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HMG Heartbeat

SEPTEMBER 2020 HEARTBEAT

SEPTEMBER 2020 HEARTBEAT

HOW DO YOU DO 2020?

Our work for clients engaged in the livestock production industry means we at HMG have communicated about coronavirus many times. In pigs, specifically. Until the human pandemic began and our world changed drastically in March, our understanding of how a virus could disrupt our lives was naive at best. A swine herd was another matter! Now, as we enter our sixth month of a new normal, we have found a groove and continue to tell our customers’ stories. For example…

AGRONOMIC SOLUTIONS

The team at Agronomic Solutions had a website, however, it was not responsive so it was not easily viewed on devices from cell phones to PC monitors. The function was a little clunky which happens with age, too. The team at HMG was happy to help them create a new site which meets their needs and better reflects their ability to meet customers’ requirements for site specific agronomic services. Visit their new site and see what they do. And take a look at what we did in building the site for them, too.

LANDUS COOPERATIVE

We all agree it’s hard to talk about ourselves. When asked to help our customer, Landus Cooperative, talk about their recent successes and change in function, we were happy to help! In the fall edition of their Grow magazine, you can see what Ann wrote about their grain and agronomy teams ability to do what’s right for their member-owners and the coop. The article begins on page 9.

SD INDUSTRIES

When you build a better mousetrap hog feeder, waterer, and other stainless steel products, you need to toot your own horn. For the team at SD Industries, that meant a new plan involving a website refresh, eblasts, and a social media campaign. They build great looking, durable products. Now, with our help, their messaging is great looking, too! And next, we are helping them develop new tradeshow displays. Yes, we are confident tradeshows will resume!

SWINE HEALTH INFORMATION CENTER

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) has launched new podcast! The first episode is live and a calendar of future shows is being developed now. The team at HMG developed new skills for this including audio file editing as well as submitting podcasts to distributors like Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Media, Amazon, and others. Ask us how we can help you launch your own podcast to tell your story with this audio format. 

As for HMG, we want to thank our clients for their continued trust in us to help communicate in this evolving reality. We are happy to be busy, growing skills, helping new and long-time clients, as well as use all the technology available to remain in touch. Barb has returned to the office while Ann, Katie, and Jen are working from home. No matter where we are, our commitment to being your communications partner remains strong! 

HMG WILL BE CLOSED MONDAY!

In observiation of Labor Day, HMG will be closed Monday, September 7, 2020.

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HMG Heartbeat

AUGUST 2020 HEARTBEAT

AUGUST 2020 HEARTBEAT

WILL IT EVER END?

Are you finding yourself asking this question more often the longer COVID-19 and its consequences go on? I sure am some days. But in this situation as is usually the case in trying situations, there is a silver lining. Sometimes you just have to look really hard to find it.

I had told our HMG team and my husband earlier this month – no customer visits, no conferences to see “once a year” people, no in-person meetings to challenge my thought processes and then – no normal county fair and NO Iowa State Fair. My limits (and patience) have been pushed just about as far as possible.

So what is the silver lining to this? Here are a few items crossing my mind:

How about you? What is the silver lining of COVID-19 for you?

– Barb Determan

WHAT A RIDE!

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Heartland Marketing Group made adjustments. Working from home became the standard while we learned new electronic communication and meeting platforms to remain connected with each other as well as our clients. Thankfully, our plates have remained full as we continue to assist you with telling your now pandemic-tinged stories. We want to show you some of the projects we have been developing!

IOWA HOUSING PARTNERSHIP

IOWA HOUSING PARTNERSHIP

Website Design and Development

NOVUS INTERNATIONAL

Foreign Language Packaging

SD INDUSTRIES

Website Refresh, Social Media Campaign, and Eblasts

SHIC Talk - Image

SWINE HEALTH INFORMATION CENTER

SHIC Talk Podcast and Virtual Conference Partnership

Our team at HMG has been happily busy during these pandemic-affected days. We are grateful for the continued ability to work with customers as they maintain their marketing communications efforts.

You always have a story to tell! We can help you craft the best tools and strategy for the circumstances. Whether digital or hard copy, HMG has the skills and experience to develop what you need to stay in touch.

Thank you for your business and trust in HMG to be your communications partner!

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HMG Heartbeat

JULY 2020 HEARTBEAT

JULY 2020 HEARTBEAT

PONDERING THE PANDEMIC AND OTHER LESSONS FROM AGRICULTURE

Ann Trimble-Ray

It has been three months since the team at Heartland Marketing Group began working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have talked about returning to 110 N Main Street in Early, however, our proximity to a COVID-19 hotspot (Buena Vista County, Iowa) has kept us at our makeshift desks. We use Skype to stay in touch with each other and a variety of other tools to remain connected with our customers.

WHO'S ZOOMING WHO?

