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January 2010

Fire This Person...Today!

It's time to make a statement.  It's the final day of the year and a day that demands swift action.  IMan Fired want you to take a moment and tell me who this person is (answer below) once you identify him/her would you do your customers and potential customers a huge him/her.  Before the end of the decade!

Here are the characteristics of this "Employee":

  • He or She is a blockade, a "gate-keeper" keeping customers away;
  • He/She is often very sweet spoken...but impossible to communicate with;
  • He/She really doesn't want others bothered and so customers/clients are often given the "run around" and ignored;
  • He/She is not an asset to your business but a major liability.

Know who this is?   It is you....if you are using an automated program on your phone system.  Today I called three business locations.  A media company based in Des Moines, an insurance company based in Des Moines and a farmer membership company based in Des Moines.  I was able to connect with ZERO humans.  Zero.  I would name already KNOW who you are. better.  Why would you put barriers in front of your customers and clients?  Please tell me...please tell me why you would not FIRE this "employee":  In the name of everything holy....stop.  Having "automated answering" is like telling your customers you don't give a damn.  Please stop putting barriers in front of your customers and clients.  You exist because of your customers...don't hide from them.   And if you decide to keep your current method of "communication" deserve to go out of business...the day after tomorrow.  Hello...anybody there....

I'm waiting....


Marketing & Advertising 2010

It's nearly the end of the decade.  In less than 48 hours we get to say goodbye to a yearBoard Room and a decade that has had it's share of ups and downs.   Remember when "everybody" was flying high and nobody could make a mistake?  Now we are second and third guessing nearly everything.  For many the focus isn't on the next year...but the next quarter.  For many the focus is on the short; we've taken our eye off the long term.

It will prove to be deadly in the long run.

I started work this morning at 3:30 doing some marketing overviews for a client.  We started this process a week ago and while putting the final touches on the document I realized that we tend to look at a much larger picture than our clients.  Perhaps it's because we're not as close to the battle...or because it's our job to look to the future in a very broad sense.  It's our job to know the trends and the consumer demand.  It's our job to...think.

So, how about you?  How do you think?  Think we're nuts?  Are you searching for a long term solution rather than a short-term fix?

Do your company a huge favor.  Spend the next 48 hours...thinking about the next 48 months...

Thanks for connecting, reading and communicating.




Tick, Tick, Tick...

Can you hear it?  Tick, Tick, Tick...2009 is winding down and soon the entire year will be aClock Close memory.  Something that history will gather into its ever welcoming arms.

So, before the clock strikes did you do?

Did you tell your spouse that he/she is loved?  Did you have to?

Did you communicate with "the kids"?  No, not talk to them...communicate.

Did you read a really good book?  Did you find yourself a teacher?  You know, somebody smarter than you to sit and learn with.  They are out there...and like to be asked.

Did you create?  Was it done on the first attempt or does it require some extra work before it is called a success?  Have you continued to spend time and talent on R&D or have you decided to quit?

What do you treasure?  Cherish?  Love?  There is a difference.

How was business?  No, not what you tell people at Holiday Parties.  How was it?   What can we improve?  Do you know? 

How's that "marketing thing" working out for you?   

How is the staff holding up?  What do they think of "the brand"?  Do they muster great words about the product or service...or are they punching a clock?  Do you know?  When was the last time you asked them?  Do you want to know?

What did you do for fun?  You know...just to be silly.

How about those business relationships?   Have you picked up the phone and called your best customers and asked them how to improve your product or service?  Did you talk to your competition?  How about you know them and respect their efforts?  What business relationships do you treasure?  Do they know?

How are you feeling?  Given that much thought?  Worried?  Calm?  Everything working OK?  Still have that fire in your belly when the alarm goes off?

We've got a couple of days before the end of the year....I was just wondering how you are doing...and what you really think.

Thanks for reading and interacting.  You can keep up with us on Twitter:   @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV our website is and GOLLY...we've even got one of those "Facebook Thingys"!  Oh, and if you haven't checked out out daily business radio show, Insight on Business...there you go!


Sunday Morning Coffee....

It's our favorite time of the week.  A time to sit back with some friends and visit about what went on and take a peek forward.  Not so much business, we'll get to that tomorrow, today we're just sharing thoughts over Sunday Morning Coffee...

Here in Central Iowa it was the MAJOR WINTER STORM OF THE CENTURY...that didn't take place.  The "weather guessers" tried to get the population ramped up for, "...we could see up to 24 inches of snow in some parts of Iowa and..."  What did fall kept folks inside and off the roads on Christmas Day but that was OK with us!Middle Eastern Man

Sounds like somebody from "The Religion of Peace" attempted to bring down a Delta Air-Bus coming into Detroit.  Turns out the guy was on some "watch list".  "Oh, Mr. Abdulmutallab we see that you are on our move up to First Class.  Right this way."   Look for "increased security on domestic and international flights".  Federal "rent-a-cops" with less training than mall security guards will now ban...everything.  Be prepared to see travelers in boxer shorts. "Is that a bomb or are you just happy to see me?"  Someday we'll get it right...ever flown out of Israel?  They get it, we don't.

