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October 2008
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December 2008

Sometimes It's Not What You "Think"

MPL Israel Airport I'm not sure what I expected when I arrived in Israel this past Monday evening.  Like you I get the news, watch the press and learned about the country in school.  But, learning and experiencing are two very different things.

What we found was a very busy, open and thriving economy.  People do not simply "walk" to their vehicle, get in and go.  They WALK everywhere.  At roughly 30 pounds overweight...I noticed how fit the people are. 

The drive from the airport (which is First Class!) in Tel Aviv to was like leaving West Des Moines.  In fact the traffic and the signs all looked very familiar.  Same colors...and except for the addition of Hebrew and Arabic to the might think you are someplace in Iowa.

My point is that what we "think" we know and what we "know" are two very different things.  It's like advertising and marketing.  Having somebody in the office take the calls and buy or create the marketing materials is "thinking" it can get done well.  Much different than having somebody who "knows" what to do.

Next post:  The real reason the airlines are ain't the price of fuel.  It is the price of indifference.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Doing Organic Yet?

As many of you know, I'm currently in Israel learning and visiting.  Here is one of those interesting Organics lessons.  As we flew our 23 hours here we had a stop in London.  (Lasted way too long!)  While there I stopped into this resturant in Heathrow.  Notice the photo (click on it and it gets larger).  Organic milk and food.  And, yes, there were people in line.  At 7am!

We've written before about how this is such a large market and no longer marginal.  Which gets us to thinking...are you exploring new markets and new opportunities?  Six years ago "organic" was for "tree huggers".  Today it is mainstream.

What is interesting is how many companies do not have this on their radar. 

Want to get there?  Give us a call...perhaps we can help!

Thanks for reading...

MichaelLibbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

An Amazing Journey - Israel

Jerusalem By the time you read this on Monday I'll be in Israel for a lifetime trip.  It's something I thought I'd never be able to do but thanks to some wonderful folks, including my wife, it's happening.  Though I'm a little nervous about leaving the office for such a long stretch.

I'm going for several reasons.  First I want to experience what my brother and son have already seen.  Hey, my turn!

I'm also profoundly interested in agriculture in Israel.  I have a feeling it's a long way from agriculture here in Iowa.

I'm also going to represent a client with a visit to Yad Vashem and several other places where we might interest folks in The Sparks Fly Upward.

I am hoping to keep in touch through this BLOG.  And, share with you, first hand, some of the experience in agriculture, marketing & advertising that goes on here.  We'll catch you later and thanks for reading!

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


Traveling & Learning

So, I'm sitting at the airport in LONDON for cryin' out loud.  Interesting observations;

  • Friendly folks but the police carry mighty large weapons!
  • Gotta figure out the Pounds conversion.

That and the computer keyboards are DIFFERENT.

Marketing is no problem...but at 7am local time to see make up experts working the stores in the airport is something. 

Next post...

|Thanks for reading.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications

Car Stores & End Dealers?

Seth Godin offers an interesting take on the "Detroit Mess" and one that might cause a Cars shiver to go up the spine of the traditional "dealer network".  You can read his blog here.

We have long held to the idea of creating a direct channel system in the world of agriculture.  In the world of agriculture, especially short line agriculture, there is a "three step delivery system".  Here is how it works:

  • The Manufacturer makes a plow, planter, grain wagon, etc.  They sell it to:
  • The Wholesaler who buys finished goods from a number of manufacturers.  They then sell to:

  • The Dealer who then sells it to the end user - the Farmer.

Of course everybody along the way adds their markup.  We've always thought there is an extra step in the process but the system has been around forever and hard to change.

Seth also offers up the need to keep the thousands of "suppliers" working.  You see, today the car companies don't make all the stuff that goes into the car.  They simply "assemble" it and then market the finished product.

It's a good read...check it out

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Feeling "Special"?

Using social media, or e-mail messages to clients or perspective clients?  Here is a quick lesson in what NOT to do.Iowa Chops Sign

We're hockey fans.  In Iowa we've had an American League Hockey (AHL) team for three years.  First it was the Iowa Stars, now it's the Iowa Chops.  The Chops are the farm team for the Anaheim Ducks.

Did I mention we're also season ticket holders?  So, we're "in the club" which gives us that sense of belonging.  We're feeling "special".

Sort of...

Today, I (and we'd guess a bunch of other season ticket holders) got a "Letter from (Chops) President Steve Nitzel".  It's their way ot communicating with the "special" folks who are season ticket know...the people that brave blizzards to see as many games as possible because we have an "investment" in the team.  He was explaining what went wrong with a shipment of team jerseys they hope to sell us.

The letter was informative...gave all the facts...told us how hard they were working to get the shipment to Des Moines.  Trouble was the first line: 

"Dear First Name,"

Look, they've got more on their plate than putting my "first name" in the space provided. But it does call out the critical issue of making sure somebody proofs the document...especially when using e-mail blasts to "special people".  Like your customers.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - "Go Chips...err...Chops!"


How Long Has It Been?

Vintage Christmas Card I was doing some adjustment of our Insight Advertising website when I ran across the Material Review Section.  It's been a long time since we've highlighted what this is and how critical this review can be for marketing your success in these new economic times.

