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Sunday Morning Coffee - September 27

Sunday Morning Coffee is a weekly look back and ahead.  For those of you expecting

Coffee Cu ps

information, news and discussion about advertising, marketing and consumer trends…we’ll maybe just a little.  Sunday morning is the time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and look forward to see what is in the “tea leaves”.  So, grab a cup of JOE and let’s visit…

Iowa and Hollywood – For those of you not living in the Hawkeye State you  may not be aware of the “Tax Credit” issue that has shut down the fledgling film industry here.   So far the flap has cost the jobs of the Economic Development Director as well as the one person department overseeing the millions in tax credits going to film producers.  Governor Culver ended the program last week when it was discovered some producers were buying fancy cars with Iowa Tax Credits.  He said, “Iowa’s will not be taken for suckers.“  Might be too late.  How the tax credits work (or don’t) is in this article  by John Carlson from the Des Moines Register.   It’s a little harsh…but good reading and it explains how “Big Business” was going to benefit.   Bring down the curtain?  We think not…we’ll see.

MPL New studio

Our “radio experiment” continues to roll on.  On Friday of this past week we logged over 19,000 listeners to Des Moines Local…LIVE.  The programing is gaining traction with over 40 radio hosts doing more local, live radio than all the other radio broadcast facilities in the city…combined.  Every word that comes out over Des Moines Local…LIVE is original with no paid or bartered programs.  It’s becomming very real…very quickly.  So much so…that a group of people have been hired to start selling advertising.   Stay tuned, this is starting to get serious...

Twitter Opps

From the “Corporate Said We Need To ‘get into’ Social Media Department“  comes this interesting photo outside of an Amici Espresso coffee house in downtown Des Moines.  Note to manager, “We’d love to follow you but we’re not sure of your ‘handle’.  A little help here? ”   As my friend, Andrew B. Clark

The Brand Chef noted, “At least they are ‘into’ social media.”  By the way, I stopped into the shop and asked what their "handle" was and they said, "Opps, forgot that huh?  It's @AmiciEspresso."  Ahmm...not. Gotta love it.

Early this month a 79 year old retired county employee turned himself in to authorities.  He is suspected of hitting and killing a bicyclist and then fleeing from the scene and hiding for over a week.  He is out of jail pending “the investigation”.  Meanwhile two brothers who drove off from a gas station (they were stealing $20 worth of fuel) struck and killed a career military man driving his motorcycle home from work.  These two thugs are sitting in jail with hefty bails.   I’m not connecting the logic here…both were “accidents” right?  Both “accidents” resulted in the death of another person.  Might it be that we just don’t take the killing of cyclists seriously?   Help me out?

Here is a “news flash”:  Iowan’s don’t trust politicians when it comes to the health care debate.  Both sided have demonized the other so harshly that, according to a recent Iowa Poll, 61% of  the public feels “frustrated” or “angry” and a whopping 83% say they think lawmakers are not being truthful about what they are actually considering.  From “Death Panels” to “Public Option” both sides are just plain scaring people.  Outcome = Nothing.   The insurance industry, that by the way has never healed anybody…wins!   No change.   Write it down on a calendar someplace because it’s over.

On our radio show last week I spoke about the failure of most trade organizations and chambers and professional organizations when it comes to teaching small business how to survive in the digital age.  I have become convinced that those of us who “get it” when it comes to small businesses marketing and selling on-line are in the minority.  Meanwhile the organizations that small business belongs to is doing little to nothing to educate their members on how to break through the fog of e-commerce and on-line marketing.  They are too busy raising dues, cutting ribbons and “networking” at “after hours” functions.  It’s easier than really working on a major issue.  And if the leadership of these groups and the boards of these groups don’t “get it” why should the professional staff bust their collective butts?    It’s an amazing story nobody is following…in my ever so humble opinion.

Steve Farber MPL

My new friend, Steve Farber was in town last week pushing his new book, Greater Than Yourself.  (When you go to his site, and do that…click on the video.  Nice.)  It’s a piece about how business people can, one at a time, change the world by giving without expectation of receiving.   He got me to thinking about those people who have invested their time and talent in me and my career.  I wrote about it last week….and it’s a great concept.  So…who gave you a hand and a boost?  Who invested in you and are you returning the favor?  Something to not only think about…but actually do.

