Update from the IAF/ISBA Summer Conference:

Many professionals in the industry might not be aware that each year the Idaho Ad Federation and the Idaho State Broadcasters Association put together an affordable and quality conference. The conference serves as the Annual Convention for the ISBA, and is packed with professional educational opportunities for members of the advertising community as well.

The IAF Summer Conference is held at the beautiful Sun Valley Lodge. Registration was only $150 this year, and included a hosted reception on Thursday evening as well as dinner on Friday evening. Attendees have the option of playing in a golf tournament at the renown Sun Valley course, and can opt to attend the Best In Broadcasting Reception and Awards Dinner on Saturday night for an additional charge.

Summer Conference is a great way to network with professionals in our area, and enjoy a little R&R in Sun Valley. Jeff Jones of Central Idaho Broadcasting in Orofino and Lisa Collins (IAF Chair) of KMVT in Twin put this year’s conference together. They did an excellent job of finding a slate of speakers that were both entertaining and informative.

Marshall Simmonds
Marshall Simmonds presenting to the Idaho State Broadcasters Association and Idaho Advertising Federation.

The first presentation I attended Friday morning was on Internet Search Strategies, from Marshall Simmonds. An excellent presentation on the basics of SEO planning for news publishers.

Marshall lives in Boise, Idaho and is a Chief Search Strategist for the New York Times Company. He also owns a search engine marketing consulting firm called Define Search Strategies.

His presentation included several great examples of successes and shortfalls in maximizing search traffic to About.com and the New York Times. He also integrated a few Idaho State Broadcasting Association member sites into his presentation.The Top 10 SEO Questions to ask your organization:

  1. Can Engines Get to All Your Content
  2. How is internal/external linking?
  3. Are URLs Search Friendly?
  4. Duplicate Content?
  5. Are the right keyword markets targeted?
  6. Are Editorial & SEO Goals Balanced?
  7. Are your templates optimized?
  8. Am I optimizing all my assets?
  9. Domain Strength?
  10. Is Traffic Converting?

Marshall concluded with saying Simple is making a comeback. He also reconfirmed that SEO is a long term plan. It doesn’t happen overnight therefore it should be measured in months.


Jim Gradl
Jim Gradl presenting to the ISBA/IAF Friday afternoon.

Jim Gradl owner of Uboon2, an advertising agency in Chesterfield, Missouri, is a great story teller and presented on the principles of advertising. Using many recognizable brands, Jim provided examples of how to quickly make a lasting impression on your customers. Given that the average thought lasts about 12 seconds, that’s how long you have to impress a consumer.

Jim shared a philosophy that advertising is democracy in action:

  • The agency gets one vote
  • The client gets two votes
  • The consumer gets five votes

Don’t talk about the factory. Talk about the customer.

Overall this presentation was an entertaining reminder that we have to connect with the consumer meaningfully and quickly to compete.


Bob Taber
Bob Taber, Sr. VP, Account Planning, GyroHSR Denver

Bob Taber, Senior VP of Account Planning at GyroHSR in Denver never disappoints.

Bob used a past agency/client presentation to show his agency pitched a
 restaurant chain. He offered up a view of how they pick clients they would like to work with, and then go after them by developing a new business presentation that includes creative strategy, 
customer segmentation, and recommended positioning. By targeting clients, rather than waiting for RFPs, they are able to present themselves on a playing field free of competition.

After the presentation I asked Bob about his comfort level giving away spec work in the pitch. He said he isn’t comfortable with it in a competitive landscape (i.e. RFP response), because anyone can hit one out of the park for a given presentation. That doesn’t mean they will be consistent over time. GyroHSR feels that by taking a proactive approach and targeting clients they want to work for, investing in spec creative is worth the risk.

This was an insightful presentation that surely had the attendees thinking about their new business strategies. And additionally, we all learned a lot about the restaurant industry.

Even though it’s tough for all of us to tear ourselves away from the piles of work on our desks, Summer Conference is always a well deserved mini vacation. Once again I returned home with more industry insight and having connected with old and new friends from around Idaho. Spotted at the Lodge were Ed Moore and (BAF President) Carolyn Sali of Davies Moore – Boise, Lisa Collins of KMVT – Twin Falls, Rick Magnuson and Mike Sanders of MSVM Group – Pocatello, and countless other familiar faces from the world of advertising and broadcasting in Idaho.

I’d love to hear about other attendees’ experiences and what types of workshops you would be interested in seeing next year.

Mike Kerby

Incoming IAF Chair

Opinions are like…well, you know

Everybody’s got one.

And when it comes to the College of Western Idaho these days, there’s certainly no shortage.

The Idaho Business Review, and their 60+ comments, leave very little to wonder about where they stand.

TechBoise has an opinion, with more insight and intelligent conversation than what I saw happening on the Idaho Business Review’s site.

Even The Idaho Statesman has an opinion.

So let’s take a look at how this all got started. Much of what has been written centers around the television spots created for the College. For those who may not have seen them, here are the three spots, courtesy of CWI’s YouTube Channel:

So, now that you’ve seen them, we can begin.

Whether you think the ads are good or bad is almost beside the point. Advertising, and particularly the creative that comes out as a result, is subjective. What one person calls “good” the next calls “bad.”

The real question is, have these spots, and other portions of the enrollment campaign, been effective in generating adequate awareness of, interest in, and ultimately enrollment at the College of Western Idaho? Time will tell.

A couple of thoughts to leave with, however:

It escapes me who said it, but in any client/agency relationship, the agency deserves no more than 50% of the praise for the success, or 50% of the blame for the failure. That concept is true in this case as well. CWI is as responsible for these spots as those on the agency side who produced them.

As agencies, and agency folks, it is our responsibility to advise, guide, and direct clients on the best course of action as much as possible. That means proper planning, research and insight into the client’s business or industry. Without that, we become nothing more than order takers, reacting at the client’s whim.

Success takes time, and will certainly be the case here.

For those who were involved, I’d encourage you to take this opportunity to learn from what went right, and wrong, and come back with something even better next time. For those who are watching from the sidelines, this is another case where there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Are you willing to learn it?

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