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Sunday Morning Coffee - May 30, 2010

Hi and welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee...  Several years ago, on a whim, I started Coffee Cu ps writing about the kind of "stuff" folks might sit around and talk about at their local coffee shop.  Well, maybe some folks.  So this...a random list of things that might interest you too.  Tomorrow we'll get back to business...for now let's visit over Sunday Morning Coffee...

I'm sure that you've heard about the Fort Dodge, Iowa schoolteacher who was fired because she posted on Facebook that she didn't believe in G-d.  Maybe that would have been OK if she wasn't a teacher at St. Edmond Catholic High/Middle School.  She is also 26 years old.  Two lessons here:  1)  What you put on social media sites is public and not private...forever.  2)  There is "book smart" and "street smart".  Sometimes it's best to have a little of both.Khenri bolo

"Sex in the City 2" opened this past week.  I referenced the movie when I wrote the post  "Why Everybody Thinks They Know Advertising" saying, "Just because I've watched the first season of Sex in the City doesn't mean I know HOW to make those sexy shoes Carrie Bradshaw wears."  That single line got lots of attention from women  So, Flip Cam in hand I attended an Urbandale Chamber Ribbon Cutting at the new Mama Lacona's Restaurant and, after meeting Katie...looked at

There is a point to all of this.  First, if you listen the the audio you hear one voice above the Khenri Phideaux friend Liz Nead fellow webcaster on WebcastOne Live. ( We get that up and running this month.)  The other is an introduction to Khenri.  (Go ahead and click on the shoe photos, they get large.)  One of the "tweets" I got after posting my advertising blog was from Keelia Paulsen @kpaulsen who!  And, they are amazing and IF her website was done I'd' show you more.  The bottom line is that her "micro-business" and talent look interesting.  Here's' betting you'll be hearing more about Khenri and Keelia in the very near future.

Just doing my part to promote neat ideas and talent!

Oil Spills....   It's not actually a "spill" is a disaster.  Checking the news it looks like this will give folks more juice as they push for alternative energy.  Which brings to mind, turning off lights.  It's amazing the amount of money saved when you simply turn off lights in rooms not being used even if "not being used" is just five or ten minutes.  At our home I cut our electric bill by 20% simply by...turning off stuff. 

Chicago Logo I'll be shampooing carpet in just a few...  It's the stuff I get to do when my bride is out of town.

Did you catch the first game of the Stanley Cup last night?  Chicago over Philly 6 - 5.  It was wild and fast.  An interesting thing that I'd never heard of before:  The crowd at the Blackhawks Arena cheer all the way through the National Anthem.  It's said that "tradition" started during the Gulf War.  Condolences to my friend Frankie Meeink who I KNOW was watching and was engaged!  Congrats to my friend Scott Cohen who I KNOW was at the game last night.

With over 800,000 square feet of office space available in Downtown Des Moines you would think it might be a bargain to move in.  We've not found that...but perhaps the State of Iowa will.  Here is a neat idea from Des Moines Register writer, David Elbert on how that space might be used

This week we'll start fine tuning WebcastOne LIVE.  Over the past 90 days several people have been busy decorating and getting the equipment in place.  We'll do a very soft opening and then...look out.  Our goal is to become an information and learning site for things from business to lifestyle to politics.  We're still adding hosts but this I can promise you:  The quality of the shows and the quality of the delivery platform will be first class

Racine Wind Point I get to travel to Racine, Wisconsin this week for a Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association meeting.  Four times a year the Supplier Section meets to discuss upcoming events, the economy and the state of farm equipment manufacturing.  I'm really looking forward to this trip.  My parents family, after they emigrated to the United States, settled in this area.  I have not been there in decades.  Should be fun.

Snarky Media Comment of the Week:  WHO-TV13 went HD with their newscasts this past month being the first commercial station (My friends at Iowa Public Television have been HD for some time.)  in the Des Moines market to do so.  It's very cool and congrats to my friends at WHO-TV13 for making the switch.  The "snarky comment" came from Paul Fredrickson, GM of KCCI-TV8, who was quoted in the Des Moines Register, "HD is a wonderful evolution.  I'm not diminishing it, but to my knowledge HD has never saved anyone from a tornado."  Jeez Paul, you could have simply said..."Congratulations."

