A four-step guide to winning marketing and media award submissions | M&M Global

A four-step guide to winning marketing and media award submissions

M&M Global offers a four-step guide to succeeding in the hazardous and competitive world of marketing and media awards.


It is the bane of marketing and new business directors’ lives everywhere – how to impress the CEO by scooping prestigious media and marketing awards.

From the moment that award submission is sent off, many face a nervous wait until the evening of the awards ceremony to discover if they have provided the right material to wow the judges.

But help is at hand. M&M Global‘s parent company C Squared has launched series of workshops to help inform and inspire agencies, media owners, ad tech companies and advertisers to succeed at its Festival of Media Global Awards.

The roadshow began last month in Asia, with workshops in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and has now reached London, with an event this morning held at The Ivy Club in the heart of London’s West End.

The early-bird deadline for entries to the Festival of Media Global Awards is 13 January, with an extended deadline on 30 January and a final deadline on 20 February. More information on categories will be announced soon.

Festival of Media awards manager Graham Alexander and awards judge Scott Holmes, creative director EMEA at UM, shared four pearls of wisdom for the individuals tasked with putting together a world-beating award submission.

1 – Find a way of exciting submission-weary judges

Judges donate on average six hours of their time to reviewing submissions. However, this commitment to finding the best media and marketing case studies comes with its own drawbacks, not least the fatigue from reading through dozens of entries. Those submissions which lead to a spark of excitement and interest in the judges are most likely to succeed, says Holmes.

“Judges are seeing hundreds of awards. You need a couple of points nodding judges’ heads. When you look at hundreds of entries, a couple of points stand out. A story that isn’t told well frequently gets overlooked. If judges understand your submission and like where it’s going, you’re half way there. If you have an insight and make people lean in, you are in a good place,” he says.

2 – Entering more and more categories does not improve your chances of winning

While your company’s best case study may fit into a number of potential award categories, it may not be the best idea to enter every possible category. Aside from the workload such an approach creates, it is also likely diminish the impact of the submission with judges, who may have previously dismissed your entry in an inappropriate category, impacting their view of the work.

“Picking the right category is absolutely crucial,” says Alexander. “There’s nothing more annoying for a judge, than to be looking at a really great piece of work that’s in the wrong category, because they can’t reward it. Once you’ve entered a campaign into a category it can’t be moved so really make sure it’s right.

“A good way to do this is to start with the campaign rather than the list of categories. Look at the campaign independently and if you could make up any award for it to win, what would that be? It could well be a number of things but once you have that idea clear in your head, you can then look at the possible categories and see where it fits.”

3 – Results are important, but don’t get too hung up on them

The industry operates in an environment when it is ever-more imperative for advertisers to be able to prove ROI, no matter how headline-grabbing or innovative a campaign. Results matter. What is even more important is to provide context for those results – are the social media interactions from China or Brazil? Yet, especially in situations where sales information is impossible to come by, do not fret.

“Every judges says results are the most important, but every judge is a liar. You have a room of industry experts who know what they are looking at, they know if something is good and they can infer if it’s good. If you have something brilliant which doesn’t have loads of results, it still can win,” says Holmes.

4 – Make sure you capture the passion of your people

Too often the production of awards submissions is far too divorced from the expertise and insights of those in the company who have created the work.

Marketing teams have become proficient in slick, animated videos which tell the story of a submission to the soundtrack of some folky Scandinavian ditty and a charming actor’s voiceover. To stand out in the crowd, sometimes it is worth a step back towards the passion of those who made the submission possible.

“Often you’ll find entrants use professional narrators to talk over their campaign video, which is great,” says Alexander. “However, especially for the more data or technology-heavy campaigns, using people who have worked on the project works really well. They know the topics and can talk with confidence about them, and more often than not their passion and excitement about their work will shine through.

“If their work is up for a prestigious award, they’ll be happy to talk about it and there’s no one better to convince judges than someone who’s spent time making a campaign happen.”

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