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Insights from our Esteemed Judges

The Marketing Society Awards 2024

As we approach the 39th annual The Marketing Society Awards, anticipation is building for this prestigious celebration of marketing excellence.

This year's judging panel features a lineup of distinguished marketing leaders. Their perspectives on the importance of these awards, their judging criteria, and insights into being change-makers in 2024 set the stage for what promises to be another memorable showcase of marketing excellence. Take a look at our complete judges line up and awards categories here The Marketing Society Awards 2024.

Why are awards important?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Marketing has the power to do more than just drive business growth. It informs, educates and influences society and has the power to positively impact the world. So it’s important to take time out to celebrate and share these successes so that others can learn and be inspired in their work as well.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: To celebrate the best in class work being done in our industry, to inspire others.

Peter Markey, Boots: To showcase and celebrate the very best work in marketing today.

Alex Lewis, Warner Bros: They provide an opportunity to regroup and look back - what went well, what can we learn. And they're a celebration of great work.

Helen Whetton, BT: They inspire, create curiosity and drive creativity, as well as celebrate the bold and brave.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: First and foremost they give the marketing industry a platform to recognise great work and celebrate the people behind it. It also provides clear case studies, setting a high bar that we can all be inspired by.

Jane Stiller, ITV: It's a great opportunity to take a look back on what you've achieved as a team and celebrate the successes you've had. The last few years have been tough across so many businesses so it's more important than ever to celebrate how marketing is delivering business growth.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: They allow you to look behind the curtain and delve into the intricacies of delivering effective work. They push up the standards in the industry, which is good for everyone.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): It is not the awards per se that are important, rather the endeavour, ambition and innovation that the entrants showcase, and then the untold inspiration to the wider community.


What is your top tip for brands entering the awards?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Keep it concise and clearly demonstrate the impact of marketing on value creation for the business. I’ve always found the context, action and results method (C.A.R model ) a very useful reflection framework that helps distil key information and drive focus. What was the challenge (context), what did you do (action) and what was its business impact (results) - it’s as simple as that!

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: Remember we're reading at least 20 of these back to back so please make it a good read - oh, and please give us actual results rather than media metrics.

Peter Markey, Boots: Be very clear on the impact of your work. What real difference did it make to your business and its performance and what did you learn? Prove it really worked and you'd do it again.

Alex Lewis, Warner Bros: Be clear - what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them? Be honest - what went wrong and how did you apply what you learnt in order to move forward? Be succinct - don't waffle - we've got loads to read!

Helen Whetton, BT: You are marketing your marketing so apply the same methodology. Tell us an engaging story, ground it in insights, and create connections that spark a reaction and leave us wanting more.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods:  Ensure the brand and business objective for the activity is very clear - and that there are clearly defined, measurable results. Also - ensure you tell a story and make it inspiring!

Jane Stiller ITV: I would really encourage people to read previous entries and winners - not only can you learn so much about marketing strategies which you can apply to your own business, but it's also a great way to see how to structure a winning entry.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: Tell a compelling story. Weave the detail, the results, and the context into a story that flows and engages the reader. Judges are reading multiple entries. Engaging them and drawing them into the story will really help your entry stand out.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): Proof of impact. An award must reveal not only the genius of an idea but the actual impact it had, whether that be commmercial, in metrics and measures, brand health trackers and so forth. A brilliant concept is seductive but of no use if it makes no difference.


Why are you proud to be a judge of The Marketing Society awards?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: The Marketing Society Awards are the like Oscars for our industry so it is very much an honour to be part of the judging committee. I’m really looking forward to learning more about the challenges marketeers face across different industries and being inspired by their brilliant work.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: I'm proud but I also find it humbling - so much brilliant, detailed work happening by so many talented teams of people.

Peter Markey, Boots: The Marketing Society awards are the industry oscars where the best work gets rewarded and celebrated. I am challenged and inspired by the amazing work we get to review and learn a lot myself on what best in class looks like today from the judging process.

Alex Lewis, Warner Bros: Thanks for asking me.

Helen Whetton, BT: Personally the opportunity to be a judge at The Marketing Society awards will be an energy boost and inspiration injection for me because reviewing the best of the best in marketing and celebrating outstanding creativity and innovation is a privilege and honour. Brilliant campaigns power growth and turn marketing from being seen as a cost centre to an investment powerhouse and I truly believe it is our duty to illuminate the industry for those that come after us.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: To have the opportunity to review and assess the ‘best of the best’, the marketers who are at the top of their game, breaking new ground and creating new horizons is simply a privilege.