Meanwhile I was asked, as many might have been, to take part in a poll about television station websites.  My opinion is this:  "They are way too cluttered with advertising and look more like a freakish carnival side show than a news site."  OK, so that is MY snarky media comment of the week.Decoration Day

Memorial Day...2010.  Makes me think back to my Father, of blessed memory.  He LOVED Memorial Day, once known as "Decoration Day".  Sure he remembered his friends who were killed during WWII but what I remember was the tradition we had of washing the cars and then hand waxing them under the tree in the back yard while listening to the Indy 500.  Strange thing to remember...but it's true.

Gotta bust this loose...carpets to be shampooed!  Have a great weekend and thanks for coming by.  Remember, this is a conversation over feel free to comment or connect on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie should do it.







Why EVERYBODY Knows Advertising...

I often tell people about my business this way:  "We own an advertising agency which means most folks have NO idea what we do.  Even my Mother has no idea..."  It's not uncommon but this is common:  Everybody knows how to do advertising...  Or, think they do. 

And, they should.  Think of it...   In 40 years how many advertising and marketing Man wine messages would a person living in North America see, hear or experience?  The answer is millions.  So, it's no wonder that people who have no experience in actually thinking or knowing about target markets, words that work, consumer trends, images that call to action and how to present these items and in what format would know everything about....advertising and marketing.

Call me silly...  But, I've seen "House" and I'm not sure I could correctly diagnose an illness.  When I was a kid I watched "Combat" but I'd be a lousy first sergent in the Army. I've enjoyed wine for years...but to recommend to others?  I don't know a Cab from a Merlot.   I've watched the entire first season of "Sex In The City" but for the life of me I can't figure out what designer shoes Carrie is wearing from scene to scene....or how to make them.  

Sometimes we know what we know because we've been trained and we're experienced our craft.  We work at it on a daily basis from all sorts of angles...   We look at all aspects of marketing and advertising from many different points of view.  So, in the end...we can share our knowledge with those who keep an open mind and are seeking success...

Are we ALWAYS right?  Nope...but we're darn close.  That's what we do...  What is it that you do?




Social Media...Losing Interest?

You might say we are "early adopters".  Before most advertising agencies knew what a Blog was, we were there.  We started Tweeting and learning early.  Even today, when speaking before 100 business people or 30 our small efforts in social media seem, to them, as if we are light years ahead of the curve.  We're not...but to somebody that isn't sure what a Typepad is...  You get my point.  We just tend to see advance?

That's why I'm already wondering if Social Media is starting to run out of steam.Man Sale

I know that is heresy among those of you who "do this for a living" but it's getting very difficult to cut through your sales efforts and get back to the conversation.  The conversation, that is what we found to be so exciting and new and mind expanding. seems as if everybody is "selling" something.  On Twitter these days it's like one info-commercial after another.  I find myself longing for "Just stopped into the coffee shop and had a great chat with @(you put in a name)."   Yesterday I learned a fellow "Tweep" will put her cat down today.  I learned, through social media, about the loss of a friend and a person I didn't know.  However both issues struck me as a sense of loss.  Can you see what I'm thinking?

There is a way to cut out all the "sales" on Twitter and it becomes a job of constant updating of who you follow and for what reasons.  So, ask yourself the question you should have started with, "Why would I engage in social media?"  And, "What is my goal?  Is it business or networking for personal reasons?"

Being honest with the answer will push up your interest level...and your learning.

Thanks for coming by...I'm not selling anything but thoughts.




Sunday Morning Coffee - May 23, 2010

Sunday morning...a time to sit back and enjoy some time visiting about things that went onCoffee Cu ps last week and a peek into the coming days.  Think of this as our virtual coffee shop. We'll get back to business tomorrow.  But for now, grab a cup and let's's Sunday Morning Coffee.

A couple of interesting stats from the economy...Iowa farmland increased in value by 8% Corn Field over April 2009.  That means that an acre of land that was valued at $3,500 last year is now sitting at $3,780.  If you owned 500 acres (a very small farm) your land is now worth about $1,890,000.  Not too shabby.

