Why our judges get involved | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


Why our judges get involved

With Awards Night next week, you may be wondering why judges get involved. We have asked members of the Customer Data Council and Value of Data Committee who judged at this year’s awards exactly that, as well as what they will be taking back to their Council or Committee.

Carolyn Bondi, Co-Chair Customer Data Council, Founder, The Thread Team

It was a great honour to be asked to judge the Data & Insights category of the DMA Awards this year. I was quite excited on the day - it had a little bit of that first day of school feel to it. Meeting lots of new, smart people, being slightly nervous of the “cool kids” (creatives), and being given a group task to do. Plus I was a little star-struck about our category leader, the terrific Di Mayze, Global Head of Data and AI at WPP (if you get a chance to see her speak or watch her on a panel then do!). So the school references don’t stop there; we had 24 entries to judge…! No mean feat. The room went silent, and we got our heads down for several hours - not unlike my exam days - which I didn’t enjoy much back then to be honest…

With the first round of scoring done, it was clear that the entries were as diverse as our judging panel - ranging from real nitty gritty data-led deep dives to some that were far more out there and creative - all with one thing in common - the intelligence and insight that data can add to any story.

Our different perspectives also really became apparent - the more hardcore analytical of us leaning one way, the more creatively driven the other. It was a fantastic debate to get down to our final shortlist - which reminded me that every point of view is valid, it’s all about angles.

So what will I be taking away from this experience and taking back to the Customer Data Council? I think it’s to always seek out the counsel of others who might see things differently to you; as humans, we all have our own individual lenses and perspectives on things but tend to silo ourselves in life and sometimes at work with the like-minded. I’m looking forward to seeing who finally came out on top in our category - I think it will be a little bit different this year and bravo to the DMA for promoting a diversity of entries, thought and opinion.

Sanjeevan Bala, Value of Data Committee Member, Group Chief Data & AI Officer, ITV

I enjoyed the fact the standards set by the DMA and the incredibly thorough process. The Awards take great care in developing a highly diverse set of judges in the widest context. This then creates a very rich and intense set of debates where each judge brings such a distinct perspective - I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started with a clear winner, only to completely change my mind as the discussion and debates take place.

Inspiration stood out to me and is something I'll take back to the Committee - it’s not always the big global brands with huge budgets that cut through. It’s truly inspiring to see and read how much impact can be created with minimal budgets. Human creativity has no limits and it challenges my own thinking as I go back and engage with the wider community. The other aspect is the right integration and line from strategy to creativity to results. The simplicity and focus are all useful for the community.

Sue MacLure, Co-Chair Customer Data Council, Director of Data, CACI

I enjoyed seeing all the work that’s going on out there and having the opportunity to focus on it for a set period of time without the inevitable distractions the working day brings. A dedicated time to look at the work our great industry is doing was rewarding and fun.

It’s always fascinating to hear the views of other judges, particularly when they are not the same as your own. There were different interpretations of what "good" looks like, depending on the angle of your natural discipline. For example, because it was the storytelling aspect, some found simple use of data to be a real asset – i.e. "Well done, you told a great story out of some relatively basic data", but others found that to be a bit wanting “Really? That’s not exactly complex maths is it?" That said, some were universally popular because they found a new angle or way to land a message, and we all felt that we had received that message loud and clear.

I'll be reminding my Council of the fact that it pays to keep an eye on what others are doing; it prompts new thinking and reminds you that there is more than one way to approach a problem or opportunity.

Hannah Gardner-Javid, Deputy Chair Customer Data Council, CRM & Loyalty Manager, Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology

The judging experience was truly enjoyable, especially the chance to engage in discussions and debates with other industry experts. It was fascinating to hear different perspectives and learn from other's insights.

What stood out to me, was how even some of the most prominent brands are grappling with the challenge of integrating strategy, data and creativity - and that whilst we often talk about data-driven creative campaigns, executing them is no easy feat.

As a result of being a judge, I've gained inspiration, met new people and had an overall enjoyable day. I appreciated the opportunity to take a step back and remind myself of what else is out there in terms of formats, ideas and creativity. One of the key focuses of the Customer Data Council is to demonstrate how customer data can drive meaningful business and customer value, and I look forward to taking what I've learnt on board in future discussions and work we do in the council.

If you are interested in joining a DMA Council or Committee you can find out more information and apply to join here.

Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.