Our four-year old grand-daughter, Sailor, was all excited last week.  She and her parents were headed out to the Savannah Savages high school football game.  Mom and Dad both graduated from the school and Sailor couldn’t wait to go cheer on the “Savannah Sandwiches“.   Oh to be a kid again!

Our offices are closed tomorrow (Monday) and I’ll have a guest host on “Insight on Business”.  We’ll be back in the office on Tuesday and start the week off with Mike Wagner from the White Rabbit Group as our first guest.  On Wednesday it’s Janis Robinson (Come by and we’ll figure out what a “Life Coach” does.) and on Friday Sean Skeehan from Farm Crawl 2009 will be with us.   Never forget our rural roots!

Thanks for coming by for coffee.  You can keep up with us on Twitter – @MichaelLibbieor @InsightADV



Small Business Failure...Who Is Responsible?

Based on a very non-scientific poll of small business people that I've come into contact with over the past year, I am convinced that far too many small business owners are living in a fog when it comes to building a business with the help of the Internet.

Man frustration

I shouldn't be stunned...but I am.

Over the past several months  our agency has been contacted by four business owners who have called us about building for them...a website.  We always follow up.  However, none of these projects have moved forward.  They are, weeks and months later, still "thinking about it".

It gets worse.

I know of at least three family owned business ventures here in Des Moines that are failing or close to failing.  In each instance, I have gone to them and offered our help.  Each of these three companies have been in business for years but none have a web presence..and what is worse...each of them have products they could sell on-line and ship easily.  But they resist and find every excuse under the sun not to move forward.

So, I've come to the conclusion that for as many of us who "get it" when it comes to buying and selling using the Internet there are hundreds of companies that fail to see the reality in on-line sales and marketing.

So, what can we do? 

Small business owners are, for the most part, struggling just to keep up with the day-to-day operation.  Getting into social media, websites and e-commerce seems like too much work and too much "witchcraft".  Who can educate them?  Who can tell them it's safe?  Who can show them and share with them how to become better, attract more customers and connect with their current consumer base?

Their trade organizations, the local Chamber of Commerce, those of us in advertising and marketing.  Members of organizations want and need more than a ribbon cutting.  Those organizations need to put off fund raising for themselves and offer their small business members education in web-development, social media and building relationships.  And, I'm talking about a coordinated approach, a commitment of time that exceeds a one hour presentation that does more to confuse people than enlighten them.

So, are you up for it?   I fear that if not...your small business member will cease to exist and that only hurts everybody.




Steve Farber - Helping Me Remember...

Last night I had the opportunity to hang out with a couple dozen folks at a very non-structured gathering of the Central Iowa Bloggers (CIB) at a “TweetUp” in West Des

Steve Farber MPL

Moines.  Our friend Drew McLellan brought Steve Farber to town.  WHO is Steve Farber

Here is a link.  He was out promoting his new book, Greater Than Yourself and spent a couple of days seeing and meeting loads of folks in the creative business community.  His new project is all about helping others to succeed.  In a nutshell the book encourages us to build up others and make the world a little better by helping them become greater than ourselves. That unselfish dedication to not only lend a hand; but also a boost through teaching and pushing and most importantly, investing in others.  What is the reward?  Giving is really getting

You and I have had those people in our lives…. and today on the radio show, Insight on Business, I spoke about two people who did for me what Steve Farber talked about...they took their time and talents and worked with me to make me a better person. 

Folks like Dr. Herbert Jonas who taught me so much about my faith and how to  serve others by going out of our way to show them we care.  For over two years Herb drug me to meetings, prisons, hospitals, speaking opportunities all in an effort to teach me. In the end, and in a most dramatic way, he entrusted me with something very valuable.  I think of him daily.

Or Dr. Clarance Tompkins a Methodist preacher who, along with many others, built a place called Friendship Haven.  When I was hired, the first non-minister and first non-Christian, to head up the Development and Public Relations office Dr. Tompkins spent hours and hours sharing with me his knowledge and passion for fund raising.  I'll never forget his words, "Never ask for money.  Share the dream and the money will follow."  And, he was right. your life...who has touched you in a way that has made a difference.  And the follow up might be...have you passed it on to help make somebody else, Greater than Yourself?



