The B2B Marketing Awards 2023 categories recognise the full breadth of the industry, covering campaign mechanics, brand marketing programmes, growth marketing programmes, audiences and objectives, and teams and practitioners.
A: CAMPAIGN MECHANICS
This category is designed to reflect campaigns using a variety of different channels or media, in an omnichannel or multichannel framework, for a clearly specified objective. Submissions must explain the mix of channels utilised for the campaign, how the brand and/or agency ensured the various techniques complemented one another and worked together, and demonstrate how success or effectiveness was measured against objectives.
This category is sponsored by the croc.
This category recognises the best use of paid, third party media by an agency or an in-house marketing team for brand building, demand/lead generation or otherwise. Campaigns utilising any form or format paid or third party media channels (on and offline) are acceptable in this category. Submissions should demonstrate why media deployed was used for a given campaign, how the targets were set, what the outcomes were, and how success was measured. Judges will want to understand how the media bought or partnered with was selected, and how its use fitted into a wider program and leveraged other mechanics or channels. Where appropriate, submissions must demonstrate how the program sought to innovate or push the boundaries of the format.
The use of events (of any format) to achieve specific marketing objectives is the focus of this category. This could encompass physical or ‘real-world’ events of any reasonable type, including exhibitions, conferences, launch parties/events, seminars, roundtables, awards ceremonies, etc., or digital events such as webinars, etc. These events could be created solely for the specific purpose or objective of this campaign, or the brand could be leveraging an existing event, including one organised by a third party (e.g. an exhibition or conference). Submissions could focus on a single event, a series or various unconnected events incorporated into a single strategy and aimed at achieving a common objective. Submissions must explain how communications at any relevant stage contributed to the overall objectives, including pre-event, during the event and post-event, using any relevant channel (e.g. offline or online).
This category focuses on activity using public relations (PR) techniques or services to achieve a specified marketing objective. This could include campaigns that utilise PR as the sole or only technique, or where PR as part of an integrated or multi/omnichannel marketing mix, alongside other channels. However, for submissions to this category PR must be a prominent aspect of the overall campaign, rather than a support activity. Submissions must explain the mix of media, publications or bloggers targeted, how journalists and commentators were engaged, as well as how success was measured and evaluated. All forms of media coverage are relevant to this category, including digital and print.
This category seeks to emphasise the role of creativity or creative work to achieve a specified commercial objective - please note that it is not intended to recognise creativity without the commercial context. Results remain a key part of submissions for this category. Submissions must focus on the creative work used to deliver a message or messages, regardless of media or channel. Entrants must explain how the creative solution to the campaign was developed, and (where relevant) how it was applied to different media or different channels, or developed to encompass different sub-messages or elements of the campaign. Both image and non-image-based executions are relevant for submission in this category, and an explanation of the creative process employed by the team responsible to develop the campaign would be helpful for the judges.
This category recognises how digital experience was used to deliver marketing success - either in combination with other on or offline channels, or in isolation. Submissions should detail exactly which technologies or techniques were used, and how these were deployed to build a great experience for the audience. Submissions should also demonstrate the objectives of this digital experience, as well as the results it drove. Digital experience could be delivered by any individual or combination of digital channels, including websites, apps, SaaS martech platforms, AR/VR devices, wearables, etc. Where relevant, submissions could also specify how digital experience was intended to augment or complement physical experiences.
This category relates to marketing activities that use social media prominently (within a wider context), or exclusively as the sole channel or medium, to achieve various objectives. If social is the sole channel, the submission must explain why no other channels were believed to be necessary. If social is a prominent channel within a wider mix, the submission must explain how use of social fit into the broader context. The choice of social media platforms, techniques and technologies must also be explained, together with metrics and the means by which success was measured. If the programme used influencer marketing techniques, it should explain how influencers were selected and deployed, and the value that they delivered for the campaign.
This category encompasses the entire range of content activities employed by brands, including (but not exclusively) email newsletters, whitepapers, video, social media and blogs, either separately or as part of an integrated approach. Submissions must explain how a content strategy was developed and delivered, how it was tailored to the specific audience, and how ROI and effectiveness was calculated.
