The Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Marketing Excellence Award Submission

  • 16 Mar 2021

Momentum ITSMA

We reviewed our judges’ comments from past years and came up with a list of 10 things that will help your submission, as well as another 10 that might harm it.

Since 1998, ITSMA has honored the best performance in marketing B2B services and solutions with our coveted Marketing Excellence Awards. Many recipients have won multiple times over, and they often have cutting edge marketing programs and creative execution.

Some of our proud MEA 2020 award winners

But what about the submissions? While we focus on the programs, the application itself can make or break an organization’s chance at winning an MEA. We reviewed our judges’ comments from past years and came up with a list of 10 things that will help your submission, as well as another 10 that might harm it.

Take a look at this guide and get ready to submit your innovative marketing program for an MEA by May 19.


  1. Write your submission well. Have a have a writer on your team interview you or have someone objective edit the final document to make sure your entry is crisp and clear, uses active and engaging language, and is easy to read.
  2. Address each element of the submission clearly and comprehensively.
  3. Demonstrate your results. First you need to clearly define your metrics and then show both the financial and business impact. Bonus if you use the three Rs (Reputation, Relationships, Revenue) as part of your business results.
  4. Make sure your graphics and formatting aid in understanding the submission.
  5. Show that you have insight into your customer’s needs and underpin your strategy with data. Describe your buyer personas and market segmentation.
  6. Highlight what’s truly innovative about your program. Clearly define the market challenge you’re addressing, your solution, the action you took, and why it’s been successful.
  7. Take a solid, objective approach to research.
  8. Provide information in the right sequence – that is, business results first, marketing metrics last.
  9. Align multiple submissions from the same company. If your company is submitting more than one application, make sure the company information is consistent across all entries.
  10. If competitors emulate your solution, let us know – imitation is the best indication of impact!

Bonus: Entertain us! Make us smile! Use the word kerfuffle in a creative way!


  1. Put your needs or your company’s focus over the needs of the client.
  2. Gloss over the market or the competition.
  3. Show unrealistic results without significant detail to back it up, or results/metrics that don’t bolster your case, fall short on details, or are too generic. Also, don’t confuse marketing results with business results.
  4. Claim innovation for a fairly standard program without presenting new ideas.
  5. Skimp on details – especially in market need and results. Also, be sure you’re not saving the details for the supplemental materials – put them right in the entry.
  6. Bury the reader in text or too much unrelated details.
  7. Make the reader work too hard. Make sure you specifically address each section and support with details. Ensure each section is tight and your responses are relevant.
  8. Rush it – if it’s too early in the program to show solid result and the market impact, hold the submission for next year!
  9. Make it a pitch for your agency (hint: don’t make it read like the agency wrote the submission).
  10. Submit the program to the wrong category. Rather, be thoughtful and methodical about your submission.

Bonus: Don’t submit a document in “review” mode!

Inspired? Submit your program today.

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