A Preview of Internet Radio

Over the past five months we'll been conducting an experiment here in Des Moines.  What started out as five or six broadcasters has now bloomed into 40 people broadcasting to 13,000+ people each day.  Des Moines Local...LIVE has started something that is truly cutting edge.  When we signed on in May we had NO idea of the impact we would make.  We figured it would take a long time to dominate local talk radio in this and other markets.'s happened quickly.  Sure there are you can't listen in your car...unless you have a smart phone and blue-tooth it into your receiver.  But...that is coming.  Heck...six months ago nobody would have thought a station could go on the air and have a following like we have today.

So, we're live and local and international at the same time.  Here is a sample of the "Show Page" done for our show, Insight on Business heard daily, Monday - Friday at 12:30PM Central.  Some of you might very well recognize the guest we've got lined up for Friday.

Welcome back to Insight on Business this nations only daily, live, 90-minute radio show about advertising, marketing and consumer trends.  We're on Monday - Friday starting at 12:30 Central and as part of Des Moines Local...LIVE you can hear us on  Insight on Business is a production of our advertising agency, Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications and we areJeff Griggs responsible for it's content.  You can follow us before, during or after the show on Twitter - @MichaelLibbbie or @InsightADV.  Let's connect?

Our special guest today, in our very cool new studio, is Jeff Griggs.  Jeff has spent most of his life in the world of marketing tractor parts to farmers and part-time farmers.  Today he directs a staff from his offices in Urbandale for national ag-parts giant, All States Ag Parts.  ASAP has offices in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri.  To say that Jeff has a clear understanding of the rural economy is true.  To say he has a clear understanding of retail markets is true.  And, Jeff also understands the power of selling direct...using the Internet.

We'll visit with Jeff Griggs about how the Internet has grown his business, how marketing has changed over the years and get a look at the rural economy...the driver of so much in this state and others.  Come on by for some information and a look at the reality of retail.

So, there you have it....pretty simple?  But very, very effective.  We'll catch you on the 12:30 Central.  To listen:

Why Your Advertising Doesn't Work & Ginger Johnson - Today

It's Tuesday and another day for Insight on Business the daily, live, 90-minute radio show about advertising, marketing and consumer trends.  We're on Monday - Friday starting at 12:30PM on and we are part of 40 broadcasters that make up Des Moines Local...LIVE!  We hope you'll come by for a listen.  Insight on Business is a production of our advertising agency, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and we are responsible for its content.  You can keep up with us before, during and after the show by using Twitter, @MichaelLibbie and @InsightADV.Ginger Plummy

On the show's going to be wild!  Ginger Johnson is a return guest and our topic, "Are You Crazy?".  Ginger is a very talented and gifted (you know what that means...) marketing person who is one of the spark-plugs we know from Central Iowa Bloggers (CIB).  Ginger is behind...Women and Beer and Snap Creative Works.  Two...very creative programs she has designed to impact several verticals.  And...she makes a MEAN Jam Preserve!!!!!   Ginger Johnson, "Are You Crazy?" today at 1:00PM Central right after our advertising and marketing news segment.

In the NEWS today:  We'll talk about the first show with Jay Leno...good, bad or wait and see?  And...we'll give you seven (7) reasons why your advertising doesn't work.  It's a great piece from Steve McKee and if it all sounds too familiar...sorry.  It just might be true!  "Seven Reasons Your Advertising Isn't Working" a great story today on Insight on Business.  Join  us?



Social Media/On-line Promotions - Next Steps

Last week I wrote about getting ready for your social media/on-line promotions.  If you'veBlackboard start got that homework done, (here is that post again, just in case) it's now time to move into the "Next Steps".

So, let's say you are pretty confident of your audience, your on-line ability and your message. Now..let's start!

  • Well in advance of your launch set out the benefits of your product or service on your blog.  You'll use that post as a referral site once this gets underway. 
  • Don't over sell....keep the message clear and benefit centered.
  • Ask for help.  Clue in your followers and readers and ask for their help in building your launch.  Remember, in the world of social media, it's about the conversation.
  • The fact that you "asked" for input is helpful you will gain traction.
  • Pull together a video of what you've learned.  Doesn't have to be long but it's nice to be able to, in two minutes, share the program.  Many people learn by "seeing".
  • Clue in the folks who are NOT involved in social media.  You may have to better explain and point them to the message but try to get them involved as well.  Traditional e-mail even hard copy items help.
  • Engage other media.  Send out a press release announcing your experiment and what you hope to learn.  SM is so new and writers are always looking for leads.  Bets are they will pick it up and help you.

