Previous month:
January 2012
Next month:
March 2012

Marketing Trend - Selling the USA

While we've been through this before, in small doses, there is a trend inMade in USA box promoting the sale of manufactured goods which is catching on with an increasing number of brands touting their product is "Made in the USA".  We think it's worth noting and it is a direct result of manufacturers looking for any tool in the tool-box to combat economics.

It Plays to the Emotions & Why

We find it interesting that as politicians criss-cross our nation telling voters "the sky is falling" and our nation is "doomed" that is it advertisers who have lifted up the banner of hope in the future.  It's intriguing that while AM/FM "talk radio", in every market, continues to hammer consumers with negative comments about leadership that manufacturers are sharing a completely different message...sometimes conflicting with what the radio host just said.

Here's just a sample:

  • General Electric - They just spent millions promoting the fact GE builds refrigerators and turbines in the USA;
  • Tropicana - They once imported orange juice from Brazil...not any longer and you'll see "Old Glory" on the side of their containers with an extra boast;
  • Chrysler - The two minute Clint Eastwood piece during the Super Bowl caught lots of attention;
  • Hyundai - Featured hundreds of workers in a recent ad touting the Alabama plant and Made in America...
  • Menards - Just finished a month-long promotion of "Made in the USA" products that included television and print.

WSI SportswearJust a sample.  But, what about "small business"?

While in Kansas City the other day I ran into Priscilla Magana who works for apparel manufacturer WSI Sportswear based in Minnesota.  Companies that sell clothing manufactured in the US are rare.  Priscilla shared with me that WSI "...could have made the decision to have their products made in Asia but the owner stood firm in his support of hiring local workers even though he could have made a bundle by off-shoring."  Impressive.

The bottom line for your business is hit on some of the emotion this trend delivers.  Use the message to stand out.  Build creative emotional advertising that speaks to the connection between your product and a growing number of consumers that see this as important. 

Remember, anything you can do to help build your brand image to the good work.




If you would like to connect, feel free to leave a comment here or let's visit on Twitter: @InsightADV.

Sunday Morning Coffee - Politics & Opinion

Taking a short break from business this morning as I take a look at theCoffee Cu ps crazy(er) world of politics in Iowa...and some from Indiana.  We'll get back to business tomorrow the meantime grab a cup of Sunday Morning's hot!  Stories for today:

  • Girl Scouts - "A bunch of Lesbians!"
  • Iowa Commercial Property Taxes - You ain't heard the last word.
  • Sen. Brad Zaun - Has extra time on his hands....
  • Desmund Adams - Iowa State Senate & Why
  • New Laws - So far 4 Bills have been signed,
  • Zeta Kappa Lambda - Did you...know?
  • Black & Gold Ball - Only here...nobody else covered it
  • Girl Scout Cookies - Told you I'd get back to that...

Once again, if you would like to see the full post here is Sunday Morning CoffeeThanks for coming by and have a wonderful...Sunday!


Is Iowa...Creative?

Before you answer the question we need to consider "what is creative"?  The reality is that "creative" depends on your perception.  Does Iowa have a creative culture our friend Justin Brady suggests, is creativity discouraged?  Sounds like fighting words for many.

All of this is the point behind the Iowa Creativity Summit which will be held on March 1st with writer and creativity expert Matthew E. May.  Here's a quick video with Justin who...starts out doing Kramer?  Nahhhh...


The Iowa Creativity Summit is designed to allow you a "hands on" approach and we hope you'll take the time to learn more.   See you at Drake on March 1st...but you better get your tickets now.  Price goes up on the 27th.




If you would like to connect @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is right here. Thanks for coming by!

Trade Show Marketing

I share these stories with you because many business spend thousands of dollars at trade shows and receive little in return.  That's no way to run a business.  When your trade show ROI stinks it leaves everybody with a bad feeling about the event.  Let's change by starting with the "look" of the booth.

This past week we were at Pheasant Fest, the biggest upland bird hunting event in the nation.  Our client is Country Vet Pet Foods based out of South Dakota.  Here is the video and then I'll share the top points as to what makes this display...great.


It might surprise you that the booth is five years old but, because we used a minimum of words and focused on the images, it doesn't get...old.  In addition Country Vet did not skimp on the booth or the design.  It's paid off over the years.  A couple of other "staging points":

  • Visitor Comfort - Notice ALL of the tables are counter-top height which allows visitors to the booth the opportunity to be eye level and not be forced to bend over to "sign up";
  • Booth Lighting - There was "enough" light in the building but the added booth lighting helped make the images pop and get noticed;
  • Clean - Lots of traffic but the staff made sure the booth was clean, all the time;
  • Staff - Everybody dressed in the same shirts, colors and they were engaged...critical elements;
  • Product Placement & Samples - You KNOW what they are doing;
  • Spokesperson - Company spokesperson Lyle Steinman is at the booth meeting consumers.

While it all "looks easy" it is astounding to us that more companies simply don't put in the work to insure a great trade show event.  Congratulations to Gary Kubicek and our friends at Country Vet!



Sunday Morning Coffee - Sex, Politics & Iowa

On Sunday Morning we move away from the business world and enter theCoffee Cu ps steamy side of sex, politics and gossip.  You know, the stuff you love to hate.  This week Sunday Morning Coffee has these interesting stories...and some you may have missed.

  • Iowa GOP - Abortion is OK...In China
  • Santorum & His Jesus - And the Inquisition
  • Chris "Personhood" Hagenow & Dinner
  • Iowa - Last..."Dead Last"
  • Oh Obama - What Will You Not Think...Next?
  • Gas Tax - The Hell With You...
  • Fund Raising - My Bride Hits the Streets

What the heck...something here must have caught your interest.  We'll get back to business tomorrow...but for now, have some coffee...but warning, it's HOT!



