effie awards

Tips for a good case

MAKE YOURSELF FAMILIAR WITH PREVIOUS WINNERS

It might still be of use to you to look at previously published papers. Copies of Advertising Works are available on the site. Or participate in the EFFIE seminars.

START EARLY

Writing a paper is, as much as anything a question of planning. Approach the paper as a project with clear timing deadlines and goals.

CONSIDER ALL EFFECTS

List down the effects you expected. Divide them into two: first sales effects or effects on consumers, and then effects across different stakeholders. Every time make sure you push your thinking beyond the intermediate measures. “How did the marketing contribute to business success?” is the core and final question.

DATA FIRST

The basis of any good paper is data. Good data= good paper. Bad, inconclusive or missing data= bad paper. Understanding your data, having good links with those who produce it, good manipulation of the data is core to the best practice in the study of effectiveness every day. In the development of a well-written case, they are crucial.

CLARITY AND STYLE

The jurors are intelligent human beings. They will be unimpressed by waffle. They are short of time and will therefore appreciate a well written paper, i.e. One that has: a clear structure and signposts avoids jargon and techno-speech, keeps the story focused and interesting, integrates the data and tables into the text in order to allow the argument to flow without interruption.

TRANSPARENCY

Jurors are not clairvoyants!

Cases must include sufficient background and details to allow clear understanding. For example, cases have become increasingly lax in including basic background data and clear indications of targets, media plans etc. The ideal case should aim to cover: business background and objectives, marketing objectives, advertising objectives and strategies, the creative brief, the media plan and clear indication of budgets, coverage and frequency, clear indication on return.

MAKE SURE YOUR FIRST DRAFT IS NOT YOUR LAST

Give yourself time to write and then walk away. Time away will help you see your own case more clearly. If possible, get someone relatively uninvolved to read the paper critically in an editorial role. Use this editorial role to question (what alternative explanations are there, how else might the effect have been achieved, what is not clear).

FIND A PARTNER

Find a partner. From the start have someone to help – to discuss your argument, to question, to provoke new ideas, and the going gets tougher to support you and to help. The best papers, like the best marketing campaigns, are usually team efforts.

INVOLVE THE CLIENT AS PARTNER

Last but not least, involve your client. Client support will ensure access to data, support with time and resource, advice on how a client would test the proof and what a client would find interesting.

Get your own CEO to talk to the client CEO. Past winners have all seen that a clear agreement and understanding of how marketing campaigns worked had improved the client/agency relationship, not simply with the marketing contact but throughout the client organization. One of the benefits of the awards has been to support the client and the marketing function itself in their effort to secure support (and the budget!!) from their colleagues.