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Every year around this time the insanity begins. The first emails arrive proclaiming, “Call for entries.” The account and creative teams heatedly debate over which campaigns might impress the judges. The agency president frets over winning more trophies than her competitors. And the low-key accountant starts ranting when he sees the escalating cost of the entry fees. Yes, it's marketing awards time again. This whole pageant might seem silly to outsiders, but the marketing world cherishes its awards more than ever. In fact, a recent Google search for “marketing awards” produced 1,110,000,000 results. This season you can enter competitions for global marketing, regional marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, broadcast marketing, event marketing, influencer

The marketing profession has become obsessed with the idea of storytelling. Marketing channels have essentially become modes of storytelling. You’ll hear the desire for “good stories” used regularly in reference to content, videos, websites, social media, podcasts and even data. Marketing titles have also evolved to include storytelling. A recent Google search for “storytelling jobs” produced over 1,000 results. Here are some of the positions that came up: Chief Storytelling Officer Story Strategist Director of Digital Storytelling Head of Story and Narrative Visual Storyteller Storytelling Coach Content Storyteller Executive Storytelling Head Brand Storyteller But it doesn't stop there. Even entire agencies have been rebranded to focus on storytelling instead of marketing. From a

By Randy Mitchell There are some moments when the world of B2B does not make sense. Thankfully, these meltdowns are few and far between. I had one of them last week and I’m still reeling.   My moment of madness happened because I read the following statistics from Hubspot: 73 percent of B2B firms have increased their marketing spending in 2022 63 percent of B2B firms do not follow a formal marketing RFP process   The first stat made perfect sense. The second one is stupefying.   Let’s say you work at a B2B firm that’s planning a major marketing initiative like a social media program launch, website redesign, video production or full-on rebranding. What’s the first logical step

By Randy Mitchell   You’re a reasonable marketing professional: smart, productive, and you have great taste in blogs.   You work for a reasonable company: they have important programs, big plans, and they were wise enough to hire you.   So, when your company’s leadership team makes the all-important decision to bring in a marketing firm, it’s only reasonable to expect the agency’s best work.   But will that expectation truly materialize? Far too often the answer is no, particularly when it comes to B2B marketing.   The relationship starts well enough. Everyone seems to connect, and the agency promises a quick ramp up and real progress. “They actually get it,” growls the company’s tough CEO, and everyone is smiling.   Then

by Randy Mitchell, Creative Director “Why don’t we make the stats into the story?” That was how the whole movement started. Some strategic visionary decided that marketing statistics were compelling enough to be the focus of entire campaigns. At the time, this thinking must have seemed like heresy. B2B marketers firmly believed that the findings are there to support the story, not replace it. Successful B2B campaigns focused on weighty matters, such as prospect pain points, industry regulations, customer feedback and product differentiation.  Using marketing statistics as the lead for communications was simply not a viable strategy. Until it worked. In fact, the approach kicked stats. Suddenly, response rocketed because target segments did not want

by Gary Mattes, CEO You know that point. The point when you realize that you need to take a step. That moment on a sunny afternoon when the buzzing around your head finally springs you to action. It could be to get the flyswatter. You might also grab your phone to search for an exterminator in an effort to rid the nearby tree of its hornets' nest. Marketers need to consider the actions of their customers at the point in which they decide to take action. This could be the moment they make a decision on whether to buy their product/service. Or it might be the point where they finally seek the

by Randy Mitchell, Creative Director It’s lunchtime. A hectic marketing agency breathes a collective sigh. In the break room, an art director, content writer, account executive and programmer are gathered around the electronic glare of the microwave. As everyone waits patiently for some frozen pizza to thaw, an intriguing discussion breaks out. Let’s listen in. Account executive: We had our status call this morning, and our client Jennie was in a strangely philosophical mood. You’ll never guess what she asked me. Art director: Oh, I don’t know. Something involving the nature of the universe, free will and a tree falling in the woods. Account executive: No, I didn’t mean that type of philosophy. We were talking

by Gary Mattes, CEO When Amazon opened up the opportunity to cities to be the location for its next North American headquarters, of course every community hoped they had a shot. Why not? There aren’t many opportunities to change the fortunes of a city in one fell swoop. The problem is that most cities are expending resources on this “pitch” when they are already hemorrhaging money, without much opportunity to increase revenues. It doesn’t take a bookie to see these are bad odds—it just takes someone in the agency business.  The process of choosing an ad agency has often entailed the “agency pitch”—not too dissimilar to the city pitch. But when an opportunity