Staying Vital in Small Town Iowa

It's a return visit from Lyle Muller of Iowa Watch - The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Today we're talking about the Lyle Muller MPL 1118 incorporated and unincorporated communities in Iowa and the success/failure of business, population growth and quality of life. How some small communities are doing when it comes to all manner of business issues. We'll also talk about broadband and how some towns have been able to go it alone. It's a fascinating conversation that is not unique to Iowa.  Here is that article and here is our conversation. 

Thanks for listening! 

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher 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.


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.


Effective Communication Tools for NIACC

Hello...as I indicated in the video below I was to have presented a business class this past Monday on Zoom. For some reason students were unable to connect and I really feel bad about that.  So....check out the audio portion below the video to hear about my thoughts regarding Effective Communication for business and your personal life. My thanks to Rowena Crosbie and Deborah Rinner for their insightful book, "Your Invisible Toolbox - The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation". I use this fantastic book all the time and highly recommend it to you. What is really neat is that while over 100 topics are discussed none are longer than two and a half pages.

 

The audio portion of my presentation on Effective Communication is below.  All you have to do is click to listen.

NIACC Effective Communication August 2021

Thanks again and I truly hope we've got the Tech Bugs behind us.  Hope to visit with you each Monday at Noon through the North Iowa Area Community College. The link to the program is here.

You can reach me a number of ways: MPLibbie@gmail.com or IOBNewsroom@gmail.com or my direct line is 515-331-3207.

Take care!


Join Me at EntreFEST!

It will be really special! People from all over the country will be converging on Cedar Rapids, Iowa for EntreFEST June 10 - 11. Why? Great MPL ENTREFest image 2021 question.  People will be coming to learn and earn for their startup dream or their current entrepreneurial business. On hand will be a host of speakers on topics from finance to marketing to wellness, diversity, sales...you name it. If it has to do with business you'll find something here that clicks.

This will be my first time at EntreFEST and I'll be speaking on Podcasting for Business. I'll cover topics from why podcasting rocks to equipment, sales, promotion and more. Plus, for those who want some "one-on-one" time I'll be available for questions and offer some coaching tips.  So why me on podcasting? We've been doing the daily Insight on Business in podcast form and on the radio for a dozen years.

In addition, because we do this every day.  I'll be there to record some "evergreen" business interviews that we'll use over the next several weeks.  Hey, you get to be part of our "studio audience" as well. 

Here is your link to purchase tickets for EntreFEST 2021 and BONUS...if you use the promo-code LIBBIE you'll get 20% off the price.  Also, if you're not keen on making the trip you can join the event virtually as well.  So, no excuse for anybody anywhere on the planet to miss this great event.

See you in June!


Baby, I'm Amazed...

The ability to connect with customers, clients and co-workers has never been greater. Go ahead, pick a platform from traditional media use Connecting Puzzle Image to podcasting to a host of social media platforms. Never before has there been so much opportunity yet utilization, real utilization, and the understanding of how to make it all happen tends to rest with just a few of us. I'm amazed.

Last week I joined Clubhouse (thank you Ben McDougal) and was involved in a deep dive into journalism. From how people are consuming the news to the many platforms that are available to a deep concern about an aging population that still relies on print and what happens when that goes away. We talked about news silos where people only get their information from a source that aligns with their personal/political view. We chatted about independent writers and journalists that are freelancing and publishing on Substack or on their blog or in an electronic newsletter. Baby, I'm amazed...

If everything that I wrote in that second paragraph reads like some sort of techy gibberish you would not be alone. Think of that entire ecosystem as a layer of knowledge and activity that is going on in what would seem like an alternative universe. And, to a point it is. News Typewriter

While the vast majority of people and businesses survive on some traditional and "old school" models of marketing, advertising and information gathering you need to know those old models are quickly going away or being replaced with other means of connecting. And, that...can be a blessing our a curse.

It all depends on your target market...the people that really matter to your business.

I was watching "Better Call Saul" the other night (If you've not seen it...go...you will not be disappointed.) when the main character Jimmy McGill, a down on your luck attorney and the person who later becomes Saul Goodman, recognizes an opportunity to do something called "elder law". Jimmy_McGill Saul You know, doing wills and trusts for older citizens.  In one scene we see what appears to be a long-term care facility day room with dozens of elderly people talking, playing cards, doing puzzles and the staff is handing out Jell-O Cups.  As the people eat the Jell-O there is a message printed on the bottom of each cup that says, "Need a Will? Call Jimmy McGill" and an image of McGill's face.  And, of course, McGill is in the room glad-handing each person and giving some really over the top complements.

