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B2B Marketing Awards entries – lessons learned!

Now that last week’s awards submission deadline frenzy has died down, I wanted to share some of things we’ve learned from this fantastic process – for anyone who didn’t enter this time, but who might be thinking about making a submission next year.

In 2010 we at Marketing Options International were lucky enough to be shortlisted for Agency of the Year, and with another great clutch of client campaigns under our belt during 2010-2011, we decided, this time round, to enter for no less than six categories.

With all this recent practice, we now feel qualified to offer some submission writing tips!

Be prepared: Keeping the awards in mind throughout the year will save loads of time at the end.  Any campaign that achieves stunning results could be a contender for next year’s awards, so it’s a good idea to write it up at the time, as a case study that roughly follows the B2B award submission format. That way, when the awards roll around again, you’ll already have done a lot of the legwork in writing the submissions (and ideally creating the accompanying images too).  Even better if you already have client sign-off on the copy.

Allow lots of time: Entries take longer than you might think to complete, by the time you’ve researched what you need to write, got everyone’s input, written it up, sourced the images, got everyone’s comments and feedback, edited the submission back down to the required 200-word summary and 1,000-word main entry, and got the client’s approval. Phew! Starting a couple of days before the deadline is madness. Starting a week before is risky. We recommend that you start at least two weeks before the deadline, and take the time to enjoy the process – after all, it’s not often you get to write quite so shamelessly about how brilliant you are!

Get client permission early: A tip for agencies: there’s no point going to all the trouble of writing a sparkling, award-worthy submission if your client isn’t going to sign it off. They may have very good reasons for not wanting the details of the campaign to be made public – they may be uncomfortable with the level of detail required (since B2B Marketing asks for a lot of information about budget etc.), or they may feel the background to the campaign is too commercially sensitive. Either way, it’s best to obtain your client’s provisional approval before embarking on the writing process.

Answer the question: Cast your mind back to school exams, and your teachers telling you that the most important thing is to answer the question – not simply write everything you know about the subject. It’s exactly the same when entering for an award. There’s certain information the judges will be looking for in each category, and if you don’t include that information you’ll be marked down (or rather, not shortlisted).  Finally, don’t rely on the submission guidelines alone. There are plenty more hints for success to be found across the B2B Marketing site – see Joel’s Seven Top Tips blog posts and the How To Create a Winning Entry webcast.

It was a little bit of a close call, but by following our own advice we managed to get all six entries off to B2B Marketing just in time.  Big relief all round, and now we’re waiting with fingers and toes crossed for the announcement of the shortlists next month. We wish everyone else the best of luck too – hopefully see you at the awards dinner in November!