Welcome to the new NZ Direct Marketing Awards.

Digital whizz?  Interacting with all your ‘likers’ on Facebook? Got thousands registered on your new customer centric app? Sent any good letters recently? Hit the loyalty mother lode?

Thanks to an industry-wide effort, there have been some really big changes for this year’s awards. The review took several months and included a lot of contributions, debate and a study of what’s happening overseas. The great thing was that out of the sessions came a strong sense of commonality of thinking and the overwhelming consensus has been this change is the right one. So fingers crossed we’ve got it right, and any suggestions for next year are welcome.

So what’s changed and why?

Firstly, the name. The New Zealand Direct Marketing Awards encompasses Nexus and RSVP Awards, and represents all that is good about modern 1-1 direct marketing whether via app, digital, social, email, mail or whatever. It’s all about direct, it’s about reaching people through databases and understanding their behavior and measuring outcomes, regardless of channel. So welcome back to direct marketing, an often unfashionable name.  It hasn’t hurt in the US, UK or Australia.

Secondly, the categories. We’ve really shaken this one up. Gone are all the old categories for sales generation, retention etc, and in are industry categories and specialist channels to encourage  more from different industries to enter, and to celebrate everything from the best viral campaign, best email, eCRM, through to direct mail or loyalty programme. This revamp in particular puts a stronger focus on digital, and this includes splitting craft into digital and print to again recognise that the craft involved can be quite different. Nexus meanwhile remains unchanged, as the review said it was working just fine.

There’s also a chance now to celebrate the companies and individuals who are really making a difference with direct marketing, whether it’s implementing a whole big 1-1 strategy, developing a segmentation strategy, converting a Facebook following into a relationship … whatever. The new categories of DM Organisation of the Year, and DMer of the Year are for them.

Judging gets a revamp too. We’re introducing consultative judging for round two. And with Patrick Laughran – who has been such a huge support for many years – away this year, we’ll also be announcing a new RSVP Chief Judge who will bring heaps of experience and expertise to proceedings. 

A common complaint is the entry form. This year registration will be online and the forms have been simplified to make them easier to complete, without losing the rigour which has marked out these awards as being the most demanding of proven results and effectiveness.

One thing that hasn’t changed is an unashamed focus on measurable results. Prove that the campaign directly drove results and you’ll do well. That’s not an unreasonable aspiration for any marketing campaign, which is the starting point before we all get excited about awards.

So, if you think you’re up to the challenge, this is the year to take it on and enter the newly revamped NZ Direct Marketing Awards.  Find out more at nzdmawards.co.nz.

Author: Ben chairs the Marketing Association’s Marketing Agencies Council and led the Awards Review on their behalf.