Brilliant...  You see Jimmy knows his customer base and it would be a waste of time and money to try to reach these folks with traditional media and so he does some inventive "direct marketing" on a personal scale. Now, the show doesn't tell us how successful this method is but if he gets just eight people, out of the sixty there, he's made a good return on his investment.  But, the key was he KNEW who and how to connect.

So, where is your key customer? They may be consumers of local radio or television. They may be die-hard print subscribers or they may be digital consumers or early adopters of various communication tools from Clubhouse to Twitter. The question to you is, "Where are my customers/clients/co-workers spending their time gathering information?"

Figure that out and you...win.

 

 

 


Voice Work - Keeping it in the Family

Over the years we've been doing Insight on Business the News Hour I've been able to work with some very talented people. Voice work Hunter Voice Work Dec 2020 from Jimmy Olson, Tyler Hackenmiller and Mariah Lewis all from the Des Moines Radio Group. There's Jane E. Morgan from my old station 94.5 KKEZ in Fort Dodge, Iowa and Mike Fellers/Stu Stevens another local Des Moines, Iowa independent. All great folks and still call on them from time to time.

Several years ago I needed some voice work done...FAST but everybody was booked or maybe I was just too anxious. 

That got me to thinking about our daughter Hunter Pease who has always delighted friends and family with her many comic voices. You've got to see it to really appreciate her talent. Anyway she was close and had the time so I asked her if she would read some liners. Bam! She did a really good job for never having done anything like this...and she became "The Voice of Insight on Business the News Hour".  And, yes, we pay her...so she is a professional.  Here's some of her latest work that we turned out just this week.

Hunter Focus and Find Sample

Pretty good for never having any formal training.  I think we'll keep her.

Thanks for reading and letting me brag just a bit.  And, if you want more of what we do you can subscribe to the newscast that comes with long-form business interviews by doing a Google search for Insight on Business the News Hour and picking your favorite podcast platform. Or, I can make it easy and have you head to Podbean to subscribe.

Thanks for reading!


Why Discount When You Have Peter Children?

I've had the pleasure of knowing, and liking, Peter Children for several years. Here is a guy who, in his mid-80's, works his business, Peter Children May 2017 Universal Products, every day. And I know because Peter calls or sends me an email almost daily asking about his ideas, sales efforts and more.  Some time ago he was on my radio show talking about sales and sales marketing. That's where the photo comes from.

Recently Peter has been working on several opportunities for major businesses to use what he is calling the Swarovski Incentive. It plays like this:  Rather than sell a product be it clothing to flowers at deep discounts why not hold the original price and offer a really amazing incentive like a pair of Swarovski studs?  And, the cost of the incentive is way lower than what the retail store would lose by selling at deep discounts AND (this is the best part) the word of mouth marketing from the effort will be huge.

Here is a quick 20 second video of the studs and a neat tennis bracelet so you can get an idea of the quality.

 

Nice huh?

Full disclosure: Peter didn't pay me a dime to write this or create the video. I am simply in awe of his work ethic and his ideas. Now, should you wish to connect with him (nope, he doesn't have a website) you can call 641-423-0184 or shoot him an email pchildren@mchsi.com.

Thanks for coming by.

 


Riffing on Hyper-Local Events

Every Friday, for years, we change up our business newscast and riff with Jeff Pitts the managing editor of Cityview Magazine about "Stuff Jeff Pitts March 2017 the DO" in the Greater Des Moines Metro. Six days a week we do the serious business news and long-form interviews but on Friday it's all fun.  We were asked the other day why we don't do more local business news stories and the answer is because our podcast is...well...global. The other day I posted up a business interview and within thirty seconds it had been opened in Germany and in Finland. Sure the United States and Canada are our biggest areas but it is interesting how connected we all are, on a global level. (Yep, that's Jeff...in 2017 yet!)

Years ago, when we were on local radio, our focus had to be on local business news. I remember reaching out to the Des Moines Register and the Business Record and asking them if they wanted to join up and do a daily business news hour. We would use some of their stories and their talent to report. Both newspapers turned us down. I guess they didn't see the value or, perhaps, thought it would be some sort of competition. So we did it ourselves...still do.  Anyway, and just for fun, here's Jeff and I riffing on those "Hyper-Local" things. Enjoy we'll get back to the serious stuff on Sunday.

Thanks for listening!

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some 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.

 


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.