For years, I’ve been entering work I’ve done for clients into various advertising, marketing, public relations and communication awards competitions. I used to report the wins the Red letter, but the entering and reporting ends here.
Here’s why –
Opinions in the industry regarding the value of these competitions, and the awards they bestow, run the gamut. “They help agencies recognize their talented people and show their clients that they’re doing good work,” goes one argument. But then, “They’re self-serving,” said one colleague. “They’re nothing more than a popularity contest, a beauty pageant,” said another.
I’ve always done it for three reasons:
- Winning made me feel good.
- I could show clients they really were getting good work.
- I was able to get the name of my business into the newspaper.
But I’ve been re-evaluating over the past couple of years. Staring me right in the face were these reasons for entering compared to the Fredricks Communications mission: “To drive clients’ success through creative, compelling and results-oriented concepting, writing, editing and communication consulting services.” Clearly, my motivations were out of line with that mission.
Then about a month ago, I read the following in “Your Marketing Sucks” by Mark Stevens, president of the agency MSCO and a leading expert on ROI-based marketing.
Every company, and every firm they employ, should be forbidden to enter any marketing or advertising contest. No more submissions for Clios. No more “most creative ad by a Midwest agency” competitions…. No more nothing that has to do with ego as opposed to sales.
Fact is, my clients really don’t care if some judges with advertising backgrounds say an ad, brochure or website is good. They care about whether the piece helps generate leads, bolster brand recognition and close sales.
Over the years my work has won awards here and there, and I’ve been part of teams that have won even more. It’s been fun, I appreciate the groups that have presented them to me, but now it’s done.
Now, instead, it’s back to the mission.