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100 | Striking gold: Your guide to a successful awards season

19 min listen

Ever wondered how to spot a real gem of a campaign? Is there always an 'AHA' moment? What are judges actually looking for in award-worthy work? 

You'll find our 100th Episode of The Tech Marketing Podcast jam-packed with insights that even we can't believe we're sharing. 

Get the low down from Head of Marketing, Alex Webber, and Managing Director, Alex Norbury as they walk you through how to approach the B2B Marketing awards process for resounding success. 

View the full transcript here

Jon Busby: [00:00:00] Welcome again to the Tech Marketing Podcast. I am very pleased to be joined by two of my fellow togethers 'cause we're gonna be talking a little bit not a little bit more about ourselves today actually, than we normally do. So I'm very pleased to be joined by Ax Web, our head of marketing. I.

Jon Busby: And of course, Alex Norbury, our managing director, both of you have been on the podcast before. So please say hello. We have

Alex Norbury: Hey everybody, wonderful listeners.

Alex Webber: Hello. Great to back. Good luck.

Jon Busby: Great to have you back, Alex. So the ti, the title I've been, I don't think this even says it strong enough. The title I've been given for this is Striking Gold, your Guide to Successful, the Successful Award Season that we Sure we wanna give away all these tips, Alex.

Jon Busby: I'm not sure we want to give away all these tips.

Alex Webber: Might have to beep out 90% of the episode, but we'll see.

Jon Busby: Yeah. Yeah. I think if, listen, if this episode is only 10 minutes long, you'll know that we've removed all the good stuff. Don't worry, but let's jump straight into it. Like this is, we are heading into award season.

Jon Busby: A whole bunch of new awards have just been announced. I think we have, we just been nominated for 10 more. Was, am I managing that Alex? 10. 10 more.

Alex Webber: Yeah. [00:01:00] 10 B2B marketing awards.

Alex Norbury: The expectations are seem to get a little higher each year. It's getting difficult

Alex Webber: as is the anxiety every time the the nomination date comes around.

Alex Norbury: Yeah. We don't put any pressure on you though, Alex, so

Jon Busby: Not at all. But that brings us on to our first question here, really, which is everyone thinks their work is a award worthy, right? How do you spot the ones that actually are, like, Alex, you do this but Alex's context sensitive in this podcast, by the way, so just we're gonna see how each Alex responds, but the because I'm not directing it, either one of you everyone thinks that their work is award worthy.

Jon Busby: How do you actually spot the ones that actually are I.

Alex Webber: Look, every single campaign that we do is an achievement in itself. I think for marketers. Every time something goes to market, we are super, super proud of it. So of course, we all want to be recognized and we all want to celebrate and sing from the rooftops about just getting a campaign live and engaging amazing people.

Alex Webber: But the reality is, I think when it comes to awards is that you are marketing the marketing to marketers. It's the weird [00:02:00] way to explain awards. So when you come, but

Jon Busby: marketing all the way down, isn't it? Just

Alex Webber: this marketing inside marketing all the way down. Yeah, all the way down.

Jon Busby: Multiple layers. All the way.

Jon Busby: Like a marketing onion.

Alex Webber: Yeah, marketing onion. So at the core, really what everybody wants to see to begin with. I think where you look at what's really actually worthy is first thing you do is you look at the results. Like that's the first place that I look for to really identify what's right. If it's not got some.

Alex Webber: Absolutely cracking commercial impact results as well as brand. If it doesn't have like the kind of full end-to-end picture of amazing results, it's not award worthy. I'm really sorry. Like the first thing marketers are looking for when they're looking at judging themselves against others is how is it actually performed?

Alex Webber: So that's my number one when we look for it. But the second one after that, because quite quickly you go, right, if we're doing a good job, we've got commercial results, we've got engagement results, we've got brand tracking, whatever's relevant for the category. [00:03:00] The next thing is like actually is it captivating?

Alex Webber: Is there something really captivating that has happened within this? Has the strategy really picked out a really different type of insight? That everything has really truly hung on. Have we used campaign tactics in a different way that we might normally that, you might actually not consider?

Alex Webber: That's quite captivating story there. I think finding that, and it's almost like in a single sentence, what's captivating about this campaign that's delivered results that would make a marketer think, because we've seen it all and we hear it all and we know all the tactics. They're the two things that I look for results and something that's.

Alex Webber: Captivating about the campaign to help break the marketing to marketers of your marketing.

Jon Busby: Would you call that captivating, like remarkability, then you've got results. I'm just like, I like having ours than you have results from remarkability? Or is that, is it's captivating.

Jon Busby: Stronger.

Alex Webber: I think it can be remarkable what you've achieved, but if you've done it in a way that is quite, that everybody [00:04:00] knows and everyone's done before, does it make it remarkable? Like results can be remarkable of themselves. I do think that you can, if you're looking for gold, it has to be something really different, not just remarkable.

Alex Norbury: I'd say that's the hardest part to, to really get clear. So coming back to your first point, what separates the good from the award worthy or good from the great is that if the results are really strong I suppose that's easier to determine, right? Whether you've got it against benchmark or you've got it against an objective, and that might win an award, right?

Alex Norbury: Or it might certainly get shortlisted and I think let's all not forget that even being shortlisted in an incredibly tough environment, I'm not sure how many submissions the various different bodies get, but. It's a lot. So, shortlisting is one, one big leap. But I suppose to to then win that, the difficult part is judging what is captivating, as you [00:05:00] say to a marketer who does marketing.

Alex Norbury: And is definitely really looking for not just an edge, but a significant, some, something really interesting. To then make it win. I suppose that's the bit where people go, but it is interesting, isn't it? And I suppose you are in your own world of influence there, aren't you?

Alex Norbury: Right. You can sit there and tell yourself it's really interesting until it gets judged and then you find out it's not. But yet people still put forward, because we hear it from either different people, that there's still quite a lot of stuff that really doesn't have that edge.

Alex Norbury: And that's understandable. 'cause it isn't easy, right. To really judge what what difference and impact actually looks

Jon Busby: like, would you say that it's helpful just to enter awards just to get that feedback? I. Like that you are not that remarkable or captivating.

Alex Webber: Yeah. But not to hear that you're not remarkable or captivating because that's, no one wants to be like shooting themselves in the foot completely.

Alex Webber: But but yeah, no, I do think it is [00:06:00] important. I think especially when, sometimes you can be in your own kind of echo chamber and silo of, what you think is really pushing the boundaries. Exactly. Some clients, you're sat there thinking, well, for us this is a huge change.

Alex Webber: And actually, do you know what, sometimes that's the captivating story. This is why you have to go through the process. Because actually sometimes the captivating story is looking internally and saying, actually, it's not what we are facing in the market, it's what we are facing internally to deal with a small amount of budget with, stakeholders telling us to do one thing.

Alex Webber: So we've been able to do this, that it could be a really captivating and compelling story. But on the flip side, some people do have the resource and the time. There's not a compelling story. They're just doing good marketing and it helps to see then if you've entered who has one, if you go through the process, you can then compare yourself to who that particular judging body did hold up as worthy.

Alex Webber: And I do think, that process is a really good one to, again, benchmark yourself against because this is your kind of [00:07:00] highest caliber of peers. In marketing, not judging you specifically as a person, not looking at what you've got and what you can deal with, but you're saying, this is what I hold to the highest standard in, in our network.

Alex Webber: Have a look. Learn. So yeah, I would say definitely.

Alex Norbury: How much feedback do we get, right Alex? I'm not sure how much how much. Information we get back. Obviously, or would other, submissions, whether your client side or agency side, how much information would they get back on their, the level of their response Do we know?

Alex Webber: So it really depends on the award body, if I'm honest with you. Okay. Some of the award bodies, you don't get match, but you do when you win. Nor if you think back to B two B marketing events where we've had the lovely Tony and Andrea come up to us afterwards and you get great feedback from you win and bodies like that AANAs, you can contribute to actually ask the judges for their feedback on your submission as they're going through the process.

Alex Webber: I think we've got understand rewards, bodies have got. Already hundreds of thousands of submissions, judges who [00:08:00] are time poor, time, stretched to actually do this and to judge the entry. So I do like that certain bodies will give you more feedback and put the emphasis on the jurors to do that.

Alex Webber: 'cause I think it is really important. But this doesn't have to ask right? If you know who's on the jury, I don't think it ever has to reach out to them and find out how it went down.

Jon Busby: But I think it's a valid point that actually, you may think you've done something special and the feedback is there as part of the award process to to to collect it.

Jon Busby: So I've been a, have all three of us been a judge of some description. I've been a judge once.

Alex Norbury: Yes. Yes.

Jon Busby: Yes. And I was really careful to give feedback. Because I thought it was valid.

Alex Norbury: Well done.

Jon Busby: You, don't get me wrong, some of the entries were like, basically you're just doing your job.

Jon Busby: That was the feedback. Exactly.

