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December 2008
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February 2009

Censorship, Bad Business or Worse?

The Des Moines lightning rod that is J. Michael McKoy is proving to be just that.  This week, six weeks following his ouster from his afternoon talk show at Citadel Mac Broadcastings 98.3 WOW-FM, he was booted off the air at Saga Communications station Praise 940AM.

He had been on for less than thirty days.

When Mac contacted me early on Thursday morning I asked him what happened.  He said, "More than anything I am embarrassed."

Embarrassed?  What?  Was there a story about a goat and Jim Beam I might have missed?  No.  He was embarrassed because the two hours that he purchased, for more than $40,000 a year so he could be "in control and chart his own course", was taken away because...according to McKoy, "They thought I was going to do a Christian radio show and because I had people on that were not Christian and who might have said some thought provoking things the powers at Saga Corporate told the local general manager to boot me."

And, that is exactly what Jeff Delvaux of the Des Moines Radio Groupdid.  I contacted Jeff for his side of the story.  Delvaux said, "He had a thirty day agreement, we made the choice not to extend the agreement."Man tape red

That, we think means:  "We have no comment."  But does that also mean that McKoy was being truthful.  I asked Delvaux.  He repeated the corporate line and wished me well.

All of this brings up the uncomfortable reality that three companies control all (except one) of the 17 radio signals in the Des Moines market.  And, guess what...none of them call Des Moines home.  It's the same with the television market and the local daily newspaper.

But the deeper problem is this "Christian angle".  IF McKoy is being honest in his assessment that he was booted because he had guests that were not "Christian" who talked about things other than Jesus...  That is scary.  Very scary.

Sure, any business has the absolute right to deny some aspects of conduct in their workplace.  BUT...if McKoy is right and Saga dismissed him (and $40K...of income) because of being uncomfortable with other faith groups discussing religion.  Ouch.

We think all of this points to the need to increase signal availability for this country and really start to take a look at the monopoly given to corporate broadcasters.  Not to mention the issue of being in the business of censorship.  It's not like the Des Moines Radio Group didn't know WHAT type of show McKoy did...after all he had been in the market for years.

There is an interesting twist to this story.  Mac is still on the air at Impromptu Studio and UStream with Dan Shipton and Doug Mitchell.  Sure you have to use your computer to watch and listen...but this form of broadcasting, as primitive as it may be, is something corporate broadcasters should take with more than a grain of salt.  No longer does a bean counter at some HQ control all the content.  And that my friends is a good thing.

What say you?

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


One Good Reason To Dump E-Commerce!

Let's say you manufacture a product that is in demand by over 80 million households.  It's light weight, so shipping isn't an issue.  And, because it's only five years old you have Man scratching head just 600 or "stores" that sell it.

Would you sell it using the Internet?

I would.

But, the folks I spoke with last week will not.  Even though we believe they could boost their bottom line by thousands of dollars they are declining the opportunity to sell this product on-line.  The reason:

"Who would we get to box it up and ship it?  Employees would say it was not their job."

(I know, right now you are going back and re-reading that sentence.  We'll wait....until your head stops spinning.)

Meanwhile, understand this company KNOWS it would be successful, they understand the low upfront costs and they admit it would be good for them.  It's just that they can't take the chance of upsetting somebody in shipping.

Fast forward to another family owned business here in Des Moines.  They have a brick and mortar store where they sell outer-ware.  You know, gloves, jackets, boots the sort of things you can buy at just about any box store in any city.  Five years ago they sold nothing on-line.  Today their on-line sales have added 12% to their bottom line.  And what they are selling isn't even private label stuff. 

Nah, let's not use the power of e-commerece to boost sales.  Besides, this "Internet Thingy" will never take off... 

Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications


Peanut Recall Hits Pet Products..."Country Vet Biscuits, Safe!"

Our client, Country Vet Pet Foods, manufacturers a line of peanut butter biscuits for dogs.  Today they announced  their products are safe.Biscuit multi bag

In light of the FDA "peanut recall", staff at Country Vet went to work early this week to make sure none of their products contained ingredients manufactured by suspect company, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).  Country Vet, today, issued a statement saying that Country Vet Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits are safe.

This from Dave Patee, owner of Country Vet:

Triarama4_lores "A review of our records show that peanut butter used in the Country Vet Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits did not originate from PCA.  Therefore, all Country Vet Dog Biscuits continue to provide a wholesome and healthy treat for your pet."

This comes on the very day Petsmart recalled and took off their shelves "Grreat Choice" pet food products as the investigation into SalmonellaTyphimurium contamination from a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America(PCA)continues.  Hundreds of human food products have been recalled and now the dragnet has been extended into pet food products.