Staying on "farm news" - Many farmers are getting thousands of dollars on top of a record sales year.  It's all about "disaster payments" and some folks are not happy with the system.  Here is the story from the Sunday Des Moines Register.

Meanwhile banks in Iowa reported some nice profits for the first quarter of 2010.  John Sorensen, president and CEO of the Iowa Bankers Association said last week, "Banks have the capital and the liquidity to lend to creditworthy borrowers."   I hear from small business owners and business start-ups from all over the state who tell me that credit is still Man Fired 2tight and unless you own, outright, that 500 acres of farmland..."Good luck getting a small business loan", they tell me.  I know several who have been turned down or offered less than attractive rates even though the business being purchased has been successful for years.   

Dampening the positive economic news is the fact that unemployment in Iowa shot up to 6.9% from 6.8% last month.  "Less people...more profit?"  Just asking.  But, even at 6.9% we're so much better off than many states.  Comforting...if you're employed.

All of the above is a mixed bag for my Republican friends.  "Gosh, you think the programs put into place might be, (Gulp)...working?"  Meanwhile my Democratic friends will find a way to screw everything 

Speaking of politics, my friend Bob Vander Plaats took it to former governor Terry Branstad during the Des Moines Register/Iowa Public Television GOP Debates last Principal Parkweek.  Telling anybody who would listen, Vander Plaats said that Branstad raised taxes and allowed all sorts of negative social things like (gasp) more gambling.  Meanwhile Rob Roberts wants everybody to get along.  But why take my word for is the hour-long video from IPTV. 

Enough depressing news....  We went to the Iowa Cubsbaseball game last night.   Every time we get to go to Principal ParkI marvel at what a beautiful facility we have.  The park is really first rate and with the skyline of Des Moines in the background, good people to sit with...we are so fortunate.  Cubs won 1 - 0 over the Sky Soxs (farm club for the Colorado Rockies) in a quick game that went less than two hours. (Photo: Flicker)

My bride is in full training mode for RAGBRAI and she has even gotten me out several times.  I was telling friends that we did ten miles (really nothing) the other evening.  They were shocked, "Ten MILES!"  It was impressive...if only to them. ;-)

I think I've got two weeks of vacation left.  The studios for WebcastOne...LIVE are WebCastOneLive image done and the equipment is being moved in over the next several days.  Dry testing the first week of June and then flipping the switch that second week.  If you ever followed our shows on Des Moines Local...LIVE you knew about the delivery problems.   We're confident that is a thing of the past.  We've spent these 90 days working on those issues and more.  Should be fun.  If you want a peak, here is the WebcastOne...LIVE website.

A bit of business:  I'll make this brief.  Last week I traveled to Atlantic, Iowa to do a presentation for the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce on Social Media and Small Business.  I am more than ever convinced that this new form of marketing IS NOT for everybody.  But there are some solid rules of the road. If you would like to learn more here is a quick post and video...about not taking yourself too seriously.

Like I said at the top...not much more than a conversation between friends at the coffee shop.  The thing about that's a conversation.  So, send me your comments (below), drop me an e-mail or let's continue the conversation on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) @InsightADV (Business  Thanks for coming by!












New Marketing for Business

The other day I got to speak to about 25 independent business people at Iowa Western Community College in Cass County, Iowa. The event was sponsored by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce.  Media people, retail folks, non-profit agencies packed a room to learn more about social media and business.  It was a nice crowd and...they...LOVED ME!  Watch!



OK...but read on...

While I'd love to work with each person on an individual level, we can't.  However I want to summarize my thoughts so that you, and perhaps some of the people who came to the three plus hour session, might consider what was said:

Social Media is a Process - At each seminar I speak to the difference between a sprintWoman Running and a marathon.  Social Media for business is a marathon.  You have to be in it for the long haul and it

There is NO right answer-  The role of marketing is to attract more customers to then sell more of what the business is offering.  However, the methods used for one consumer group may not work for another.  You would not use the same message to sell a Jaguar as you would a Toyota Minivan.  Think "Swagger Wagon". (I know you want to see it...again.) The same goes with your business.  The consumer for a flower shop is motivated by a different message and delivery system than say a consumer for plumbing and heating services. 

