By Published On: September 10, 2018

Once again this year I was gratified to be chosen as a judge for the International ECHO Awards, a prestigious awards competition that pulls entries from talented marketers internationally. What makes this competition different from the vast number of other awards competitions that have cropped up in the last 10 years? This one is for real marketers who have data-driven programs that perform well.

The three elements that every data-driven marketing program is judged on are Strategy, Creative and Results. Unlike other programs that reward you for beautiful creative that doesn’t get results, the ECHOs make you prove your campaign’s worth – because that’s the point of marketing, to make a business difference. The creative needs to be beautiful and engaging, it needs to tie back to the strategy, and you get extra points if there’s a wow factor in the creative or the way the data was used. Yes, data can have a wow factor in many surprising ways.

An example of this is a winner from last year’s ECHO Awards. This entry combined IBM Watson’s real time data capabilities, with the fashion designer Marchesa. IBM Watson interpreted reams of real-time Twitter data into emotions to change the color of lights on the dress to reflect online sentiments. All evening the lights twinkled Twitter sentiments.

More examples of 2017 winners.

While I’m inspired by these amazing campaigns, I know for the most part our clients’ budgets don’t compare. But regardless of the size of the budget, we should all aspire to think differently about the data we are given. How do we look at data differently than we have before? How can data drive strategies, engagement or creative in a different direction – to find the sweet spot of budget, data, strategy and creative – and elevate the idea to multiply its value? That’s exactly what we should strive for in our marketing. So, let the inspiration begin with your next campaign.

About the Author: Megan Devine

Megan Devine
Megan taps into her left-brain logic and right brain creativity—steering the business, bantering with her team, and strategizing on client work. She says it’s her dream job and we believe her. Using her passion and knack for understanding complex connections in business and marketing, she collaborates to create love between brands and customers. She possesses expertise and experience that only comes from persevering in the ever-changing marketing agency world. Megan co-founded d.trio marketing group, now cat&tonic, in January of 2000 and took sole ownership in 2019. Her vision, support, and sheer stubbornness got us through 9/11, the great recession, and a pandemic. She has judged the International ECHO Awards since 2005, has consulted for several organizations, and serves on several boards. Educated at Carleton College, she learned the importance of critical thinking for success. At home she learned the value of a good story.
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