Five Tips for Writing a Marketing Award Entry

Posted by on April 17, 2015
Marketwave is a finalist for two DFW American Marketing Association “Marketer of the Year” award categories.

Congratulations to our fellow finalists!

Earlier this morning, we announced that Marketwave and our client Oncor were recognized for two DFW American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year award categories.

We’re so thrilled to be included among the finalist list with such esteemed colleagues, brands and agencies. In fact, over the years we’ve been the recipients of several industry awards—both locally and nationally. MarCom Awards, Davey Awards, Hermes Creative Awards, DFW AMA Marketer of the Year Awards and others have recognized Marketwave for work we’ve done in partnership with our wonderful clients.

But what goes into a successful marketing award entry? Well, for starters, the work’s got to be stellar, but the act of writing the entry can be a pretty nuanced art. I listed some of our tried-and-true tips here, based on our own experience writing entries, and from Tina Young’s (President of Marketwave) experience as an award judge herself.

  1. Quantify and qualify the results. For obvious reasons, the results section is one of the most important pieces of the entry. It’s where you really sell the success of the campaign—show its impact and how it influenced decisions, increased purchases or generated awareness. For us, we inject both quality indicators and quantity metrics. For example, if we’re discussing a campaign that has media relations components, we may talk quantity (how media stories impacted web analytics, for example), but we’ll also talk quality (how the overall campaign improved customer sentiment or engagement through social sharing).
  2. Talk about the challenges. No marketing effort ever goes off without a hitch. There are always bumps in the road—limited budget, compressed timelines and complex industries. Mention them! Part of a campaign’s success depends on its adaptability—how it navigates tough waters flexibly. If you turned lemons into lemonade, that makes a compelling case for an entry worthy of recognition.
  3. Tell the story. Frame the context of your program or execution through a narrative. Make things flow. Inject transitions where appropriate. Mix short sentences with long ones. Be conversational, when appropriate. Connect the sections (goals/objectives, challenges, strategy, execution, results) for a continuous piece that reads from beginning to end. But mostly, tell the story (without corporate fluff) and make the judges really care about it. After all, you’re selling this to them, right?
  4. Revisit the goals. Some of the most common award entries include a goals/objectives section at the top. Problem is—many entries mention the goals/objectives here and never speak of them for the rest of the entry. The goals are what really drive the thing, so they should be top-of-mind at every moment of the project’s duration. Revisit the goals throughout the entry and talk about how they played a role at every major juncture—from strategy to execution and measurement.
  5. Make it visual. Even pretty words look plain without visual treatment. If allowed for the awards program, inject visuals that really tell the story of the project. If using photography, opt for professional shots when available. When formatting text, make it clean and fresh. Choose typography carefully. Use white space. Decide on a color palette and stick with it. Make sure the visuals complement each other and the written entry. Whenever we’re submitting award entries, we include our creative services team to ensure the visuals look clean, fresh and design-minded.

Often, one of the hardest parts of entry writing is recalling the project in the first place, especially when chronicling projects that finished months before. That’s why we always try to write a brief case study at the conclusion of every campaign or effort. Not only does it help us write the entry later, it also helps us showcase the work on our website and elsewhere!


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