The Interactive Awards celebrates the best marketing and creative accomplishments emerging from New England. And every year, we know know we need to give you our best, because we ask you for your best (best examples of modern marketing, that is). So, in effort to beat last year's showcase of our region's winning work, we've revamped and enhanced our categories. Ten of them are brand new (keep an eye out for Corporate Social Responsibility and Screens), and the rest got made over so hard their families won't even recognize them. Check them out in the list below! You'll laugh at LEAST twice, or we're not the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange.
For single entries (web, mobile or micro sites, applications or tools) or campaigns (use of two or more channels) in specific industry categories. Judging criteria will consider industry-specific marketing challenges and opportunities, comparing entries against each other to determine the best of the industry.
Consumer Goods: Reserved for top interactive efforts marketed directly to The Big C, this category features entries which transform consumer goods into consumer greats. Includes big ticket items, such as real estate and automobiles.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing good has never been more important, and thankfully, do-gooders in the land of high rises and attachés abound. This category proves it, recognizing the best social responsibility campaigns — those which speak to a set of ethics or values by which a company does business, or offer major corporate support for a cause or charity.
eCommerce: This category celebrates top shelf retail sites, and sites devoted to providing online commerce (in loving memory of the Pets.com sock puppet).
Educational Institution: We support smart. Which is why this category is dedicated to marketing initiatives promoting colleges, schools and universities, or programs within a school.
eLearning: Don’t let the little “e” fool you — these entries exude Excellence with a capital E. This category highlights the most innovative use of tools, applications or sites created specifically to educate, train or provide e-learning on behalf of a company, product or service.
Financial Services and Insurance: Wait, wait, stay with us — these entries don’t rep that typical grey suit marketing. This category features engaging marketing efforts created for companies that market and/or sell financial products and/or services. Think banks, investment and insurance companies. Or Scrooge McDuck, if that helps.
Healthcare and Wellness: Entries in this category flex their innovation in marketing fitness, health and wellness products, services, information resources and/or facilities.
Life Sciences: New England is a well-stocked clambake of companies studying and changing our lives (and our plants and animals, too). From biotech to pharma and every life sciences product and service in-between, this category focuses on the very best marketing efforts on their behalf.
Nonprofit and Government: The marketing initiatives in this category include those created for or by a nonprofit organization, fundraising and charity program, or government agency, and may also include cause marketing campaigns and efforts to “do good.” Helping elderly people cross the street excluded (but encouraged).
Professional Services: Like the brave birds that clean alligators’ teeth, this category defines symbiotism —a cooperative relationship between companies. More specifically, you’ll find marketing efforts created by a business that lives to provide a service to another business (like law firms, accounting firms, and advertising/design/ public relations agencies).
Sports: Slam dunk entries in this category aim to promote sports brands or teams, or support sports or competitive athletes in general. San Dimas High School Football Rules!
Student: This category is for students with enviable marketing chops. Whether your marketing club created a killer campaign for a client or you’ve started a design boutique in your dorm room (we won’t tell your RA, we swear), this is where you can show your stuff. Submitters in this category must submit with an .edu email address in order to be eligible.
Technology: As an unbiased host, we can’t pick favorite categories. But if there was a fire and we could only save one, well, just look at our name. But can you blame us? This category showcases memorable marketing created for B2C or B2B companies that develop and/or provide cutting edge technology products or services.
Travel, Entertainment & Leisure: It’s not difficult to love marketing that promotes a good time. It’s even easier to love the entries in this category — unforgettable marketing efforts created for businesses in the hospitality, travel or tourism industries (such as hotels and airlines) and entertainment and leisure industry (such as restaurants, movie theaters, casinos and museums).
Showcasing single channel or multichannel integrated campaigns that make innovative use of a particular digital technique, tool or channel that provides the lynch pin for its success. Judging criteria will include consideration for why using that particular technique made all the difference in the results or was the most relevant strategy for the client’s goal.
