Find out what four former judges are saying about the nomination process for the Market Research and Insight Excellence awards. Get advice on how to submit the best nomination possible.
Let’s face it, creating a nomination for an award can be difficult. It’s hard to know the best way to write up the nomination when you are not sure what the judges are going to want.
The Marketing Research and Insight Excellence awards strive to make the nomination process as easy and seamless as possible. But to get an idea of best practices and advice for this awards program and more, we reached out to four former judges for tips on submitting nominations.
How do you write a quality nomination?
Karen Kraft, Johnsonville, said people always think their idea or project was new and different but sometimes they really are not.
“Nominations with tried-and-true methodologies that are positioned as something new and different make me question the quality of the facts being presented in the rest of the nomination,” Kraft said. “A better approach would be to acknowledge up front that while the methodology wasn’t super unique it was applied in a new way or it had breakthrough impact on the end client’s business, etc.”
Tiffany Hays, Fuel and The Focus Room, shared a very similar mistake.
Hays said it’s important to explain the impact your idea, project, new technology, etc., had on the client – internal or external.
Jefferey Wu, Mars Wrigley, on the other hand, had a different idea of what the biggest mistake on a nomination is. He said when the person writing the nomination does not follow the directions, he knows the nomination does not deserve to win.
“It’s a reflection of the organization instead of the individual writer. It’s almost like you use one part of a generic material, just pump it out everywhere for a purpose,” Wu said.
Nominations should be compelling.
Mike Porter, University of St. Thomas, said the nomination needs to clearly explain how the clients’ needs were met.
“Something that clearly and concisely tells the story of what client needs must be met and the alignment of methods and measures to gather information that supports strategic decision-making,” Porter said.
Kraft said that perfection is impossible to achieve but a compelling nomination has these qualities to them:
- A clear description of the business problem trying to be solved.
- How and why the methodology chosen.
- An overview of the methodology that would allow me to be able to describe it back to someone accurately; but not enough to know every single detail (some nominations are too detailed, and some just gloss over what was done). If it’s complex or a unique qualitative technique, pictures and videos really help.
- As much as this can be revealed by the business impact.
- Testimonial(s) from the end client(s) that illuminate how the project impacted the perception of insights within the business moving forward as well as what they thought of working with the vendor.
Nominations should prove impact.
The answers from the judges were not surprising on this one. For the most part, everyone said either uniqueness or impact on the client was what they looked for.
Although Mike Porter talked more about strategy than uniqueness or impact.
“Ties to strategy supported by the research and methods that align with that strategy,” Porter explained.
Final tips to consider before submitting a nomination
The former judges offered some great thoughts when asked, “What advice, if any, do you have for someone creating a nomination?”
Have someone else review.
“Have someone else who isn’t familiar with the project read your nomination and ask you questions about it. Their questions will likely be similar to what a judge would be thinking and, as judges we can’t ask questions,” said Kraft.
Wu said it could also be helpful to have someone not in marketing research to look at it: “I think that their perspective that’s going to so valuable, because there’s a lot of the business lingo, people are not going to understand.”
Stick to the main message.
“Write your nomination like an executive summary that you’re sending to a time-crunched CEO – they don’t have the time to read a detailed book, they just want the key facts and why should I care,” said Kraft. Kraft also said a person filling out a nomination should see what needs to be in writing and what can be said in a picture or video.
Hays gave a very similar piece of advice, “Use all items [supporting materials] you can submit instead of a bunch of words.”
Hays also said the person writing the nomination needs to focus on the end not the beginning. She said answer questions like, “What difference did you make? Was it global or local impact? Did it change the brand, industry, your company?”
Mike Porter said to only include relevant details in the submission: “Focus on the core of the work and avoid too much minutia about the details, unless relevant to the strategy – i.e., only highlight specific questions if unique and critical to the award-worthy work.”