This is the second time in as many years that Country Vet Pet Food products have been deemed safe.  It was just last year when hundreds of dog food brands were removed from shelves in the melamine scare.  It was a nationwide event that is credited with the death of hundreds of pets. At that time, Country Vet announced their line of pet food did not contain ingredients linked to the outbreak and reasured their customers that indeed Country Vet Products are Loved by Pets...Trusted by Owners.

For more about Country Vet Pet Foods - Visit their Website.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


Trade Show Placement - Building Traffic

This week our client NatraTurf is at the Iowa Turfgrass and Trade Show here in Des Moines.  It's great not to have to travel!  At the show are golf course grounds professionals, city turf experts, private contractors and grounds professionals for schools and private companies.  It's quite a group and this is the first time NatraTurf has had a display for this event.

Thanks for the warm welcome!

Also at the show is William Reed the Executive Director of the Hickory Golf Association. HIckory Golf Association These folks are actually historians on the sport of golf.  They collect, sell and do demonstrations, in period costume, explaining golf history.  And, yes, they also organize events using the clubs and balls your grandfather may have used.  The NatraTurf booth is right next door and we were getting lots of attention and history lessons.

We're also getting traffic.  This time it was the "luck of the draw" but many times, if you know who is going to be at a show, you can PICK your LOCATION.  This one could not have been better.  People last night came by to visit with Bill, learn more about his topic and they moved right over to NatraTurf.

So, the quick lesson, especially at smaller trade shows.  Check who is there and if you register early and have access to the other exhibitors make a selection not only on location...but also near somebody that might help drive traffic.  Thanks Bill!

And, if you are into golf and want a great event for your next special event.  Contact Bill and the Hickory Golf Association...they can share some neat stories and lay out the history of the sport that makes for an interesting presentation...even for those of us who don't golf.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

So, What Is It Worth?

I just got off the phone with a great guy who was telling me he could not afford our services.  "Michael, you've done everything we asked you to do and you've given Business man sign blank us solid advice.  But we just can't afford your company."

I asked, "So, tell me, did you do what we suggested?"


I asked him the logical follow up question:  "Why?" 

His answer:  "We're confused.  I get sales people into the office every day telling me I should buy this advertising idea or this magazine, or this newspaper, or this television station.  I can't afford those projects.  We've followed what our business manager has told us but it's not working.  We need people in the door and they are not coming.  I think we just need to figure it all out on our own."

"Did you follow through with our suggestions & Media Plan?"  (Notice, I'm still asking the same question.)

"Well, no.  Our business manager thinks..."

And, he is right.  They can't afford our services.  Not because we charge too much for what we do, not because our marketing plan was flawed, not because of our ignorance of the market...but because they are not doing what we told them to do.  They already know better...

It's often like that in this business of advertising & marketing.  Maybe it's because civilians (non-advertising types) see television ads, read magazines, use the Internet, or listen to the radio and those actions make them, marketing experts"After all, how hard can it be to figure out advertising and marketing?  I see it everyday."

It's kind of like, "I watched three hours of brain surgery films  AND stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.  I'm qualified to operate on your husband."

We're still friends and I wish him well and we'll be here to pick up the pieces.  But not until he throws thousands of dollars at a problem he can't fix.  Because, in reality, he can't identify the problem.  He simply doesn't have the skill set.

So, how much is it learn?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - A full service advertising company that never has to "guess" because we already know.



Total Resource Campaign - Urbandale Chamber

Last week I attended a training session for the 2009 Urbandale Chamber of Commerce Total Resource Campaign.  It was my first but I was not alone. The idea behind the Tiff TRC crowd campaign is for chamber members to go out and 1)  Sign potential Chamber of Commerce Members and 2) Find existing members (or new) who might want to increase their public relations or marketing footprint by sponsoring dozens of chamber related events, activities or publications.

Although not "new" we thought it was worth mention in our post on advertising and marketing.

Tiff TRC The two hour (WOW, was that a long time to be in a meeting and not get paid! Relax, I'm not THAT jaded!) was presented by Tiffany Menke (left) the Chamber Executive Director and seems to be the brainchild of YGM and Joyce Powell with support from Mel Lee who are I think out of Tulsa, but it was hard to tell from their website.

Tiffany did a great job and held our attention...there was plenty to learn.

For those of you that read this post on a regular basis you know that last week I attended a meeting of BNI where members pay a fee to gather each week and "network" about their product or service.  It's a nice program and one that the Chambers should have created.  But, in fact, and once we looked deeper, they already have.  There are tons of networking opportunities with the local and the expanded chambers here in the Des Moines area.

So that is the perception?  We think the problem among many "young professionals" is that "The Chamber" seems to be filled with more "old school" than BNI and things just don't move as briskly.  At least that was our take on a very short reading of the market. prepared.  If you are in the market here in Des Moines I may have to call on you to "get connected". Should be fun.

Your take?


