Are there too many channel awards programmes? Or are they a really useful way of highlighting how good a job your company is doing? I’ve had a couple of discussions with contacts recently about whether or not they ought to enter a particular award scheme or not. This subject comes up all the time now, as almost every title has its own awards. There are at least ten schemes that UK and Ireland channel companies can enter.
The problem for marketing people is they don’t always have available resources to pull a decent entry together – and no-one wants to (certainly no one should) submit an entry that does not give them the best possible chance of winning. There is also the underlying suspicion that the awards programmes are really about selling sponsorship and tables for the big party that comes at the end of most of them. Marketing managers don’t always have that planned in their budget.
It’s certainly true that awards schemes generate much-needed income for the publications / websites that organise them. Advertising revenues are not what they used to be and it’s increasingly difficult to find a business model that really works and generates solid, dependable income. I am certain the industry values the role independent publications play in keeping partners educated and informed, and in giving the channel a voice. Awards schemes are one way in which IT and comms companies can support the media.
Awards do also raise the profile of those companies that enter them. Pulling the entry together is a really useful way of focusing on exactly what you have achieved over the year and what makes your business different. Winning or even being shortlisted can be a real boost to your team and also make a positive impression on customers.
On balance, our advice is that you should enter channel awards schemes – especially if you really are doing a great job and feel that you and your team deserve recognition. But you may want to be selective about the ones you enter.
When you do pull together an entry, you must make a genuine effort. You can’t expect anything if you just cut and paste some marketing material or a case study into the form. You should also manage your expectations, as the competition will usually be strong.
Even if you don’t win or get shortlisted, pulling the entry together will help you focus on the true value you deliver. You will be showing your support for channel media and raising your profile with key journalists and – if you do get through to the final stages – the entire channel community.