Content: Pro content? Then this category is for you. Whether it’s site-wide, a one-off, editorial, video, photo montage or beyond, we’re saluting the most innovative use of content that allows a more powerful and high-performance interactive experience.
Data: Sometimes scary, sometimes exciting, data never fails to make our hearts beat faster. If it gets your ticker pumping too, you’ll love this collection of the most innovative uses of data, including data visualization, public feeds, personalization, interesting uses of the social graph and public data projects.
Experimental and Innovative: Is your trailblazing marketing effort unable to be categorized? Then put out the doormat, because you can call this category home. It’s a lot like the Island of Misfit Toys, except, in this case, the toys will be the most groundbreaking and innovative examples of modern marketing.
Games: Forget angry birds — you know games. So while they’re in the psych ward uncovering repressed memories, you can enjoy the most innovative use of interactive, mobile, and digital apps, sites and platforms, and social sites incorporating, well, game-changing game mechanics.
Location-Based Marketing: Outside of a call from our moms, the only time we want to hear, “We know where you are and we know what you’re into,” is when it’s followed by a sweet, relevant offer. Which is exactly what you’ll get from the entries in this category: mobile marketing programs that leverage geo-location, including location-based apps and services, contextual advertising and local campaigns.
Mobile – Excluding Advertising: This category is for the most innovative mobile or tablet apps, sites, SMS-driven marketing campaigns, and tools designed primarily for handheld devices (and to keep us from ever looking up from them again).
Physical Computing & Robotics: The creation of exciting digital utilities and tools are being developed more and more, becoming an integral part of the marketing experience. This category is for the most innovative digital tools used in physical environments including (but not limited to): retail installations, digitally powered events, robotics/mechanics, and sensor based experiences. Hashtag Awesome.
Screens: Screens are everywhere, and so are we. Consider this category your guidebook to the must-see and most interesting, with innovative examples of screens and signage, including touch screens, digital out of home installations, or MS Surface installations. Please, do touch.
Social: Like? We love. And after checking out these most excellent of innovations in social, it’ll be darn near impossible to keep your thumbs from moving into an upright position, too. This category celebrates the best of the best of social media, crowdsourcing strategies, social tools and platforms, communities, Facebook pages, viral word-of-mouth/social campaigns, influencer programs and fan-based campaigns.
For advertising campaigns where paid media is a significant part of the overall strategy.
Brand Response Campaign: Brand awareness, message association, purchase intent, moving the needle on specific attributes — campaigns can be charged with a lot. Here are the paid media campaigns that really deliver, demonstrating the most innovative and effective use of the interactive channel.
Direct Response Campaign: This category celebrates the most innovative and effective paid media campaigns that make accomplishing a “hard” metric look easy, from the acquisition of new customers and registrations to lead generation to downloads and information capture and beyond. Interactive channels only.
Integrated Campaign: The paid media campaigns featured in this category seamlessly integrate a common communication across multiple channels, including offline/online channel mixes or a mix of purely interactive. This category will strongly consider how interactive plays an integral role in the program and measurement of its impact on the overall campaign.
Mobile Advertising: Small screen, big results. This category highlights paid media campaigns that demonstrate the strongest integration of mobile advertising, with a focused consideration on how it played an integral role in the impact on the overall campaign.
Paid Media Content: How can videos, rich media, or branded or sponsored media play an integral role in the impact of a paid media campaigns? Check out these inimitable integrations and find out.
Search: It seems slightly ironic that in a category dedicated to search, we’d hand-deliver exactly what you’re looking for, without prompting — campaigns that demonstrate the most effective and innovative search program. These entries can be submitted across various search efforts, including paid and organic search, and highlighting any innovations around strategy, targeting, buying, and/or tracking.
Targeting: If a campaign drops in the right place, but the wrong people are around to hear it, does it make a sound? Dig around this category to find out which paid media programs do targeting right.
What do you think? Are we missing any categories? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet your feedback using hashtag #MITXAWARDS.
Entry deadline is Friday, September 14th.