Know Your Market- What motivates your market?  Not your neighbors market...but yours.  For example a Chamber of Commerce is motivated by a different set of wants/needs than is a restaurant.  True, both seek customers/clients but the delivery of the message and the message itself needs to be crafted to the target market.  There is a real but subtle difference.  Only YOU (or a professional in the craft) can discern your market and it's motivation.

Work Does Not Always Equal Success- I make it clear to groups I meet with that I believe the two most powerful social media mediums for business is the Business Blog and Twitter.  Are there other channels?  Yes.  However, these two resources allow you to create a voice and get found while gently pushing people to your message.  Facebook, LinkedIn Bullettand YouTube all have fantastic applications...and I may be dead wrong...but, to me, they produce a different result.  There is NO "magic bullet"

Speaking of Magic Bullets - Social Media does not take the place of traditional media, solid public relations efforts and excellent customer service.  It is an additional resource that you have to think about and consider before you make the jump.  How do you do that?  Read, follow, engage other social media leaders. 

The Business of Passion - If you are driven, if you have the passion for connecting and marketing.  If you view this "new media" for what it is...a tool that can make an amazing difference in your overall presentation by entering into a "conversation" with your target market...go for it.  But, if you do not want to spend an additional two hours a day connecting, engaging, listening and building voice.  Do not move forward.  You will, in the end, be greatly disappointed and be like nearly 60 percent of first time social media users...who shut down after just a few weeks of effort.

Thanks for reading and watching! And, to Atlantic, Iowa:  You have a wonderful town...keep at it. Connect on Twitter? @MichaelLibbie (Business & Personal) or @InsightADV (Business Baby...all business.)










Atlantic, Iowa - Thank You!

I made a stop for several hours in Atlantic, Iowa best known in these parts for the friendly people and Coca-Cola.  I was a guest of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce at Iowa Atlantic Iowa Western Community College.  We had about 24 folks that came in for a discussion on social media and how to use it as one of the tools in their marketing and advertising tool box.  Thanks for the invite and for the time we spent together.  I remember so well being here fifteen-years ago on another project.  From my eye, things look healthy and growing. 

Atlantic, Iowa another jewel in our great state!

If you've got time...visit Brink Flower and Gift just across from Dave Jones Insurance.  How fun!

Sunday Morning Coffee - May 16, 2010

Sunday Morning a chance to catch up on what's been going on and a peek into Coffee Cu ps the coming week.  I like to think of this as a visit at our favorite coffee shop.  Where the news, conversation and coffee is always hot...or at least interesting.  Pour a cup and grab a's Sunday Morning Coffee.

My bride and I were talking the other day about how many people we "know" through social media.  Folks that we've never met but can stand around and talk about, "Say, did you see what Sarah said about..."  "Did you know that Jim and Sandy are going to have a baby?"  "What do you think about John's decision to..."  And so it goes.  It's a little weird...but when you think of it SM is an extension of relationships and we've clearly expanded ours.

Atlantic Spring Speaking of Social Media, I get to head to Atlantic this week to do a seminar on Business and Social MediaAnn McCurdy from the Atlantic Chamber called several months ago and we're on this week.  Looking forward to meeting new friends and helping them learn more about the business relationship of SM.  We're meeting at Iowa Western Community College.

I just found out I can record conversations on my Blackberry.  Hey!  It's the little things

About the time we think we're in charge...of everything...along comes things like volcanoes and leaking oil rigs and failed attempts to harness either of them.  Maybe there is a lesson here?

It's interesting what gets folks riled up.  The other day in the Des Moines Register there was an article about a same sex couple (married) who were denied a birth certificate for their daughter listing the parents.  (This is a very simplistic the article.)  What I found amazing were the 200+ comments logged in less than 24 hours about what readers had to say about the issue. (As I write this there are over 500 comments.) And the vitriol spilling off the pages...from both sides is toxic.   YET, there were several economic articles that impact how you and I live...not a comment.  Favorite comment on the birth certificate brew-ha-ha, "G-d hates figs!"