During all of this make sure you're working on the back end to put together support media.  At some point you'll need logo work, design work, etc.  Remember not everybody is hooked up to the SM world.

At launch, let folks know how you have incorporated several of their ideas and then ask for their help in getting the word out.  They have already bought into the program.  Don't be shy.

During the event make sure you follow up quickly.  Very quickly you will build momentum by keeping people in the loop.

And, finally...have an ending.  Once there review.  See what you could have done differently.  What areas needed to be built up.  Do a follow up press release.  Even if the promotion didn't return what you expected you still have a "first story".  Sure you can offer the spin...but remember to be truthful.

Good luck...and if we can help...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - You can follow us on Twitter, @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV - Thanks for reading.


Sunday Morning Coffee - September 13, 2009

Grab a cup of "joe" and let's visit for a bit.  You won't find much today about advertisingCoffee Cu ps and marketing.  We take Sunday Morning for what it is...a lazy day to reflect on what has gone on and a look forward to what we hope is a wonderful week.  So, in quick sips... it's Sunday Morning Coffee.

Much has been said over the past few days about the incident in Washington.  You know the one...where Congressman Wilson shouted out at President Obama, "You lie!"  I'm not going to add to the comments other than to suggest it might be fun to subject our elected leaders to the type of shouting matches they have in Great Britain.  You can catch that sort of style on the BBC from time to time.  For a couple of interesting comments about the issue, check this story by Eugene Robinson.  Pay attention to the "race" comment.

Staying on politics for a moment.  Today is the 32nd Annual Tom Harkin Steak Fry in Joe Biden Harkin EventIndianola, Iowa.  Thirty-Two years....  Should be an interesting time with Sen. Al Franken headlining the event. (This is Vice President Joe Biden from two years ago...when it was also a warm day.)  And....Sen. Harkin has just accepted the chair of the Senate Health Committee.  That puts Iowa back in the spotlight on yet another national issue...the health care debate.  Meanwhile, an Atlantic, Iowa business man, John Tyler, took out a full page ad in the Des Moines Registertoday saying Harkin is, "...out of touch."  I read the paper early today...darned if I saw it.  Maybe it was too early?

BIG NEWS from our radio station group:  Des Moines Local...LIVE!  This past Tuesday we switched platforms from (free) UStream to (paid) LiveStream and what a difference.  The archives are quickly available and our listenership/viewers have shot up to an astounding average of 12,000 people a day.  Not making this up and you can check for yourself.  Our show, Insight on Businessis heard Monday - Friday starting at 12:30PM Central. Come on by?

Cars_and_stuff_103 web Today our congregation is putting on a "first".  Klassic Kars & Kosher Food is going on in the parking lot of Beth El Jacob from noon until 4PM. It's a first attempt so we're not sure how it will go...(Hey, you have to start someplace!) but looks like we'll have some great weather.  Speaking of far September is warmer than August...huh?

Now that I am in the center of Downtown Des Moines every day for the radio show I've noticed the large amount of open office and retail space in the City Center.  That is is stark contrast to several years ago before the focus on development of The East Village and West Des Moines...problems looming?  Here is a great article by  reporter David Elbert from the Des Moines Register about the issue.

18_weeks_2_days_(8) Our grand-daughter, Taylor, slipped into her Hawkeye Gear for the University of Iowa win over in-state rival, Iowa State.  She has yet to master "Touchdown!" like her daddy did...but had plenty of opportunity as Iowa stuffed State 35 - 3. 

Coffee Break is over...thanks for coming by.  We'll get into advertising and marketing issues again on the meantime you can keep in touch with us on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV.  Have a great rest of the weekend...and stay safe!









On-Line Promotion? Not So Fast...

The other day I was asked a question about how to conduct an on-line promotion.School Ltrs   How to be able to harness the power of the Internet to push a product or service using social media.  It was a great question and something we can't handle in just one or two articles.  But, we can start and fill out later in the week.

