Idea Lab

Are You In, Out or Somewhere in Between?

The trade show: It’s a classic meet and greet, “get-your-business-out-there” event that traditional marketers and those who’ve been around the business block a time or two know quite well. Cue the bold pop-up banners and steam-pressed table linens, enticing giveaways and booth activities.

Years ago, trade shows were one of the best ways to network with prospective customers and see what your industry rivals were doing, even if that meant channeling your inner sleuth to capture some collateral from the competing booths around the ballroom. Trade shows were (and still are) about getting in front of a broad audience to tell your story, qualify your prospects and grow your business – whether the prospect was “all in” for your elevator pitch or looking for the nearest exit.

Think of such shows as traditional marketing efforts, or what is now referred to as outbound marketing. This type of marketing involves raising brand awareness and marketing a particular product or service through general media advertising – much like what a business would do at an industry trade show or tabling event in the 1990s. Other examples of outbound include print advertisements, television and radio ads, billboards, cold calling and the like.

In addition to outbound marketing, there is inbound marketing (also known as content marketing), which was coined by HubSpot in 2005. This style of marketing was born out of the growth of the internet and search engine optimization (SEO), emergence of Google Analytics, and consumers’ increasing use of smartphones, tablets and other devices. To better understand inbound marketing, consider the following: You’re perusing a drugstore or specialty shop to purchase a greeting card for someone. Each holiday, celebration or situation has specific cards with messages tailored to that observance. Then, the messages are further personalized for everyone from your mother to your pastor. Similarly, inbound marketing involves drawing prospective customers in with targeted messaging and timely, relevant and seemingly personalized content, much like the greeting card, which is only meaningful and relevant to the recipient.

In all, inbound marketing stems from understanding the buyer journey – or the steps involved in making a purchase. These include awareness, consideration, decision and loyalty. Content is then crafted around that buyer’s journey and can include blogs, whitepapers, podcasts and targeted social media.

As you adjust and refine your marketing mix this year, you’ll want to consider which efforts you currently use and reflect on their successes and shortcomings. Outbound marketing has undoubtedly received its fair share of criticism as of late, being called a “blanketed” approach with generalized messaging. On the other hand, inbound marketing has grown in popularity amongst more and more content creators due to its highly personalized approach. But does that make one or the other the “right one” for your business? Not necessarily.

Ultimately, deciding which marketing strategy to use comes down to understanding your buyer, business offer and big goals. Why? Because there’s a difference between how you go about marketing certain products compared to others. Doing a little research on who your buyers are and what their purchasing decisions look like will help shape your marketing efforts. For example, consider classic billboards along the highway that tell drivers how far a fast food franchise is from that particular location. This content isn’t very tailored, but the outbound marketing effort works well because the busy traveler likely isn’t embarking on a full-fledged buyer journey before pulling off the nearest exit. Put simply, this individual is hungry, and he or she isn’t going to be as selective when determining what to eat.

Conversely, if your target audience needs to do thorough research before making a purchasing decision, e.g. new brick ovens for a pizza shop franchise, he or she might benefit from inbound efforts in which you educate and engage him or her subtly in every stage of the buyer journey, eventually turning to your business to make a purchase and form a loyalty to your brand.

While there is no clear-cut answer as to which marketing strategy to use since every business is different, you might consider adopting a healthy mix of the two to add vigor to your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re used to developing outbound pieces, start thinking about inbound. First, you’ll want to clearly define your buyer and plot their journey from awareness to loyalty. Ask yourself: Who is this person? What are his or her pain points? What are his or her purchasing habits like? Who is this individual as a person – not just a buyer? Consider the individual’s demographics and any other pertinent information based on what you know.

Next, choose a topic that your buyer would likely be researching and need to think deeply about before purchasing, keeping in mind that awareness is also key and can begin with those generalized outbound efforts. Begin developing content for each stage in that buyer’s journey, aiming toward eventual purchase of the product. Echoing the brick oven example, a business such as this might start curating a series of blogs or develop an e-book that exposes the benefits of specific brick oven cooking methods. Getting prospective buyers to download the e-book or return to the blog will help that business move the prospect down the sales funnel, hopefully converting that individual into a loyal customer and promoter.

If you’re all-in for inbound but one of your goals is general brand awareness or quick lead generation, it might be time to experiment with some outbound efforts. While not as targeted, billboards, print ads and the like could establish better brand recognition and meet your objectives in a way you didn’t consider, especially if it is a new product or service offering that people aren’t necessarily hard-pressed to make an informed decision about before purchasing, e.g. fast food off the nearest highway exit.

