Idea Lab

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!

Why “A Christmas Story” is My Favorite Holiday Movie


It’s finally that time of year when things take on a festive feel and the trials and tribulations of day-to-day business seem less daunting than usual. While the season itself can be an added stress, it seems that for most us, the anticipated joy of the approaching holidays makes it all worthwhile, if not at least tolerable.

While the holidays can be a difficult time for some, for most of us, the holidays give us each our own special feeling, often based on a memory of a past event or time-honored tradition that defines this
time of year. For me, the holidays remind me of a slower time where things were simpler. Where snow for the big day was never in question and the only thing standing between me and a full-out
celebration was the last day of school before holiday break.

I guess that’s why in my adult years, the movie “A Christmas Story” has taken on a special meaning, representing the things I remember from my past, and still admittedly long for every year. Oh, I understand the entire flick is pure fiction; heck, the house used in the movie isn’t even in Indiana, it’s in Cleveland! And that’s only one of many oddities and errors discovered by fans through the years. But for what it isn’t, this movie has become a true holiday tradition for my entire family and many other families, too.

My two sons began watching it when they were barely old enough to understand what it was all about, and they still are watching it to this day, well into their 20s. Playing over and over again, on that continuous 24-hour schedule, this movie serves as the official start of the holiday season for my entire family.

But beyond this, “A Christmas Story” gives us all a reason to slow down and enjoy spending time together. While the cell phones still buzz and the text messages still fly, even on Christmas Day, for some strange reason we all seem to fall into an enjoyable coma when this movie is playing, immersing ourselves in the exploits of Ralphie and his family.

The purpose of this message isn’t to convince you to watch “A Christmas Story” this year. That would be selfish on my part. But, it is to encourage you to find A Christmas Story of your very own, whatever it may be. Whether it be a movie, a book, a song or a prayer, regardless of your religious or personal beliefs, find that one thing that will help you slow down, brings you together with the ones you love and gives this time of year some special meaning – even if only for a moment in time.

Happy holidays and may 2019 bring you good health, much happiness and many joyful memories.

Peter Steve, owner & CCO

Understanding the “value” of value-based agreements

Recently, our agency was asked to participate in an RFP with a technology company that was looking for a partner who would be willing to enter a risk/reward (or value-based) agreement to win the business. While such RFP requirements are not new to us as we see similar requests with growing frequency in the industry, it did get me thinking about the real value of such agreements for both parties involved.

In theory, a value-based agreement has benefits for both the client and agency when executed correctly. From the client side, they receive some assurance that the company they are partnering with has enough confidence in their work to risk some of their compensation. By nature, this type of agreement also creates a more open environment for the exchange of information and the mutual commitment to achieving agreed upon goals.

For the agency, value-based agreements demonstrate their willingness to share the risk for the work they are developing. It instills a genuine focus on creating and executing a strategy that achieves success, although any agency worth its while should maintain this position with all its clients. It also makes the agency feel more like they are part of the client’s team – working together to produce measurable results.

For the client, value-based agreements offer a way to evaluate the commitment of the agency they are considering employing. Beyond a screening mechanism, value-based agreements also provide an added level of confidence regarding the investment being made not only in the agency but also in the project or initiative under development.

Regardless of which side of the equation you are on, both parties should expect to receive as much in return as they risk.

Financial incentives aside, the most important consideration for all involved with value-based agreements is the measurement process. But how do you measure the success of a campaign, program, ad, etc.?

Our experience with such agreements has shown that there are key factors that must be in place for such agreements to be successful including:

  • Mutually Defined Measurable Goals
  • Quantitative Baselines for Benchmarking
  • A Means to Empirically Track Performance

If the proper measurements are in place and there is complete transparency on the part of both parties, then value-based agreements can represent the start of a wonderful and lucrative partnership for both the agency and client.

 Peter Steve, owner and chief creative officer


The excitement never fades when we unveil a new issue of Dazzle, our award-winning agency magazine. Whether it’s our content team brainstorming topics and writing copy for the featured articles, our design team collaborating on a modern, visually appealing approach, or the two groups working together to finalize a product we’re all proud of, Dazzle’s “road to release” and ultimate unveiling is always fascinating.

This particular issue is centered on growth – within our agency and beyond – as we celebrated our 20th year in business this summer. It is our hope that the articles featured in this issue will inspire the continuous development and success of other agencies, businesses and professionals alike.

While we don’t want to give everything away, here’s a brief overview of some articles featured in this issue:

  • “20 years of Passion and Perseverance,” an infographic look at the past two decades in business, along with a note from our team (pg. 6)
  • “From My Perspective: Growing as a Women-Owned Business,” an insightful message from Ideaworks owner Judy Steve (pg. 9)
  • “Sowing Seeds of Success,” our feature article that highlights new initiatives and our continuously evolving portfolio (pg. 10)
  • “Life@197,” which includes snapshots of what’s new and exciting with our team (pg. 16)

Click here to read the issue, and please reach out to us with questions and comments. You can also email Dazzle’s editor-in-chief, Chelsey Tupper at if you would like additional information on the new initiatives mentioned in this issue’s feature story.