Writing & Learning

Recently I put the finish on a chapter for a book being done by my friend Drew Keyboard McLellan.  My section was on Internet Marketing & Advertising.  It wasn't as easy as it sounds and I came to (yet another) startling realization.  I believe I have those daily because I do not know everything.

"It does not matter how well you think you know something.  When you take the time to sit down and write about it...that is when you learn so much more."

I've said that nearly every time I do a speaking event for business or every time I prepare for a sermon.  I'm never sure how much my audience learns...but I get plenty out of the preparation.  And, I always thank them for the opportunity.

That got me to thinking.  How much time do you spend writing about your target market.  Do you actually sit down and write out what you believe is your key customer.  Do you take the time to write down what you think might be their buying buying habits.

Or, do you just guess, based on what you "think" you know?

In these economic times it's a good idea to take a few hours and study, ask questions, do some research and then write it down.  You'll be amazed how clearly you might see what you've been missing.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Thanks For Listening - Marketing In A Recession

Thanks so much for listening to the radio show about advertising and marketing thisRadio Station Mic afternoon (Tuesday) on 98.3 WOW-FM (983wowfm) during "Bradshaw".  For those of you using the "Listen Live" link to catch the show in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas and California. (Gee, think this "Internet Thing" might catch on?) Thanks for the e-mails and the notes on Twitter

We're hoping to podcast the show here.  I'll let you know.  The station was having some issues about that.  We'll see and I'll let you know.

Here is a quick rundown of what we discussed:

  • Website Basics - Having one is not enough, you need to get "found";
  • Using Social Media for Business - From Blogging to Twitter;
  • Advertising & Marketing in a recession - Increase and Rule or Decrease and Die;
  • When you DON'T need to advertise - It's rare, but it happens

We're so impressed by the response we may take this one on the road.  Thanks again for listening and for writing.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Advertising During A Recession - Why & How

Later today, here in Central Iowa, I'll guest on 98.3 WOW-FM with Bradshaw at 2:00pm.  If you want to listen live just click here.  (Following the show we'll post the podcast.)  It's a follow up to my radio show from this past Sunday when I had a melt down after two meetings in different parts of the country.  983wowfm_effected_1000

In the first, the people had NO idea of how to use the Internet to get noticed, sell stuff or be found.  They had no idea of the difference between a "static" brochure website or one that allowed daily changes.  (Or why that is important!)  They had no idea of social media and how it works and the value to business and industry.  They pictured themselves as not having to communicate with their customers or made communicating so difficult customers simply "give up".

So, today we're going to talk about that.  And more!

We're also going to discuss reasons why your business or industry must advertise during a recession.  What is the historic data that proves my point?  What are the two or three most important elements in surviving the recession with "Smart" advertising and marketing.  And, we'll give you solid advice on what you should be doing now.

Finally we'll give you examples of when you should not advertise!  That's right...solid proof that if the product or service is good enough, in demand and meets a critical need (even if the public doesn't know they need it) how advertising might be counter productive.  I said "advertising" not marketing.

Lots to talk about....if you have anything to do with marketing, advertising or product ideas...listen in.  That's later today on Bradshaw at 2:00pm on 98.3 WOW-FM.  Or if you are listening using your computer, click here to listen live!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications


Cutting Advertising In A Recession? Before You Do...Listen!

Many of you know that I've been doing a radio show about the rural lifestyle for severalRadio Station Mic years.  Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country deals with the growing segment of the population living on small farms and acreages.  It's a fun, tip-filled adventure each Sunday morning at 8 on the Central Iowa radio station 98.3 WOW-FM (983wowfm).

(Update:  Sunday afternoon I was contacted by 98.3 WOW-FM and we'll do more on this topic live on Tuesday (01/13) on "Bradshaw" starting at 2:00PM.)

This past Sunday I did a change up and discussed business as it relates to advertising and marketing.  (Here is the podcast from Sunday morning.)  The reason?   Last week in meetings in two different parts of the country.   At the first I was amazed at how little people really understood the power of the Internet and the potential it has for building sales.  I guess I took it for granted.

The second meeting was in Chicago where I was visiting with industry executives who had made the lousy decision to start cutting their advertising budget to "save money".  None of these people were or are my clients (but they should be).  They are making a huge mistake so I decided to come back home and do a radio show dedicated to the power of the Internet and point out how foolish it is to cut advertising and marketing budgets.

The business portion of the show is right here.  You can download the podcast and listen when you want.  I think it's a pretty fair overview of what many business people are feeling.  But they are wrong and I give solid reasoning and historical facts that say cutting advertising and marketing dollars is the last thing you should do in a recession.  In fact, you should increase and become more aggressive.

Enjoy the show, and as always if you agree or disagree feel free to comment!

Thanks for reading and for listening.

Michael P. Libbie -Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications