Marketing – what makes an award winning campaign?

Will your marketing campaign be a winner in this year's CIM initiative?
Carol Magill

THE CIM Ireland Marketing Excellence Awards, now in their 17th year, are a way to recognise the best of the best among Northern Ireland's businesses.

We are frequently asked, what makes an award-winning campaign? I spoke to CIM Ireland board member, former worldwide chairman CIM and chair of the judging panel John Edmund to give some pointers on how to really make a marketing campaign stand out and how the judging is done.

The things we look for have changed with the growth of marketing technology but the general approach has remained the same, the application of marketing science and the delivery of strong commercial results.

Every year we select a group of leading marketers from those sectors that dominate Northern Ireland's economic life to judge the entries. Using detailed scoring methodology, each judge scores the entries independently of the other judges. They then come together to ‘moderate' the scores and, after a very long day of argument and counter argument, the final list of winners is agreed.

The judging process aims to establish not only which projects were the most successful but more particularly to understand how the application of marketing theory and best practice delivered that success.

Judges are asked to score each project on the application of marketing theory, use of research and marketing planning, creativity and results - we need hard numbers, sales, profits, market share, awareness and recognition – explaining the impact of the campaign.

Success really is about the way you tell the whole story; too often good applications with great results are let down by a narrative that fails to explain what the challenge was and how the response was developed or to detail the results achieved. On that last point, applicants can be assured that all commercial information will be held in confidence and destroyed after the awards have been made.

In today's marketplace where there are more communications' opportunities than ever, some applicants can get fixated on one aspect of a campaign. Sometimes, particularly where advertising or digital agencies apply on behalf of their clients, the narrative can appear more like a solution looking for a problem than something we can actually understand and make a judgement on.

One final thing, , given the complexity of markets in the twenty-first century judges would generally expect to see an integrated set of marketing and sales actions so integrated marketing tends to score more highly. Of course, if your research pointed to a single medium or message as the best way to reach the customer and to communicate the story you wanted to get across that's not a problem, providing you explain how you arrived at that conclusion and you can demonstrate the results achieved.

Last year we had some amazing winners including the Irish News, which won the award for the creative industries, Moy Park which won FCMG and Danske Bank, which was named Marketing Team of the Year. With 14 categories, the awards aim to be comprehensive and provide opportunity to organisations of all sizes. Also, included this year is an independent marketer category.

Entries are welcome from CIM members and non members, and agencies can enter campaigns (with the agreement of their clients.) Entrants can enter up to three categories at no charge.

Entries are open to all businesses throughout the island of Ireland and we hope as many companies as possible put forward their marketing campaigns before the end of September. Good luck with your entry.

More information can be found at or go to CIM Ireland facebook to view the launch of the awards in September which includes best practice tips from last year's marketing team of the year Danske Bank led by Nicola McCleery.

:: Carol Magill is CIM Network Manager for Ireland.


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