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Why Your Digital Agency Isn’t Winning Any Awards

marketing agency awards

As a digital marketing agency, you work hard every day to combine creativity, strategy, and analytics into a business-generating machine for your clients. This requires strong communication skills at every level of the job, a good aesthetic sense, and logical reasoning–it’s a unique set of traits, to say the least. You probably deserve an award for it. In fact, you DO deserve an award.  

Agency awards validate your hard work and show existing and prospective clients you have what it takes to bring them success. They also help you gain recognition, build trust and get exposure. So why doesn’t your agency make award applications a routine part of its business plan? 

Whether you’re a creative agency of 20 employees, a digital marketing agency with 100+ clients, or an established advertising consulting firm, there is an award out there for you.

But don’t I have to be nominated, you ask? 

Here’s a little industry secret: you don’t. Well technically, you do. You nominate yourself. This isn’t the Oscars, after all. This is business. 

Having awards on display improves your client acquisition rates and gives your agency an easier time closing new deals. It’s a literal stamp of social proof you can brag about. It’s also brand recognition. 

But if you don’t submit your work, you’ll never be a part of leading awards programs that are out there, waiting to be claimed. 

By adding awards to your agency’s growth strategy, your marketing team would have a common goal to strive for. A little external competition could even motivate your team to do their best and improve their outputs across the board. 

So which award is best for your marketing agency? Let’s do a little window shopping.

What Kind of Award is Right for Your Agency?

With hundreds of digital marketing awards to choose from, your agency should be selective. Which award you apply for should already be in line with your agency’s existing activities and audience goals. 

If your agency is primarily in social media, look for awards that have many social media-related categories. Same for PPC, B2B, and Search. Find your niche, and focus there.

There are many international awards, which can make competition harder. Search for regional awards to really raise your agency’s profile in your local area. 

Once you select an award you believe your agency is worthy of, carefully select the proper award category to increase your chances of winning.  

Things to consider are:

  • Your agency’s existing activities and strengths

  • How your agency measures up to the competition (hint: check out last year’s winners) 

  • Geographic location (is the award regional, national, or international?)

  • Your agency’s time and budget (make sure it’s worth your time) 

What Kind of Content Can Agencies Submit? 

It depends on the award, but know that it needn’t be a lifelong work of art. A white paper will do.  For example, this report by Connective Agency won a MarCom award for predicting business trends in the year ahead. 

Here are some content categories you can submit for an agency award: 

  • Blog post

  • White Paper

  • Web Content

  • Marketing Promotion Campaign

  • Microsite Information 

  • Documentary

  • Website Redesign

  • Publicity Campaign

  • Magazine

  • Media Kit

  • Integrated Marketing Campaign 

If your work is innovative and impactful, you should submit it.

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Here are some past winners: 

This 15-second ad by InfinityQS helped them win an AVA Award for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign in 2021. 

This social media campaign by Mantikor/Philipp and Keuntje won a Webby award: 

unhate women campaign

Image Source 

The ‘Learning Audrey’ campaign by 360 Learning won a MarCom best strategic communications award.  

agency award


Finally, ever seen those ‘Visit California’ ads on TV? Well, their website won a WebAward for Best Web Redesign by Appnovation.

visit California ad campaign

If you’re thinking, ‘Hey, we can do this!’ check out the 9 of the marketing awards your agency should have on its radar below. 

9 Marketing Agency Awards to Inspire You  

The AVA Digital Awards

Whether your agency does web development or plans social media campaigns, you can choose from 227 categories to enter. With this many categories, have your team sift through past projects and apply for a few! 

Deadline: Open

The Drum Awards for Marketing 

Does your agency do a lot of Search, content, and or social media? The Drum Awards are for you. They are focused on marketing agencies worldwide that use creativity and technology together. 

Deadline: March 23, 2022 

Note: There are also the Drum Awards for Digital Advertising that are more specific to Creative Agencies and Paid Ad agencies. Their deadline is February 16, 2022. 

The Killer Content Awards

This is for the B2B marketing agencies. The award is about honouring agencies that “bring humanization to the forefront of their content strategies with engaging stories and thought-provoking campaigns.” They have 16 categories ranging from channel partner marketing to research-based content and nurture campaigns. 

Deadline: Closed. The winners will be announced in February. 

The Webby Awards

You might’ve heard of this one. They honour excellence on the internet. They have 8 broad categories, ranging from websites, ads, media, and pr, social, and more. 

Winners of this award get dubbed ‘the best of the internet’. If your digital agency is focused on internet advertising, that’s an honour. 

Deadline: February 11, 2022

New York Festivals Advertising Awards 

The NYF Advertising awards are more for creative ad agencies. NYF has been around since 1957 and is among the most respected. They have 26 categories, awarding aspects of advertising like activation and engagement, and have a category showing some love to smaller agencies with: Small Agency | Small budget, big idea.  

Deadline: January 31, 2022 - May 6, 2022

Search Awards

Are you an SEO, PPC-based or Search agency? This one’s for you. Their award categories are in various verticals, from eCommerce to Healthcare. There is a Search Award for each region of the world, depending on where your agency is based: UK, Europe, US, MENA, Canada, APAC, and one Global.  

Deadline: Varies by region

Content Marketing Awards

This award is for agencies with corporate clients in verticals like healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, technology, tourism, and more. There’s also an ‘Agency of the Year’ award for agencies with more than 100 employees. The CMAs this year have 85 categories recognizing all aspects of content marketing: from strategy to distribution, and design to editorial. 

Deadline: April 10 - May 20, 2022 

MarCom Marketing Awards

MarCom is an international competition for marketing and communication professionals. 

They hand out awards in 328 different categories, ranging from print media, strategic communications, to digital media and audio/video. If your agency does it, they have it. 

marcom award statuette

Bonus: Winning their statuette is like getting the Oscar of marketing. It’s crafted by the same makers of the Golden Globes and Emmys MTV. 

Applications open August 1, 2022. 

The WebAwards

How does it work? This one is all about competing against those within your industry category. Don’t worry, there are 97 to choose from. Compete head-to-head with other sites in their categories and the highest score is selected as the winner of that category. 

Deadline: To be announced 

Digital Marketing Awards Separate the Good from the Great

The awards mentioned in this list offer the ‘wow’ factor that every agency strives for. Keep in mind that there are many, many more awards that your agency is likely suitable for and can target. 

If you win one, your clients will recognize you for it. 

Didn’t win? It’s a learning opportunity for your team, and a goal to strive for next year. Surround yourself with the winners and you’ll be a winner yourself. It’s a chance to keep your head outside the box and take a look at what the winning agencies are doing differently. 

Some of the above awards are specific to ad agencies, others are for B2B marketing enterprises, and others are for Search agencies. And there are hundreds of categories your agency can apply for. There really is something for everyone. The trick is to find a category that matches what your agency does best and shoot for the stars.

Melody Sinclair-Brooks

Written by

Melody Sinclair-Brooks

Melody is a marketing manager, writer, and startup consultant. She builds communication bridges thru multichannel storytelling, strategic partnerships, advertising, and go-to-market strategy.

Read more posts by Melody Sinclair-Brooks ›

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