Standing out from the crowd: what makes a winning performance marketing awards entry?

With just two weeks until the entry deadline for the PMW Awards UK 2022, judges from Samsung,, RNLI and Reddit reveal what they’ll be looking for in a winning entry, and how the industry’s needs are evolving.

Mixing competition with camaraderie, the electric atmosphere of the PMW UK Awards 2022 will see agencies and brands lay down their pitches for one night and celebrate their best work together.  

Winners will be announced from 26 categories at a glamorous live event taking place at Grosvenor House in Park Lane, London. There will also be an overall Grand Prix award chosen by the panel of industry judges.

The final deadline for entries is Wednesday 31 August 2022.

With just over a fortnight to go for people to enter their best teams, initiatives and campaigns, PMW spoke to a selection of our 30-strong judging panel of brands, platforms, agencies and martech companies to find out what helps an awards entry stand out from the crowd. 

We asked them:

  • What they will be looking for in a winning performance marketing campaign.
  • Why an awards event for the UK performance marketing industry is a must.
  • Their thoughts on how this fast-paced industry has changed over the past year.

Ashleigh Rankin, Head of Growth Partnerships UKI, Reddit


“I will primarily be looking for an authentic story with actionable learnings, backed up of course by lots of lovely data. I'd like to understand the context of the campaigns – numbers are great, but I want to understand the process: what went well, what went wrong and how the learnings will shape future campaigns or strategies.

“While it has been a difficult couple of years for the entire industry, and we still face various crises in the world, this hasn't impacted the work we've accomplished. It's important that we recognise and reward the amazing entrepreneurship and innovation that marketers have achieved during this unique time.

“I'm excited about a couple of specific categories this year that reflect how the industry has evolved. Firstly, in terms of innovation: awards for out of the box thinking – ad tech innovation and using Web3 media highlight how quickly the industry can embrace new mediums and capabilities to create exciting campaigns that pave the way for future advertisers and innovation. 

“Secondly, I'm excited about the purpose-driven and ethical/sustainability awards – this pivot towards brands and companies taking responsibility and promoting causes that make the world a better place. That should be rewarded!"

Neil Mandell, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Samsung

“[I’m looking for] a campaign that stands out from the crowd and uses innovation to overcome a business challenge. There’s a lot of great work and results out there from tried and tested methods but it’s the initiatives which are unique that deserve to be noted as award-winning.

“It’s really important to take a step back and celebrate brilliant work within the industry. Especially after the pandemic where awards were held virtually, it’s great that these events are finally in person again so we can enjoy recognition as a team and over a drink or two! 

“The industry has changed in many ways. At Samsung we’ve seen a continued shift towards the growth of direct to consumer which first kicked off during the pandemic and our performance marketing strategy has naturally needed to adapt. 

“More broadly, an increasing number of brands have begun to close the gap between Paid Media and CRM teams to prepare for the end of the cookie, despite delays for another year. The way in which these changes have been accommodated has been very interesting, impacting performance marketing targeting through to innovation within the ad tech space.”

Piper Heitzler, Head of Growth, EMEA, Amobee

“[I want to see] an eloquent articulation of: the brand’s challenge, a human insight that delivers the foundational idea of the campaign, how that idea is brought to life and finally, how the results were measured/achieved. In a good submission, these facets should ladder up and down between each other logically, but in an exceptional one, the submission should read like a novel you can’t put down – interwoven seamlessly, yet concisely. 

“As marketers we tend to have tunnel vision for our product, brand or vertical, so awards are a welcome opportunity to open our aperture to how our peers are delivering solutions and success in their day-to-day roles – and give them the standing applause they deserve! Reading through past and recent entries is also a treasure trove of inspiration and serves as great learning material for teams at any level within agencies, brands and adtech partners alike.

“I have seen adtech companies truly embrace a purpose-and-profit mindset. While in previous years we have experienced more lip service than outcomes around topics like sustainability and diversity, my heart is elated when seeing brands, agencies and adtech companies alike holding their partners to new standards around these values. As such, I love that PMW has reflected this with the new ethical initiative award category.”

Athar Abidi, Strategic Social Media Manager, RNLI

“For me performance marketing success comes from finding the perfect balance between content and targeting. With my charity background I’m naturally drawn to campaign collateral that has a narrative to it and I strongly believe that storytelling can be central to almost any campaign in any sector.”