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As we look forward to the 25th anniversary of ITSMA’s Marketing Excellence Awards Program, it’s a great excuse to take a trip down MEA Memory Lane.
Do you remember the top marketing priorities in 1998? Our award categories from that year help tell the story:
- New Service Innovation
- Sales Effectiveness
- Communications Impact
- Staff Excellence
Just four categories with straightforward titles – times sure were simpler back then!
Some of our past winners have merged, been acquired, or gone out of business. Telecommunications company Lucent, diamond winner for New Service Innovation in 1998, became part of Alcatel Lucent in 2006 which was then absorbed by Nokia in 2016. Similarly, Electronic Data Systems, which won the gold for Communications Impact in the MEA’s inaugural year, merged with fellow 1998 gold winner, HP, in 2008.
Just as business has evolved and transformed over the years, so have our MEA categories. In 1999, Oracle won the diamond award for “Internet Ingenuity” and IBM – a perennial MEA champ – took home the gold for “eMarketing Excellence” the following year.
Account-Based Marketing didn’t hit the awards circuit until 2006, with the category “Generating Demand Through Micro- and Account-Based Marketing.” Xerox Global Services won the diamond award for its program, “How Monogamy Is Helping to Win and Keep Big Customers” and Northrop Grumman took home gold for “Public-Private IT Infrastructure Partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
A constant, though, has been the focus on driving sales. Every year, we’ve had at least one category, and often two categories, for marketers to show how they are “increasing sales effectiveness,” “enabling sales,” or “generating demand.”
We added a Digital Marketing category in 2007 and Thought Leadership in 2009. Social Media had a run as a separate category from 2010 to 2013, but after four years it became so embedded in our world that it was no longer considered its own strategy – it’s just part of marketing as we now know it.
The naming of our categories evolved over time, as well. When we started, “Sales Effectiveness” was adequate. However, as marketing has gotten closer to business strategy, we need to show how marketing drives results. Thus, our awards categories over the past few years ask for more. We see categories such as:
- Enabling Sales to Accelerate Growth
- Engaging Executives with Thought Leadership and Innovation
- Transforming Marketing with Data, Analytics, and Insight
- Deepening Engagement through Thought Leadership
The great thing about looking at past awards is seeing how dynamic the services marketing industry is. We’ve not only adapted to changes in technology and business, we’ve often led the way, without much fanfare other than awards like the MEAs.
That’s why I’m excited for this year’s program. 2022 is the first time we’re including a category on Marketing Enablement, which puts a spotlight on the different ways marketing leaders are nurturing and enabling their organizations to be a creative and insight-led team that drives strategic growth, by creating centers of excellence, focusing on training, developing career paths, and fostering an agile and collaborative environment.
See all the categories and the call for entries for the 25th anniversary Marketing Excellence Awards and begin your submission today. If you want pointers on how to write a winning submission for this year’s MEA program, you might want to reach out to your friends at Cisco, IBM, HCL, or HP, all of whom have more awards than you can count on two hands. Alternatively, you can brush up on our “do’s and don’ts” of a successful Marketing Excellence Award submission.
Remember the top marketing priorities in 1998? See how our awards program has evolved and adapted to changes in the services marketing industry.