Courtney Eckerle

2016 MarketingSherpa Awards: Customer-focused campaigns that drive results for 4 award nominees

October 2nd, 2015

2015 MarketingSherpa Readers' Choice Award WinnerWe will be evolving this year to keep up with our audience — you.

This year’s MarketingSherpa Awards extend beyond just email marketing and include marketing campaigns across all disciplines. All year long, MarketingSherpa covers compelling stories in the B2C, B2B, email and inbound spheres, so why shouldn’t our yearly awards?

The three-month process of rewarding talent is a serious endeavor. The selection process included 50 hours of pre-screening more than 300 submissions, followed by 15 hours of group deliberation by our panel of five judges. As we searched through stacks of awards and speaking applications, we were looking for a team that could carry on the legacy of previous years’ winners.

It’s now your turn. We’ve narrowed the submissions down to four of the best campaigns, and you can now vote for your Readers’ Choice Award winner through November 10. After voting, please share your favorite nominee or insight on social media.

All of the campaigns met our judging criteria:

  • Be transformative
  • Be customer-centric
  • Be innovative
  • Offer transferable principles that marketing peers can apply to their efforts
  • Display strong results

From here, it’s up to you to decide which one deserves top honors.

Have different criteria? Thoughts to share on any of the campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Among many others, here are four lessons you can expect to take from this year’s Awards:


Finalist #1, HCSS: Change the perception of marketing at your company

The team at HCSS started the “Most Interesting Project Bracket Challenge,” which used email, social media and blog content to encourage customers to submit their projects to compete against other customers.

The audience for this contest was the HCSS customer base of more than 4,000 heavy civil construction companies across the United States and Canada. HCSS encouraged customers to use email and social networks to broadcast the competition and drive votes.

This campaign had the greatest magnitude of any campaign the team had run before, according to Dan Briscoe, Vice President of Marketing, HCSS, who said that this campaign “really changed the perception of marketing in our company. … The marketing team was really looked [at] as a print shop. You walk down there. You put in an order for something, and they deliver it.”

This campaign was the first time, he added, that other teams began to see that the marketing department “can really drive the company and be a significant driver of revenue [by] using inbound marketing and things like this.”

Read the complete case study: Inbound Marketing: Construction software company doubles submission goals in bracket contest for customer projects.


Finalist #2, Sunrise Senior Living: Let customers lead at every step

“We found through user testing … that our customers were not sure what type of care they needed,” said Abby See, Director of Online Marketing, Sunrise Senior Living.

Abby’s team realized that they could help their customers much more effectively if they educated them first on available care options and let customers lead the process themselves armed with relevant information.

“People really aren’t sure where to start. They don’t know what memory care or assisted living means. These are industry terms. People don’t really recognize what that is,” she said.

It was from that sentiment that the Care Questionnaire was born. The Care Questionnaire was designed to ask questions that would help customers determine what type of care they need for themselves or a loved one.

“It might be the springboard to your research. There’s so much information out there. If we could just point them in one clear direction, we felt like it was a supportive and resourceful type of thing to do for our customers,” Abby said.

It began as a suggestion from customers that it would be nice for Sunrise to have some sort of survey or questionnaire to help them figure out the best type of care for their situation.

“We really were just answering their suggestion. This wasn’t even our idea. It was our users’ idea,” See said.

Read the complete case study: B2C Marketing: Senior living provider drives a 12% lift in online leads with questionnaire.


Finalist #3, Symantec: Educating customers isn’t for the faint of heart

Designing a meaningful experience for customers online requires a strategic and thoughtful approach that leverages customer education over fear. The right digital experience can create a lasting relationship between a brand and its customers.

Sherri Chien, Director of Content Strategy and Storytelling, Symantec, works for the enterprise security side of Symantec, and said that most security companies’ creative and marketing have historically relied on threats and fear.

“We promote breaches and attacks and the need to protect oneself from cyber criminals. I think as a marketing challenge, this tends to disassociate the customer from the brand,” she said.

With the Norton Lounge, which was built as a digital experience pilot to reach out to the auto-renewal audience, “what we wanted to do was build an ecosystem of value and benefit, exclusive for the auto-renewal customer base,” she said.

This was a strategic, Web-based initiative to humanize the relationship between Norton and auto-renewal customers, she added, and offer them more than just discounts on products.

“We wanted to offer content that the customer would value,” Sherri said.

The team discovered a one percent increase in retention would be equivalent to about a $15 million net revenue gain for the company, so ensuring that customers were having a meaningful experience was also integral to business performance.

Read the complete case study: Customer-Centric Marketing: Symantec reduces churn by 3% through digital experience design.


Finalist #4, Fuji Xerox: Make your product a must-see event

The team at Fuji Xerox was looking at launching a new product — the Versant 2100 Press, which is a printer designed for HD printing. However, the team ran into a challenge when it came to building excitement for the printer.

“The products that we’re selling, they’re not sexy products. We’re not selling a new iPhone or luxury cars,” said Steven Caunce, Corporate Affairs Manager, Fuji Xerox, New Zealand.

To create excitement, the team at Fuji Xerox created a live fashion show featuring a fictional designer, complete with direct mail “lookbooks.” The event generated new sales and inspired the brand’s sales team.

“It was just one of those things that was incredibly powerful and very motivating for the sales people. They were there with their customers with this fantastic event going on around them,” Steven said about his team’s product launch campaign.

Through this innovative, multi-part event campaign, New Zealand accounted for 34% of the Asia-Pacific total for the Fuji Xerox three-month launch phase, even though the New Zealand brand makes up less than 1% of the region.

Read the complete case study: Event Marketing: Fuji Xerox achieves 240% of sales target via a fashion show.


Thank you to all who submitted an entry this year.

There are many more takeaways and inspirations to be found in this year’s entries, please use them wisely and in good (marketing team) health. To that end, the rest of the 2016 MarketingSherpa Awards judging panel and I look forward to reviewing your own results for 2017 MarketingSherpa Awards!

Voting for Readers’ Choice Awards is open now through November 10.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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Email Marketing: Which of these 5 Award nominees can help you improve results?

Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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