We create value.


Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

Warren Buffet


About Smoky Labs

Smoky Labs is a B2B digital and inbound marketing agency. We specialize in digital marketing that’s anchored to business goals, because we’re as practical as our clients and believe investments should produce dividends. We live and breathe strategy, LTV calculations, and A/B tests. We’re copywriters and ad experts and designers and communicators. We take managed risks to reap great rewards. We’re problem solvers who ask questions and answer them with data. We value transparent relationships and a high level of communication. And most of all…

For us, digital marketing isn’t a “have to” or a “job,” but a “get to” and a “calling.” 

Our clients & partners

We work with professional service firms, business service providers, manufacturers and distributors, contractors and suppliers, and other B2B companies to attract, convert, close, and delight their customers.

Why Smoky Labs?

Good question! We think these four things set us apart from other marketing agencies:

1. We begin with the end in mind.

Our complete focus is on results, and to get there, we start with your business goals, and then your marketing goals. Some results, like click-through rates and cost per conversion, are immediately measurable. Others, like engagement or customer satisfaction, are long-term plays. But results are what we focus on during strategy planning, during our engagement with you, and as we report out. You’ll never hear us saying anything resembling, “We gave you 6 deliverables last month and invoiced accordingly.” Deliverables are not squishy in that they’re assets, but they’re certainly squishy in terms of whether they’ve achieved any real results.

2. Our comprehensive plans are prioritized for impact.

We’re big fans of Pareto’s Principle, which says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. After we finish a complete analysis of your current on- and offline marketing efforts, we create a plan prioritized for impact using our secret sauce. But the plans are totally flexible, too: if your plan says we’ll do five blog posts a week and 2 downloadable white papers/month and we find that the white papers are killing it in driving leads, we’ll move more resources into the tactic that’s working best.

3. We guarantee our strategy.

Our initial strategy and planning session is comprehensive and detailed, and is 100% guaranteed. Once you’ve signed off on the strategy, we’ll roll up our sleeves and start executing your plan. While we don’t guarantee results (no one can, and if your agency is promising guaranteed results, you’d better wonder which slick snake oil salesman school they graduated from), we do guarantee the strategy. You’ll see our plan, benchmarks, and projections, as well as industry case studies, and should feel comfortable proceeding with them and building a relationship of trust and partnership with us.

4. We focus obsessively on the details you might not have the bandwidth to deal with.

A big part of why we’re willing to guarantee our strategy is that we’re able to optimize it in real time based on what we’re learning about your customers and what makes them take action. Our campaigns aren’t crock pot marketing–set it and forget it. We’ve been known to A/B test email subject lines into statistical significance, declare a winner, and repeat the process to get the open rate even higher. Create a comprehensive inbound marketing plan and content marketing editorial calendar that’s full of fascinating reads in a not-so-fascinating industry. Have the objectivity to conduct customer interviews on your behalf and deliver a wealth of feedback and recommendations for making campaigns even better. And, most importantly, that focus on the details is always tied to producing incrementally better results that help you meet the business goals we originally designed the strategy around.


The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw


Our Promise

Having been in this business a long time, we’ve seen the underbelly of how some business and agency relationships fall apart, and it can be ugly. Let’s not get ugly. At Smoky Labs, we promise you the following:

  • Full commitment to your success. We consider ourselves your full partner in growing your business, not a hired gun that does the minimum work for the maximum bill.
  • Context. As your partner, we aren’t going to present a bunch of dressed-up numbers spun to make us look good. We’re going to tell you what’s what, give it context, and make actionable recommendations for us—and you—to take.
  • Communication. Not constant, and not infrequent, but as needed, about what matters. We respect your time but also sometimes need it to do our best work for you. Conversely, you’ll never have to wonder what we’re doing between monthly reports because you’ll know what we’re implementing and optimizing on your behalf.
  • Value. If we recommend an upsell or additional budget allocation, it’s because we think it will move your metrics enough to make it worth it. We never make recommendations based on our bottom line, but always on yours.

Conversely, we ask the following of you:

  • Full commitment to our process. Gearing up a marketing machine is like turning a flywheel (thanks to Jim Collins for this concept). At first it’s crazy hard. There is some sweating of blood. There are too many initial meetings as we learn about your business. There might be some fist-pounding or tear-shedding. But when the wheel starts to turn after that momentous effort and the results start to move the revenue needle, it’s a beautiful sight. We want to create a marketing flywheel for you, but it takes a lot of effort and we need your cooperation and help to get there.
  • Distinct approval roles. Lame marketing happens when committees make approvals, particularly when individual members all have full authority over every aspect of the process. We call this “Frankenstein marketing.” We vastly prefer to have a single approval point of contact, or specific roles for approval (Fred is responsible for branding/image, Jean for design, and John for the technical details.)
  • Long-term trust. We optimize and take managed risks on your behalf, all the better to maximize your returns. If you’re not willing to let us experiment and sometimes be bold as your dedicated partner, we probably don’t belong together. As Jim Rohn once said, “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
  • Transparency with business metrics. If we don’t know your numbers, we can’t work to improve them.

In a nutshell

We love digital marketing and would love to see if and how we can help grow your business. If our approach resonates with you, get in touch. We’ll start with a free consultation and analysis of your current digital marketing approach and business goals and make recommendations for moving forward for growth and opportunity.


Think we might be a good fit? Get a free initial consultation, on us.

Book it

What’s in a name?

Our name is both fun and, we like to think, significant. The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina is our “no place like home,” and “Labs” connotes all good things in digital marketing like experimentation and analysis and putting theories under the microscope to test them. Thus, Smoky Labs was born.

The Smokies from a six-seater airplane.

The Little River

Fun on Rich Mountain Loop

The view from Mt. Leconte

Gretchen Roberts

Gretchen Roberts

Founder and CEO

I’m a long-time digital marketer who read Rich Dad Poor Dad one day and decided I wanted to get out of the business of trading time for money. [Insert long, winding road of self-discovery here.] Long story short, it turns out I wasn’t mean to sit on a beach collecting passive income selling sleazy info-products online. I can’t not be a marketer. I love being in a service business. I love working with companies and helping spur long- and short-term business growth through the power of digital marketing. I love solving problems together and celebrating wins together. What can I do for you?

Digital marketing is my flow—that state of being that feels natural and effortless while time whooshes by and I’m working at the peak of my abilities. It’s an area of constant learning and growth, never a place one could get bored. (Frustrated when Facebook changes their algorithm for the 57th time that week? Yes. Bored? Never.)

When I’m not dreaming up digital strategies for clients, I’m usually out hiking with my family in the beautiful Smoky Mountains or sipping a seasonal microbrew and listening to business and real estate podcasts while whipping up a home-cooked dinner.

I’d love to connect–look me up on social media below!