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Sunday Morning Coffee - Nov. 8

Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee a post about the week past and the adventures that await us in the coming days.  Not a lot of heavy advertising and marketing talk, just a few minutes spent over a hot cup of "Joe" on a lazy Sunday Morning...thanks for coming by.Donny and Vernon

If you've been with us this week you know that I've been in Atlanta at the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) fall meeting.  These are the men and women who make the wagons, cutters, diggers, and augers.  These are the people who build small and large farm equipment.  For the most part they are not corporate giants like John Deere or AGCO but independent family businesses which are the backbone of rural manufacturing and jobs.  They are some great folks...and it's always a privilege to be with them.

Early in the week I wrote about Bob Schnell retiring after 42 years with FEMA.  Taking his Donny and Clyde Jones position is long-time FEMA assistant Vernon Schmidt shown in the photo above with Donny Jones of Belltec Industries of Belton, Texas.  Donny is one of the newest members of the FEMA Board of Directors following in his father's footsteps.  Clyde Jones was on the Board about the time that Bob Schnell was hired.  It's all in the family.  That's Donny and a proud father, Clyde at the reception Sunday.

It had to happen, I guess.  On Saturday the Iowa Hawkeyes were upset by Northwestern.  Once the doormat of the Big Ten, Northwestern has become Taylor Nov 7 a spoiler and a real issue for the Hawkeyes.  No matter how much our grand-daughter, Taylor, cheered it didn't work as Iowa suffers their first loss of the season, now 9 and 1 but still in the hunt for the Rose Bowl.  I told folks that the loss was due to me NOT being on the "sacred soil" of Iowa for this game.  OK, I'll take the heat.

Fort Hood...what can we say?  The issues are still being sorted out but mark my time we will be told that it is "our" fault that the shooter (Sorry, I can not even write his name.) did what he did.  WE made it troublesome and so he acted out...because  Watch.  In the meantime we share the nations collective sadness.  The next issue:  Will this be the "only" event of its kind?  We think not....

Our thanks to FEMA for allowing us to do a follow up session on training members in Social Media.  It was fun and we hope insightful to those folks who came by.  If we can help in the follow up, just drop us a  line and we'll do what we can to get you comfortable with SM.  Good luck to Myers Spring from Indiana.  Jim Parsons, John Brown and owner, Todd Miller stayed with us well past the close of the session to build more understanding.  And, a "tip of the hat" to Mike Kloster of Worksaver from Litchfield, Il. who stuck around well after others left.  You'll be a winner Mike!

Hey, guess what?  I wrote about Midwest Airlines, my flight to Atlanta and the warmCookies Midwest cookies delivered by a smart, stylish flight crew.   This week a box of cookies arrived at the office.  (Bet they are gone by now!)  The box came with a note that, in part said, "We just finished reading your post about the best care in the air and thank you.  We wish you the best on your future flights."  - Midwest Airlines  Again...amazed. What a nice touch.

We're back on the radio Monday afternoon with Insight on will be great to see and visit with everybody.  I understand we had some "tech issues" on Friday and we'll have to re-book our guest.  Not us this time...  Also, it will be wonderful to be back home.  Look forward to seeing my bride.  Been a long week.

Also, tomorrow meeting with our client NatraTurf on a number of new issues as we take their product to market on a regional level.  You guys rock!

Have a great Sunday and remember, you can keep up with us on Twitter, @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV thanks for reading!











Bob Schnell - Thank You...

I attended my first meeting of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association Bob Farm Show (FEMA) event back in 1997.   At that time Bob Schnell, the Executive Vice President of FEMA, had already been on the job nearly thirty-years.  Sunday, following a total of forty-one years of service Bob Schnell is retiring.

Over the years he has seen the ebbs and flows of the agricultural machinery manufacturing industry.  He has seen business come and go and some...come and stay.  If Bob Schnell is one thing he is steady.  In my years with FEMA I've not seen him, that's not to say he's not been...but with Bob he always looks, a little grumpy.

But that, I think, is the exterior.

I'm going to miss sparing with my friend Bob.  Doesn't matter if it's computers, marketing, advertising, social media, politics...Bob and I just don't agree.

But, I honestly like him.  He never waffled on his positions and I've always respected him.

