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November 2008
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January 2009

The 80 /10 /10 Rule

You've all heard of the 80/20 Rule...  You know, the idea that 80% of the people follow the 20% of the folks that actually do the work.  It's been something speakers and business professionals have tagged for years.Man Terror

Yesterday I was having coffee with my friend Joe Baitinger when he brought up the idea of the new "80/10/10 Rule".  At it's root the 80/10/10 rule means that 80% are followers, 10% are leaders and 10% are "corporate terrorists" hell-bent on swaying the 80% of followers into thinking any ideas of the leaders are "wrong" or "won't work".

Brilliant really...

How many of us in leadership positions find ourselves dealing with a minority of individuals who are always negative corporate terrorists.  It drains many companies to the point of stagnation.

So, what is the answer?  Internal Corporate Public Relations with the 80% of the folks who will follow, if given the right information.  That is not to say you lie to them, you tell them the truth and be positive about it.  And it isn't a quarterly "rah-rah" meeting it is a constant uplifting of the corporate goal and brand. works.  But, at the same time it is work and that is why many...disregard the effort.

Try it in 2009 and watch as the 10% terrorist group starts to diminish...making life, and business, easier for everybody.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we help our clients with their internal and external public relations.


Beware Of How You Fire Somebody...

I'm not an attorney but, if you feel you MUST tell somebody why they were fired...this story might help you understand how important it is to tell the truth.  (Or better yet...shut up!)

Three weeks ago here in Des Moines radio station 98.3 WOW-FM(Citadel Broadcasting) fired J. Michael McKoy a popular mid-afternoon radio talk show host.  At the time, it seems, "Mac" was told it was a budget cut.  The station told other media folks in the market it was a financial decision.  Nothing personal...

Well, true to form, Mac told Terry Peters, the brass at 98.3 WOW-FM and the local Macs World Studio media different.  In fact he offered to work "for free".  They said..."Nope, you need to go."

Today, Mac signed on at a new station.  He's on each weekday from 2 - 4 on 940-AM.  (Thanks to Doug Mitchell for the photo)  The difference this time is Mac bought the time so....he is not an employee.  So, what he his stuff only.

And, today he spent the better part of two hours telling anybody listening (and those numbers are not clear) how "evil" the  brass at 98.3 WOW-FM is.  And, yep, he used those words...and while he didn't name names...he pretty much went through the list of "positions" so for folks was clear who he was talking about.

The lesson...when you fire somebody.  Keep your mouth shut...because you never know when the truth might come out...and from where.

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Four Seconds To Impact!

Those of us who help clients make an impression at trade shows realize we've got aboutPink_clock four seconds to connect with folks wandering the isles.  That is not a lot of time...  We suggest to our clients, and to you, that you use this time wisely.  Here are some quick things to consider:

  • No Clutter - People can't read much in four seconds so consider using large graphics with a minimum of words.  Also, lots of small photos on a 10' display board will get lost.  Tell your story in a couple of large images.
  • Bullet Points - If you MUST use text use bullet points.  They can also be used by the people working the booth as memory aids during the discussion.
  • Selling - Don't expect the display to do the selling of your product or service.  That is the job of the people in the booth.
  • Keep it Open - Nothing says, "stay away" like a table separating you from your future customer.  If you need a place to write consider a podium arrangement where you have a small area (also with graphics) centered in your booth or off to the side.
  • Eye Level and Above - People tend to look up and above the crowd.  Text or images below the waist will get lost.  Unless the isle is empty and if that's the case maybe you picked the wrong show?
  • Big is Better - If you can afford it get a larger booth space and perhaps offer seating, free water...something "different"....remember open is inviting.
  • Take Names - Find a way to gather data on the people who are visiting your booth that's where the real action is...after the show.  Then,
  • Follow Up - Find a way to follow up with the folks who stopped in.  Let them know they are important to you and to your product or service.

Remember, you've only got four seconds!  Make 'em count!

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications




The "Real" Problem With (Social) Media & Advertising?

Stuff that makes ya scratch your head:Man scratching head

Last week I was on the phone with a national corporate marketing department trying to make sense of their "historical experience" in marketing and advertising to females 29 - 55.  This company hinges its marketing/advertising on two things:  Television and Direct Mail.  "Our historical data tell us that specific television buys (3 weeks three times a year) and direct mail (1x monthly) has produced success for us and that continues to be our recommendation."

ME:  "How about radio?  You know in specific markets radio can really assist in brand building."

THEY:  "Our history dictates that radio has been a dismal failure everywhere it has been tried."

"OK...but have you tried it with (gulp) us?  You know, the folks that actually know something about radio advertising?"

"We can not, based on history, recommend it." 

Sensing that was going down the wrong path I tried something REALLY RADICAL: Social Media.  "You know, with this system you can engage your base, communicate in  conversation form, get found, target folks on an opt-in system and have them truly understand what you are offering using an ongoing approach that is not only effective but also very affordable."

