Look for results, not awards when choosing a digital marketing agency

Like it or not, if you sell a product or service you need to master e-commerce.

In 1997 I won an e-cubed award. In fact I won two of them. I was just a junior in college and doing so helped me launch my career in trade shows. In the trade show world, the e-cubed award is the equivalent of winning an Oscar. It represents excellence within a category chosen by a committee of industry peers. For advertising and marketing companies, the big award is called the Addy. Agencies LOVE to tell you about their Addys. It seems as if every company is an “Award Winning” agency. At what point does the term “award winning” begin to lose its importance?


At age twenty-three, with my two e-cubed awards, I became an “award winning” exhibit designer. But what does that title really mean? Does it guarantee that if I designed your exhibit it would be 100% effective in meeting your objectives? Or, does it simply mean that a committee of other exhibit designers chose my design out of the pile of entries competing for the same prize? The answer is the latter.

I didn’t enter the competition to win an e-cubed. We were entered by default as part of the class. My goal was to do the best possible work I could do. It just so happened that it won both categories. First and second place.

In my area – the DC /Baltimore market- a single Addy entry can cost $130- $165 per category, per client. With all the awards the agencies in my area enter and win, there is a lot of money being spent each year on entries; thousands of dollars worth per agency.

Every June, these agencies send out press releases and post to Facebook about all the Addys they’ve won. When you enter the lobbies and offices of their executives, you are bombarded with these “accomplishments.”



Because this is how agencies sell you. With every shiny addy trophy, they are saying In a nutshell: “Our creative is so good, our peers even voted for it! Choose us! We are an “award winning agency.”

My question to you is this; Can those Addys do anything to sell your products or your services? Better yet…can any Addy award winning creative prove real sales results?

Most business buying into this Addy hype don’t realize that Addy’s aren’t judged by client results of the campaigns. They are merely beauty contests.

“Award Winning” is a ubiquitous term in my book, as is, “Results Driven.”  Add them to the list with “value engineer” and “think outside the box” of useless corporate jargon. Those are not phrases I am concerned about. Of course you are results driven.

The men and women who work for my company are concerned only with “Results measured” and “results delivered”. That is where our focus lies.

My grandfather used to say “don’t tell me about the storms at sea, just tell me you got the ship in” – He was a man focused keenly on results.

Like it or not, you are going to have to master e-commerce. I don’t care if you are a fashion retailer or an electrician. The future of business is mobile e-commerce.

Right now the earth is moving beneath our feet. Your buyers are making the switch to mobile and e-commerce at a dizzying pace. E-Commerce sites are out selling national chains and the big box stores are scrambling to keep pace. Buying behavior is changing at warp speed and we want to be ahead of that technology curve. The agency of the future is being shaped right now by the evolving demands of the consumer. Consumers are choosing the channels where they want to be reached and they are defining how that conversation is to be conducted.

As captain of this ship, my duty to my clients, present and future, is to build the best possible company to solve your business challenges, and help build your sales machines. Our profits are generated by your marketing budgets, and we will only use our profits to invest in the people and technologies to not only keep pace with today’s digital buyer personas, but to lead the pack.

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Successes are measured by data. And I’m obsessed with tracking data. I can detail everything I do for my clients, how many people were reached, how many became leads, how many leads became sales, and how many actual dollars our work generated. There is no guess work or assumptions. I use true, measurable, statistical data.

Also, I can track who is talking about my clients, what they are saying, on what channels, and I can respond in REAL-TIME. I can tweak their strategy as it is being executed to maximize what is working. And I can instantly halt what isn’t. During any minute of any day, I can statistically prove to you my value to your sales and marketing program. I don’t need a trophy to do that.

Results are my trophies, satisfied customers are my Addys.