Be honest. Are you old enough to remember Aretha’s comeback song from 1985? Who’s Zooming Who? was about carefree young men and women enjoying a night out and checking out possible romantic partners. Today, the question of who’s zooming who has a whole new meaning as we engage with Zoom (or WebEx, or Skype, or FB Messenger, or Google Meet…) to stay in touch with family, friends, and customers!

Your Team HMG has been Zooming and zooming as we have worked on a variety of exciting projects for our customers during the pandemic. Regular communications have been supplemented with more social media, a new podcast about to debut, an end-user survey, and some crisis communications as well.

As you consider what’s next for your communications strategy, don’t be afraid to do some heavy revising of original goals. With a new normal in a pandemic-afflicted world to contend with, your messaging, media, and means all need a good tweek.

You have a great story to tell! Your Team HMG is here to help you tell it in the best way possible. We’re in this with you and ready to develop a modified, effective comms strategy for the second half of 2020.

INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Heartland Marketing Group will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

We wish each of you a happy 4th of July and hope you will be able to celebrate our nation’s 244th birthday safely with family and friends.

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HMG Heartbeat

MAY 2020 HEARTBEAT

MAY 2020 HEARTBEAT

THE JOY OF THE ABNORMAL AND UNUSUAL

Barb Determan

We invite you to read Barb’s latest blog post on how the abnormal and unusual caused by working from home during the pandemic have impacted her. She shares benefits of the new normal and how lessons learned are equipping her, and Heartland Marketing Group, for a successful outcome. We know you will enjoy her perspective!

TAKE A LOOK AT ME NOW

Having a professionally created, functional, and beautiful website lends credibility to any organization. Heartland Marketing Group was happy to assist the Iowa Housing Partnership create their new home on the web. Launched this week, you can visit the site at www.iowahousingpartnership.org.

Iowa Housing Partnership’s website features information on the organization which was born in 2017, the result of passionate housing advocates joining together to advance their cause. Their organization has quickly grown and boasts a rock star board of directors as well as charter members whose investment of time, ideas, and money have enabled their success to date.

We hope you will visit www.iowahousingpartnership.org to see how HMG helped tell this organization’s exciting story!

BLASTING OFF WITH SDI

SD Industries of Alexandria, South Dakota, is raising their online profile with help from all of us at Heartland Marketing Group. We are helping them create and deploy both social media posts as well as eblasts to their customer lists. The project is helping the team at SDI communicate more regularly and effectively with both customers and prospects. The quality of SDI’s products is second to none. So HMG is having a great time capturing their value proposition and telling their story. Be watching for more as we also update their website to better relate their advantages and benefits.

WE REMEMBER

Heartland Marketing Group will be closed to observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 25. We remember all those who gave their lives in service to our country and hope you share our heartfelt thanks for those who gave all.

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HMG Heartbeat

APRIL 2020 HEARTBEAT

APRIL 2020 HEARTBEAT

KEEP ON KEEPING ON - COMMUNICATING THAT IS!

Barb Determan

Wow, what a strange time in our world. Everyone hunkered down, sewing masks, slowing down the internet with a million Zoom, Skype, Go To or Teams meetings (and that’s just in one hour of the day!).

But amid all the clutter, most of us still have a job that needs done. How are you handling that responsibility? Almost everyone is working from home which brings new challenges – kids at home, dogs barking in the background of conference calls, too many nearby snacks (oops – wonder if anyone will miss that cookie I just found in the back of the freezer in the farm office frig?), etc., etc. For me the real challenge is not seeing our HMG team and our clients.

Then I think of my in-laws during World War II. Steve’s dad, Urban, served in the Army Air Force for three long years in northern Africa. Meanwhile Steve’s mom battled some major health problems here in the states. The only connection they had during those three long years of engagement were letters. That’s right – handwritten, mailed at the post office, letters. We don’t have it tough at all.

CLOSED FRIDAY

In observance of Good Friday we will be closed April 10. We wish all of our customers, friends, and family a happy and healthy holiday season!

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HMG Heartbeat

MARCH 2020 HEARTBEAT

MARCH 2020 HEARTBEAT

OUR OFFICE PLANS...

Dear Heartland Marketing Group clients and friends,

We are all operating in a time of uncertainty and many questions. But as one HMG client said, looks like a great time to work hard and have the best possible go-forward strategy. We can only control our own actions and efforts. With that in consideration, I want to update you about Heartland Marketing and our current plans.

Our office plans to remain open since we have less than 10 people and have a lot of room to spread out. But we know many of our clients and friends are grounded from travel. That gives us an opportunity to serve you via phone, Zoom meeting or email. If you are grounded with children at home, don’t worry, we’re happy to talk to you any time. We are definitely used to small children, barking dogs and other background noise.

