Rachel Aldighieri, MD of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), discusses what it takes to build an inspiring yet effective awards campaign in the data and marketing industry.

Awards ceremonies are returning from an 18-month hiatus and their importance to professional industries are just as significant as ever. Not only do they act like a shop window for brands and agencies to showcase their best work, but they also offer the campaigns a sustaining legacy.

The winning campaigns will be viewed by aspiring marketers of future generations, highlighting the very best that the industry has to offer and the impact this work had.

Therefore, it is vital that every decision in the judging criteria leads back to the impact on the most important stakeholder, the customer.

Why creativity, strategy and results matter

The DMA Awards recognise the most inspiring and effective campaigns that have intelligent marketing at their heart – marketing that’s done responsibly, creatively, sustainably, inclusively, powered by data and technology – always with the customer at its heart.

With this in mind, there are three key pillars that entries are judged on: Strategy, Creativity and Results.

Strategy – this key pillar is where entries are measured against what they set out to do, the route they planned and mechanics they used to get there. Effective campaigns incorporate into their strategy compelling incentives for their audience to interact with the brand’s products or services, reasons for customers to discuss benefits with their peers, and even a sense of urgency to try something new.

Creativity – any award within the creative industries should seek to celebrate those firecracker moments when ideas ignite to bring the world around us to life. When concepts surge off the page, the screen, the billboard, the package, to take up residence in our minds and imaginations. The most innovative campaigns can often invoke the most impassioned responses, drive customer engagement, and ultimately, increase brand loyalty with the consumer.

Results – results play a pivotal role in demonstrating the overall effectiveness of original creativity and rock-solid strategy. It is why marketing is an investment and not a cost. Results are clear evidence that the overall campaign mix was potent enough to make an impact and have the desired effect on the target audience.

The DMA Awards 2021 shortlist displayed all these qualities, with only the most effective and influential campaigns left still standing.

The very best marketing professionals also strive to unearth new, rich data sources that contribute to both our understanding of marketing effectiveness and the measurement of this effectiveness.

The DMA Intelligent Marketing Databank, built on the foundations of over 850 DMA Awards entries dating back to 2017, provides a perspective on the evolution of marketing effectiveness in recent years. Thanks to the diverse industry the DMA represents, this will enable us to show what intelligent marketing truly means and tackle the challenges of measuring its effectiveness.

Engaging marketing campaigns build trust

In order to create effective and meaningful marketing campaigns, it is also critical that the data and marketing industry is representative of the diverse customer base it is speaking to. There is no better way to engage with customers than through marketers who truly understand and can relate to them.

To this end, diversity and inclusion underpin all of the efforts that go into the DMA Awards. We’ve continued with our mission to be the most inclusive awards programme – working with our partners Culture HerosPurple Goat and Outvertising to drive greater diversity across the juries, so those judging the work not only bring their expertise but are representative of the diverse audiences the campaigns are targeting.

This all contributes to preserving the most important asset to any marketer, consumers’ trust in the data and marketing industry.

Trust is important in all walks of life – but it is essential to the smooth running of the digital economy and for sustainable business growth. DMA research shows it is the single biggest reason why customers are willing to share their data – above offers, discounts, etc.

No marketing campaign can be effective without reliable data insights and consumers trusting the message, and the product or service displayed in front of them, no matter how eye-catching it may be.

By putting the customer first, brands can not only better understand their needs and wants, but actually build sustainable relationships based on trust and transparency. Marketers must place this front and centre of their thoughts when developing award-winning marketing campaigns.

Winners of the 2021 DMA Awards will be available on WARC in January 2022.