Getting Stuff is Getting Harder

There are two signs Americans are seeing almost everywhere. The first are the "Help Wanted" Out of Order Sign signs or the "We're Hiring" flags posted in the hope that somebody...anybody will show up. The second most common sign is "Out of Order". Here it is on an ice machine at a very nice property at Lake Okoboji in Iowa. The staff told me it's been out of order for a couple of weeks. "We just can't get parts", she said before she took my ice bucket into the closed restaurant (COVID Hours) for a fill up.

Getting stuff is getting harder and it's no wonder. As I write this there are 125 cargo ships at anchor off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. Two weeks ago there were 75. Some have been there for weeks waiting to dock. But there are fewer dock workers, fewer trucks, fewer drivers.

The trucking industry says it is anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 truck drivers short. I spoke to one industry executive who told me they are no longer able to guarantee delivery on a specific date. His company recently had to settle with a customer who shipped a trade show booth by truck only to have it show up days late. 

Retail experts are saying that if you are planning on giving gifts this holiday season you might want to purchase them now because inventory is low and there isn't a light at the end of the supply chain tunnel. It's becoming more likely that what sits under the tree this year might be a picture of the gift...rather than the real thing.

All of this has a serious impact on price. If you remember your old Econ 101 class on supply and demand you get it. High demand and low supply means higher prices for consumers.

Maybe we're starting to get it. Retail sales numbers for August were up by .8%. Economists had predicted a drop of .7%. That is a major miss on the guess and should be a bright spot for the economy but what about the future?

I'm a journalist and a marketing/advertising professional. I don't have much of an answer other than to suggest that you shouldn't over promise, or perhaps even promise, delivery of your stuff by a date certain. Be honest with your customer. Let them know upfront that supplies are tight and that you'll do your best. 

Consumers have become conditioned to "one day shipping" so it's going to be tough for them to wait but, waiting is becoming the new reality.

One other point that makes a big difference is how you and your staff handle the supply chain crisis. The cheery woman at this property with the "Out of Order" sign told me there was another ice machine at the far side of the facility but then said, "Let me have your ice bucket, I'll fill it from our restaurant machine. It will only take me a minute."  Sure, I could have walked the hall but she made the effort, was honest and it was truly appreciated. And that little gesture boosted their brand and in the end that is what I'll remember.


So, You Want to Add a Podcast for Business?

Back in the day we were early adopters of the business blog. It's a great way to tell your business story outside of somebody else doing Blog Image the work for you. And, we've always believed that organic is much better than hiring outside help...unless you don't have the time or interest.

It's the same for business podcasting.

Let's be clear, with more consumers being mobile and listening to "spoken word" on their devices the business podcast makes sense. And, while you could invest in radio or television why not become your own broadcast facility?  But, we get it. You may not have the equipment and or experience to create the content or edit the finished product.  Totally understand and that's why we've launched our new business podcast service.

New Studio ShotIf you've followed our work you know we've been in the broadcasting and podcasting world for over a decade. Recently we added the equipment necessary for us to assist our clients in creating their own branded podcast. Our work includes the recording, editing, dubbing in your branded music/jingle and more. We'll even help you create your social media channels to distribute your content. Just like we're doing for a new Minnesota based client.

OK, so let's say your business isn't using social media (which, we think, is a mistake) perhaps you've been doing email marketing or direct mail marketing. Did you know that you can use those tools to also distribute your business podcast? 

There are many ways a business podcast can be helpful in telling your story. And, if you've been doing a business blog for some time turning those stories into a podcast gets even easier.

So, let's visit. That conversation won't cost you a dime and you may come away with some great marketing ideas.

Thanks for reading! 

 


Area Diesel Service and ISO Certification

OK, we have to admit, we're not really up on what ISO Certification means for the company that goes through the effort or, more Von Linda Leefers Trade Show importantly, what it means for consumers. That gets fixed today.  Recently the family owned company Area Diesel Service was awarded an ISO 9001:2015 Certification. What does that mean for the company and its clients? How does it impact their brand and their marketing?  You can bet we asked. Here Von Leefers and his wife Linda explain what this is, the impact on their business and, more importantly, what it means to the people who, internationally, are buying from them. 

This from our daily business news program and thanks for listening!

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on Google PlayPlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


The Apostles with Peter Children

Over the years we've met and done business with many entrepreneurs to established businesses. One that stands out is a guy we've known Peter Children May 2017 for well over a decade. Peter Children is in his mid 80's and works his business, Universal Products, each day.  And, what is that?  Peter has been, for generations, providing other companies with beautiful artwork and promotional items. Now, we're not talking about ice scrapers, although I bet he's done that in the past, but real works of collectable art.  One that stands out is this coin collection that features the Twelve Apostles. Check this brief video....