The role of data analysis, market research and customer intelligence in informing marketing strategy is the focus of this category. Submissions must explain how analysis and insight played a critical role in the development and/or execution of the marketing strategy and tactics, potentially generating entirely new approaches to marketing and communication. Analysis or insight may be based on a variety of different sources, including analysis of web traffic, analysis of customer data or through bespoke market research commissioned through a media partner or via a specialist agency.
This category recognises the role of AI in delivering marketing success, and demonstrates how AI has enabled advantages over conventionally managed or delivered activities. This
could be in terms of speed of delivery, creation of insight, reduction in costs, or any other advantage to be specified. As with other categories, submissions must explain the objective of the marketing initiative or campaign, the target audience, media used, and budgets. However, it must also provide more detail about the AI solution utilised or developed, and how/why this particular solution was identified and selected. Please also identify any challenges faced in utilising AI for this initiative, and how these were overcome. Where a submission originates from a vendor of an AI-empowered marketing solution, please try to write the submission from the point of view of the brand which conducted the initiative.
B: BRAND MARKETING PROGRAMMES
This category reflects on the use of thought leadership positioning to achieve a specified objective – either in terms of brand positioning, or as a means of more directly driving revenue, potentially featuring as part of a content marketing strategy. Submissions must explain why thought leadership was selected as the best or most appropriate means to achieve that particular objective, which may require a description of the environment the brand or product/service is operating in (or seeking to operate in). Communication techniques and channels used must be specified clearly, together (where relevant) with individuals or spokespeople used and media or intermediaries leveraged.
This category could be appropriate for brand relaunch/refresh activity, repositioning or general brand awareness work, with a focus on customers/prospects only, or employees only, or a combination of the two. If the campaign was designed to communicate a change in the branding or positioning, the submission must explain why this change was undertaken and what the activity was designed to achieve. If the campaign was focused around general brand awareness, the submission must explain why it was felt necessary. Measurement techniques must be explained in detail, together with an explanation of pre- and post-campaign brand awareness/strength. Finally, submissions must demonstrate how internal and external audiences were engaged by this campaign, as appropriate.
This category is designed to reflect marketing programs focused around achieving a key purpose-based, and/or social responsibility, objective(s). The origins of the brand’s purpose or its relationship with social responsibility must be outlined within the submission, as well as (critically) how the campaign in question was designed to further and achieve these. As ever, measurement is critical, but in this context submissions must explain what was achieved by this specific campaign within or around the time frame specified, rather than outline the achievements of a potentially longer term brand alignment. Metrics used must relate back to meaningful business objectives.
C: GROWTH MARKETING PROGRAMMES
Activity designed to generate demand and cultivate qualified leads for sales follow-up and conversion is the focus of this category, including both inbound and outbound techniques, from new business and existing customers. Submissions must explain how the multiple sources of leads were consolidated into a single harmonious programme, and the technologies and techniques deployed to move them from cold to warm. Insights on conversion rates must be provided, as well as information on revenue attribution, where available. Leads in question may be completely new in source, or from an existing proprietary database.
This category reflects excellence in account-based marketing of any variety or scale – i.e. strategic, lite or programmatic. Submissions must explain the nature of the business challenge or opportunity, the dynamics or nature of the audience, and why ABM was determined as the most appropriate approach. As well as explaining how campaign creative was developed and deployed, together with any use of customer insight and any marketing technology used, it is critical that the submission explains how sales were involved, engaged and aligned to ensure success of the initiative.
Marketing both to and through resellers, distributors or other intermediaries in any sector is the focus of this category. Submissions must explain the dynamics and characteristics of the specific channel audience involved, how activity nurtured the relationship between vendor/ supplier and the channel partner, and how the objectives of both parties were met.
This category reflects any initiative focused on providing the sales organisation with information tools and content that it needs to help salespeople sell more effectively, throughout the buyer process.
Submissions must outline the specific sales challenge that the enablement initiative was designed to address, and how the activities developed addressed this. Metrics included must demonstrate how this initiative directly contributed towards improved sales performance, as well as the extent to which salespeople themselves were engaged by the programme, and utilised the materials or resources created within their activities.
D: AUDIENCES AND OBJECTIVES
This category is designed to recognise B2B marketing excellence with strict limitations. Any campaign developed and executed on a budget of less than £30,000 – which includes agency, media, data, or technology fees – is applicable. Submissions must specify how budgets were allocated and demonstrate how maximum effectiveness was generated from limited financial and personnel resources.