Think about your company’s brand story and the ways in which you plan to use it to engage your target audience. Don’t feel you need to, figuratively speaking, pack up your trade show materials just yet or forego all traditional advertising methods for the latest and greatest content creation strategies. Know that it’s okay – and often a smart marketing move – to be “in[bound]”, “out[bound]” and somewhere in between. The most important point to keep in mind isn’t really so complicated at all: Go back to the basics and understand what you are marketing, to whom and your end goal. The rest will fall into place and help your marketing efforts not only generate success in 2019 but in the years ahead as well.

Announcing our Partnership with Luzerne County Historical Society

Ideaworks Marketing is excited to announce our agency’s new partnership with the Luzerne County Historical Society (LCHS), which we officially elected as our “charity of choice” this spring! As our charity of choice, LCHS will receive complimentary marketing support from our team, ranging from conducting focus groups to creating a comprehensive marketing plan, including goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to generate awareness and interest in the Society. Community support is crucial at Ideaworks, as we have supported various non-profit organizations on both national and local scales over the past 21 years in business.

When asked about our new partnership, Alyssa Ellsworth, senior manager of marketing communications, had this to say: “Supporting our local community is incredibly important to our agency. Moreover, Luzerne County is rich in history. Being given the privilege to help LCHS further allows our team to work with one of the oldest non-profits in the county – one that is committed to preserving and protecting the history and events that have shaped this area.”

Peter and Alyssa getting ready to conduct the focus groups

To kick off our support for LCHS, our owner and CCO, Peter Steve, recently conducted three focus groups for the Society – free of charge – with Alyssa as his research associate. The duo uncovered valuable insights regarding the Historical Society’s perception in our area and is using them to finalize a follow-up report as well as guide the Society’s marketing plan, which is currently underway.

Aimee Newell, Ph.D., executive director for LCHS, will work closely with our agency as we spearhead marketing efforts for the Society. “We are thrilled to work with Peter, Alyssa and the team at Ideaworks. We appreciate having their expert advice and guidance and look forward to putting their insight to use by increasing community engagement with our local history,” said Dr. Newell.

From the President’s Desk: My National Small Business Week “Mighty Moment”









Each year, the hard work and dedication of small businesses and their teams are recognized throughout the first full week of May during National Small Business Week. As a women-owned small business, I’m sure you can imagine the significance of this celebration for all of us at Ideaworks. Playing along with this year’s theme, Small is Mighty, the team asked me to share my own “Mighty Moment” from my career – any event or occurrence that has made me feel mighty being a part of a small business. Put frankly, there is no way I could come up with a single moment that stands out from my 36-year career, but our team’s ask got me thinking about the fact that I have spent my entire career working in a small business.

Of course, there have been times in which I wondered what might have been different had I decided to work for a larger organization, but I can honestly say that I have never regretted my choice. The truth is, when you work for a small business (particularly in the roles I have), you get to learn — and learn fast — how everything works from the ground up. You have a hand in everything, from deciding who will clean the building and how often, to making major decisions about capital purchases, financing, payroll, healthcare packages and so on.

This knowledge has always been invaluable to me.

In marketing, we succeed by immersing ourselves in a client’s business, understanding their customers and their needs, along with the goods and services the client offers to meet those needs. Running a small business has only deepened such immersion, helping me realize the pressures our clients face on every level. That makes me even more appreciative whenever they entrust our team with one of their initiatives. After all, we wouldn’t be a “mighty” small business without them!













We are thrilled to bring you the latest issue of our award-winning agency magazine, DAZZLE! This issue is especially exciting, as it features a must-read article from guest author Peter Loge.

The issue highlights Loge’s recent book, titled “Soccer Thinking for Management Success: Lessons for Organizations from the World’s Game,” which is a favorite of Ideaworks owner Peter Steve. In addition to being an author, Loge is an assistant professor at The George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Along with Loge’s feature article, a few additional highlights of this issue include:

  • A Special Thank You to Some Very Strong Women,” in which Peter Steve pays homage to the many inspiring females who have helped him succeed professionally while reflecting on his receipt of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Advertising Federation’s prestigious Silver Medal Award (p. 22)
  • Our Award-Winning Calendar, delving into the creative inspiration behind Ideaworks’ annual calendar, which received three American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) this year (p. 5)
  • “Are You In, Out or Somewhere in Between?,” examining the difference between inbound and outbound marketing and which might be right for your business (p. 14)

Click here to read the issue. We hope you enjoy it, and please don’t hesitate to provide us with your feedback by emailing Chelsey Tupper at We’d love to know what you think of the publication. And remember, we’re always here if you’d like to chat about any marketing challenges you’re facing and how Ideaworks can help you solve them.

What We’re Reading: 5 Pieces of Marketing Content Our Team Members Love

Every day, media outlets both large and small fill their feeds with articles that offer insightful tips and tricks to help modern marketers stay abreast of the latest trends and best practices. In today’s digital world, this advice is seemingly endless, opening the door to new growth opportunities for small agencies and their teams.