BOB MARCIE He and his bride, Marcie won't have to fly all over the country to these meetings and events...and in a way, I'll miss that.  While we're stuck in some hotel in some city Bob will be on his boat wondering what store Marcie has selected for her next shopping trip.

Sail on Capitan...have a great retirement.  You know...the offer of a one-way ticket to Des Moines is still out there...we've got a river.

Stepping into the role of Executive Vice President of FEMA will be long time staffer and assistant, Vernon Schmidt (Who, by the way does have some Des Moines ties...;-)





Social Media for FEMA?

Three friends came to Atlanta to tell members of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) about Social Media.  Roughly 150 business people listened to Willie Vogt of Farm Progress, Tom Flynn and Josh Fleming from Lessing-FlynnMan Doubt , an ad agency in Des Moines, tell them about making sense out of Social Media.

I'm not sure it worked...I'll be able to let you know more following my session with them on Saturday.

I'm not sure it worked because while they were able to talk about it, they failed to show the power of social media.  I'd suggest that many in the audience would like to have you think they are from Missouri, "Show Me".  Show me what it looks like, how it works, how it can put me in touch with others.  Show me what people are saying about farming, farm machinery, farm safety, farmers.  Show me how to use it, show me how to set a Google watch on my company, my future.

Show me...

Part of the overwhelming trouble with doing social media events and having digital generation folks do the event is...a failure to speak the same language.   This event was OK...but I'm not convinced they picked up many disciples.  We'll see...on Saturday.

Thanks for reading...from Atlanta - Michael Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications.  Follow us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV

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Barry Asmus at FEMA

You don't get to be the Senior Economist with the National Center for Policy AnalysisBarry Asmus group and miss a chance to bang the drum for free market systems and smaller government.  And, that is exactly the message coming out of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) event this morning in Atlanta.  Dr. Barry Asmus did not leave the faithful wanting as he railed on any sort of free trade barriers, public health options and leftist agendas.  Oh my...

It was the "red meat" 90% of the membership yearned for..

One thing was missing from Dr. Asmus' 90 minute political/economic speech to nearly 300 people dependent on agriculture.  What?  U.S farm subsidies.  He didn't take questions from the floor but as soon as he was finished speaking the "less government" disciples gathered around him for more.

Barry Asmus point So, I asked, "Dr. Asmus in calling for free trade, less government handouts and lower taxes what is your position on calling for a halt on farm subsidies."

The farm machinery people ringing Dr. Asmus looked stunned.  It got very quiet.

Barry didn't miss a beat.  "I am all for it!", he exclaimed.  "There are enough hungry people in the world that if the United States halted farm programs tomorrow we would see the economics come into play and farmers would be fine."   And then he really spoke the truth, "The trouble is, even the most conservative farmer, even those in my family who raise the GOP flag with their right hand take the cash with their left.  When it comes to this issue people like to say the word, 'but'.  As in, 'I am against handing out government money BUT I want my crop payment..."

It was enough to send shock waves through the 20+ people around him.   Can you imagine what impact this might have on the congressional delegation from Iowa?  Which of them might be the first to float that idea?

And, that is the problem with some of the "less government" ideas.  Less is always good, unless "I" am getting less.

Barry Asmus was a great speaker and what he said gave many folks hope and heartburn.  For sure it was reason to pause and think...even for just a bit.

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FEMA Conservative? You Bet!

I'm at the annual meeting of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) a trade group made up of short-line agricultural equipment manufacturers.  I've been a member for well over a decade.  The core group of this association is a mirror of rural, family owned businesses.  And, I'd suspect, 99% of them hold to very conservative ideals and policies.

From dire warnings about "public option" in health care to concerns over the "assassinationBarry-asmus of business expansion", which will be the topic of Dr. Barry Asmus of the National Center for Policy Analysis, we get a full dose.  His bio includes awards from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge.

I'm looking forward to the address by Dr. Asmus.  I suspect it will be the mantra of "less government" is "better government".  I'll let you know.  However, I am beginning to suspect that many of my friends in the organization are as uncomfortable with the current policies as they were with the policies under the previous administration.  The question might well be, of the national names in politics WHO might many of these business owners support?

I'll be asking that question as well...hang on.

Thanks for reading and for connecting.  You can follow me on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV

Flying With Cookies...