THEY:  "Social media is untested and in our mind until we see solid evidence that social media might work for our dealers/franchise locations we're not recommending.  Oh, and besides, there is the legal problem.  Any comments would have to be cleared through corporate."

And...that statement was from their new On-line Media Director....followed up with, "Well, maybe you could test social media this time of year, when it's cold and  people are huddled in their homes."

Exorcist Road (Quick image:  My head spinning like a scene from The Exorcist.)

ME: "One final question, what is your historical rate of return on direct mail, one percent?"

THEY:  (Chuckle) We're not quite sure but if it were that high we would be ecstatic!"

"So you guys want our guy to spend $120,000 on direct mail & television trying to reach 7,000 people (not all, by the way, who need or can afford his product/service) in this market and you are hoping for what, a 0.25% return?  For $120,000K we'll pick up the phone and call 'em."

Gosh...I wish I had the wisdom of New York!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - If you are seeking cost effective ways to build a brand and engage potential customers...we hope you'll call.



Recession? It's Now YOUR Fault!

Gosh, I'm not sure where to start.  After a summer of oil and fuel companies tipping the scales in their favor (and posting huge profits) the American Public made a decision.  Stop driving and save.  They were wrong to do so...says the industry.Money for Food

Consumers, scared out of their collective minds about the future of their jobs, make a decision to spend less over the holiday season and save more.  They are wrong...says the industry.

Here's one for you:

General Growth Properties (owner of Jordan Creek "Uber-Mall "in West Des Moines) will not take cash for mall "gift cards".  I am not making this up.  People can only use credit cards...  Guess is I were 3.1 billion dollars in debt  I'd be skippy about folks laying down "real green".

"People are trying to pay down their high interest credit cards...and using real money to help them see what they are spending."  Says our friend Tom Coates of Consumer Credit of Des Moines.   Makes sense. So our friends at the "trendy mall"  (OK, I've been there four times!  I'll admit to extravagance.) now ban the practice of using real...m-o-n-e-y?  Insane.

It gets worse...

Now in light of Americans doing what their parents and grand-parents have been telling them for a couple of generations, "Buy what you can afford and don't extend yourself!"  Guess who is getting blamed for the Recession?


Not the cut-throat credit card companies, not the fat cat bankers, not the sleazy investment firms.  Not the United State Government that insists on spending billions of your money in massive gifts to the folks who caused much of this problem.  Nah... Now the blame is you!  Consumers are driving the PEOPLE!

"We have met the enemy...and he is us."   Only in America...

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Don't you love this new spin for a public relations wonderment?

A Holiday Must Be Near - Bend Over!

I guess if you are going to be a crook, you might as well be a good one.  But, what fuel Man money companies are doing right now...well let's say it's sort of like the Illinois Governor getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar...only sometimes this is worse.  You would think they just think the rest of us are idiots. 

And, maybe we are.

Oil prices are today at the lowest point since 2004.  Lower, that would mean when local fuel prices in Des Moines fell to $1.39 (two weeks ago).  On that date oil was being traded at $43.  Then, a four days ago the price of oil shot up five dollars.  The price signs at local gas stations were bumped up twenty-cents.  Then a day later another nine-cents.

Trouble was...oil prices were falling.

Today in Des Moines you get to buy fuel for $1.63 yet oil prices are at $40.01.

I guess when you KNOW you are going to "get it" it still hurts as much as when they  sneak up on you.  Price gouging?  Don't you love it and they can actually sleep at night.  OK, I know we've got it better than many places in the country so save the e-mails telling me you pay fifty-cents or a dollar more a gallon.  That is not the point.  These folks look for every way they can skin us.  I'm getting really ticked.

Politicians, Used Car Salesman, Oil Companies and gee what other type of slick "dudes" can we come up with?  These guys don't even care about "public relations".  It's shameful...and we keep smiling.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we're glad we have an honorable profession - I'll be better tomorrow! Ho-Ho-Ho!

"Beefscapes" - Is It Safe Yet?

Back in January the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) lost their collective mindsBeef Beach and replaced the long running (and successful) "Beef It's What's For Dinner" campaign for a nut-so idea that people might be persuaded to eat...Pebble Beach?

I swear, PETA couldn't have thought of a better campaign.  "OK, let's see....hmmmm.  Got it!  Let's disguise various cuts of meat to make them look like mountains or beaches!  Yeah, that's it...then NOBODY will know it's really M-E-A-T." 

We thought it was a lousy campaign and wrote about it in "BEEF - It's Freaky!" last January.

Here we are eleven months later and what do I hear on the local radio station?  Well, it wasn't Sam Elliot but it WAS a voice over complete with the "old" music and the famous tag line, "Beef, It's What's For Dinner".

Might there be hope?  Might it be safe once again to open up magazines and not see disturbing images of my food modeled to look like Mt. St. Helen?

