Exclusive Features

“Which Best of the Best Category Should I Enter?”

By Katrina Olson, Best of the Best judge

It’s time to enter tED Magazine’s Best of the Best Marketing Competition. Every year, electrical distributors, manufacturers, and other members of the distribution channel compete for the coveted “Crystal Star.”

NOTE: Submissions are currently being accepted at www.tedmag.com/best, and the deadline to submit your best marketing is March 31, 2024.

For more than 50 years, tED magazine and the Best of the Best competition have showcased outstanding marketing, public relations, and customer communications by companies responsible for moving products through the channel. And we’re expecting a healthy 2024 competition!

About this time of year, the most frequently asked questions usually revolve around the categories. Good marketers know that an effective marketing strategy is usually integrated, omnichannel, and multimedia, and could fit in more than one category. So how do you choose?

Over the years, the categories have changed as new strategies and tools have evolved. Some have been dropped, others added. The 2024 categories are the same as last year. Descriptions for each category can be found at tedmag.com/best. (Download the FAQ document.) Here’s a quick list:

  1. Brand Awareness
  2. Digital/Social Media Campaign
  3. Event
  4. Integrated Promotional Campaign:
  5. Print Ad
  6. Product Launch
  7. Public Relations—Community Outreach
  8. Public Relations—Corporate
  9. Selling Tool
  10. Video
  11. Website

Enter the same marketing effort, or parts of it, in more than one category.

The good news is, most marketing efforts could fit into multiple categories, and you aren’t limited to entering just one! Your campaign or promotion might clearly fit the Integrated Promotional Campaign and/or Product Launch categories. But you can also enter any portion in a more specific category like Digital Social Media, Print Ad, Video, or whatever category it fits. Just be sure to edit and adapt your Statement of Purpose to fit the specific category you’re entering.

Consider entering the less competitive categories.

Some categories are more competitive than others. For example, Integrated Promotional Campaign, Product Launch, and Brand Awareness are highly competitive. Print Ad, Public Relations–Community Outreach, and Public Relations–Corporate are a few of the least competitive categories. You can’t win if you don’t play; and the more you enter, the better your chances.

Be sure to enter the right division.

Within a category, there are five divisions based on company sales volume. So, no matter what category you enter (e.g. Branding), you will compete against companies similar in size. The five divisions are:

  • Distributor under $25 million in sales
  • Distributor $25-$200 million in sales
  • Distributor over $200 million in sales
  • Supplier under $250 million in sales
  • Supplier over $250 million in sales

Smaller companies are especially encouraged to enter! Due to the not-so-recent trend toward mergers and acquisitions, fewer companies in the Distributor under $25 million in sales and Distributor $25-$200 million enter the competition. It doesn’t take a large marketing staff or an agency to win. In past years, some of the most innovative entries have come from smaller companies.

Continue to watch tedmag.com for more information about the competition, tips for entering, answers to your questions, and some exciting news about the awards!

If you have a specific question you’d like answered, email scosta@naed.org or katrina@katrinaolson.com.

Katrina Olson is a marketing consultant, coach, and trainer with more than 35 years of experience including 18 years in electrical distribution. She has been a Best of the Best judge since 2006 and lends her expertise as a regular contributor to tED magazine and tedmag.com.  


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