Creativity and ambition key to success, says Graeme Atha
Last night more than 500 marketers attended The Marketing Society Star Awards in Edinburgh – the biggest gathering of marketing professionals in the UK outside of London.
The Star Awards are central to the vision of The Marketing Society to help build a world-leading marketing community in Scotland.
While the industry in Scotland could not claim to be the biggest or best in the world, it does lead the way in bringing the marketing community together. It makes connections between academics and industry, students to employers, public sector to private sector, clients to agencies.
The central mission of The Marketing Society is to inspire more bold marketing leadership and promote a better appreciation of the value of marketing from the classroom to the boardroom. Marketing is not always fully understood at either of these levels.
Career advisers in schools rarely encourage the best-performing pupils to consider working in marketing. And marketing is too often seen as a discretionary cost by the board and not as an investment, central to the success of the organisation.
The winning case studies that emerge from the Star Awards become an important resource which provides benchmarks and represent best practice for the industry.
Consistent criteria are used to judge the case studies.
This starts with clear objectives and scale of ambition. Marketers are encouraged to be bold and ambitious in what they are trying to achieve.
Then the strategic thinking and effective use of market research and marketing resources is assessed.
Creativity and innovation is often key and this can be a simple but big idea, based on a new and powerful insight.
Results and effectiveness in line with the objectives is important as is the use of appropriate measurements and intelligent analysis. Finally, the case study is judged on its structure, presentation and quality of writing: compelling stories, well-told.
Being shortlisted is a significant achievement and winning a Star Award is a highly regarded accolade.
While the Star Awards recognise great work and talent in Scotland the Pioneering Spirit Awards use award-winning marketing campaigns from across the world as a source of inspiration.
The winning case studies which were awarded last night demonstrate the power of an inspiring idea.
The Gold Star was awarded to Troy Public Library, Detroit which used the idea of a “Book Burning Party” to shock locals to vote to raise taxes rather lose an important amenity. The campaign was effective and the library remains open.
The hope is that the Star Awards and case studies such as this will encourage marketers in Scotland to be brave and to think differently.
• Graeme Atha is a director of The Marketing Society www.marketingsociety.com