Unilever and Walkers scoop nominations for The Drum’s Digital Industries Awards as judges reveal marketing shift to ‘clicks and mortar’

Unilever, PepsiCo and Barclays are among a stellar lineup of hopefuls for this year’s The Drum Awards for Digital Industries (DADI), which this year revealed how creative storytelling and the user experience design are on a collision course to make data the true friend of creativity.

It is the key point that links together those advertisers and agencies announced today (22 July) as contenders for accolades including creative team of the year and digital media strategy of the year.

The shortlisted companies were decided after much deliberation earlier this month when the panel of 40 judges (see below) from all quarters of the digital marketing industry hailed the fact that entrants were showing work that was truly integrated and had got better at proving effectiveness beyond just sales. Unilever, PepsiCo and Barclays are just some of the advertisers that were deemed to have baked their campaigns in this approach alongside agencies Essence, DigitasLBi, Manning Gottlieb OMD and We Are Social. For a full rundown of the nominations click here.

Kati Price, head of digital media at Victoria and Albert Museum, said the depth of discussions that was needed to justify every candidate was “encouraging” for the DADI Awards.There’s so little in it between some of the entries,” she added.

“People have done a really good job of showing the results they’ve been generating for their digital activity and sometimes there have been wafer thin distinctions between the effectiveness of one entry versus another.”

The judging panel, which was chaired by Digital Podge founder Phil Jones, tackled everything from how to protect the customer experience to implementing a richer measurement strategy as they whittled down the nominations to select a winner. To find out whether these discussions led to your campaign scooping a coveted DADI Award before anyone else then attend the ceremony later this year (15 October). Details on how to book your table can be found here.

Lessons to be learned

For those of you that can’t wait until October, The Drum caught up with some of the judges to delve deeper into their thought process behind the awards and how they chime with the wider issues driving the digital agenda forward. Indeed, the general consensus from the marketers was that to be successful in this age advertisers have to understand the media consumption process of digital natives.

It is emblematic of how marketers and therefore digital is become more focused on the experience rather than the technology or platform. “One of the key trends to emerge from this year’s awards is that the entrant have paid closer attention to data and user experience, said Nic Cary, head of digital transformation at the Department for Transport.

“Both are hot topics in the marketplace but we’re genuinely seeing across the entire piece that agencies are recognising the importance of that and marrying that to creativity.”

“I think what I’d like to see is a bit more focus on the internal process that companies have to go through to deliver a campaign and explore how they’ve managed to change the culture within their business but also maybe more client testing because at the end of the day that’s what matters.”

Despite some top entries, the judges felt that there is still work to be done to prove marketing effectiveness in a way that matches the focus on the consumer. It’s an issue reflective of the wider challenges advertisers are facing when it comes to effectively measuring their campaigns.

Clearly apparent in all the entries we’ve had to judge was the fact that it’s not so much about digital or offline and now brands are looking at integrating every aspect of the marketing so it’s click and mortar really at it’s best,” said Mickael Paris, head of digital marketing at Standard Life Assurance.

“It’s very encouraging for The Drum and the DADi Awards. I think what I’d like to see is a bit more focus on the internal process that companies have to go through to deliver a campaign and explore how they’ve managed to change the culture within their business but also maybe more client testing because at the end of the day that’s what matters.”

It’s a thought not lost on Accenture’s managing director for marketing and communications in the UK an Ireland Peter Thomas. This year more than ever before in the DADI’s eight-year lifespan entrants paid closer attention to how they prove the effectiveness of a campaign, whether that’s through revenue or other metrics such as client or user satisfaction.

“I definitely think the measures of reach, shares, likes are still important but we’re seeing agencies wising up to fact that what they need to show is a business impact,” said Thomas.

“We’re seeing the number of entries where it’s been about sales impact and and actual revenue and profit made. I think digital, probably more than every other evolution of marketing over the last few years has a real chance to use those metrics and drive them. We’re starting to see that come through in the submissions.”

The DADI Awards are held in association with Workfront and sponsored by Shazam and Sysomos

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