How award-winning marketers make their campaigns stand out

Tony Miller, DMA Awards Committee Chair, discusses how previous award-winning campaigns won over the DMA judges.

As modern marketers, we must identify, empathise, and engage with our customers' needs like never before – especially with customer loyalty at an all-time-low due to rising pricing sensitivity, as recent DMA research reveals.

Therefore, we must proactively seek innovative solutions to challenges customers are experiencing — not just during the engagement phase, but also to retain their custom; their experience at all touch points is vital.

Yet effective marketing doesn’t automatically translate into an award-winning campaign. 

Marketers must communicate their campaigns in a way where the judges can see work that inspires and drives meaningful change, showcasing how their brand is evolving with consumers’ increasingly complex challenges and demands. 

These types of values will be communicated in the submissions of this year’s DMA Awards’ Winners.

Showcasing meaningful marketing metrics

The DMA Awards recognise the most inspiring and effective campaigns that always have the customer at its heart.

Therefore, it is vital that every decision in the judging criteria leads back to the impact on the most important stakeholder, the customer.

There are three key pillars that entries are judged on: Strategy, Creativity and Results.

Strategy - this key pillar is where entries are measured against what it set out to do, the route it planned and mechanics it used to get there.

Effective campaigns incorporate into their strategy compelling incentives for their audience to interact with the brand’s products or services, reasons for customers to discuss benefits with their peers, and even a sense of urgency to try something new.

Creativity – any award within the creative industries should seek to celebrate those firecracker moments when ideas ignite to bring the world around us to life. Where concepts surge off the page, the screen, the billboard, the package to take up residence in our minds and imaginations.

The most innovative campaigns can often invoke the most impassioned responses, drive customer engagement, and ultimately, increase brand loyalty with the consumer.

Results - results play a pivotal role in demonstrating the overall effectiveness of original creativity and rock-solid strategy. It is why marketing is an investment and not a cost. 

Results are clear evidence that the overall campaign mix was potent enough to make an impact and have the desired effect on the target audience.

The challenge and, to some extent, confusion that is present in the industry is highlighted by the fact that there are nearly 180 different metrics being monitored and measured by marketers, according to our Effectiveness Databank.

Marketing leaders must identify the ‘metrics that matter’, shifting from shallow campaign metrics towards the goal of business, brand, and response metrics. This may sound obvious, but for many it is easier said than done. The DMA’s CMO Measurement Toolkit provides CMOs and marketers with the guidance they need to identify effective measurement and prove marketing effectiveness to business leaders to showcase the true value of marketing.

So, how did previous winners communicate this in their submissions?

Grand Prix Winners — empathy, innovation, and relevance

Last year, the ‘Have a Word’ campaign, by Mayor of London and Ogilvy UK, won a range of awards, as well as taking home the Grand Prix prize. It strove to make London a safer space for women by changing the attitudes – and actions – of men. Too many men were standing by and watching misogynistic behaviour happening, and research has shown that low-level misogyny is often a precursor to violence.

Mayor of London needed men to end this bystander attitude. ‘Have a word with yourself, then your mates’ is a powerful call to action to start changing men’s behaviour – accountability and self-reflection are powerful, emotive values to target — so much so that the video is now being used in schools and by the United Nations.

It is the perfect example of how data-driven marketing can be a force for good. Due to its relevancy, directness, and engaging creative approach, alongside an effective strategy on how to make it resonate with men, it will have a positive impact on millions of people’s lives for years to come.

On the Mayor's Instagram page alone, the film has been viewed more than 5.5 million times. The campaign spread internationally, being shared by large international organisations such as Fifa, the UN, universities, councils, and NGOs, plus sports stars and influencers - with no paid support.

A Lasting Legacy

Awards ceremonies not only act like a shop window for brands and agencies to showcase their best work, but they also offer the campaigns a sustaining legacy.

The winning campaigns will be viewed by aspiring marketers of future generations, highlighting what the very best that the industry has to offer and the impact this work had.

There is no better way to demonstrate this to judges than to show how your campaign truly understands, relates to, engages with, and impacts the target audience.

A customer-centric campaign isn’t just about getting someone’s attention; we must use a fusion of creativity, data, business values, and technology to deliver innovative campaigns full of meaningful solutions — persevering with this approach to build sustainable relationships founded on trust and transparency.

Marketers must place this front and centre of their thoughts when developing award-winning marketing campaigns. They are a fantastic opportunity to show the industry who you are and why your marketing matters — the submission deadline is this Friday so don’t miss out!

By Tony Miller

DMA Awards Committee Chair