4 Unexpected Tricks To Help You Win Marketing Awards

Published Categorised as Marketing Strategy

Award winning is no accident – so what can we learn from this year’s crop to apply to next year?

It’s award season. So to inform your planning for next year, we read through The Drum B2B Awards and B2B Marketing Awards entries to see what rocked B2B marketing this year.

Four themes stood out that you can apply to your marketing.

First of all some basics – if you want to win an award you need to start planning for it at the beginning of your campaign.

Winning entries are about telling a story that runs:

  • from initiation – what triggered this campaign? What were the campaign’s objectives? What insight sparked this off? What data can you use to quantify it? How does it fit in its environment – your business, your market and the world?
  • to design – who, what and where of the campaign. From audiences to creative, activation to success visions and target KPIs
  • to execution – how it was delivered, problems identified and surmounted. Beautiful imagery and video to bring the work to life. Plus how it was measured and the all-important success metrics

So, with the basics outlined, what were the four themes that stood out from this year’s crop of winners?

1. Use surprising emotions to connect

At Christmas time, with the big retailers ads, it’s easy to think that tear jerking sentiment is the king of emotion in marketing. But there were powerful campaigns that pulled other emotional strings from hero worship to aspiring to a greater purpose, from humour to nostalgia and many others in between. Our favourite appeared on several shortlists – Mondi’s Catching Feels by Pergraphica tapped into artistic and sensory love with its digital and analogue campaign to raise the profile amongst professional artists and designers of its beautiful tactile paper. The name is a great topical play on words summing up the campaign and the creative. And the campaign delivered sales growth in a declining market. Clever and beautiful.

Takeaway: understanding your buyer personas reveals the driving emotions that trigger your customers to buy – can you tap into those emotions in your marketing in 2022?

2. Be a mirror to your customer

Top of the funnel awareness is all about reflecting back to your customer themselves and their issues. Google’s #openforbusiness campaign to raise awareness of its inclusive tags for Google Business had this at its heart. By reflecting inclusive and intersectional imagery representing women-led SMBs in its creative it drove improved performance among female users, reducing its cost per qualified lead and increasing its conversion rate by more than 50%.

Takeaway: review your creative and targeting – are you reflecting back the real people that buy from you?  

3. Use characters and influencers to make the complex relatable

Dell humanised its education programme for channel partners by inventing a relatable character – cartoon adventurer Scout Wilder – to liven up its communications. It might seem a consumer audience tactic but we’ve seen it work first hand, the animated flame mascot Zingy boosted EDF favourability ratings significantly. Marketing darling Salesforce has been working this beat for a while with its cartoon characters – and the consumerisation of B2B marketing delivers. We’re also seeing the rise of influencers in B2B to give a brand a face and a point of connection – Vodafone works with Claudia Winkleman on a series of SME podcasts, for example.

Takeaway: Compare-the-Meerkat might be a step too far for your brand, but could animated characters or well-known influencers make your marketing more engaging?

4. Share your data

From evidence to support the ‘why’ of your campaign, to metrics to support its success, data is at the heart of award winning campaigns. For Spotify it was also front and centre. After 5 years of its Wrapped campaign sharing usage data with its consumers, Spotify put together a Wrapped for Advertisers campaign that saw attributable bookings rise by millions of Euros. As Spotify puts it itself ‘To truly connect with audiences you have to listen’ and it set about creating an immersive data visualisation experience for advertisers to show them how 14 audience segments listened in 2020 and what mattered to them. Spotify best practice targeting guides and allowed advertisers to cut its incredible data set by market, listening moment, time of year etc in order to create amazing audience planning insight.

Takeaway: Even without a dataset the size of Spotify’s, businesses can tap into their own data to create customer value and marketing campaigns – what data sets is your company sitting on?

You can’t guarantee to win an award, but the principles behind award winning will improve any campaign.

Come and talk to us if you’d like us to help you brainstorm your next winner.

By Jane Franklin

…is co-founder of Difference Engine. Jane has deep experience in communications, inbound and outbound marketing for a range of organisations from Microsoft and OS to the Greater London Authority and NFU Mutual and many others in between. Should anyone ever want to bribe Jane, focusing on a mixture of rock, comedy, cheese and cider will probably do the trick.