Reminds me a bit about what I tell people about discussing politics and/or religion.  The reason folks tend to get their underwear in a knot when you challenge somebody's political or religious view is because many base their belief on emotion rather than intellect.  So, when religion or politics are questioned or discussed the reaction is emotional.  Or so I've said for years.  Here's an article by Jay Michaelson of The Forward  which speaks the same idea.  If nothing else, it's an interesting read. MPL Sailor Rockin

Some piece of crap human being hacked my son's e-mail.  These people are such losers and the scum of the earth.  Well, next to some other people I know.

We're headed to our grand-daughter's fifth birthday party this week!  Sailor is a hoot with loads of suggestions for how the world runs.  Out of the mouths of babes...She's also pretty good at Guitar Hero.

We're just week's away from launching WebcastOne...LIVEa very interactive webcast platform that is both high end audio and video.  Over the past couple of weeks there has been an ongoing number of videos between me and another WebcastOne...LIVE host,J. Michael McKoy.  Here is his first challenge to a Flip Cam War.  And my latest response.  And then there is this:

Don't you love the accent?  It's a cross between Sgt. Schlitz and Tojo.  This will be fun. Mac's show is about politics & religion from the slightly right (see above).  Mine is on business...with a focus on marketing, advertising & consumer trends.  Liz Nead is on lifestyle and Bruce Stone on left lane politics.  More hosts in the line up as they sign up.  Again, it's a NEW way to communicate and we hope you are there with us the first week of June. 

Finally...Here is Cathy and Hannah (who have been doing all the studio re-model) with their advice...or threat!  They are from KDC Built and are doing a great job!!

Loads of video here today.  Hope you could get the downloads well.

Pushing this out the door.  Have a wonderful Sunday and let's stay in contact here with a comment, on Twitter: @MichaelLibbie.  Thanks for reading and being here.  More coffee?














Food - Another Consumer Trend

Want to grow your business?  How about adding new products and services before the competition?  Want to increase market share outside of your current business silo?  Sure you do...but how?

Follow consumer trends.

Back in the day, even a decade ago, following trends in consumer behavior took an Weather Vaneamazing amount of ground work.  Not to say it's simple today but access to data, reliable data, is much easier.  Let me give you a couple of examples we talked about during Insight on Business with Michael Libbie.

One of the consumer trends we follow centers on agriculture...more specific...the public perception of how we grow/raise what is fed to the world.  (We're in's a big deal!) It looks like Unilever is also paying attention to the animal rights movement and the "cage free egg" debate.  They've just announced starting NOW you can buy Hellman's Light Mayo that is made with "cage free eggs".  What does that mean for Hellman's?  They have moved from simply selling a commodity (mayonnaise) to "cause marketing".  And, they will be able to charge a price unquestioned by people moved by the animal rights cause. 

Following consumer trends isn't difficult.  You don't need a staff of dozens to know that "organic", "natural", "micro-business", "private brands", "value" and a "localizing of business" are all consumer trends that are HUGE.  How do we know?  That's the stuff we do for our clients and what you should be doing for your business.  (Lecture over...)

Well, not quite.  Think for a moment:  "Why would 20,000+ people converge on Downtown Des Moines, Iowa each Saturday morning for five hours buying food that is 15 to 20 percent more expensive than they can get at any number of supermarkets and Big Box Stores in the city?"   Get my point?

OK, one more.

Staying on the culture and trend of "natural/organic" food.  For decades, and still in some circles, traditionalists will tell you, "Organic food is a waste of money."  "There is no health benefit to buying and eating natural foods."  Organic food is an old hippie movement and it's just smoke and mirrors."  Blah, blah...blah.

Who cares what is being said...the pure fact is..."natural/organic" food is a multi-billion dollar industry.  You have a problem with jumping in and making money?  If so...stay out, leave them alone there is still a large market aimed at folks who don't care what they eat.  But, before I leave this area something to chew on:

Whole Foods Logo Not to rub it in...but, we love it when we are spot on.  In spite of the recession, in spite of reduced purchasing power...  Whole Foods posted an 8.7 percent increase in same store sales in their second fiscal quarter.  And, a 9.5 percent increase so far in the current quarter.  Nope, we don't make this stuff up.  Here is the story from our friends at Reuters.

