Doug Marshall, MD of Achieve B2B Marketing, has judged many marketing awards over the last decade Here he shares his experience and gives you some insights into an award-winning entry's key ingredients.
Winning an award can be a real boost. It’s a great feeling to know that industry experts recognise your achievements. Winning is something that can be shared both internally and externally to boost the prestige of your organisation. It’s also something that can help with your career advancement.
But gathering the right information, completing the necessary forms, and getting internal approvals can take time and resources. So when you enter an award, you’ll want to enhance your chances of actually winning! I’ve been a judge for a number of awards, including the B2B Marketing Awards and WARC Awards for Effectiveness. I’ve reviewed many entries and viewed online and face to face presentations from entrants, so I’ve seen which entries stand out.
So how you can be in with a chance of winning? Most of the awards I’ve judged have been in B2B marketing. These suggestions are particularly useful for awards in that sector, but the suggestions here are relevant for most B2B awards entries generally:
Plan your entry
Often, entrants can find guidance from organisers on how and when to complete their entry. If you can, find out how the scoring system will work so you can prepare your entry accordingly. And be honest with yourself before deciding to enter: is what you've achieved so successful that it could potentially be award-winning? If your answer is yes and you decide to enter, give yourself time to talk through your results with colleagues and do multiple edits before you submit your entry.
Provide context in your entry
What was the situation that required a solution? Providing context and background to your entry will help judges understand why your solution was important. Was there any research you conducted that yielded interesting insights? Showing you understood real-world solutions with the research of end-users will help you build a good case.
List your objectives
Stating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based) objectives) shows judges what you were setting out to achieve.
Describe your strategy
What strategy did you adopt to achieve your objectives, and why did you choose certain tactics and channels? Displaying creativity, bravery, innovation and originality in your strategy and tactics will catch judges’ eyes. They’re looking for something successful, but also something extraordinary.
Judges will want to see measurements of success. So clearly set out how you achieved your objectives, and what the results were. Numbers matter! Think about what judges need to know to score your entry highly, and include information accordingly.
Write a story
Entries are judged by humans. By the time they’ve reached the 17th entry, which happens to be yours, and they're eying whether to open that bottle of wine, you’ll need to grab their attention. Telling a story with an interesting arc is likely to keep their attention more than something that’s dry and uninteresting. Write in language that judges will understand, so take out acronyms and jargon that could confuse them. Don’t overload judges with unnecessary information.
Tell them what you learnt
Specifying what you discovered along the way will endear your entry to some judges; after all, they’ll want to learn something too.
Include visuals and other relevant documents to help your cause. But don’t rely on them! Technical issues may prevent them from being viewed, or they might simply be overlooked by judges.
If you’d like to chat about how to win an award, do drop me a line. Or if you'd simply like to discuss how to better market your training or information service, drop me a line on our contacts page.