Told you.  

Peter is somebody that we visit with several times a week and he not only has The Apostles coin set but he also has beautiful Swarovski Jewelry that so many companies, that are attempting to incentivise their customers, give away with a purchase. But, that is for another post.

If you are at all interested in learning more about this great entrepreneur and what he might be able to do for you and your business though some beautiful incentives you can reach Peter, by phone, at 641-423-0184. Nope, he doesn't have a website (something we've begged him to do) but he will call you back.  Thank you Peter for being such an inspiration for so many of us.


Twitter for Business - It's Frustrating

This summer marks the 10th year our agency has been doing Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business newscast which first Ben McDougal MPL Feb 8 2011 appeared on the web, moved to terrestrial radio and now is a combination of both radio and podcast. (Photo from 2011 with a younger Ben McDougal from our studios at Webcast One.)

During that time I've interviewed thousands of business people about the who, what, where and why of their business. Each long-form interview is then placed on our Radio Blog and shared across several social media channels multiple times over the course of several weeks or months...depending on the story.  We also send out the interview link along with a one-page "How To" so our guest can then share their story on their own social media channels.

In other words, we have a long and proficient history when it comes to social media, especially Twitter.

I tell you that because, over the years, I have searched for and found hundreds of Twitter Profiles connected to the businesses we've featured. We do that so we can link our story to their feed and help them get more traction.  

Man ConfusedHowever, more often than not, those business Twitter feeds have been abandoned or, worse, so sparsely cared for that I see one or two Tweets a month...if that. And, what is even more incredible is that even if our guest has a fairly active Twitter stream they may fail to retweet their own story and the content we have freely created for them.

Often I'll reconnect with a business we've profiled and ask the question, "I see that while we've shared your story a dozen times on Twitter over the past two weeks and tagged you. Yet, your Twitter stream has never carried your content. Can you tell me why?"

Crickets.

They don't know. Or worse yet I get, "Gosh, I'll have to ask our social media specialist about that..."

In other words they simply don't understand the power of Twitter. They may have relegated it to an outside source or have an internal person who simply doesn't understand how the platform works. Finally, I believe, they think..."Hey, it's free. How valuable can that be?"

It's frustrating.

Business has, in front of them, their own media company that, if they work it, can pay huge dividends in the form of referrals and sales and building a positive brand.

It's time to re-tool your thinking. Let's start with this piece, "Giving Up On Twitter" from 2015. 

More to come....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Some Hiring Help

Last week on The Business News Hour we had a story about jobs. The Labor Department says there are now 1.5 million more open jobs Hiring Use then there are unemployed people. To put that in context let's say there are 6 million unemployed people in the U.S. yet there are 7.5 million open jobs.

Our business is based in the Des Moines, Iowa Metro where the current unemployment rate is hovering around 2.3%. I am told, by the folks at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, there are 17,000 open jobs in the Metro. Again, just not enough people...

Everywhere you look you see "Help Wanted" signs. HyVee, a chain of over 237 grocery stores in the Midwest, went out and bought flags to plant in their parking lot to announce the obvious. Over the past two years I've watched as B'Bops, a locally owned hamburger chain, has changed their help wanted sign to promote higher wages. Two years ago the sign said $8.00 an hour. Today the sign reads $10 an hour.

Last month there was a high-powered forum where experts weighed in on the employment troubles and offered up some suggestions regarding not only recruitment but also retention.

One of the things that is missing from the discussion is something called "passive recruitment". That's where you use media to target not only your "help wanted" message but also, at the same time, polish your brand. You can use a host of mediums radio, podcasting sponsorships, podcasting, video and social media to do the same thing. 

What is cool about passive recruiting is that word spreads. You may not hit the person who is actively looking for a job but your message may be heard or seen by a family member who then says, "Hey, did you see/hear that Weasels is looking for workers. Sounds/Looks like a great place to work."

Here's a sample, click to listen.

Recruitment Audio June 2019

It's really that easy but, does it work?  I have a friend who works in this field and he has been successful for years. The key is to let people know how really great your business is and then pitch the idea of working there.

Building your brand while building your bench is simply a good stratigity. 