So what if your product or service doesn't revolve around food?  There is still a valuable message here:  Consumers want and are demanding a more wholesome approach to daily living.  What product or service can you deliver to this hungry crowd?  Come on...think.

Let's connect here by you offering a comment or let's get in touch with Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie (personal and some business) or @InsightADV (all business baby).



Something to "Tweet" About...

A couple of observations from a person (me) who has been engaged in advertising and Tin can phone men marketing for decades.  Here are some things that bother me, and should bother you, about "Social Media Experts" and Twitter.  My goal here is to simply state what has become an obvious truth.

Buyer Beware- My Grandfather, of blessed memory, was in the gravel business.  He also sold horses.  A family legend tells of a time he sold a horse, that had one bad eye.  A couple of days later the farmer came to my grandfather and demanded his money back. "Bill, you sold me a horse that is part blind!  You didn't say anything about that."  My grandfather calmly replied, "Yes I did, I said the horse didn't 'look too good'."  Spend thirty minutes on Twitter and you get lots of that.  Folks "selling" something that in reality "doesn't look too good."  Or worse, looks too good.

Name It & Claim It- They say one of the things a person should always stand up for and defend is their name.  So, can somebody tell me why there is a vast army of "Social Media & Twitter Experts" who post under names like, "TweetMaster", "TwetMaker", "EarnCash", "SMGuru" and the list goes on and on.  What is worse when you click on their profile  (Which you should do before you FOLLOW ANYBODY.) we find a bogus website and/or contact information...even though they show 50,000 followers and 20,000 Tweets.  "Somthin' don't look so good" here either.

Like She/He Said - If you are in the world of Social Media you know there are legions of people who spend their days "Re-Tweeting" the Tweets of others.  While that is cool and valuable. when the conversation is or information is striking, I think it's important to have an "original thought" from time to time.  It makes the conversation more enjoyable...and...real.

He/She Said - Once Upon a Time - Quoting the dead or the living means?  Honestly, I'm trying to figure this one out.  Twitter is full of folks who spend their time with a #quote hashtag notice.  Again, nice that they think this information is important...but, what is the after day, post after post?  Back to original thinking...or maybe it's a way to get to 20,000 Tweets?

However, for all the goofy flaws and silliness Twitter and all of Social Media can help boost your "word of mouth" marketing.  It can...and we've got the proof.  But, just like anything, you have to be careful in what you purchase and how you engage.  Having a solid social media strategy is critical  unless you are buying...or selling a one-eyed horse.


Wanna engage?  @MichaelLibbie (business and personal) or @InsightADV (business baby...all business).



Thanking the Competition...

I get regular sales updates from a fellow by the name of Bob Janet. Bob is a "sales guy" of the "old school".  You remember those days...when folks actually WENT OUT and called on other people, face to face.  Seems a little silly in the world of technology.

Or is it?

The other day Bob sent out his "e-mail newsletter".  Constant Contact?  No way...Bob doesBob Janet it the "old fashioned way".  It's an e-mail.  Honest.  This particular "newsletter" was great.  He was thanking the competition for a number of bone headed decisions over the past year.  Including, "Thank you my dear competition for:

  • Not being aggressive in marketing to your customers and letting me steal them;
  • Cutting back on your marketing and advertising expense so nobody can find you;
  • Reducing inventories so you don't have what the consumer wants;
  • Assuming your customers would stay with you even when you neglect them;
  • Thinking I too would become less aggressive in my search for new customers;
  • Cutting back on sales training for your staff, that really helped.

I LOVED IT!  So much that I had to share it with you.  Many of the things Bob wrote we've been saying since 2008, well ahead of the recession.  But, folks didn't listen and many of them will never get their customers...back.

So, here is to "old school" and solid advice...  Thank's was a nice reminder in many ways!  Now do something with that website...K?

Let's stay connected on Twitter?  @MichaelLibbbie or @InsightADV and if you want to do that "Facebook Thingy" here is where we're at both PERSONAL and BUSINESS.6a00d83452534069e20120a53db1ed970b-800wi