Are Prizes and Profits the Same Thing? Obviously, not.


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I was talking to a friend recently whose company won an award from its industry association for its marketing campaign. The company was thrilled. They did a press release (which they sent to everyone on their email list); tweeted about it; and put it on their Facebook page.


So I asked him how much new business the company had gotten based on that campaign and the publicity they generated.


And therein lies the problem.

I’ve seen it time and time again. PR and advertising agencies, graphic designers and marketing companies design programs that win awards. But the company that hired them, and paid for the development of these award-winning programs, continues to enjoy flat revenues.

Awards are nice. They’re great, in fact. We all like to be recognized as a class act, to be seen as creative and innovative. And it’s especially nice to be recognized by our peers.

Yet if the recognition doesn’t lead to increased market share or enhanced revenues, then just what is the point?

The truth is that the only award that matters is marketplace success.

Let me be clear. I am in no way suggesting that dull, pedestrian campaigns are better.

What I am suggesting is that we not get carried away by the thrill of a possible award or how innovative the campaign appears to be. No matter how cool a campaign seems, we need to remember basic marketing practices. We need to test that potential campaign – if not with formal market research, at least by testing the concepts on social media – to see if customers and prospects agree.

– Would the campaign motivate them to ask for more information?

– Would it positively influence their buying decision?

– Would it change their timeframe for buying, moving it closer?

If the answers to these, or other basic questions, are not a “yes,” then rework the campaign.

As obvious as it seems, it apparently needs to be said: You can’t pay the bills with peer recognition and awards.

In the end, market share, revenues, and profits are the only things that count.

Emily R. Coleman
Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc., a firm that specializes in helping companies expand their reach and revenues through strategy and implementation. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 500 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman's expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing operations and communications to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding.


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