AMA-DC is the third largest chapter of the American Marketing Association in the country with more than 1,000 members representing more than 600 organizations, many of which are in the ecosystem that supports Uncle Sam. It is a vibrant community and because of its location is unlike any other AMA chapter in the United States.
The Marketing Consigliere was flattered to be asked to judge this year’s M Awards and enthusiastically sacrificed a dreary end-of-winter Saturday in the Nation’s Capital to critique the hard work of the contestants. He enjoyed meeting the other judges, each with a solid marketing pedigree.
With a healthy number of entries this year, the program looks like it will be another hit in the community. While most of the submissions were B2C, there was a healthy dose of B2B in the mix. The agencies clearly dominated with few in-house marketers submitting on their own.
However, the Marketing Consigliere (of course) has advice to his marketing goombahs. And this is strictly the his opinion, not that of his fellow judges:
For the AMA, there should have been a mobile category this year. Mobile is obviously distinct from Internet and everyone seems to be saying that mobile is another growing opportunity for marketers. OK, this could have been an oversight and let’s face it – like any professional membership chapter, it’s primarily volunteer driven and the Marketing Consigliere acknowledges that marketers can’t do everything when they are worrying about the things they’re getting paid for. Nevertheless, mobile must be a category for the 201o competition.
The more alarming omission in the competition was on the part of the contestants – The judging criteria were clearly spelled out but most submissions fell short in their responses. When explaining “results,” many if not most entrants did not include any quantitative data of how their effort made a difference. Perhaps they they have been held hostage to the shrill, reactionary comments of people such as those documented in a recent blog about creative types needing to “control” the metrics people – who knows.
What was event worse was that in the “objectives” part of the submitted narrative, there were even fewer references to quantified goals – hardly a mention of increasing unique visitors by X% or conversions or, heaven forbid, mention of something called “revenue.”
While many qualitative things such as “awareness” are not easy to measure, this is not a time where organizations have the luxury of shotgunning campaigns merely to be “warm and fuzzy.” It is clear that the DC area, with a big public relations angle to its marketing culture, needs to understand that net-centric marketing will make their job easier in the long run with its ability to facilitate measurement. SEO/SEM, social networking, and user generated content can be understood with web analytics tools and presented in dashboards to give executives a window into what’s going on.
Remember, DC Marketers, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” And if you don’t know where you’re going to go, you’ll never get there. If you’re in a culture that doesn’t understand or value setting goals and measuring achievements, then get your career back on track and find a place that does. Yes, even in this horrible uncertain job market. Otherwise you will be less competitive and will lose to those that recognize the imperative of metrics.
But congratulations to the contestants that nevertheless have worked hard despite being overworked, understaffed, underbugeted, and underappreciated. It probably isn’t your fault you are mired in a less sophisticated marketing environment than Chicago or Seattle, but you can change that.