There's so many potential avenues in modern marketing that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. There's standard brand-based marketing, performance-based marketing, and thought leadership to consider, and each can be launched through a variety of channels. Most marketing efforts are focused around a company's persona or the life cycle of a specific product and often become a repetetive routine for marketing teams.
So how can you shake up your marketing efforts without spending a ton of money?
Organizations frequently overlook the importance of entering awards competitions for a variety of reasons. So let's dispel a few myths about entering awards contests:
1. It's not worth my time to enter.
It's true that awards submissions can be time-consuming. They require a bit of research and gathering of required materials. But the time spent is a great opportunity to dive into your product or organization and tease out highlights you may not otherwise find in your standard marketing procedure. Additionally, time spent researching and analyzing your own product, process, or service is never wasted time.
2. Submissions are expensive.
This is often not true. While awards submission range widely in cost, there are certainly some that are low-cost or even free. Whether you have a large organization with money to spare, or you're a small business just starting out, it's worthwhile to set aside a bit of your marketing budget solely for awards submissions. Once you do some research to discover more about the available awards in your field, you are sure to find some that fit your desired price range. No matter what the cost, a prestigious award will ultimately pay you back tenfold if you make it to finalist or winner, with recognition and PR benefits far beyond the original cost.
3. Consumers don't care about awards.
A little ribbon can go a long way. Have you ever stopped in a grocery store aisle to check out a product that has an award logo on it? Whether it comes from a popular magazine or a serious consumer organization, most of us feel more comfortable trusting a product that has won an award. Don't discount this; your customers, clients, or potential buyers will appreciate the opinion of unbiased judges when making a purchasing decision.
4. Awards are just a scam.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where research is required. There are definitely some awards out there that are bestowed solely on payment and not on merit. When looking for a credible awards program, perform your due diligence. Make sure there's a judging procedure, and learn more about the publication or sponsor of the awards. A contest which costs a lot to enter, doesn't offer judging details, and comes from an organization you've never heard of might be worth avoiding.
5. What if I don't win?
As W. E. Hickson so famously once said, "...if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Don't be discouraged by the prospect of losing in a contest. It's true that not everyone can win when entering a contest, but that's what makes an award worthwhile! In addition, many awards programs offer finalist or runner-up status, which often comes with press releases, logos, and more. Just being a nominee in certain awards is noteworthy! And once you start, you'll likely continue trying - and eventually win!
Competition is an elementary part of social interaction, and it drives hard work and improvement in a business. Knowing that you're competing with other great products and services from other amazing companies could be the necessary impetus to go a little farther or work a little harder. Throw your hat in the ring for an awards ceremony or two this year; it just might provide the boost you need to shake up your marketing strategy and bring in new clientele.