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What Do Best of the Best Judges Look For?

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What Do Best of the Best Judges Look For?

The Best of the Best Awards competition sponsored by tED magazine opened for submissions yesterday, January 22. You may be wondering, “Why bother?” Well it’s certainly nice to win, but why else should I enter?

  • It shows your bosses and your competition that you know what you’re doing.
  • It might make recruiting sales staff easier if potential hires know they’ll have marketing support.
  • It demonstrates how important marketing is to the business. And that can lead to more respect, more budget, more education, and more resources.
  • It’s an opportunity to learn. Just completing the entry form forces you to think through your past strategies, which will help you in your future marketing efforts.
  • It gives you personal pride in your accomplishments. This fuels your passion for marketing and gives you an incentive to continue learning and growing in your field.
  • You can attend the Best of the Best awards ceremony at the AdVenture conference. It’s fun, and another opportunity to learn!

Early in my career I won a lot of awards, but I hadn’t submitted anything in a while. I finally talked myself into entering a few competitions and actually won all three I entered. And that was nice. But more importantly, I’ve leveraged those wins into PR for my consultancy which is at least partly responsible for my getting a new client or two.

People like doing business with companies who are good at what they do. And even though you know your capabilities, a little external validation tells the rest of the world that you’re good at what you do.

The Criteria…and beyond

Have you ever wondered how judges evaluate entries at Best of the Best judging? It’s not really a secret. In fact, on the entry materials, you’ll find a link to a presentation outlining the following criteria described below.

  1. Clear Strategy and Goal. The marketing effort is targeted to a specific audience and designed to achieve a clearly defined goal or objective. The strategy is defined in the statement of objectives. The execution flows from the goal, objective, and strategy.
  2. Consistency in Message. Especially in a campaign or series of ads or brochures, the message and design communicate a consistent or related message, rather than just being a collection of non-related materials.
  3. Customer Focused. The marketing piece offers a solution to need or problem that is important to the customer or prospect. The writing and imagery communicated benefits, not just features and uses “you-view” to relate to the reader, listener, or viewer.
  4. Interactivity, feedback, contact information, follow-up or call to action included. The marketing effort provides a clear and convenient means for customers to respond or follow-up to advance the customer journey.
  5. Quality of copy. The writing is conversational, well-organized, flows logically, and is easy to read without unnecessary jargon or “brag and boast” copy. It is also free from spelling, grammar, usage and other errors.
  6. Quality of design, visually attractive. Presentation matters. The content and imagery are attention-getting and relevant. The images reinforce the message in the copy and present the concept in an interesting and creative way.
  7. Reinforces company brand. Especially in a campaign or series of ads or brochures, the message and design reinforce the company’s brand and differentiates the company, product, or service from the competition.
  8. Relevant/valuable content. The content answers customers’ or prospects’ questions and includes information that’s relevant and interesting to them. It doesn’t include unnecessary verbiage or images.
  9. Value-added user tools/information. The marketing effort offers the target audience a little something extra, whether it’s information or a tool to help them save money, save time, or better perform their jobs.
  10. Ease of navigation. Especially for websites, apps, and other digital tools, content is easy to find, functions are easy to perform, and the organization is logical and easy to follow.
  11. Well-organized/presented (entry). Entries should be well-organized with a concise but thorough statement of purpose. Further, entries should adhere to submission instructions. For example, submit a PDF with pages that are easily readable, and can be enlarged if necessary without losing quality.

Beyond the criteria, the judges consider those entries that go above and beyond to address challenges that aren’t so obvious. For example:

  • The effort takes a less-than-glamorous product and markets it well.
  • The entry offers a unique approach to solving a customer’s problem.
  • The effort capitalized on the product’s or market’s strengths and opportunities.
  • The promotion is responsive to a trend in the marketplace, industry, and/or the world.
  • The strategy is based on solid research, either primary or secondary.
  • The effort achieved the intended results, based on stated goals and objectives.

The point? Everything matters. The criteria, the presentation of your entry, your strategy statement, the submission guidelines, and even those qualities that aren’t so obvious.

Open for submissions!

The 2018 tED magazine Best of the Best Competition is NOW OPEN for submissions and closes on Friday, March 2. So collect your best campaigns, ads, literature, selling tools, product launches, PR efforts, videos and other marketing efforts—and work on those strategy statements.

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Katrina Olson  is a marketing and public relations consultant, trainer/coach, and host of a monthly podcast called Market Boldly, available on iTunes and Google Play. She has written for tED magazine's print edition since 2005, judged tED magazine's Best of the Best Competition since 2006, and also writes for the new lightEDmag.com and lightED Weekly. She can be reached at Katrina@katrinaolson.com or via her website at katrinaolson.com.

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