Happy reading from the Ideaworks team!


By: Chelsey Tupper, director of marketing communications
Video marketing is hot and getting hotter. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times over, but you’re about to hear it a million and one times: If you’re not using video as a marketing tactic, then you’re behind! The rise in popularity of video marketing happened so quickly that now it seems consumers are inundated with video, but when you think about it, the use of video isn’t really that surprising. Tugging on the emotional heartstrings of your target audience is one of the best ways to convince them to buy, and video does an excellent job with this when compared to print ads because of the very nature of video. Through video, it’s much easier to ignite emotion within consumers, which is of utmost importance when trying to establish a relationship with them.

At Ideaworks, we’ve been busy with a variety of video projects for basically all of our clients. Each project varies a bit from technical process videos to feel-good values videos, and we’re also trying to incorporate more video work on our own blog and social media pages. Our entire content team works side-by-side with one of our designers who specializes in video editing to produce quality productions that look great and achieve their targeted objectives.

It will be interesting to see how video marketing continues to grow in the years ahead, but one thing is certain – it surely isn’t going away; if anything, it’s gaining momentum and becoming even more creative and interactive that ever before.

Below are the 10 things you need to know to grasp the 411 on video marketing and why you need to utilize it NOW!

  1. Video boosts conversions and sales: When product videos are included on websites, they can help boost sales conversions by 80%.
  2. Video shows great ROI: Even though video production is not the easiest nor cheapest task, it pays off big time. In fact, studies show that 76% of businesses agree video provides an excellent ROI.
  3. The quality of the video doesn’t matter as much as its content: The latest research shows consumers are mostly put off by videos that don’t explain the product or service clearly enough. Low quality and poor design didn’t matter nearly as much, but don’t discount design entirely. If you need some assistance with your design efforts, please give us a call!
  4. Thirty-three percent of tablet owners watch about an hour of video on their devices every day, and 28% of smartphone users watch a video on their devices at least once a day.
  5. Seventy-eight percent of people watch videos online every week, and 55% of people watch videos online every day.
  6. Fifty-nine percent of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch the video.
  7. Using the term “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, increases click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
  8. Ninety-three percent of marketers use video for online marketing, sales and communication.
  9. Video creates trust: The whole concept of content marketing is based on trust and creating long-term relationships. People do not want to be sold to; instead, they crave interesting and useful information.
  10. Google loves video: A vast amount of research suggests that videos increase the time spent by visitors on websites. Thus, longer exposure builds trust and sends the signal to search engines that there is good content on said site. Actually, according to Moovly, businesses with embedded videos on their websites are 53 times more likely show up first on Google.


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Take a few seconds and think of an item or experience you value. What popped into your head? Why? Do you value this particular thing because it was given to you by someone you love? Do you value this memory/experience because it played a huge role in shaping who you are today? It probably wasn’t too difficult to think of one or even several items or experiences you value. As humans, we seem to place a value on everything, whether it’s positive or negative; we might do this consciously or subconsciously. In the same way that we place a value on possessions or experiences, we also do this when it comes to colleagues and professional relationships.

Years ago, marketing and advertising agencies enjoyed a special kind of monopoly that has since disappeared thanks to the advent of the internet. Agencies didn’t have to concern themselves with competition from websites offering less expensive prices for graphic design or “marketing” services. However, now, we do, and with that comes the need to make ourselves even more valuable to clients than ever before. Let’s face it, if clients don’t find value in the services we provide, the relationship is over.

You might be thinking, “Well, of course I am much more valuable than some website,” but are you really? Do you stay up-to-date with current trends, which change as rapidly as the weather? Do you read any marketing article you can get your hands on – even if it isn’t necessarily the area in which you specialize? Most importantly, do you take the time to research, read and learn all you can about your clients’ businesses/industries? If you answered “yes” to each of these questions, then kudos, you’re right on track. If you answered, “no”, then it’s time to change.

While it’s important to stay updated on all things marketing so you can suggest the best strategies and tactics to clients, nothing is more valuable than when you approach your client with a trends report or an article discussing a topic pertinent to the industry in which they serve. This not only shows you have your client’s best interest at heart and want to see him or her succeed, but it also places a value on your relationship with said client – a value that is invaluable in this day and age. Any agency is going to welcome new clients on board and sell, sell, sell its marketing services, but those agencies that take the time to know and study their clients’ businesses and industries are the ones who will easily differentiate themselves amongst the competition.

Any possession, experience, relationship or service that you regard as being valuable is actually invaluable, i.e. you still wouldn’t give up said item even if offered millions of dollars. As a marketing professional, this is how you must be viewed by clients because you must become an incredibly valuable asset to them in order to establish those invaluable relationships that are key to your business success.

Chelsey Tupper, director of marketing commun