Alex Webber: But exactly. That's what I was saying at the beginning. There has to be something captivating because you're a marketer. Yeah. Who's used to seeing the best of it, especially when you're an agency side marketer and you're just going, you're just doing your job guys.

Alex Webber: Like,

Jon Busby: so is there a moment, is there a moment? Is there a moment when you're looking at a piece of work and you're like, that's it. That's a winner. Can you bottle that moment?

Alex Webber: If I could, I don't [00:09:00] think I'd be hired it together. Still.

Alex Norbury: There is a moment. Yes. But it is quite incredible how long and how much digging it takes to get to that moment.

Alex Norbury: So without, I the campaigns themselves have to have the two components that Alex has just shared. However, to get to that captivating part, the amount of digging, the amount of conversation to get to an amazing story takes real effort. And it, working with the teams, working with the client, pushing different questions, pushing either results or angles to which you would do like in any brief from any client.

Alex Norbury: The actual sort of fundamental process of getting to that point of magic, that moment of, remarkability it takes a lot longer than we always think it does, right? Weeks and weeks of effort. And I would say [00:10:00] 50% of the time you actually come to a point where, there is no magic.

Alex Norbury: And so, 50% of the moments are, no, sorry, this won't work. It just won't. And we know we would really, we really know that it hasn't got what it takes. So I'll give you some perspective. Last year we were much more brutal this year, but last year I think we had something like, 50 different campaigns from all of the different teams across all the different disciplines and departments, which we then narrowed down to 21 submissions.

Alex Norbury: And I think, what do we get, Alex, like 17 in, right? Yes. You have to go through 50 different stories to try and work out, which is a lot of work. It is. Yeah, colossal, like nervous breakdown type thing. So congratulations, Alex, for surviving. And so, thi this year we understanding again, you learn every year where we were much more cutthroat on this hasn't got it.

Alex Norbury: If it, literally hasn't got the [00:11:00] results. Doesn't even make its past stage one. Which is an obvious thing to say, but then you know, the amount of digging the questioning to get to her. Hey, this is interesting. This is really interesting. Whether it's, as I say, tactics or a story or the creative or what, whatever it might be.

Alex Norbury: So yes I just, yeah. The effort cannot be underestimated to get to that point. I.

Alex Webber: And I totally agree. I think that one, the effort to get there and to really find that goal well, to find that captivating piece is colossal. For me, when I'm writing it, and I'm going through the process, and I'm sure Stuart, who's, a fellow writer who writes, he's with me, I say the same.

Alex Webber: When you are going through and you're actually writing this, I find myself feeling like I'm literally digging in, hitting different levels of gold or dif different levels of metal. I get to a point where I'm writing the first two sections. I'm like, oh, okay. Oh, this is the captivating story I'm trying to tell.

Alex Webber: Yeah, there's definitely bronze in this. I, okay, I'm in the strategy section. I found this. This really applies to that story. Okay. We've got bronze. We've got bronze, and that's really [00:12:00] good. And then you keep, you find yourself going more and you're like, there, there's the silver. There's that extra thing that ties back to that captivating story that we've nailed at the beginning.

Alex Webber: We're sticking to right now. That's your silver, and then you get to the end when you tie all the results and you do, you stand back and you go. That's it. Now I've got gold. I think Alex Norby has sat next to me while I've been writing awards before, and I've just been sat there at my own screen going yes, there it is.

Alex Webber: Found it. That's the thing. That's gold.

Jon Busby: That's when you bottom it that's the that's the winner by together. New fragrance.

Alex Webber: But you have to go through that. So I, that's thing when you say like, what moment do you know it's gonna be a winner? You to bottle and sell on the yeah, sell on the night in November.

Alex Webber: You have to find that captivating story, but then you have to stick to it and you have to really truly unpick and make sure everything is true against that, that narrative that you're gonna highlight. You can't tell too many different stories.

Alex Norbury: And I'd say the moment is typically sort of one day to five days after the deadline for submission.

Alex Norbury: That's when it happens.[00:13:00]

Jon Busby: Oh shit. That's when you remember. Oh no, I need to include this. Ah, the can we have an extension? Can we have an extension? Yeah. It's just like doing your homework. We have one more week.

Jon Busby: The I've got an interesting, it's not in my talking point too, actually. I've got an interesting question.

Jon Busby: Like, Alex, we've we've all been part of things like the B 2 B marketing awards for the last good few years. Has things like how results are perceived, your, the remarkability the bit that makes things special. Has that changed over the last few years? Has the expectations changed?

Alex Webber: Yes, I think it has, but I think that's just simply because marketing's evolved so much.

Jon Busby: Interesting.

Alex Webber: Yeah. Like we had, I think back to what, 20 16, 20 17, when we first started entering these and, I don't think there was such a spotlight on marketing. You're looking at metrics, so you could talk about having x million impressions and that would be really impressive to us 'cause it was great [00:14:00] that's what we could track.

Alex Webber: Then MarTech kind of the MarTech boom happened. And we had so much more ability to really get that end-to-end understanding of across everything. And then that's when the campaign started really being judged at a different level because we knew what we were capable of being able to track. I think this year we are gonna see a difference on judges coming in and tracking the longevity of campaigns they might not have looked at before and saying, this is all very well and good.

Alex Webber: You're talking about a brand campaign. You've got great brand tracker for a year. What happened over three? 'cause actually that's what we wanna judge against. So I think that as marketing has changed our expectations of what's award worthy has

Alex Webber: as well.

Jon Busby: And I would say actually, Mr. Norbury, we've been part of some of the recent conversations with clients around this.

Jon Busby: It, I think they're becoming more integrated and complex with the different tactics, the different streams that they have to get considered. Like we're not just talking about you just did a great email campaign. It's now this. Nurture campaign was combined with this fantastic piece of MarTech was combined with this [00:15:00] piece of pr, with this social trend.

Jon Busby: Not even social trend, each whatever they're called now, like social economic trend, I forgot the name of it, but like all of these things that come together now to form something that's truly special. And I, yeah, I just, you're right, right. I think it's become a lot more complex.

Alex Norbury: Yeah, no I a hundred percent agree with that. Initially I was shaking my head 'cause actually the fundamentals of winning an award hasn't changed. But actually what Alex has said in terms of what it takes and the types of, the elements of which, you, you are now having to insert is yeah it definitely it's ramping up significantly.

Alex Norbury: So, yeah.

Jon Busby: Bit of a , chicken and egg. Right? 'cause we've all been there. We've been with a client like, let's go and do an award-winning campaign. Does the award, does the campaign come first and the award second, or does the award come first and the campaign second?

Alex Webber: For me, 90% of the time, the award comes second.

Alex Webber: Yeah. Like we do a campaign. You look back retrospectively and go, this is what's award [00:16:00] worthy. Because actually most of when I go, when I have the privilege of telling these stories and really look, taking a step back and looking at the campaign holistically, what the brief is and what's award worthy about it.

Alex Webber: Very different things. Very different things which is great because part of the fun and part of the captivating story comes from the journey that you go on and the things that you dig out when you get through to the end of the campaign, you're actually bringing this to life.

Alex Webber: That being said, I think that there would be a lot more value if people did go into these more thinking about actually specifically what they want to be recognized for and what they want to build their own kind of personal,

Jon Busby: it gives you a good framework to like make sure you're generating results on a campaign, if anything else.

Alex Webber: Yeah, it does and I think it gives you a a kind of good grounding point to come back to and say, actually, if we the best brand initiative, like going back to the brand point, right. What they do look for is. Amazing tracked results across key areas for brands. And actually if you start off doing a brand campaign, but then whatever you get to at the [00:17:00] end isn't representative of that, you can easily go off in a different tack.

Alex Webber: Whereas if you have this result, this judging criteria is a grounding point to come back to. It would be really useful. Another good example is most commercially successful. I dunno, a marketer that wouldn't want to love to say they've won gold, most mostly successful campaign, but when we have won it, it's because we're looking at results that aren't just.

Alex Webber: Let's get that huge ROI up. Let's make sure that throughout the campaign we are tracking, how much money we've saved compared to competitors spend on media, how much budget reduction there's been.

Jon Busby: Yeah. These are all good metrics you should be tracking anyway. Really. Sure.

Alex Webber: You should be tracking anyway, but at least if you have an award entry in mind, it does help you give you, it helps to give you that North star a bit more.

Alex Webber: But yeah, 90% is retrospective. Can, what do you think, Norbs, what should come first for you?

Alex Norbury: Based on our experience? Yeah. I think almost all of them, if not all, have been retrospective. I think there's definitely been ambition for clients to come to us and say, I really want this to be, is great worth worthy.

Alex Norbury: Yeah. And so, they come to us and go, yeah this [00:18:00] definitely feels like it could be good, however, Being honest from a client's perspective, from a brand's perspective, there are quite a lot of things to get right. E upfront, I'm gonna say brand and an i, e brand guidelines.

Alex Norbury: Do you have a clear strategy? Do you actually have metrics objectives and KPIs that are both not just set but realistic? In terms of the, and I'm of course the budget. It doesn't have to be a massive budget to be award-winning, it certainly. Is a factor when you're trying to, develop something that's both creative can work through channels, develops enough exposure to drive the commercials that you really need.

Alex Norbury: Yeah, it's not, it's not it's not a fat to accompli, but it's certainly deciding factor and getting all those a clear brief. So basically what this, what I'm talking about is a clear brief and so, The number of times that comes with a, I want to win an award upfront.[00:19:00]

Alex Norbury: It's a challenge and that's why it's, we've seen it much more retrospective when you are seeing the campaign unfold and grow and mature and the client's seeing some elements and we get a bit more, we get a bit more freedom or we get a bit more budget or we get, some additional channels that we can get excited about.

Alex Norbury: And then you kinda go, actually blimey me, this has been going 6, 9, 12, 18 months. This is really interesting. So that's my answer.

Jon Busby: I, so, so the summary just for our listeners here, 'cause I wanna be clear, is you should start with doing great work. I. Right. That's always in the foundation of great work.

Alex Norbury: Yep.

Jon Busby: So the work comes first. It can have the ambition, but the work always comes first. You shouldn't go in expecting an award.

Alex Norbury: Correct.

Jon Busby: You should go in doing great marketing. Yeah. But using the awards platform framework, whatever the judging criteria as a guide can make sure that you are tracking the right things.

Jon Busby: So whether or not you're doing an award-winning campaign, It's useful just to [00:20:00] use some of the award criteria to help ensure that you are thinking about stuff the right way. That's what I'm hearing.

Jon Busby: Yeah, I think it's a great piece of advice. Yeah.

Alex Norbury: When you say it like that, it sounds absolutely obvious.

Alex Norbury: You sit there going, well, even if it wasn't win an award, you need good strategy, good objectives, good. A good understanding of the client problem, the audience, you need all of those things. Right. And actually, yeah, actually it sounds very straightforward, but the components and mechanics of a, of an award submission should make a good brief for everything.

Jon Busby: Yeah, it's actually

Jon Busby: probably a pretty good tip there if you're getting started as an agency. That's a good way of finding your framework. It comes from an agency

Alex Webber: of who's a client trying to put together a

Jon Busby: brief whoa. No, that's not gonna happen.

Jon Busby: The cut that. Yeah, cut that. The, this comes from an agency that how many entries in point 11 and we've got 10 nominations. So yeah, I think that strategy works fairly well. Thank you very much, but bringing us down a few pegs to be a bit humbler. Like, why do you think we have been [00:21:00] successful in the last couple of years?

Jon Busby: Like, why do you think we've been as successful in this? I'm gonna point this one at Norbury first. Like, w Alex, what do you, why have we been

Alex Norbury: successful? There's a lot of skill, a crazy amount of skill that identifies the two things that Alex put forward upfront. Right. Do they have the results?

Alex Norbury: Do they have the type of shape and shape of results that we need? How closely do they align to the objectives upfront? I have to say, I've read a lot of award submissions that have no objectives upfront, and if they do they're absolutely non-descript. Like they say nothing. I want to grow brand recognition.

Alex Norbury: That is not an objective. Right. I want to drive demand. I want to build reputation. Whatever it might be that, that, none of those are anywhere near specific enough. But those that do have an even the hint of specific elements in them, you come down to the results and none of them tie back to the objectives.

Alex Norbury: You sit there going, Like, it's a fairly obvious beginning and end, right? But it's amazing how many well, certainly that we've seen don't have [00:22:00] that clarity. So the skill is working with the teams and working with the client to really get clarity on on, on the beginning and the end.

Alex Norbury: Then the bit in the middle, unfortunately is fuzzy magic of and it really is about storytelling. If you have some talent. Yeah. And yes, a lot of agencies have the, have the ability to tell stories, but when it comes to awards, it's even, it's so important. You're, and you're under tight word limit.

Alex Norbury: You've gotta get so much information you've gotta sell this, you know what's happened? And it's bloody hard. So I think. The, that, that fuzzy bit in the middle is really difficult to replicate. So why do I think we've been successful? Well, hey, I'll go one step further as well.

Alex Norbury: We've got great clients. And we've, we do great work and we have the opportunity to, our clients have stood up and been brave and gone, do you know what? You're right. Let's do this. And that is a massively important factor. Okay. Whether they wanna be heroes themselves. Absolutely.

Alex Norbury: Right. Why not? Whether they 'cause it makes a [00:23:00] huge difference to people's career, and we've seen it. Whether they want to make their business stand out or their team stand out, they want to step up and go, I want this to be submitted. I'm gonna work really closely with you to make sure it, it's got a chance.

Alex Norbury: So that's the other side of the story, right? Client participation.

Alex Webber: And I think the reason we've been so successful, particularly over the last couple of years is because you look at the clients that we are actually winning gold with, and I think 90% of them have been clients for over at least five years.

Alex Webber: These are clients that we have got so much trust with. We have built really strong relationships and they are really strategic now, we have. Really developed our relationships together to, oh, bloody pardon the pun, sorry. Someone has to get a together pun in there, didn't they?

Alex Webber: We built relationships so strongly together that now we can, now we all respect. We're all working from the same page. We all really respect what remarkable and captivating looks like.

Alex Norbury: Being honest, you've gotta be brutal. Like, people go, oh yeah, this could be good. You've gotta be really brutal with what's award worthy.

Alex Norbury: You're [00:24:00] better off entering. Better off taking one campaign. Right. That's really good. And doing it across two or three categories than three, four different campaigns and trying to spread the, I'm gonna say risk across them. Because yeah, award-winning isn't mediocre and it's really different.

Alex Norbury: You've gotta be brutal.

Alex Webber: Not if you're so right about like, invest in the right place and be brutal. The biggest piece of advice I can give anybody, Is do not assume that every award entry can take the same approach, like you have to look at every single award, every single campaign in every single category as something bespoke.

Alex Webber: You absolutely cannot. Just think you've got a case study in your back pocket and regurgitate it, because that is not, that does not an award make.

Jon Busby: But Alex, Mr. Norbury you you referenced something there that I think I want to dig into, like, what is the impact when you win an award? What is the impact on the client's team, on the reputation on our teams?

Jon Busby: Like what impact has have you seen that have in an organization?

Alex Norbury: That's a really great question, without seem sounding [00:25:00] too cliche, it's pretty game changing. It gi outside of the obvious, it just gives all of the teams that we work with on the client side and the teams that work with that client, the biggest lift.

Alex Norbury: Right. It's so, as I think Alex mentioned this earlier and we've already worked so hard on these campaigns. Right. Blood, sweat and tears, huge amounts of effort. Loads of negotiation Takes a lot, a long time. And for it to be worthwhile when there's so many different teams and departments that work so, so relentlessly on, on these

Alex Norbury: campaigns.

Alex Norbury: It's so important. I think for some of the clients, it's made a genuine shift in their career, right? They're able to, either change job or go into a new team or, a new division or whatever it might be, promotion and go, this is what I've put my name to. And yes, it might have been with the support of an agency, but they're the ones that have backed it.

Alex Norbury: That's their vision. It's tied to their KPIs. So, yeah, massive impact for them and for us. Credibility and trust as [00:26:00] an agency is absolutely everything. When any client wants to spend a single dollar outside of their own business, they want to put it with someone that they can go, do you know what?

Alex Norbury: These guys have demonstrated success not just once, twice, or three times, but 10 times, 20 times, 30 times. With the awards that they've won in so many different categories. It's unbelievable. So I would say, yeah, confidence and trust is. Amazing. It's such an amazing feeling, right? Not just the award on the night, but it lasts for months and months, even years, where you can look back on, on the work that you've done and be hugely proud.

Alex Webber: Love it. So yeah, so, right.

Alex Norbury: Lots of things there.

Jon Busby: Mrs Webber anything you'd like to add to Alex's gushing

Alex Webber: is the right, but gushing is the right type of remark. Like you do, you are so right, like you do still. Sorry, I can remember every single award we've won. Like every single one that is up in the twenties now.

Alex Webber: And I can still get that kind of butterfly feeling around the ones that were called. And I know that, like you said, you've got a client nominated this year. It is the first time they've been nominated. And the [00:27:00] reception, the feedback from the team is just incredible. 'cause like you said, it's the blood, sweat, tears from everyone.

Alex Webber: It's that vindication that what we are doing is right and it's respected by our peers. Like to know that other people are looking in at you and going, damn, that was brilliant and you deserve recognition for that. Like, Yeah. Goosebumps all over every time, and I think that's, so gushing is the right approach

Alex Norbury: yeah.

Jon Busby: As we look forward to the 15th of November, of course,

Jon Busby: but okay, so we've won Agency of the year three times in the last five years. Just gonna make sure we remember that three times, five years every time we've entered it actually, hasn't it? Five years.

Alex Webber: It has every time we've entered.

Jon Busby: Yeah. Fine. It's a huge it's, it was a huge feat, right? I've, I actually got, well, I'm lucky enough to have footage of both of you for the last few.

Jon Busby: What is it the judges look for? What is it? What is it?

Alex Norbury: This is the hardest question.

Alex Webber: I think I've got it in a word, right? Oh gosh. They're looking for authenticity.

Alex Norbury: Oh my God, that's the same word I had.

Alex Webber: If you look at back at the three times we've won, the first time we were the underdogs, we'd not had a single award [00:28:00] ever as an agency.

Alex Webber: Agency of Year was the first award we'd ever won gold for, and we told that story really authentically and about how we put staff first, and about how we cared about client relationships and about how we'd never really promoted ourselves and been humble for that long. But now it was finally the time that it deserved recognition and we were the agency to really make the most of this award if it was given to us.

Alex Webber: Second year was because, we'd really changed, genuinely changed the way that B two Marketing had was going to recognized in the marketplace. We'd become a fully integrated agency. We'd invested in media, MarTech audio, and that investment was a huge one. And it took a lot to bring the teams along and to bring clients along and to prove impact.

Alex Webber: And we did. And we did it. And again, the judges really recognized that. And then, it brings us to this year lower Agency of the year this year, which is again, we truly put staff and clients first, and it made at some point sacrificing what most [00:29:00] people would think of as, you unclassifiable for a business revenue to make sure that we were doing right and.

Alex Webber: All three of us were there when we won and the judges came and literally like chased us down. Tony like chased us down from the stage. It was like I had to tell you guys like it was incredible and every single person in the room really felt what you went through and was so grateful that you shared that story and would be privileged to work with an agency like you.

Alex Webber: Those three stories were so true, were so authentic, and it's why we don't aim to agency of the year every year, because. You have to have that thing and you have to see the impact that's genuinely had on clients, genuinely had on staff, and genuinely had on the market before you can go shouting about yourself, like authenticity is number one when it comes to winning Agency of the Year.

Alex Norbury: Yeah. I, this are gonna be agencies listening to this, I'm sure who've won it as well, and, I, it'd be wonderful to sit in a room one day when all of this is over, and go how did you win yours? How did you win yours? Because I'm sure they're all [00:30:00] for really different reasons.

Alex Norbury: You've gotta step out and do something amazing a alongside. All of the hygiene stuff, right? All of the things that, all of the initiatives that you've put forward, all of the amazing client work that you've done, all the amazing results that you've got for those clients, all the wins, all of the but there has to be something that, that centers around it all, like every other award submission, which is what is that thing that stands you apart?

Alex Norbury: Or it doesn't have to be one thing, actually, it could be a number of things, but. Yeah.


Jon Busby: Yeah, that was pretty amazing. So we're gonna start closing this out. So I've got a question for both of you first.

Jon Busby: Okay. What is your favorite award case study? I. That has been recognized?

Alex Webber: Oh, that's a horrible question. Yeah. Well, it's, well, they put it in my talking notes, so that's what I've got. I've gotta ask it.

Alex Norbury: Sorry. Anchor man. Yeah, I think a few of them stand out. Hitachi ABM Hitachi

Alex Norbury: most commercially successful, the commercially successful one, I have to say we've entered quite a few times [00:31:00] having, in, in previous years got insane. Like ROI so high. I've never seen, because you know what good looks like, right? You've done enough campaigns and we didn't win.

Alex Norbury: You sit there going, how can people get more than like 200 ROI I like, how can they do that? We didn't even get shortlisted, like bloody hell. So the one, when we won it with Hitachi, that was pretty special. And I actually really loved the work that we did with Sage.

Alex Norbury: That was a really good one where it started and we're like this feels interesting. The creative was interesting. The actual fundamental audience and market truth were really compelling really simple too. And the creative was. Powerful but very simple

Jon Busby: and all those things just came together.

Alex Norbury: But actually the campaign just kept growing and we kept adding and they just came together. We sat at the, we sat sort of however many months in going, geez, this is really cool. And it's got every aspect, right? Great strategy, amazing creative, fantastic interactive content, great media strategy.

Alex Norbury: Obviously the right levels of investment, but again, fundamentally the client was [00:32:00] incredibly so collaborative, really on board. So yeah. And that's, we've got lots more, Alex, I dunno whether you've got any highlights.

Alex Webber: I'm gonna, can I take the get out of jail free card and say all of them?

Jon Busby: Ask my son a question like, which bit do you like the most? Or Which film? He's like all of them. It's like, pick between Star Wars and Back to the Future. Damnit No of that. You can't just say all of them.

Alex Webber: No, but if I had to pick any. I think two from the same client. First was the K P M G. Changing Futures Campaign was our first ever gold award. We won best use in multi- channel. It was category one on the night, first thing

Jon Busby: That was a Level Up. Yeah.

Alex Webber: That and that campaign still to this day.

Alex Webber: The digital out of home that happened, like the beauty of it, the narrative, and just what it expanded into years later. That personally, that campaign for me, I'm, I always hold a special place in my heart. And then actually I'm gonna echo Alex and say Hitachi's ABM, because it was the first double gold we got last year.

Alex Webber: Best use of ABM and most commercially successful. You know that campaign had [00:33:00] won bronze previous years, silver previous years. This year was a combination of those three years of amazing work. And for, I think like we were talking about earlier, the judges now looking for that kind of long-term impact.

Alex Webber: ABM is one of the most oversubscribed categories. I'm sure everybody wants to win besties of ABM. All of the individual agencies who are literally dedicated to ABM want to win this category and for us to do that with a great three year long-term campaign with a strategic client and then get most commercially successful.

Alex Webber: Yeah. Those two hold a very special place in my heart

Jon Busby: and I like how we got a nice breadth there actually. So I think really there's been some really, there's been some incredible tips that we've given all of our competitors on how to enter better awards.

Jon Busby: I've loved how we've discussed that Each award entry needs to have. Remarkable results and then be remarkable in its own right. Be that from, how much more complex award entries have got over the last few years to, to [00:34:00] combining a lot of different integrated services together to make something truly special.

Jon Busby: So this has been a great journey. Just to summarize, and I'm gonna point this one at you Alex Weber if you could give our listeners two essential pieces of advice when it comes to creating an award-winning work, what would it be? Is there anything else you could add to your,

Alex Webber: I'm gonna tie them back.

Alex Webber: I'm gonna, I'm gonna tie them back to the first two. It's a bit of a mantra, I guess. Like measure everything. Like measurement matters, genuinely. Because even if you are measuring things that you don't think you need to, there will be some gold, some really brilliant thing that you're gonna find from that data.

Alex Webber: So measure everything.

Alex Webber: And the second I try and do a bit of alliteration here for you, I'd love the literation. Like don't be mundane measure. And don't be mundane, like measure everything and don't be mundane like. I know it's hard sometimes to be brave or to be bold or to push boundaries, but sometimes you can do that in ways that you might not be thinking of that aren't very obvious.

Alex Webber: Doesn't mean go have to do digital out of home on everything. Doesn't mean go and change [00:35:00] the world with something, but just don't be mundane, really look at everything and go, how could we be doing 10% better? How could we be innovating on that 10% more? And that's

Jon Busby: Alex Norbury. Anything else to add to Alex's wonderful tips there?

Alex Norbury: Actually, do you know what, the biggest thing I've got is something you said actually, John, which is, even if you're not tackling a campaign that you think is gonna be award worthy from the offset, have a think about all the components that it would take to win an award and put it into a brief.

Alex Norbury: Yeah. It's really good solid place to start.

Jon Busby: Honestly, I just, I. Yeah, I think we should just publish. They should to be honest, B2B marketing, everyone that's, that operates awards. Just publish your criteria more openly. Let's use it as part of a briefing mechanism. It's a great idea.

Alex Webber: Yeah, we should use it.

Alex Webber: And if you're writing an award entry, so Harry might cut this, but my number one tip is don't bullshit us.

Alex Webber: You can't lie. It's so bloody obvious when I read an entry and they're marketing to me and they're trying to copyright something. Oh my goodness. It's the first one that you put zero points.

Jon Busby: [00:36:00] What's the final thing we need to ask our listeners for here? Alex and

Alex Norbury: Alex, what's the, please ignore this entire podcast. Don't listen to a single word. 'cause all we've done is make our job harder.

Alex Webber: If you're a client, come and talk to us. 'cause we will make your campaigns award worthy.

Jon Busby: That's exactly right. I think wish, just luck on the 15th of November for the next B2B marketing awards where we have, of course, 10 nominations out of 11 entries. But if you are listening to this and you are like, you know what? I don't, I have some questions about how to build an award-winning approach or award-winning campaign.

Jon Busby: Come and give us a shout. We'd love to talk to you about it. And we'd love to see how we could potentially build the next award-winning campaign for you. But that has to start with. A great piece of work initially. So thank you very much for listening to us, another episode of the Tech Marketing Podcast and we'll see you again in Fortnite.

Alex Webber: Thanks so much, Jon.

Alex Norbury: Thanks, Jon.

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