Matt Sullivan is the Managing Director of DMA’s International ECHO Awards

In a recent ECHO Awards board meeting we discussed what the ROI of entering a marketing award competition would look like, even without winning. So, I asked around…is there value in entering awards such as ECHO, Effies or Cannes Lions outside winning?

Turns out there is. Here is some of the feedback I received from agencies…

Time to reflect.
By the nature of campaigns being campaigns, most agencies are straight onto the next piece of work, or the next pitch. That crazy momentum and energy that agencies thrive on. Entering marketing and advertising awards makes the team reflect on the work. I don’t mean results, I mean the whole process from the taking the brief through to the final stages of activation. What was the story and what elements worked best. A senior strategist in London told me “it forces you to hold a mirror up to the work and the team behind it, we wouldn’t find time otherwise.”

Marketing case studies.
Every agency should highlight their most recent work in the best light possible. Entering awards creates better case studies. The time spent on a case study video for an award submission is invested elsewhere. It’s put online, included in agency creds. Used to get more business.

Good for client relationships.
The entry process alone is collaborative. It ensures there is dialogue with the client about the positive aspects of the work. It’s a joint entry – a partnership.

Benchmarking the work.
Comparing your work to others in similar criteria is ideal benchmarking. How does the creative, strategy and impact of the work compare with your competitors? “We need to know how we match up to other agencies in our space.”

Showcasing the work.
Take ECHOs for example. Entrants work, not just winning work, is hosted online on DMA 360 and also WARC (in 2017 ECHO case studies were downloaded in more than 90 countries). Clients also view these case studies. The Cannes Lions winners archive is a wonderful source for creativity (even if you do have to pay).

Competing is key.
Being able to put your hat in the ring is an achievement on its own. It says you have a certain standard of work and are prepared to mix it with the best. Somebody said “competing gives you an edge.”

All of a sudden that $300 investment seems like a good value. And if you win, well then the ROI goes through the roof.