DMA Awards: Dare to be Judged…and to Judge

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) is Europe’s largest community of data-driven marketers, delivering advocacy, legal and compliance support, research, insight, and events to its members. When it comes to data, the DMA shares many common values with Validity – “trust your data,” “know the value of your data” – and this has seen us broaden our relationship with the DMA, leading to our headline sponsorship of the prestigious DMA awards.

As part of this partnership, Priyanka Roy and I were honoured to take part in this year’s judging. Our guidance was to identify exemplary use of data and/or insight to drive campaigns that put the customer first, while maintaining principles of legality, decency, honesty, and truth. It was a rigorous process that required us to dissect strategy, tear into the creative, and forensically analyse the results.

We can’t provide specifics around the judging process, but the submissions certainly reflected some of the key challenges and opportunities that have defined the world of marketing this year.

I judged the “Best Use of Email” category. For me, three broad themes were showcased:

  • Awareness that a highly disruptive year has changed how marketers communicate with their customers. This has led to a reduced focus on pure selling and an increased focus on providing useful information, practical advice, and guidance.
  • This makes it even more important for marketers to know their customers. Senders are thinking more about why consumers sign up with their programs and using progressive registration techniques to build up richer customer profiles.
  • Recognising that many customers could no longer visit physical stores, senders were required to innovate, using technology like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), dynamic content, and animated imagery to bring those shopping experiences to their inboxes instead.

Priyanka participated in the “Best Use of Data Storytelling” judging, where she observed the following trends:

  • Effective use of data has become extremely important during this tough year. Analysing several available data points to segment end clients is key to first understand a database and provide relevant and personalised information to various types of audiences to increase brand engagement
  • The importance of data visualisation is being recognised by various sectors, mainly to provide insight to internal stakeholders on company performance, plan future strategies, and report on what approach is working and what’s not to quickly learn and adapt for better decision making.
  • There is an increasing appetite to test Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) to manipulate data both for external and internal consumption. Interpretation of raw data can be exciting for some and can be quite daunting for others. Brands are working on novel ideas on how to bridge that gap with automation and make data interesting and easily digestible for all.

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention, and perhaps it is also the mother of innovation. We were both hugely impressed by the strategic eureka moments, the creative firecrackers, and the potent results we witnessed in the submissions – evidence that in this toughest of years, or perhaps because of it, innovative marketing is still alive and well.

Category winners will know they have done an outstanding job to emerge victorious, and we can’t wait to find out who they are. Keep your eyes open for announcements on:

  • Campaigns – Wednesday 25 November
  • Channels and Craft – Wednesday 2 December
  • Industry sectors and Data – Wednesday 9 December

We’re both genuinely excited to find out who takes the gold, and we’ll be providing more analysis and commentary once the winners are announced.

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