Websites and Small Business

This week I went to a seminar on web-development and social media sponsored by the Des Moines Radio Group.  I enjoy going to several ofWoman Social Media these a year...just to learn what others have to say regarding small business and the Internet.  The presenter was Radiate Media which had been Matchbin a media partner company based in Salt Lake City.

The basic pitch (and it was good!) was this:  "You can not afford to be without a website.  However a website that also does not have a social media component attached will not drive as much traffic."  True...and if you've followed this blog for the past several years you know that's our drum they are banging.

The program offers:

  • SEO
  • A custom website with shopping cart
  • Linkage into a business directory
  • Social Media
  • Mobile ready site

The cost of the program is what will generate some business.  At the top end the cost is $299 for the first month and then $199 per month...forever.  That's right...forever.  So, if you take advantage of this offer and stay with the program for five years your cost is $12,040.  That, according to our pricing, is a little steep.  And, you're right, if you stop paying your website goes...away.

For some small businesses it's a great budgeting idea.  But, in the end, the business will pay a bunch over time. 

We understand the attractiveness in this offer but...if you don't use the site and stay on top of the social media don't expect much.  Perhaps the best advice given was this:  "As with anything, you need to stay involved with your site."  They are correct...if you ignore your site it's like ignoring your inventory or those burned out lights in your sign.

Here is the link to the Des Moines Radio Group...hey, who says we're not willing to share.



If you want to leave a comment here...feel free.  Or we can gather together on Twitter - @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is

Are Flowers Enough?

Consumer studies for Valentine's Day are always fun and this recent bit of information coming from Alibaba sheds some light on what a growingWoman Valentine flowers number of people are shopping for...on-line. 

Sex Toys...  No kidding.  According to the data presented by Alibaba consumer interest in sex toys has increased by 194% from 2010 to 2011.  US on-line searches have increased by 26%'s not just "toys".  Consumers are also on the hunt for lingerie and "romantic-evening wear".  The same study tells us those searches have increased by 36% between Q-3 2011 to Q-4 2011.  Maybe it was the holiday...rush?

There is a serious reason I'm sharing this with you.  Here is your take-a-way: Watching consumer trends is not that difficult and, if you are in business, you should make it a point to try to follow as many trends in your "silo" as possible.  In addition, looking at what is going on in other industries can also help you make wise forecasts when it comes to buying what consumers want or think they want.




If you want to leave a comment here, feel free.  (I do, however, report spam and delete you know.)  If you want to connect on Twitter it's @InsightADV or here is our advertising agency Facebook Page.  Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday Morning Coffee is....HOT!

We'll get back to the business of business tomorrow but, for today, allow me to indulge you with my anti-everything rants on a host of items in this week's Sunday Morning Coffee.  Inside you'll find out:

  • Who & Why we Hate;
  • Rep. Steve King and Stasi Troops;
  • A Note to the "Eyeroll Woman" about Mrs. Obama;
  • Prairie Meadows & Hookers
  • Sex Talk with Catholics
  • I Finally Belong! - A Chris Hagenow Update
  • Helmets are for Sissys

And so much more.  Sunday Morning Coffee can be found right...HERE.  Enjoy the read and have a great Sunday!




Tuesday evening I was in a locally owned store in one of the Metro Shopping Malls.  The store has an interesting mixture of "stuff" and aGirl Gift Box place I frequent several times a year.  The conversation turned to consumers and advertising. (Imagine that...)  I asked the owner if she used any social media to attract customers and retain interest in her product selection, which changes often.  She said, "No, I really don't know much about it."  I said, "It's an amazing tool.  Would I be correct in assuming your prime demographic is female and age 45+?"  She said it was and I launched into my story regarding Facebook.  It is huge among that demographic...huge! 

I suggested that she look into how Facebook can work for her and gave her two solid examples of how she could not only drive traffic but also sell stuff:

  • Your inventory changes often, post a photo of the latest item to come in the door, let folks know you have it;
  • When you sell something to somebody share that experience, with their permission, on your Facebook Page;
  • (bonus suggestion).

I didn't get to share my thoughts on Pinterest because she looked at me and said, "I just don't have time to play around on Facebook.  It sounds like a good idea but, I'm not sure."  I told her to double-check me.  To call my friend Chrissy at Domestica and ask her how she uses Facebook to drive sales.  Will she?  I dunno but for every person like Chrissy there are twenty folks like my new friend who "...doesn't have the time".  That's too bad because they are missing  And, nope I was not trying to find a new client...just trying to help.



If you want to leave a comment feel free to do that here.  Or let's connect on Twitter @InsightADV or here is our advertising agency Facebook Page. Thanks for coming by!

You Spent $5 Million & Didn't...

I was...shocked.  When we were watching the Super Bowl (some wagMan Pants Down suggested that when you took out all the ads they only played 12 minutes) I thought it was odd that so many of the advertisers failed to promote the social media aspect of what they were selling.  But, I didn't realize how badly so many...failed.

Would it surprise you that:

  • Only 57% of the ads included a Website or Microsite link;
  • Only 16% included social media bumps like hashtags or Facebook links;
  • Only 11% included mobile app or QR Code references;
  • 32% failed to include ANY online reference.

OK, I get that including a QR Code in a TV ad is a little difficult but to not have any online reference point.  To fail to have any call to action...seriously?  That's "bush league" stuff and if I had paid $5 million for creative and another $1.5 million to buy the air-time I'd be ticked off.

Pretty sad when Best Buy beats everybody else huh?  If you want to read the entire news story here is the link to our friends at Read Write Web

Your take-a-way here is to make sure you include a way to carry on the's the 21st Century you know.




If you would like to connect feel free to leave me a comment here, or head to Twitter @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is   Thanks for coming by! - Michael