CONSTANTLY CHANGING

It seems the world is constantly changing with COVID-19. And yes, our world at Heartland Marketing Group is changing as well. We had planned to stay open but have decided to close our physical office and are all working from home. We want to assure you that we are working hard and projects are moving forward just from different locations!

We know keeping your families and yourselves healthy and safe is your number one priority. We agree! It’s also a great time to strategize for upcoming marketing opportunities. With less day-to-day travel along with fewer distractions and in-person meetings, using your creativity and energy for current and future plans will yield many benefits. For example, we know trade shows will come back so let’s get ahead of the mad rush and prepare.

Communicating with clients and prospects is a big priority for everyone. Now is the time. You need to tell your story, not let others guess what your company is doing. Letting others tell your story never has good results. One of the first things to check is your website. Is yours up to date? Does it need a refresh? How about media opportunities? Media has a lot of air and print space to fill. Is there something to your story that would interest them?

Barb's Work Space

Ann's Work Space

Katie's Work Space

Jen's Work Space

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HMG Heartbeat

DECEMBER 2016 HEARTBEAT

DECEMBER 2016 HEARTBEAT

HUNGRY HOLIDAYS

We are blessed to live and work in Iowa where safe, abundant, and wholesome food is readily available. Heartland Marketing Group proudly works with companies involved in the production of food plentiful enough for not only residents of our home state but the world. Yet, we know food insecurity is a real issue. Even in Iowa.

The Food Bank of Iowa says one in eight Iowans are food insecure and one in five Iowa children does not have enough food to eat. In Sac County, where we are located, Food Bank of Iowa data shows 10.7 percent of the population (1090 people) is food insecure here.

Again this holiday season, HMG is gifting our local food pantry with ground pork to be included in gift baskets distributed to those in need. We make this donation in our customers’ names and hope the 200 pounds of high quality protein we provide along with the other foodstuffs make for a better holiday for local families this Christmas.

Thank you for your business, your friendship, and the opportunity to help you tell your story. We are grateful for your trust in our abilities to be engaged in your marketing communications efforts.

From all of us, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Looking back on 2016, we are filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment at the work we did for our clients. Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects we developed with our customers!

HOLIDAY HOURS AT HMG

As has become our custom, HMG will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day. During this time, we will keep projects moving and be available by cell phone and/or email to meet your needs. Thank you!

December 23: Close at Noon
December 26 – December 30: Closed
January 2: Closed

Barb: barb@teamhmg.com | 515-249-8460
Ann: ann@teamhmg.com | 712-660-1152

Merry Christmas!

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HMG Heartbeat

SEPTEMBER 2016 HEARTBEAT

SEPTEMBER 2016 HEARTBEAT

WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?

When we ask this question, we don’t want you to picture a frazzled mom with hands on her hips addressing her petulant tween. We know you have the image in your mind!

Instead, we want you to think about the bottlenecks you face. Community opposition. Misinformation. Rumors. Overcoming these bottlenecks requires telling your story so all stakeholders understand your point of view, have the facts, and become part of your team.

Heartland Marketing Group has long been in the business of advocacy. For over 25 years we have worked with the US Highway 20 Association and their efforts to see statewide four-lane US 20 completed across Iowa. Those advocacy efforts paid off when the project was scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.

More recently, HMG assisted the Iowa Pork Producers Association with advocacy on behalf of Prestage Foods as they sought approval to build their state-of-the-art pork processing facility in Wright County. This team effort included not only our client but other stakeholders with a grassroots messaging effort.

We are currently working for a northeast Iowa family farm as they work to tell their story of success and innovation in pork production and crop farming. Without accurate information about livestock production, these fifth generation farmers find themselves needing to provide education, reassurance, and leadership.

In too many cases, companies prefer to run under the radar and not make waves. When there is a void of information, it will be filled and if not by you, it will be by your competitors and detractors. Fill the void with a strategic communication plan including personal contacts, media relations, social media, and advertising.

Tell your story! We can help you craft the plan, provide the tools, and implement a successful marketing communications campaign.

For the US 20 Association, advocacy was a decades-long proposition. In other cases, it’s a few intense weeks. No matter the length of time necessary, the results are worth the investment in time and resources.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Congratulations to Steve and Barb on celebrating 35 years together on September 26.

We wish you many more years of joy, unity, and commitment.

– Ann, Katie, and Jen

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HMG Heartbeat

AUGUST 2016 HEARTBEAT

AUGUST 2016 HEARTBEAT

NOTHING LAZY ABOUT THESE SUMMER DAYS

HMG has been enjoying a busy and productive summer, working with long-standing clients on their communications needs as well as proudly assisting several new clients with their projects. Here’s what we’ve been up to!

