Meet The Drum Search Awards USA 2018 judges: Microsoft, Acronym, Distilled

Meet The Drum Search Awards USA 2018 judges: Microsoft, Acronym, Distilled and more

The Drum Search Awards USA is all about shouting about the most innovative, creative and effective search campaigns and strategies across both PPC and SEO.

We want to share the best practices, companies and people in the industry with our readers to help them make better decisions and our best in class judges will help us do just that.

The deadline for these awards is Friday 17 August, you can download your entry pack now.

Following are five of our stellar list of 2018 judges:

Purna Vijiri, senior Bing ads PPC training manager, Microsoft

Vijiri is the senior Bing ads PPC training manager for Microsoft Named by PPC Hero in 2016 as the #1 most influential PPC Expert in the world, Vijiri specializes in digital marketing, AI, and the future of search. She is a regular keynote speaker at conferences across the globe such as AdWeek, The Next Web Conferenceand INBOUND. Purna is also a columnist for Search Engine Land and Moz.

On the award entries, she said: "as judges we love to be wowed by the entries and celebrate the creativity in our industry. We’re cheering you on, not judging harshly. Less Simon Cowell, more Randy Jackson."

Mike Grehan, chief marketing officer, Acronym

Grehan is the chief marketing officer and managing director at Acronym. He is a former publisher of and, and producer of the industry’s largest search and social marketing event, SES Conference and Expo. Grehan is also Chairman of SEMPO, the largest global trade association for search marketers.

On what he wants to see from the entries this year, he said: "OK, let’s start here. It’s not a lottery. So, submitting for every category doesn’t mean more chance of winning. Not only that, as a judge, when I see that, I think to myself: “Oh, you think you are experts at everything. You think you should win every award?”

"Be real and focus on where you really excel, where you really can demonstrate your very best work and feel you genuinely do deserve recognition for it. And think twice before you use the same submission for multiple categories."

Christina Connor, global product lead, Search Ads 360

Connor is the global product lead for Search Ads 360, formerly DoubleClick Search. She works with advertisers and agencies to help them understand how to leverage Search Ads 360’s advanced features to improve advertising ROI and efficiency. In addition, she also works extensively with Google’s product and engineering teams to develop solutions to meet the needs of advertisers.

Connor previously worked in data science at a New York City hedge fund. Prior to that, she gained extensive experience in strategy and marketing analytics at Ogilvy & Mather.

Mike Tekula, vice president, Distilled

Tekula started in SEO in 2006 when his web development clients started asking more about "getting traffic from Google." Since then, he's pitched and led campaigns for organizations from small "Mom and Pop" businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Tekula joined Distilled in 2012 as a SEO consultant and now heads-up the New York office as vice president, where he focuses on client development, recruitment and client services.

Tekula wants entrants to focus on the message over the presentation (but don't forget the latter). He s"Aim to distill the "why" behind the campaign, explaining the "how" without getting too mired in details. Highlight the milestones along the way, whether you saw them coming or not, where team's belief in the what they were doing and will to stay with the problem carried them through.

John Doherty, founder, Credo

Doherty is the founder of Credo, a service helping businesses grow through connecting them with vetted SEO and digital marketing agencies, and advertising open full time marketing positions. He is a veteran SEO and digital marketer, having worked on many of the largest websites on the internet as well as many VC-funded tech startups growing quickly.

"When voting on the winners, I will be looking for specific numbers (not just percentages!) around the results that you have achieved for your clients," he said. "I highly value entrants being able to explain fully what they did and why they think it worked as well as what it meant to their client's business. We're here to build businesses, so let's celebrate the wins.

The entry deadline is Friday 17 August, download your entry pack now and show the industry the outstanding work you have been producing.

These awards are sponsored by Sempo.

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