How To Submit & Win A Stellar Digital Marketing Award

An Interview with Recent MarTech Hackies Winner Matt Parisi

Winners were announced at MarTechs event in San Francisco and Matt Parisi, Product Marketing Manager at Tealium, brought home the famed Hackies Editors Choice Award for his creative submission on Beacons & Bacon: An 8 Step Data Strategy To Hack Any Customer Experience.   

Tealium wins Hackie awards

After the award win Tealium thought it would be the perfect time to sit down with Matt and pick his brain on hearing more about what goes into submitting a top-notch entry that will increase a brand’s odds of winning these famed digital marketing awards. 

Q: Congratulations on your win Matt! How does it feel to be going home with a Hackies Award?

Thank you! I’m honored, but mainly excited at how we were able to highlight the cool stuff Tealium is doing for our customers and how we can help other brands trying rise above the noise with their customers in an extremely crowded space.

Q: There’s a lot of work that goes into submitting an entry for a digital marketing award on behalf of a brand. Where should someone start? Where did you start?

It’s important to head into any award competition with a clear and actionable plan. For me, I started with 3 main things before submitting – fleshing out each component out in a relatable way before submitting.

1 – Craft A Powerful Story

The most important part of any award is the story behind it. Think about the mindset of the people giving out the award and why they’re doing it. Don’t think of this as a time for self-promotion, but rather one of adding value, relating, connecting and engaging. The award creators will be impressed with submissions that entertain, are thought-provoking and maybe even some that go against the traditional way of doing things or thinking. Digital marketing is all about being agile, flexible and thinking outside of the box.

Before actually submitting an entry for a digital marketing award it’s important to do your research on the award – is it solely focused on marketing? On marketing technology? On both? Is this a new award? Has it been around for a few years and something you can look at past submissions of? Any learnings you can glean from those who triumphed and those who failed? Doing due diligence prior to submission will set you up for greater success and the possibility of winning the always-sought after trophy.

2 – Get Familiar With The Judging Criteria

I’ve listed judging criteria second for a reason. While it might be tempting to start with this and work backwards to the story – you’ll have much more success if you start with the story first. Humans are drawn and moved by great storytelling. As Matthew Luhn recently said at our own Digital Velocity Conference, “There is a science to stories.” That will ultimately make it more interesting and ensure you’re headed in the right direction before tailoring the story to answer the judging criteria.

For MarTechs Hackie Awards the rules involved writing an essay that “taught a clever marketing technology hack – an innovative approach to marketing technology management that readers can adopt to improve their own organizations and digital customer experiences. It could include illustrations, images or screenshots.” They further clarified, “a qualified entry must be well-written and on-topic within the realm of marketing, technology and management.”

Q: That generic of a description could be a little daunting to marketers. How did you submit your entry in a way that stood out from the crowd? And was more specific?

Noting clear directions and the goal for any digital marketing award entry should be to hit every one of them. Though I was the one who wrote the actual blog post and submission – Tealium’s developers, engineers and mobile team were really the brains behind this extremely creative concept for a campaign. We needed to ensure our submission entry had the same creative mechanics that the Tealium experts had when creating the Beacons & Bacon campaign.

This way of thinking around a digital marketing award submission could be applied to any brand looking to contribute a great entry:

  1. Be clever – Seems minor but it’s clear criteria and should be necessary
  2. Craft an actual hack (specific to this award) – something that’s an innovative approach to “marketing technology management”. If words within an award aren’t defined then it’s important to use the judge’s definition and not your own.
  3. Create something that readers/viewer of the award can implement. Keep it simple and digestible.
  4. How can what the reader is viewing/experiencing/seeing improve their own organization? Think in value, lead with value – be valuable.
  5. Improve the digital customer experience – if you think of this in everything you do your business will transform.
  6. Include engaging and enticing illustrations, images or screenshots – good imagery can captivate an audience.
  7. Have the piece be well-written – include stats, challenges, solutions, social proof and more.
  8. For this piece specifically I wanted to hit on all pieces within the realm of marketing – which ended up being a powerful and winning way to stand out.

Q: That is quite the list. Do you think incorporating all of that helped you stand out?

Yes, and by deconstructing the criteria in the above way, it helped our team check every box in the creation and crafting of our piece, and other submitting brands may not think like that which would give any brand a leg up on the award competition.

3 – Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

We’re talking about how to win a digital marketing award – but it’s not really all about the award. Don’t set yourself up for failure in a way that wastes the value of what you do – it isn’t good for your company and it’s probably not good for your career. What you do should be constructed in a way to capture value even if you don’t win.

When the team planned to enter this award, there were 3 direct applications of what we did that did not depend on winning the award. (1) We had the original entry that we included in our editorial calendar as a piece of content marketing. (2) We planned on building a derivative, more formal case study of the story that could be used to fill a hole in our content strategy around mobile and IoT. (3) We developed a visual style that could be re-used across new content to amplify the power of new assets that were unrelated to this project directly.

This approach extends value and decreases risk, which is a win-win.

Q: All great advice! Thank you Matt. Where can people read the entire Beacons & Bacon story? And find more information about Tealium?

See the whole story and the hack here: https://tealium.com/blog/martech/tealiums-martech-conference-hackies-entry-beacons-bacon-8-step-data-strategy-to-hack-any-customer-experience/

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