This category reflects campaigns targeting business decision-makers in small and medium sized enterprises (those with under 250 employees). Submissions must explain the dynamics of the specific audience or audiences targeted by the campaign, and how the campaign’s offer, copy, creative and media were designed to appeal to decision-making units and individuals in these firms.
Marketing activity targeted at decision-makers in large or enterprise-level organisations (500-plus individuals) is the focus of this category. This could include campaigns targeted at decision-making units, and the individual decision-makers within them, and (where relevant) key influencers within the wider teams. Submissions must outline any use of insight tools or services to enable and inform targeting and/or personalisation of marketing messages and communications. In terms of the communications materials themselves, the submission should explain how the campaign was designed to be reached by these time-poor and hard-to-reach individuals, who are often protected by a gate-keeper.
This category recognises marketing activity aimed at engaging an internal audience – regardless of objective, which must be clearly specified in the submission, alongside how success was to be measured. Both short term initiatives such as revenue focused campaigns, or wider organisational transformations are relevant in this category. Submissions must also specify media and campaign mechanics used, and how this initiative was aligned with corporate culture and/or sought to drive organisational change. How the campaign sought to engage personnel in very different departments and teams, or in different territories, must also be specified.
Activity with a regional, multinational or global focus is applicable to this category. Submissions must explain why the geographical target audience was selected, how activity accommodated cultural or legislative variations between territories, and how channels, techniques and budget were managed to ensure the most effective use across a diverse geographical audience.
Activity designed to promote a new business product or service is the focus of this category. Submissions must outline the new product (explaining USPs, positioning and relevance to the target audience), rationalise media selection and illustrate success achieved against objectives.
Customer revenue growth (or retention/renewal) is the focus of this category - this could be in terms of the provision of more products/services, or extending to cover additional divisions/territories of the customer organisation. The nature of the revenue growth achieved is obviously a critical part of the submission, as well as explaining how the opportunity was identified. The submission should demonstrate how customer engagement with the decision-making unit was managed to ensure success, across all touchpoints, and how marketing worked with sales to achieve this.
This category recognises campaigns that have achieved excellence in terms of financial ROI. Measurement information and ROI will be key judging criteria for this category, as will client testimonials. Detailed results and budgetary information will be required. If this information is confidential, please remember to state this clearly in the submission.
E: TEAMS AND PRACTITIONERS
The focus of this category is to recognize the group of B2B marketers that has pulled together to meet its objectives and challenges for the year, and which truly demonstrates that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Marketing teams of any size or configuration are eligible, from a minimum of three individuals working within a marketing function, all the way up to the blue-chip corporates with large in-house teams. Virtual teams, including freelancers and agency staffers may be included, although the submission will have to demonstrate how individuals genuinely acted as a cohesive unit. Submissions must include details of the following: list individual team members (including roles, key skills and responsibilities); key objectives faced for the year and how these were achieved; other challenges faced along the way; examples of cooperation and teamwork; testimonials from team leaders or marketing directors. Please note that this category is only open to inhouse or client-side marketing teams.
This category recognises excellent delivery or management of marketing activity or programmes by in-house marketers, and how one individual has gone over and above expectations in ensuring their campaign(s) was/were effective for their brand and resonant for their audience. Submissions should demonstrate the individual’s excellence at all stages of campaign planning, delivery and management, and how they both fought and embraced unexpected opportunities.
This category recognises the B2B marketing agency that demonstrated a consistently excellent approach to all aspects of business, specifically during the qualifying period. Submissions must include information on client wins, achieving client objectives, client satisfaction/ loyalty, staff satisfaction/loyalty and profitability. Other achievements, such as expansion and development of new areas of expertise, will also be considered. Submissions must also state whether the agency operates only from a UK HQ, or whether it has registered offices in other geographical locations, At least three client testimonials must be included.
This category seeks to recognise those B2B agencies who operate internationally, via multiple locations, managing clients and communicating with audiences around the world. Submissions must explain the nature and scope of the international agency operation in question, and how processes have been created to ensure and enable effective client management and campaign executions via multiple locations and geographically dispersed teams. Examples of recent international campaigns must be included within the submission, as well as testimonies from clients demonstrating the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the agency's operation. Submissions should demonstrate how the international scope of the agency has enabled greater commercial opportunities and/or more success for clients than could have been achieved via domestic-only operation.