We can only hope sanity has returned to Colorado otherwise we're likely to see the next big idea, "Is it Beef or is it a Rutabaga?"

Big Sur The message here is sometimes "creative" can get weird and so far off the mark we're left wondering what the heck the "message" is.  Sometimes "out of the box" ideas work and can cause new interest in an old product or service.  In this case, nah... we figured the NCBA had gone wacko for some agency to talk them into this mess.   Be careful out there.

Now for a test...which of the two images on this page is beef and which is really Big Sur.  Tough huh?  (time it ticking...tick, tick, tick...) OK...I'll tell you.. the bottom is the actual beach at Big Sur - courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...somebody stop the madness...




Des Moines Radio - Mac Is Back - 940AM

We've been posting articles about advertising and marketing for several years but none has gotten the response like the recent piece on J. Michael McKoy getting the axe from Citadel Broadcasting's 98.3 WOW-FM last week.  Comments have come in from all over. (OK, so if you read our posts and you are from Denmark - Per - this won't mean much...but all stuff can be local.)Mac

That's why when we were informed earlier Monday morning that Mac had signed on with Des Moines Radio Group (Saga Communications) station Praise-940AM we got interested in following it up.

It first nobody wanted to talk about it.  But as these things go...nobody could keep that quiet.  The Un-Official "Official" word is that Mac will be on between 2 and 4 in the afternoon starting December 22.

So, how is this going to play for the Christian Radio Station?

Mac has a following and while he isn't as "hard core" a "Bible Banger" as 1040-WHO's Steve Deace it should prove to be an excellent income opportunity for a station that recently secured the Des Moines Buc's hockey (Away from Citadel flagship KGGO earlier this year.)  Of course they also had the AHL "Iowa Stars" for a couple of years but lost that deal to Citadel sports station "The Champ" when the Stars became the Iowa Chops.

The "down side" is coverage, existing progamming, and getting folks to switch to AM.  The station  can get out of the metro for about 20 miles.  But when you figure Mac usually takes on local items may be fine.  The switch to AM and folks not moved by the religious fervor of the core programing might be a problem.  We'll see.

Mac has, as he has done so many time before, landed on his feet.  We're wondering non-compete at 98.3 WOW-FM?  We find that hard to believe in today's world.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Getting "Personal" At Trade Shows...

It's that time of year - Thousands of companies are looking at the Trade Show Calendar  and planning the same old booth for the same old crowd in the same old city...Larry and Flo

Sound boring?  It doesn't have to be!

Trade Shows are a major expense for any company.  You've got to figure travel, lodging, booth space, food, the booth costs, printed materials, transportation of product...the list gets long and expensive.  Sometimes executives worry that they are not getting a positive return on their investment.  And, most of the time they are correct.

When you figure that nearly 79% of all trade show leads never get followed up on....that's costly.  Here is the article about how to fix that problem...this weekend!

So how can you inject some personality into your trade show and still be taken seriously? 

Jpeg Web We like what our client Calcium Products has allowed us to do.  Over the years we've developed a character, "Flo" who has become a spokesperson for the company.  When she can, she attends various trade shows and when she can't she appears in the local ads.  She's even gone so far as to write notes to attendees letting them know she "missed seeing them".

"Flo" brings a memorable "personality" to the booth.  Though she doesn't offer much in the way of product information she does keep the crowd interested and engaged.  And, it's fun!

While this won't work for everybody and you need to be very careful on how you present a spokesperson, it does add a personal touch to what can be a dreadful experience.  And, what is best, people remember!

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - What to learn more...give us a call or send us an e-mail!


Learning From Teaching

Over the past twenty-five years I have had the honor to have served several Iowa congregations.  I've always told them I learn more from the teaching...then they ever will.Girl blackboard   It's not that I'm a poor speaker or's just that the preparation to teach continues to "teach the teacher".

I had one of those moments yesterday.

I perspective new client came to our office for help.  These folks have been around for years so it's not like they are new to their business.  But, they are stagnant.   There has been no real growth for over five years.  Last year they actually lost money. 

It took exactly five minutes to learn what they have been doing wrong.   It took over four hours to share with them what they need to do to "fix it" and grow.  Their business and marketing model was that broken!

We covered lots of territory in that four hours, most of which was very basic:

  • You NEED an uncluttered Web Site!
  • You need to market and advertise all the time, not just 4 weeks before an event.
  • You need to consistently brand your product and service.
  • You need to spend make money.
  • Embrace some social media!

It was a great discussion and it reinforced what all of us in the advertising and marketing business need to tell our existing and perspective clients.  No matter how much it bothers them. 

Our goal is not only to make a living..for us.   Our goal is to make sure our clients make a living and a profit so they can continue to employ good, honest, hard working people we may never meet. 

Thanks for coming in and letting me learn...again.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we REALLY love this work.