Why selecting our Awards shortlists is no easy task

The head of LinkedIn’s internal judging panel on the exceptional quality of entries this year

October 16, 2018

Why selecting our Awards shortlists is no easy task

Judging marketing awards isn’t meant to be easy – and as a judge, you don’t really want it to be. You want to have to consider a wide range of compelling campaigns that are all achieving great results but doing so in different ways. You want to see marketing that delivers against many different types of business needs. It’s a sign of the dynamism and health of our profession when every entry you look at seems just as impressive as the campaign you looked at before.

However, it does make it very difficult to pick a winner. In fact, it makes it very difficult even to select a shortlist. This is why my current lack of sleep is actually a very good sign for the quality and breadth of B2B marketing on LinkedIn.

Why our discussions are going down to the wire
Over the last few weeks, our LinkedIn Marketing Awards internal judging panel have been selecting the shortlist for each awards category that will go through to a final discussion by our panel of expert, external judges. It’s a challenge and no mistake: There’s only space for three campaigns on each shortlist, we received several hundred entries for the awards this year, and the standard is very, very high.

My colleagues and I spent a large part of the last week locked in discussions about which campaigns should make the shortlists. It’s fair to say that every judge feels quite strongly about why their favourite campaigns should make it – and they all have good reasons for their choices.

The many different ways that campaigns drive growth on LinkedIn
We designed the awards to help us recognise the many different ways in which marketers contribute to business growth through LinkedIn. That’s why we’ve got separate categories for brand campaigns and those focused on lead generation, which deliver success through different metrics and which are impossible to compare fairly. It’s also why we’ve created a separate category for thought leadership, which reflects that the contribution content makes to a business’s success can’t always be categorised as building a brand – or capturing a lead. There’s a rich variety of ways in which original thinking that’s imaginatively presented can transform prospects for a business.

Other categories are deliberately broad. In the B2B Video category, for example, we’ve seen yet more evidence of the many different ways in which video content can be used, at all points of the funnel. Our Most Innovative category has reminded my fellow judges and I just how broad a term ‘innovative’ really is. We’ve seen evidence of genuine innovation in every stage of marketing campaigns: from the drawing up of objectives to the definition of an audience and the development of original ways to target them, through to the creative execution itself.

We’ll be recognising many different types of campaigns in the shortlists that we announce later this week. Sadly though, it’s going to be impossible to recognise every deserving campaign in this way. Please believe me when I say that not making the shortlist doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate the value in the marketing you’ve created. Far from it – we’re hugely excited by the work that you’re doing and the results you’re generating. We hope that you are too.

I wanted to write this post to say thank you to everyone who put their work forward for an award this year. You are all helping us to celebrate the great work that’s taking place in B2B. You’ve demonstrated the range of creative and imaginative ways in which B2B marketers use their skills to change the fortunes of their businesses – and change the lives of their customers. It’s hugely inspiring, and we look forward to celebrating as many of those campaigns as we can over the next few weeks.