What our judges saw: Results
09 Nov 2023
Hattie Whiting, Chief Growth Officer, Assembly, Chair Media Council
I always appreciate the opportunity to participate in judging the DMA awards. It’s a tight process, with rigorous demands of the awards entries and a focus on the combination of strategy, creativity and results together to determine those which are worthy of a coveted Gold. This year I was part of the judging panel for the FMCG category and had the privilege of seeing work from a wide spread of brands of varying scales and levels of maturity.
One thing that really struck me is that for FMCG, where the emotional connection with the consumer is all to protect margin and drive preference, it’s very challenging to view well-established brands alongside new entrants to the market or category. A sense of objectivity is critical to assessing impact and effectiveness. It still seems that marketers are tempted to enter awards for campaigns where success is either not linked directly to strategy or relies on marketing or media metrics to show success. I’m happy to say that the entries that scored highly in our panel could demonstrate real business impact from the work. It sets the bar high – which is exactly what we’d hope to do!
Nicola Nimmo, Managing Director, MBAStack, Customer Engagement Committee
I was honoured again to be asked to be a judge for the prestigious DMA awards. As always the entrance level of these awards was high, with some really innovative and excellent campaigns vying for the converted award. The DMA awards have an equal focus on creativity, strategy and results it is always interesting to see how the marks are given out across these three categories. I think the biggest observation this year was the lack of ROI used as a measurement. With my agency hat on that is what more and more of our clients are demanding, yet it doesn’t look like we are able to provide this metric or are not prioritising it. There were a lot of engagement metrics being shared but not outcome measurements, so linking back to objectives and success is difficult to measure. Is this something we are nervous about sharing, or is there a skills gap to being able to prove genuine campaign effectiveness?
Tim Samuel, Chief Operating Officer, Smithfield Agency, Deputy Chair Media Council
This year I was really pleased to be asked back to judge the DMA Awards again. It fills me with a sense of pride, that all the hard work that we do in this industry can be shared and celebrated. It’s also a personal opportunity for me to see what good looks like – I know what I think good is, and we are always striving to exceed those benchmarks at Smithfield. So, seeing the best of the best on show at the Awards is fascinating.
There have been big strides in recent years from the DMA to educate and support marketers to understand measurement – what to measure, why some metrics are more important than others, and how to do measure. This question, what is meaningful measurement and what’s not, is at the centre of our CMO Measurement Toolkit research.
So, when I sat down to judge, I thought I was going to be blown away by all the results – that being one of the core pillars on how we judge the Awards. And if there are no results, then why bother? If we’re not changing behaviour or selling things, then is it worth it?
Apparently, not many awards entrants had read our measurement pieces. There were still a lot of spurious results metrics reported such as impressions, over-delivery compared to plan and CTRs – things that only mean something to media planners and are what we call vanity metrics. And in some cases, there were virtually no results! The questions the award entrants should ask themselves is have they really changed the business that was advertised? Have they sold any products?
Context is another thing that often gets missed. Reporting a £50 CPA as being “really good” means nothing to the judges, unless you put it into context. What was the revenue of the campaign? What was the investment? Reporting these figures is much more meaningful and allows the simple calculation of ROI or ROAS.
Overall, I’m really glad the DMA champions the measurement part of Awards – it makes the DMA Awards so much more robust and values the great work in our industry.