Took a trip this week to the Atlanta for the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association fall meeting.  Did I tell you I dislike flying?  You see, I'm old.  Old enough to remember whenMidwest Logo taking a flight was special.  The people dressed to take the trip.  The folks waiting on you looked professional and they were nice...  Today travelers look like refugees from Uzbekistan and the "help" look and act like left overs from some Soviet gulag.  OK maybe not that bad...but compared to the "golden age of flight".  Travel by air is a mess.

My office booked my flight to Atlanta on Midwest Airlines.  "Who?" I asked.  "They have airplanes?"

Was I surprised.  The crew was crisp, attentive and personal.  The aircraft was clean and actually smelled good. 

Cookie was the cookies that got me.  Yes, hot, like right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookies to die for.  Oy, the smell...the was

You see how little it takes to get me excited?  Fresh chocolate chip cookies and I'm all over it.

But the real difference was the people.  They conversed with us, they smiled, they actually seemed like they enjoyed shuttling refugees from place to place.

One more thing.  Who ever is doing their PR...hire them.  The "in-flight magazine" had four letters to the company praising the efforts of various staff members from all over the country.  And, know what?  I think they were real...  Nice work.

So, bring it on...warm cookies, warm smiles and flawless travel.  Nice job Midwest Airlines....very nice.




Sunday Morning Coffee

Sunday morning the perfect time to sit back, reflect a little and look forward to a new week.  So, grab a cup and let's catch up.  You did turn the clock back right?

It looks like there will be some sort of "public option" coming out of Washington.  As withMan money most compromise situations nobody will be happy.  But, with both sides scaring the hell out of my 89 year old mother...  I'll be glad when it is done.  Who wins?  Follow the money.

While I'm visiting about Mom...she went into a tail-spin last week when an insurance salesman called to tell her that the insurance she currently has is going to be discontinued after the first of the year and, "You had best buy our insurance, we'll be with you all the way."  Fact is that her insurance is not changing...why must you lie to old people...and young people?  Multi-million dollar CEO salaries are bad lying insurance agents?

Sometimes you've got to know who your friends are.  This week there was a flurry of activity and some great people were at the center.  Thanks and a shout out to Bindery One and Tammy who did a great job at the last minute.  Thanks and a shout out to Crown Trophy of Urbandale and Kathy who Stellas Crew Oct 09 also the last minute.  And, thanks to Carrie at Stella's Diner of Urbandale that let us use their place for a photo shoot for a new national ad campaign for a client.  Here is some of the staff who were working (L-R and you can click on the photo to enlarge) is Marissa, Kyle, Nick, Sam and Gabe.  Thanks for letting us borrow your eating place for awhile.

How 'bout those Hawkeyes! 9 - 0 and a crazy game against Indiana.  They never buckled but oh my!  Here is a quick story from The Des Moines Sunday Register.Combine Wet

Speaking of photo shoots...last week I found myself in a rainstorm, in a soybean field, in the mud...taking a series of shots focusing on the "Wet Harvest of 2009".  Rainfall in Iowa is about 4" over normal for October.  And how does that impact the harvest?  I heard the other day of a farmer who turned in corn that was at 31% moisture.  Normal is about 15%...oh my!  At that level it simply won't dry down.

And, wet corn means new threats like moldy corn and mycotoxins deadly to some critters.  I'm told that even if the moldy corn goes for ethanol production the microtoxins stick around in the DDG's which is often fed to animals.  Anybody know for sure? 

Last week I spent three hours with a client mapping out new products.  Country Vet Pet Foods is considering the launch of a new line of dog food.  Not a bad idea when you figure the pet industry will bring in about $27.5 billion in revenue for 2009.  Even with the recession that is an increase of 2.9% over 2008.   People love their critters...

Hawkeye Helmet Did I mention anything about the Hawkeyes now at 9 - 0?

This coming week I get to head to Atlanta for the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association Annual Fall Meeting where we'll connect with loads of friends in the shortline manufacturing business.  It's these companies that dot the rural landscape with factories that build the equipment used by farmers all over the world and employ thousands of folks in small towns and villages.  I'll also present a program on Social  Media and help members understand how to include it in their "marketing toolbox". 

In doing the radio show, Insight on Business, will be Brooke Benschoter, she rocks too!

Thanks for reading.  You can keep up with me using Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and learn more about our advertising agency, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications by heading to our site.