At Ideaworks, staying up-to-date on reading and research is a task that our team members incorporate into their daily to-do lists. Throughout his career, our owner and CCO Peter Steve has seen first-hand how critical reading and research are to success. As such, this is a quality Peter has come to instill into each member of our team. Therefore, we found it fitting to pose the following question to five of our team members: “What is the most influential article you have read in the last few months?”

Peter Steve could not choose an article in particular but instead selected a motivating book: Soccer Thinking for Management Success: Lessons for Organizations from the World’s Game by Peter Loge, which suggests that management is even more relatable to routine activities than we might have once thought. When asked why this has been his favorite read over the past few months, Peter remarked, “I loved it because it provided great insight into how the game of soccer (a sport near and dear to me) directly relates to how organizations are structured and managed.”

Donna Hansbury, president and CEO, chose “The Evolution of Marketing to Women” as her pick for the best industry read she’s delved into over the past few months. Donna explains, “I never hesitate to find insightful articles from Mintel, but I found this one particularly refreshing because it provides an excellent look at authenticity in marketing and where our industry is headed. The celebration of females’ unique strengths, beauty and empowerment is inspiring more marketing campaigns, and it is something I hope to see even more frequently in the future.”

Chelsey Tupper, director of operations and client development, shared, “Southwest Airlines’ Awful Week Shows the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Centricity.” Published on, this blog post delves into the criticality of ensuring that the entire customer experience journey is top-notch. Chelsey explains why she chose this article: “It illustrates that customers have to be at the center of ALL business decisions within a company, which also highlights the evolution of marketing over the past 10 years. It’s no longer about the brand – it HAS to be about the customer.”

Peter Froehlich, director of marketing communications, recently transitioned from the world of academia to agency life at Ideaworks. Peter understands the unique professional situation the Harvard Business Review outlines in “Facing your Mid-Career Crisis.” He explains, “I chose this article because it speaks to my situation pretty eloquently. I identified with feeling stale in a workplace routine. It was painful to leave a familiar career behind, but I’m finding a lot more excitement and satisfaction in marcom than I had felt in teaching and research in ages!”

Good Copywriting Starts with a Graphic Designer” was senior manager of marketing communication Alyssa Ellsworth’s pick for the most inspirational and influential article she’s read over the past few months. “I love this article because it showcases how important it is for copywriters and graphic designers to engage in true collaboration on client projects – something that we do every day at Ideaworks.”

These are only a few of the latest industry  articles that stood out to our team. You can bet that we will most certainly continue reading and growing as an agency to better understand the many different perspectives that impact our business and industry. We invite you to share your favorite marketing read with us in the comments below!



By now, I hope you have seen a number of posts on our agency’s social media platforms in honor of Women’s History Month. Each one delightfully different from the last, the posts bring to light what Women’s History Month means to the talented ladies who comprise our team.

When I consider what this month means to me, I reflect on the many influential women in my life – from loving family members to dear friends and the many dedicated, career-minded women whom I have had the pleasure of working with for many years.

I’m proud to be part of a network of courageous women who never settle for “good enough” – ladies who have offered unwavering encouragement since Ideaworks’ inception and, of course, the many women, past and present, with whom I have collaborated on some of our agency’s most successful projects and initiatives.

As a women-owned business, this month is especially important for us. It is about celebrating women’s achievements. It’s about coming together to consider how far we’ve come as a group. It’s about creating a gender-balanced world in which bias has no place.

Ideaworks has been proud to employ many creative, career-driven women over the years, always respecting each one’s unique talents and ability to deliver impeccable creative work for our valued clients. Moreover, I’m proud that we’ve cultivated an environment in which every individual – regardless of gender, age or the like – is motivated to achieve his or her very best, rising to new challenges to grow into a more seasoned professional. I believe it is this type of environment in which leaders of all kinds emerge and thrive, and it is my hope that our agency continues to perpetuate these ideals for many years to come.

So as this month comes to a close, I encourage all of you to champion women’s many achievements all year long. Continue fighting for women’s advancement. Make a positive difference for the females in your life. Empower your daughters, friends, sisters and co-workers to achieve their personal and professional goals, whatever they may be.

– Judy Steve, owner


In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence,” honoring women who have fought to end war, violence and injustice around the world.

As a certified women-owned business, Women’s History Month is of particular importance to everyone in our agency. For more than 20 years, we have worked to provide advancement opportunities for countless young women – and men – in our profession. From creative graphic and video designers to talented content and marketing specialists, Ideaworks has always been committed to nurturing the best and the brightest individuals for the betterment of our clients and our employees.