I was told yesterday that devout Muslims circumcise their children (male...and sometimes female) at age thirteen.   Thirteen!    Now I understand why so many of them are angry...Kwanzaa Display

While I'm ticking off nearly everybody...this might be a good time to step into Kwanzaa.  This is a celebration created in 1966 (Yes,1966)  by Ron Karenga (Ronald McKinley Everett) to, "give an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society."  Uh huh...  OK, so the holiday has changed it's meaning a couple of times since then but...seriously, a guy makes up a holiday and by 1997 we've got a postage stamp?   Happy Kwanzaa. (Is that the correct greeting?)

I do not know what's up...I'm just in a mood this morning.

Christmas Retail Sales (the real "reason for the season") may have, as the BBC stated, "proved surprisingly resilient".  The actual figures won't be released until January but buying in many areas was brisk.  We can only hope...not sure about you but we tended to spend less and be careful of the cost.  Up?  Down?  Flat?  We're betting on "flat" which is better than "down".  What do you think?

I spent much of Friday working on agency items.  Got loads of things done and caught up on some client issues.  I think it was the most relaxing and productive day I've had in some time.  And, we even got to sit down later in the day and watch the 1935 "Scrooge".   The effects were...well, effects.  Good times.Ken Root

OK..that's a wrap.  This week we start off Insight on Business with veteran farm broadcaster Ken Root who was recently released from WHO Radio.  The Clear Channel facility had to do some "cost cutting".  Is Ken bitter?  We'll talk about that and how you, the listeners, continue to get the short end of the stick as "bean counters" from some far off city make local programing decisions.  Is it any wonder radio is in such a sorry state?

You can keep up with us on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV our website is, www.InsightCubed.comand we've even got one of "them Facebook thingys".  Thanks for reading, watching and interacting.














Taking This Seriously...

I spent much of Friday reading.  I read a host of short blogs on advertising and marketing,Golf Clubs picked up a Seth Godin book and then read over a couple of client marketing plans.   In between all of this I, like many of you, spent some time on Facebook, Twitter and did a short blog about using a FLIP.  (silly as it was complete with errors)   My bride and I watched a couple of classic Christmas movies and talked to the kids. In other words it was a productive day.

It reminded me of this story: 

A speaker was addressing a room full of health care administrators and asked how many of them had a hobby.  Nearly all the hands went up.   He then asked, "How many of you play golf?"  80% of the hands were raised.  Then he went on:

  • "How many of you watch golf on TV?"   - Majority of hands
  • "How many of you subscribe several golf magazines?" - Majority of hands
  • "How many of you have watched a video about golf this past year? - Majority
  • "How many of you have taken a lesson from a pro? - Majority of hands
  • "How many of you follow professional golf and a favorite?" - Yep majority.

Then he turned it around to their profession and asked the same questions:

  • "How many of you have read a current book on health care?"
  • "How many of you have watched a management video this month?"
  • "How many of you have been mentored by a national leader?"

As  you can imagine...not many hands shot up...not nearly as many people took their job as seriously as their hobby.

Why is that?


A Test, This is ONLY a Test


Hi and Merry Christmas from all of us at Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications.  We're working on a number of items today and one of them is testing our ability to upload video examples for future blogs.  So...this is a test...sorry for have to sit through this...remember this is only a test!  Had it been an actual event we would have instructed you to get under your school desks, cover up and kiss the world goodbye!  (If you remember THOSE're old too huh?)




What Do You Expect?

Last night my bride came in the door and said, "Wow, wouldn't it be great if we could holdDecember Calendar this Christmas Spirit over into the next month and beyond?"  She then went on to share with me several stories about a grocery store trip where it seemed everybody was smiling and having a great time...even when they got bumped with a shopping cart.

It's the little things...and it starts with us.

People that know me will tell you I can be a "little intense" about nearly everything.  Maybe a little too confident and a little too demanding in business.  But, the reward is when I see our clients take our advice and run with it and have banner years even in light of a's what we expect.   Why?  Because that is what we do.  Our job is to help our clients understand how to better market their products and kindly as possible.  (Sometimes...)

How about you?  Can the "Christmas Spirit" and a demanding business lifestyle co-exist?  We think so...  I'd love to hear your thoughts.




Playing To The Base

Last month a client of ours came back from a trade show in an industry weWoman Love You recommended.  Their response:  "WOW!  These people get it!  They understand what we are saying, what we are selling and who we are.  We need to spend more time here." right he is.  You see....THEY already "Love YOU and get the message!"

Last month I wrote:  "Who do you listen to...and who should you listen to?  It's a solid question for any business.  Last week we talked about the 10% of customers across all categories and how they account for 55% of business profits.  Do you spend your time listening to your "super consumers" or do you spend time listening to "everybody else"? " You might be surprised at what we think.