The bottom line question is this:  How long has it been since you're reviewed your marketing materials?  You know, your brochures, fliers, hand-outs.   That collateral stuff you mail, give away, pass out...  And, yes, even in the digital age you've still got to have print in your marketing arsenal.

If it's been more than two's past time.  But, it's not only age that can sink your marketing's also how it's written, designed and managed.

And, that's where we come in.  We'll do a professional review of your print piece, see if it meets the call to action, check the wording, photos and help you make sure you're on track for the next sales push. 

It's what we do...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we think retro holiday cards are kinda cool...but, please...not your media!

Makin' It or Suckin' It?

Work for FOOD The other day I learned that a friend of mine had been terminated from his job.  It wasn't anything he had's what he wasn't doing.  Oh, he was working...hard.  I know, I saw him at his work place early in the morning and late in the evening.  It was not uncommon to see him at special events hosted or promoted by his company.  There is no doubt he was contributing to the overall effort.

But what he was doing wasn't making money, or enough of it, for the accountants who run the operation.  In a flash...he was gone.

So, are you actually making money for the company or sucking money out of the company?  In your heart of hearts you know.  If, no matter how hard working and dedicated you are, what you are doing can be sucked up by are in trouble.

In these times how can you create real value?  Here are a couple ideas:

  • Be proactive and FIND ways to help your company save money.  Remember, the best dollar saved is the one not spent.  How can you embrace technology to increase savings and still not drop the ball?
  • If you don't sell your company brand...find a way to do it.  If you don't know what the company brand is...ask.
  • If you are not responsible for actually "selling" or actually bringing in some dollars find out if you can.  Or if there is no way...look for ways you can become a key player among those who are actually selling.  Take some of their load so they can spend more time in the trenches.

I think the word here is PRO-ACTIVE.  Find ways to help increase the bottom line by, at least, your salary.  Otherwise the company may do it for you. 

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


Catch The Passion

This past Saturday night we sat through the world premire of The Sparks Fly Upward.  Our company is the agency of record for The Sparks Project so we'd been to several events, seen the rehearsals and we were at the dress rehearsal.  Needles to say we were pretty much familiar with the cast, the music and the mission.  This story is not so much about the musical but about passion.

Knacht Now there is a word, "Passion".  It's a word folks tend to throw around without much consideration to its depth of meaning.  Our society has also done the same for words like, "amazing", "awesome" and "fantastic".

And, it's too bad.  Because that is the first word that came to mind when LeAnne Freeman-Miller (above) stepped onto the stage in the lead role of Lina Rosenbaum.

Cast I guess I should have caught on prior to opening night but I didn't.  I should have caught on to her level level of talent when downloading photos from a shoot, two nights before the opening, it was her character that dominated so many of the pictures.  Something kept drawing me to her work.  It must have been her passion.

That is not to say the others in the cast lacked anything.  It was a great performance by Tim Robinson (pictured above with Freeman-Miller), Tana Field and the wonderful voice of young Anthony De Meglio.  They, and the others, took their craft to a level that had ticket holders wondering out loud how in the world Des Moines could field such a professional cast.  (Here is the Des Moines Register review.) So, thank you for your energy and your dedication and for making a difference.

And, LeAnne, thank you for your passion.

My job is to ask those of you reading because you are "into" advertising and marketing...have you got it?

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications



Paying But Not Listening?

Doctor It struck me the other day.  Several years ago I visited with my doctor.  After he checked me out he said, "Michael I want you to take these pills for thirty days and come back to see me.  We'll run some tests."  I left the exam room, prescription in hand, and went to the front counter where I paid my bill and then left the office.

Now I had two choices.  I could do what he told me to or I could ignore the advice and treatment he suggested.  It was up to me...  I made the choice to listen.  I mean, hey...I am no doctor.  He's got the training, experience and knowledge..I should out guess him?

But sadly, in the world of advertising and marketing, it happens all the time. People choose to hire advertising agencies and pay for the rock solid advice and knowledge. Far too often they then make the choice to ignore the message and in the flash of an eye...become experts.


I thought about that once when a client ripped up our Media Plan (which they paid for) and changed the entire media buy.  In addition they hired somebody else to do the PR for them and this new company talked them into doing an "Open House"...but NOT with their core demographic. We're still trying to figure that out.

The result was a lousy roll out and an "open house" that attracted 14 people.  They never recovered and are now out of business.


Woman scrubs What is it about some private business owners that makes them actually believe they know advertising and marketing?  Is it because we fail to make a passionate enough pitch?  Is it because we want them to "like us" so they will remain our clients so we go along with silly ideas and flawed reasoning?

They wouldn't do that with their physician...or maybe they would simply dress up as one.

Maybe the reason they sometimes make these boneheaded decisions is because they "think" advertising and marketing is simple.  Or, maybe we're just not tough enough to walk away...

But let me make this suggestion...a professional will trump guessing 98% of the time.

Do yourself a favor...don't play "dress up" when it comes to things you don't know.  You'll thank us for it later.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications