Entering Business Awards: Vanity or Sanity?
MD and Founder, Boost Awards
With awards seemingly popping up all over the place, businesses could be forgiven for wondering just how valuable such a stamp of approval is.
This is undoubtedly a Marmite subject with marketers falling into two camps…Firstly those who think awards are all rigged and about magazine owners trying to sell overpriced seats at gala dinners. Then the other camp, who have seen their friends and colleagues struggle to choose suppliers or products and plump for the one with the award saying something along the lines of “It must be good, it’s won an award.”
Yes it is partly true, some awards are more political than they should be, and some charge much more than is justifiable for their dinner seats, but let’s just ask one question: in the grand marketing scheme of things, do they represent value for money?
To answer this, we teamed up with market researchers, Shape-the-Future, to conduct a major market research exercise involving 400 business decision makers.
The survey showed once and for all that industry awards really do make a difference in a business-to-business context. The survey found that 82% of those taking part admitted to being influenced by awards when buying products and services for their business. This statistic does vary depending on the product or service under consideration, for example the statistic is 72% for financial services and over 90% for construction services.
Reinforcing the link between awards success and reputation, 76% agreed with the statement “Awards are important for generating business or improving the value of a brand.”
The research also showed that more organisations were ramping up the number of awards than scaling them down. The net result is that awards are becoming increasingly valued and increasingly hard to win.
Four key pieces of advice when building awards into your marketing plan:
1. Never assume that only the big guys win awards. This is simply wrong for most awards.
2. Find categories in awards programmes that not only meet your business needs, but also are on message and match your story. This might sound challenging but you have plenty of choice out there (a free list of over 4,000 awards each with multiple categories is available at UK Awards List). For example, The Good Web Guide Awards are excellent for any business where customers and other stakeholders need reassurance that the website is not just good, but the best.
3. Factor in the judging process. For example most awards rely on a written entry, some require a face-to-face interview, some focus on creativity, others on results, a few require vote gathering, and a few, like many of those found in our Marketing Awards & Advertising Awards List, often rely on expert assessment. Which type would suit you better? Factor this into your planning.
4. Finally, the best approach of all is to use awards as a measure of business success as well as a marketing exercise. Companies who use awards as a tool for assessing and benchmarking their performance not only improve faster than their competitors, but win more awards.
“Never assume that only the big guys win awards. This is simply wrong for most awards.”
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