 

 

 

 


Five in 24 - Five Things to Re-Brand & Sell More Stuff

For several years I've offered up a seminar on "Five in 24 - Five Things Any Business Can Do in Twenty-four Hours to Re-Brand and 5in24_LogoSell More Stuff".  It's been the most requested piece I do. Has it changed? You bet! Each time I go out, as I just did with the New York Press Association Annual Meeting, I refine it to match the needs of the audience I'm speaking to.

And, that is one of the Five Tips that is included in "Five in 24"

Know Your Consumer

It doesn't matter if you are selling a product or a service the basic metric of success is knowing your customer base. That's why, before I head out to do a presentation I adjust the guts of the seminar to match the needs of the people I'm speaking to.  For example the publishers and editors of the New York Press Association are struggling with new ways to connect to their readers outside of the printed product. 

To be sure the community based newspapers that are represented by the NYPA are doing pretty well. They are not daily papers but hyper-local papers that laser focus on their town, city, community. That they've got. But, what other things might they use to connect with their target audience?

Podcasting

Mobile Studio in Mobile 2019One of the new additions to "Five in 24" is Podcasting. I've been in that space for over ten years, long before it was considered cool and when it seemed like you were "talking to yourself". But today it's a thriving media option for busy people who may not have time to sit down and read. Want to check us out? Here is the Radio Blog for Insight on Business the News Hour

And so, I tailored my presentation to reflect that reality. Was it well received? Yes...and while the reviews are not in I'm confident that I was able to peel back the onion a bit and introduce them to the power of podcasting.  

The bottom line is you must know who your target customer is, where they hang out, how they buy what they buy. Once you've got that down all you need to do is create a story to move from "customer" to a lasting relationship.

Thanks for reading! 


The Power of YouTube for Business

Sometimes we forget about the powerful search abilities that YouTube offers businesses. And, it doesn't have to be a complicated video with Karen McCullough YouTube Image Feb 2019lots of shots and edits.

So, what can you do?

Last month I did a phone interview for Insight on Business the News Hour with Karen McCullough, a professional public speaker based in Houston, Texas. And, yes we shared it for several weeks on various social media platforms from Twitter to LinkedIn. (It's what we do there.) 

Karen went the extra step and created a YouTube video of her audio interview complete with some neat artwork (see above). Then using the the correct keywords posted it on her YouTube Page. While at the same time promoting an upcoming speaking engagement.

Brilliant!

And, frankly, that got us to thinking about how we might do a better job on The Business News Hour when it comes to YouTube.

Here is that video/audio of her interview.

And, remember it's something you can do as well.

Go get 'em!


Voice Work and Personal Branding

What you say and how you say it has a direct impact on your personal and business brand. No matter if it is in your outgoing voice mail to Personal Branding Stamp radio and television ads. Vocal quality matters. And when it comes to your personal brand...your verbal skills can sink or enhance your career. From our broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour

We all...talk, right? But how you communicate verbally can have an impact on your being taken seriously and that can have a direct impact on your career. Here Wayne Bruns from Tero International and I talk about some ways in which you can improve your verbal skills from voice training to the words you use. Listen in as a couple of broadcasters talk...voice and voice work. 

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday, hour-long business podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday starting at 5pm Central. You can subscribe on Google PlayPlayerFMPodbeaniTunesStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday at 2pm on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.


Feeding the Beast

We tell all our clients how important it is to stay current with your social media efforts. Current and Consistent. That lesson came home last Man Angryweek as we closed the office and went on vacation. We do that from time to time...everybody needs a break. Sure, we did our daily business news broadcast Insight on Business the News Hour from Anna Maria Island and yes we did do some Tweets and kept up (sort of) with our broadcast Facebook Page and we (sort of) fueled my LinkedIn Page and, yes, we posted "some" to Instagram.  

However...when we looked at the numbers upon our return we saw we were lagging. Not as much interaction, re-tweets, Facebook comments and loving gazes toward LinkedIn or Instagram. 

It was a great lesson in Feeding the Beast.

Once you are in that space, no matter what platform you use, you've got to be consistent. And that, my friends, is where so many businesses (product or service) fall off. It takes time. And, if you are on vacation or away to a conference and YOU are responsible for the social media activity of you or your brand...you've got to stay on your game. You've got to find the time.

If not, individuals that have come to expect a particular amount of social interaction go away or disconnect. Remember, our attention span is less than a goldfish. Staying current and being consistent is just another demand of The Beast.

And, The Beasties. (Meet my grand-daughter Jovie...pretty good huh?)

 

Thanks for coming by and your comments are always welcome!

Michael