Marketing thoughts, ideas & news

The smartworks Info Center provides useful news and marketing information specially selected for you. Whether it’s a blog on an emerging marketing issue or our column of briefs on trends, research and marketing ideas, our goal is to help you stay on top of the news and ahead of the times.


Content providers miss making the point

This headline, from the New York Daily News, was written to grab readers’ attention. It worked. Readership soared. A study by American Opinion shows subject lines and headlines are six times more powerful than text in attracting readers, digital and print, B2B and B2C. Read more

Challenger disaster helped change how we communicate

Early afternoon January 28, 1986, and the editors of USA TODAY were gathered around a table trying to figure out how to cover a story that rocked the world an hour before. I was one of them. The space shuttle Challenger had exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. Read more

Modernize marketing to build business, create opportunities in changing times

Many of today’s largest companies still use marketing principles developed in the 1950’s, when Dwight Eisenhower was president, and long before the Internet, new technology and social media changed marketing forever. Read more

Now is the perfect time for engaging members, building membership, loyalty, revenue

Few would argue professional and trade associations weren’t hard hit by the COVID pandemic. Fewer recognize some of the challenges and issues they face today have been simmering for years. Read more

Sales presentations that come alive; engage audiences & close sales

Video conferencing services such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, Teams and Webex have been a lifesaver for business-to-business marketers struggling to generate sales during the COVID pandemic; and, they’re here to stay even if COVID isn’t. Read more

Marketing goes emotional; becoming customers’ No. 1 motivator

It’s clear that hitting B2B or B2C customers’ emotional hot buttons are more powerful than even cost or company concerns in generating sales. We tell you why and how to use them to build business. Read more

Marketing trends, research, opinions & interesting stuff

  • Native advertising, ‘not in your face,’ but quietly growing sales

    Since it seems like forever, marketers have taken an “in your face” approach; making sure their message stands out in the advertising clutter. While still a goal, we’re also having success using the exact opposite approach. Native advertising is the concept of creating advertising so compatible with surrounding content it’s almost indecipherable. Marketing messages are woven into the content. Native advertising is particularly important to reach Millenials, who comprise one-quarter of the U.S. population and are more likely to trust native advertising.  In fact, 84 percent of Millenials don’t trust traditional advertising, according to HubSpot. According to several studies, one-in-four companies (particularly business-to-business) are expected to use native advertising for the first time this year. Some companies are even developing niche social media platforms to maximize the potential of native advertising. The key, however, is high-quality content compatible with the content super relevant to your specific audience.

  • Give away coffee; increase sales

    Drinking a caffeinated drink before shopping, can result in higher sales, according to a study by the Journal of Marketing. Half of store shoppers received a cup of coffee when they entered the stores; half did not. Sales were about 50 percent higher among coffee drinkers than those who drank decaf or water, according to the research. More of the sales were for discretionary items.  More than eight-in-10 Americans drink at least one caffeinated beverage every day, and coffee is one of the most powerful legal stimulants. Maybe more stores will follow the lead of Trader Joe’s and others stores offering free coffee to shoppers.

  • Superbowl ads, worth $233,333.33 a second?

    We’re often asked, “are Super Bowl commercials worth the cost?” The simple answer is, maybe. Advertisers spent $7 million for a 30-second national commercial this year, or $233,333 a second, and this doesn’t include the cost of production, talent, celebrity endorsements or other expenses. Many Super ads don’t generate new sales, according to a Stanford University study. When two brands in the same category advertise ( i.e. Pepsi and Coke), Super Bowl ads are less likely to generate immediate buys. Budweiser, however, reportedly earned an extra $90 million in sales through Super Bowl adverting. It has a deal with the Super Bowl to be its only national beer advertiser. Even when there is no immediate return, advertising yield other benefits such as spikes in awareness, prestige and image. Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial, probably the most famous of all time, helped make Apple what it is today.

  • Chatbots growing, not going

    We told you recently that chatbots are not going away. In fact, research estimates the use of chatbots has doubled in the past three years, and growing, Among companies not now using chatbots, more than half are considering adding them to their websites. And while humans prefer to deal with other humans, more than two-thirds have conversed with a chatbot.

Want to make a suggestion, make a point, or ask questions of your colleagues? Just drop Tony Casale a note at and we can include it in future columns.