In it to win it. Awards – a hygiene factor or just willy waving?

Is it worth entering marketing awards?
You've got to be in it to win it. Stop talking and start doing
Blow your own trumpet – or at the very least show you have a trumpet

You’ve already heard the phrase –

“You’ve got to be in it to win it”

And even today it’s still relevant, especially when it comes to awards and endorsements.

I was once naive when it came to awards… I had no idea that in order to win an award you had to nominate yourself/ your brand/ your agency/ your campaign/ your product… let alone pay for the privilege.

But over the years we’ve become very aware of how important they are in establishing trust and credibility and we’ve been very successful in winning awards for ourselves and our clients. Winning ‘Marketing Week Best B2B campaign 2013’ after our first year in business was unprecedented and significantly helped the credibility of our business. And in the years since we’ve consistently delivered marketing programmes that have helped our clients win many awards (too many to mention) so we feel we’re at liberty to dish out some advice on what we’ve learnt along the way:

Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.

Firstly, research what awards are available (is it an industry award, a marketing award, a customer service award or perhaps a business award), research the deadlines.  This will help you to define a schedule and plan your approach.

Carefully consider which categories are the most appropriate to you, asking yourself the following questions:

  • What would be the benefit to your business?


  • What is it that you do which makes you unique and worthy of winning?

It’s a lot of work (and not to mention money!) so is it worth it?  

Well that depends on your business and your customer and clients expectations. Ask yourself, is it an award which would enhance your brand values and positively influence target audiences opinion of you?

Is it a popularity contest?

Awards which are won on ‘votes’ can appear to be, but there will need to be dedicated sales and marketing resource and budget to help canvass support. But this has to pitched in the right way to not be too ‘chest beating’ and where possible give some compelling incentives to vote (but be weary of rules/boundaries surrounding ‘inducements’) to meet the human response of ‘what’s in it for me?’.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

The award entry itself takes time and effort, we’d recommend scheduling time for input from those who perhaps aren’t as close to the entry as you are, but who will be honest enough to provide opinion. Each award will have different requirements to entry. A questionnaire, a case study or even an interview.  But what is always expected is the ability to substantiate your claims. For the campaign itself you’ll need a clear strategy for achieving the desired outcome, for example this may be encouraging quality, rather than quantity of votes if you only need a small number of votes to qualify.  Then there’s marketing and sales resource planning, incentives/gifts, messaging, creative, media and comms planning which are all essential elements for success.

Top 5 hints and tips on awards

If you’re hellbent on winning an award Moreish can really help with tried and tested strategies and a carefully crafted creative campaign, here’s just a few of the things you should consider…


Research the awards available, understand their criteria, understand the nomination process and finally assess the relevance to you and your business before entering.


Think about whether you can maintain momentum. It’s easy for an award nomination/ win which was intended to be a good news/ validation exercise to become a hygiene factor.


If you have to canvass votes, consider how you can harness support without damaging relationships with those who have you have worked so hard to obtain and build.  There are ways, without breaking the bank or falling foul of the rules.


Always say ‘thank you’ to those who helped you win an award.  Whether it was those who voted, the judges or your partner who remained subjective whilst reading and re-reading your submission!


Where will you use the awards?  Once you’ve won them, give careful consideration to how and where you will blow your awards trumpet?  After all that hard work, you need to make sure that they add value to you and your business.

…But remember, no one likes a smart arse.