1. Inland Sea – Harlan LLC – this start-up company tapped HMG to coordinate logistics and marketing for their upcoming equity drive. They intend to build a state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system near Harlan, Iowa, to raise Atlantic salmon. Learn more about their project and equity drive by visiting the website we built for them at inland-sea.com.

2. Iowa Pork Producers Association – to support Prestage Foods with their second attempt to locate a pork processing facility in Iowa, IPPA hired HMG to work on messaging including editorials, letters to the editor, social media, presence at events, and other strategy. You can see some of our infographics if you visit Pork. The Wright Choice for Iowa on Facebook (not all infographics are ours).

 

3. Reicks View Farms – a family farm with a great story to tell asked us to help strategize a communications strategy to bring their point of view to legislators, regulators, and the press. Our work with them has just begun though we look forward to reputation management, social media, events, and communications strategy efforts.

4. Region XII Council of Governments – we are in the midst of designing a new website for this agency located in Carroll, Iowa. The mission will be to update their image, present information as clearly as possible, and do so with flair.

We have been going full throttle with these and other projects! And we’re here, ready to help you tell your story as well.

Remember, if you don’t tell your story, your competitors will for you, and you won’t like their version.

PROOF

For some, proofing may be about letting yeast dough rise. For HMG, it’s about reviewing documents for accuracy.

At a recent workshop, Ann attended a session on proofing your own work. Here are some of the tips and tricks she picked up, courtesy of presenter Gerri Berendzen of the American Cope Editor’s Society.

  1. Read the document
  2. Read it again
  3. Read it aloud
  4. Change your surroundings and read again
  5. Ask others to read your work for you

The key, per Berendzen, is to realize being your own editor is tough. Engaging others, as we do for each other at HMG, helps capture the typos, misspellings, and grammatical misdeeds.

Berendzen also cautioned against over-reliance on spell check software. It’s fallible! Though she did recommend investing in grammar check services such as grammarly.

Lots of eyes go over every bit of work produced at HMG. We don’t claim perfection though we do work very hard to be sure everything we do for our clients is as close to it as possible.

CLOSED LABOR DAY

In observance of Labor Day, Heartland Marketing Group will be closed September 5. Have a safe Labor Day weekend!!

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HMG Heartbeat

JUNE 2016 HEARTBEAT

JUNE 2016 HEARTBEAT

ALL THINGS IN MODERATION

Barb has expanded her skill set and as a result, HMG has expanded its repertoire! Drawing on her breadth of experience Barb now offers her services as a moderator for events including webinars and panel discussions. Recently, Barb acted as moderator for Novus International during World Pork Expo as they introduced Project Horizon, their antibiotic free production commitment, to the industry. Barb introduced speakers, shared remarks and asked follow-up questions of presenters. Working with the folks at Pork Network, Barb has hosted webinars for them on a variety of topics.

Do you need a thoughtful, informed, and skilled moderator for an event or webinar? Contact HMG and Barb will be happy to discuss your needs and how she can help you make the most of your next event!

READY, SET, GO!

We live in a culture dominated by the expectation of productivity and busyness. Each day can feel like a race. Unfortunately, we cannot be sure anyone wins!

Seth Godin, marketing guru, wrote on this topic in his blog this week. He said, “Some things are races, but not many. A race is a competition in which the point is to win. You’re not supposed to enjoy the ride, learn anything or make your community better. You’re supposed to win.”

His premise describes our desire to do more and achieve more without actually being more for ourselves, our families, or our world. “…so many things are clearly not races. And when we treat life that way, we cheat our customers, the people we seek to serve, as well as ourselves,” he stated.

Godin’s reminder to be intentional about how we program our days and order our lives is timely. It’s important to seek balance in all things.

Life’s meant to be savored and appreciated. As Godin pointed out, we should enjoy, learn, and do good. Let’s be better about that this summer and always.

HMG IS ON IT

HMG has been busy working with our client, Congressman Steve King, as he successfully won his primary on June 7 earning over 65 percent of the vote. Barb, Ann, and Katie were at World Pork Expo last week working with Novus International to help them achieve their goals while also checking on clients Barn Vista and Ag Property Solutions in booths we designed and delivered for them.

Jen attended Aspinwall Coop’s annual meeting where results were shared, achievements celebrated, and plans revealed.

On June 25, Ann will travel to Forest City where our customer, Farmers Coop Association, will celebrate its centennial with many events and much joy.

We’re writing proposals and always looking for new opportunities to help good people and great organizations tell their stories.

1-2-28-33

Can you tell us what those numbers mean? They’re important to HMG!

  • Jen has been with HMG for 1 year.
  • Katie has been on the team for 2 years.\
  • Ann’s tenure stretches 28 years.
  • And Barb founded this still growing, changing, and evolving business 33 years ago.

And we’re all here for you, putting our experience, enthusiasm, and creativity to work to help you tell your story. Thank you!