate better pricing as well.  JUST ASK!
  • Be Creative - Don't push the same old look and message.  Make it sparkle with great creative something that stands apart from the rest.  Better creative is always a better buy because the customer remembers.
  • Have A Plan - Do not go into 2009 without a solid marketing plan.  You will waste precious resources and your entire advertising program will be a jerky and awkward.  Besides if you have a budgeted plan your boss will love it.
  • Trade Show Woes - Sit down and really think about what trade shows you MUST do and then focus on building a stronger brand by using the saved money to build a more stunning display.  It works!
  • Speak To Consumers - Make sure your advertising message is spot on to how your product or service will help customers save money long or short term.  It's top of mind for many folks...have an answer for them.

The short story is: 

  • Think
  • Plan
  • Create
  • Capture

Now go out there and become relevant to your core market and beyond.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Got a quarter for beer?


Tonight On The Iowa Sportsman Radio Show

Ar_15 Just a quick "shout out" that tonight on The Iowa Sportsman Radio Hour we'll have the co-chairman for the Iowa Sportsmen for McCain - Palin, Dave Funk.  Dave willl be on to tell us why sportsmen from all over the country and for sure here in Iowa, will support and then vote for Senator McCain in less than 16 days.  We suspect you will hear about how Senator Obama will take away your firearms should he be elected as president. You can hear the show on 98.3 WOW-FM (983wowfm) here in Central Iowa and it starts at 7:00pm.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - And, no we are not making any political statement so relax..


Undecided Voters?

Undecided_signWe live in Iowa.  Because of the caucus process we've been hit with political messages for nearly two years. 

Two years.

Yet, here in Iowa, (and other states) the media can still find voters that are undecided.

Undecided?

I'm not sure what the percentage is but we're beginning to find this troubling for those of us involved in marketing & advertising.

Question:

Could it be that all the talk about wooing these "undecided voters" might actually be creating indecision?  Who doesn't like to be noticed, talked to...fawned over?

It's either that we are manufacturing "undecided voters" or we're in big trouble. 

Woman_undecided_paint We can understand folks not being able to decide what color to paint the living room.  We get it when some people can't decide "Coke or Pepsi".  We see folks who hesitate at the yellow traffic light.  We've all witnessed the indecision regarding which line to get into at the grocery store...

But...making a decision about the President of the United States?

Undecided?

We don't think so...what do you think?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - So does this mean if you don't have a 500 million dollar advertising budget folks can't decide?  Silly...


The Sparks Fly Upward Media Thank You

Sparks_press_october_15_2 Yesterday we held a media event for the local press to come and learn more about the new musical drama The Sparks Fly Upward written and produced by Cathy Lesser Mansfield.  The show is set for its world premiere on November 8th here in Des Moines at Hoyt Sherman.

The Sparks Fly Upward is a major work taking years to write and will be performed with a 37 -piece orchestra, a choir, actors and a multi-media presentation showing period photographs.

We'd just like to say a public thank you to our friends who came and represent the majority of media reaching the 433,000 households in the Des Moines DMA. 

Sparks_press_michael Thanks to Michael Morain and Mary from the Des Moines Register who came in to learn more about the project.  We think his article may offer an interesting twist as it has a focus on the effect this project has had on the cast.  We look forward to it!

Our thanks to KCCI -TV8, Ryan Luby and his photojournalist for coming by and the great interview.   If you would like to see, here you go.

Sparks_press_cast_use Thank you to WHO-TV 13 and Mike Borland for his video segment and desire to do a one-on-one with Cathy Lesser Mansfield.

Getting the media to come out and cover an advance like this on the day of the final presidential debate was encouraging and we are grateful.

For more about The Sparks Fly Upward make sure you head to their website.  We're looking for a great crowd on November 8th!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and thanks again to our media friends!


It's The Little Things...

School_ltrs We're told all the time about the "Big Picture" and while that might be a critical element in making advertising and marketing decisions it's the "little things" that make it all come together.

For example, if your Media Plan (and we hope you have one) simply looks at the big picture, "We need to advertise in these specific magazines."  But you fail to understand "why" or give as much consideration to the message and the image in your potential magazine ads...you lose.

We've seen companies that run the same ad for months and months.  After some time...the ad become invisible to the reader.  Try it yourself images you see on TV, billboards, magazines and newspapers are not seen after a time.  Your brain just doesn't notice.

It's the little things...

Here is another and even more on point:  This week I was attempting to log into the "backend" of a client's website to do a quick check of some images.  Try as I might I could not get in.  I'd been there before...but not now.    I contacted my good friend Andy Priestly (he loves it when I ask DUMB questions) and asked, "What's up?"

Dice_dot Andy:  "Michael, you need to put a . (dot) between the login names."

Oh.....

That tiny missing "dot" caused me huge frustration and a missed opportunity.

How many "small things" or details are you overlooking when it comes to your media plan, your image and your brand?

Sweat the small stuff....


Trade Show Time...You Ready?

Cv_booth Summer is over...and for many of us in the world of agriculture and outdoors...the trade show season is about to start.  Big time.

You ready?

Take a look at this photo.  It's a booth we designed for our client, Country Vet Pet Foods.  We, and they...LOVE IT.  Why?

Go ahead, click on the photo to enlarge.  You'll see that it's clean, open, friendly and it is not cluttered!  The images are crisp, a minimum of wording and BIG.

Folks notice.

Trade_show_booth_use Here is another booth...folks noticed this one too.  Anybody stop by?  Anybody impressed?  Nope...

Here is yet another.  Note that it's not the idea of clean and neat.Trade_show_energy

Just click to see the images larger.   It's worth a peek.

Which booth looks more like yours?  So, what should you be doing right now?

If your first show is in less than thirty days.  Call us, send an e-mail...not tomorrow...TODAY.  If you've got more time...you can wait a week.  The important thing is your product image.  You are proud of your product or service...right?

The question we always ask is...why spend all that money going to a trade show and yell to the world that you look "cheap"?

Public relations is often something you can repair...with work, effort and a great image.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we can help make your trade show sizzle!


Trade Show Booth?

Coming up tomorrow we'll offer you some suggestions about trade shows and the booth you wish you had...and can still have.  It comes complete with photos of what you don't want to look like and what you should look like.

The best news...the re-make can cost less than you might think.

But...you are going to have to act...quickly!

There you go...a preview of what to look for on Monday morning!

Thanks for reading...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Notice anything different about this post?  Something missing?

IMAGE!

Makes a difference huh?