What is most gratifying to me is to see the young women of our agency attain senior leadership positions both within our company and within the community. Women’s History Month always causes me to reflect for a moment and thank the thousands of women before us who blazed the trail for our success. Courageous women who:

  • Fought for their right to vote and won with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment
  • Served as “Rosie The Riveters,“ working in factories during WW II to ensure an Allied victory
  • Stood up to be heard and propelled the “Me Too Movement” to life

But if I may indulge for a moment, I’d like to salute another group of strong, talented and dedicated women who often go unrecognized – those women who sacrificed so much, including their advancement, all for the sake of their families.

Women like my mother who handled countless struggles every day to ensure our family was happy and healthy. As a single mother who raised four daughters who are successful in their own right today, my mom always worked very hard and put us first so that we would have a better chance at achieving our dreams than she did.

No magazine covers of praise, no glamorous awards received to a standing ovation – simply the satisfaction knowing that she did the best she could and did right by those for whom she cared so much.

So, during this month where we celebrate women’s achievements, I salute women everywhere for everything you do – and especially my mom for whose selflessness and love of family resulted in a lifetime of achievement represented by four caring and loving daughters who stand testament to your success.


 Donna Hansbury, president and CEO 

Peter Steve Named AAF NEPA’s 2019 Silver Medal Award Winner

We are proud to announce that our owner and chief creative officer Peter Steve was officially named the 2019 recipient of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Advertising Federation’s prestigious Silver Medal Award. Each year, the Silver Medal is awarded to one deserving individual in the local advertising and marketing community who has made superior contributions to the industry, furthering its standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern.

“For the past 38 years, Peter has inspired his colleagues and enhanced the meaning of creativity by bringing ideas to life. It is suitable that he named this company Ideaworks, because every day we are committed to delivering ideas that work, and Peter has spearheaded this process,” remarked Ideaworks president and CEO Donna Hansbury.

“Recognition by your peers is one of the highest honors a person can receive in his or her career. Being recognized for the Silver Medal is a lifetime accomplishment of which I am very proud,” said Peter.

Our team feels incredibly honored to work alongside such a motivational and creative leader. Peter’s “keep learning” mindset is contagious, and his inspiration makes a positive impact on everyone on the Ideaworks team.

Congratulations to AAF NEPA’s 2019 Silver Medal Award recipient, and cheers to many more years of continued success in the marketing and advertising industry!

Click here to learn more about Peter’s many accomplishments and the prestigious Silver Medal Award.

Ideaworks Welcomes Peter Froehlich as Director of Marketing Communication

We are pleased to welcome Peter (Pete) Froehlich to the Ideaworks team as director of marketing communication! Please take a moment to learn more about Pete by reading his bio below.

Pete comes to us from the world of academia, where he taught English courses at a variety of institutions including Penn State, The University of Scranton and most recently Wilkes University. He graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and earned advanced degrees at Penn State and the University of Mississippi, where he studied the life and work of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner. As an instructor, Pete taught courses in business and technical writing, writing for the web and scholarly editing, in addition to a wide variety of courses in American literature. He was recognized for his achievements in teaching with technology, and he published original research on incorporating 21st-century literacies into first-year writing courses. 

Pete lives in Mountain Top, PA, with his wife, two children and an energetic rescue puppy. He enjoys “slow and steady” distance running and has completed numerous half-marathons, three marathons and a 24-hour ultramarathon. Pete is currently preparing to test for a brown belt in karate. He looks forward to applying his passion for learning, commitment to goals, and expertise in research, writing and editing to marketing communications projects with fellow members of the Ideaworks team!


We are thrilled to welcome Kelsey Van Horn back to the Ideaworks team as a full-time, senior-level graphic designer, as Kelsey completed an internship with us in 2016!

Kelsey graduated from Marywood University in Scranton, PA, with a BFA in Graphic Design and a focus on art history and screen printing. She has worked under her own name with a wide range of clients, spanning from dietitians and coffee companies to start-ups and established business professionals. Such work has allowed her time for travel – living in Glacier National Park, Montana and Portland, Oregon; trekking in Peru; and braving a five-and-a-half-month-long backpacking trip to thru-hike the 2,190.9-mile-long Appalachian Trail with her fiancé. These experiences have had a tremendous influence on her work. Kelsey says that the dynamic beauty, inspirational nature, art scene in Portland, independence needed to hike a long trail, and all of the people she has met along the way have influenced and impacted her world view and design toolbox.

Kelsey loves graphic design because it is ever-changing and allows for innovation and creativity every day. She likes the blend of traditional and contemporary mediums. Moreover, she gets to continue learning on a regular basis. Kelsey looks forward to bringing yet another flourishing mind to the Ideaworks table – not only to design but to likewise problem solve, find solutions and dazzle.