Play to the base.  That just might be your answer for 2010.  Here's what I wrote in November:

Look, you can spend loads of time, money and effort attempting to turn public opinion and try to make your non-consumer a "casual consumer" and hope (with more money and time) that you can turn them into a "super consumer" but...unless you've got plenty of "time" and "money"....

So...identify the base, play to it and listen to it. out to attract others.  It's much more productive...and rewarding.



What's Old Can Be New Again - Retail, You Watching?

I'd never seen the original Miracle on 34th Street.  (OK, so where have I been sinceMiracle on 34th 1947?)  For those of  you who have watched it...what 50 times or more...this is an admission, a retail observation and a call to go get the movie and watch the amazing business message on customer service.  

One man, Kris Kringle, changed the way retail service was done and moved Macy's from an "everything for me" attitude to "everything for the customer" way of thinking others followed and everybody prospered.

What a powerful message for these times.  Serve the customer FIRST and stand back to share in the profits.  Duh!

Old stories come back to make a new impact!







Sunday Morning Coffee - December 20

Sunday morning...a great time to catch up and look ahead.  Grab a hot cup and let's visitSanta Secrets 2 about loads of things...all in short takes.  A little business, a little conversation...the Sunday before Christmas.  Hmmmm...what secrets are being told to Santa? (You can increase the size of the images by clicking on them...)

Tick, tick, tick...the word on the street is that former Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad is about to make it official in his bid to return to Terrace Hill where he spent 16 years as the head of state from 1983 to 1999.  Meanwhile the media is getting restless.  Here is a firm jab written by Sioux City Journal editor, Mitch Pugh who suggests the announcement will be a non-event.  

Staying on politics for a minute...this week I was asked to travel to Lee County, Iowa by old friend Don Lucas to MC a big Republican bash they hope to hold in January.  I'd have loved to have gone and done the favor for my old Iowa Jaycee friend but can't.  It would have been nice to have had the chance to visit with him, Jaycee State Historian "Andy" Andrews and sit down with Mariannette Miller-Meeks who we think will be the first woman elected to congress from Iowa.  Just a prediction and a major coup for the Iowa Republicans.Paul Yeager relaxing in the living room

Checking the numbers...  It's been three months since our radio station, Des Moines Local...LIVE moved into new studios on the Skywalk downtown and three months since we've been on a new delivery platform   On Friday we logged 1,060,000+ listener minutes...not bad for a couple of months.  And a huge THANK YOU to the, now 55, hosts that are making this first in the nation live Internet radio/tv station a success.  New things coming for 2010!  Yep, that's Paul Yeager from Iowa Public Television and the program The Iowa Journal relaxing (ok..working) in our "living room" prior to coming on as our first guest in the new digs.

The "TOP Media Influencer" for consumers in 2009.  It wasn't TV, not the newspaper, not was coupons.  45% of consumers (according to a poll by the Retail Trade Association) were influenced by coupons.  A sign of the times and a strong HINT for your marketing plans in 2010.  Oh, and Wal-Mart overtook Target (for the first time) in the ranking of the Top Ten Holiday Commercials for the season.  Here is the story in Advertising Age by Natalie Zmuda.Coach Golebiewski Elizabeth

I recently got the opportunity to attend the annual holiday gathering of the Des Moines Cycle Club.  The club is made up of nearly 600 people from all cycling abilities.  Those who climb on a bicycle a couple times a year to those who, even today, are out or cross-training for the Des Moines Racing Team.  I had the opportunity to listen to and visit with former Polish racing star and US and Canadian Olympic racing coach Walter Golebiewski(here with his wife Elzbieta).  What a thrill for those of us in the room.  Born in 1942 in Nazi occupied Warsaw Coach Golebiewski became an international star for Poland in the 1950's & 60's.  He then coached the US and Canadian teams and still has a home in Colorado Springs the home of the US Racing Center.   For those of you not into cycling...this is sort of like "holy grail" stuff.  Very cool.  Go ahead, read his bio (above) it's pretty amazing.  Coach Golebiewski and Elzbieta live in Colorado and recently purchased a home in Des Moines (son Artur owns the Best Western Des Moines West Inn & Suites.). Welcome to our city!

Aaron Lablat Staying on Canada for a moment.  Here is my son Aaron with what he calls his "Canadian Six Pack".  Go ahead...count the bottles of Labatt Blue.  I wonder where he gets that sense of humor?  By the way...I think I may have switched beer favs...

The Flip!   Be looking for more "video posts" in the very near future.  We picked one up for our company and it is soooooo simple to shoot and then download images.  Still working on getting it right. Here is 30-seconds of something I shot last evening of the fun.  Oh wait...this is for business!

Too busy for Social Media?  Read this and do some serious thinking....a tip of the hat to Mack Collier for the "thought start". 

OK...that's it for this week.  See some business and mostly not.  Thanks for coming by.  You can keep up with us on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV.  We've got a website and one of those "Facebook Thingys" too.  (For the love of the children...become a FAN already!)   Have a great Sunday!