When we were asked we admitted we knew little about this particular business or their ability.  So...we'll start from the beginning:

  • What are the over all GOALS of the promotion?  In other words do you know how you will measure the success of the on-line promotion?  Will you consider sales or website visits.  What is it you expect.  Nail that down...first.
  • Let's say it is "sales".  Is it an increase in sales percentage or strictly a dollar amount?
  • How deep into social media are you?  Do you know how many followers and readers you have for your blog?  How about Twitter?  Have you been there long enough to be creditable?  Depth of involvement is critical.  Little understanding or depth into social media will reduce your final numbers and you may decide to quit.  Better to build relationships on-line than dive right in. 
  • Is your Brand already known on the regional, national and global scene?  If it is you'll have a much wider following right away.  If you do not have a solid brand that...first.
  • What about your target audience?  How deep into on-line activity are they?  Are they rural and confined to 56K or are they urban and have high-speed?  How much into social media is your target?  You need to know.
  • What is the overall message?  Branding, sales, value, trust?  What is it you want people to know about you and your company and product.  Can you ID that in less than 25 words?  What about visuals?  What will you use?

OK...we've given you some things to chew on.  Next we'll get into "Next Steps".

Thanks for reading.  You can keep up with us on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and we invite you to listen to our daily business radio show, Insight On Business that airs Monday - Friday starting at 12:30PM.  If all else fails, come by our website to learn more about us.  OK...thanks again and we'll do a followup on "Next Steps"

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications



Selling Online? You Better Start...

Listeners of our daily business radio show have heard me talk about the need for "brick & mortar" stores to open up their online sales business.  It's nothing new.  We've been banging that drum for over a decade. At one time getting into the compact tractorWoman Shoppingbusiness...simply to prove to agriculture that online sales would work.  It did.  While that was years data suggests that if you are notselling online you may lose market share because the future will be very different.

Nielsen Research recently conducted a study of online salesand offers some projections.  The short story is that from 2004 to 2008 online sales rose by 25 - 30 percent.  And, while online shopping, today, is fairly modest, with only 7% of total retail sales being done on the web, the future looks very different.

In the report Nielsen Research says there are compelling reasons to believe this growth will continue and even accelerate to a 200% growthbetween now and 2012.  Why?  New technology now makes it easier and more simple to buy online.  New social media technology makes it easier to communicate and share information with existing and potential customers.  New technology allows for seamless transactions and lower fees.

Bottom line my friends...if you are NOT selling online will tomorrow.  This is not one of those issues you can judge based on your buying habits.  While youmay shun online purchasing here's a bet your children or grand-children don't.  That is the future and if you are not ready for it, expect to lose market share to others who are now building the necessary tools to sell their products and services online.

Thanks for reading...and if we can help...

Michael P. Libbie, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Our Radio Show is MOVING & News for Today

It's an exciting day around Insight on Business as our group, Des MoinesP1070196 Local...LIVE moves to new studios in the Skywalk, downtown Des Moines. 

Welcome back from the long weekend!  Insight on Business is this nations only daily, live, 90-minute radio show with a focus on advertising, marketing and consumer trends.  We're heard, on our BRAND NEW PLATFORM by the way, at and it is sooooo much better.

Insight on Businessis heard daily, Monday - Friday starting at 12:30PM Central.  It is a production of our advertising agency, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and you can follow us before, during or after the show on Twiter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV.  Come on by.Paul Yeager

Our first guest in our new studios is friend of the show, Paul Yeager from Iowa Public Television.  Paul is the host of The Iowa Journal which will be amping up again soon.  We'll ask him what's on tap, what the heck he's been doing all summer and give BIG PROPS to IPTV and their overall programming.  They keep us informed and entertained...and it's great.  We'll talk it over and you're welcome to join in with your questions.

Paul Yeager from The Iowa Journal today on Insight on Business.

In addition we're talking about a couple of social media stories.  If you've been a regular listener or attended any of our seminars on social media you know about our passion for using social media or "Consumer Generated Media" for business. We'll give you FIVE more reasons NOT to use social media for your business.  It's a piece from Valerie Maltoni and it's great.  Here is the article.

Chase_Homecoming_015 Also, we'll focus on what the numbers tell us about online sales and yet even more reasons why you should engage in social media for your or brick and mortar!  Here is that outline and full story.

Finally....I'm going to share a little about a homecoming.  Our son-in-law set his aircraft down yesterday, back on USChase_Homecoming_046 soil, from his third tour in Afghanistan.  While we were so happy and proud to have him home...again.  His daughter Sailor was really excited to see Daddy.  The welcome home adventure is so much different than thirty-five years ago.  But...still the questions continue.  We'll take a monent and talk about it.