Jane Stiller, ITV: Brilliant marketing has a unique ability to drive business growth and seeing those success stories is so inspiring. I feel proud and lucky to be able to see the best of the best as a judge of The Marketing Society awards.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: I am proud to judge these awards to celebrate brilliance in marketing and keep reminding organisations that marketing is the growth lever in a business. We need to help keep marketing at the top table in businesses Marketing unlocks growth through deep understanding of the customer and finding lateral and innovative ways to leverage the brand and connect with them. In a market as competitive as the one we are in this is invaluable. This creativity with a big C is so important to celebrate and the awards do just that. 

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): The role of Marketing is central to brand and business success. I believe outstanding leadership in marketing is a strategic imperative for a company to survive and grow and our impact can be wide-ranging. We are here to champion the consumer, to fight for relevance, to usher in innovation, to protect what is core and what must stand firm, to respond to challenge and competition. It is central and so an awards ceremony that recognises our best practitioners can only raise the profile of our work.


What are you looking for as a judge?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Consumer-inspired creativity and a great story! Marketing can be immensely powerful and is a function that has the unique ability to shape society and change culture so I am looking to also discover bold ideas that have contributed to a broader positive impact in the world we share.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: I'm looking for something that lifts it beyond the boundaries of good, solid work. I want to be inspired to tell others how brilliant it was.

Peter Markey, Boots: I want to see work that has really shifted the dial for businesses and helped them win in new and exciting ways.

Alex Lewis, Warner Bros: A robust strategy, creativity - the ability to tell a story, rigour, impact, effectiveness, memorability.

Helen Whetton, BT: Focus on what makes your work a winner. Your entry should embody insight, show deep understanding, ingenuity in its creative approach, customers at its core and delivered entirely against its metrics. Ultimately if you were a Dragon would you invest in this?

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: I am looking for the entries to have a right balance of ‘inspiration’ and ‘perspiration’: how did it engage the target consumers mind, change their behaviour, inspire action, and stir their emotions - whilst at the same time work hard against an organisational or commercial objective.

Jane Stiller, ITV: Entries that stand out to me as ones which have a clear beginning, middle and end. They tell a succinct, compelling story, demonstrate how marketing behaved to be a catalyst for growth and most importantly show us the results!

Victoria Fox AAR Group: A succinct entry that draws me into the story and shines a light on what makes the entry exceptional. Set the context and explain what challenges you overcame to achieve the results. 

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): A clear articulation of why your work is special - and for me 'special' means new, challenging, never seen before. I want to see modern, progressive work that touches people's lives, is meaningful and relevant and can make a difference. Please tell us in plain speak (definitely not marketing speak) why these matter.


What is your golden rule in business?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Listen to understand and never stop seeking feedback.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: Advertising is an investment, not a cost.

Peter Markey, Boots: Make every day count - make a difference every single day.

Helen Whetton, BT: Know your non-negotiables; in your values, relationships and work standards. Then stand by them.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: Maintain an optimistic outlook and bounce back from setbacks with grace and resilience.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: Concentrate on building all the evidence to support your case and be 10% braver with every decision you make.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): Collaboration is key to all success.


Which business leader do you most admire and why?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Yvon Chouinard - the founder of Patagonia. It would have taken huge selflessness to forfeit ownership of his company for the greater good, but also real creativity to change and challenge the way business is currently conducted. “Earth is now our only shareholder” was an incredibly powerful statement, but its simplicity masks a huge ambition requiring a lot of underlying operational complexity. For me, it is Yvon’s tenacious commitment to still tackle these difficulties despite the many obstacles with so much considered thought and flair that makes him so inspirational.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: The one who does the right thing rather than the fashionable thing or the easy thing.

Peter Markey, Boots: Suki Thompson - inspirational and much-missed change agent in our industry.

Helen Whetton, BT: Women around the world live a healthier more authentic life because of Brene Brown. She has taught us the power of vulnerability, courage, and wholehearted living. And thanks to her I commit daily to empowering my team, embracing their and my imperfections, cultivating our collective resilience, and forging genuine connections.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: Satya Nadella for the transformational and visionary impact he has had on the Microsoft business - whilst leading with warmth, empathy and humility.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: Patagonia founder who has an unwavering commitment to sustainable growth.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. I am so admiring of how he has carried through his lifelong pledge to the environment, culminating in his selfless and extraordinary act of giving his highly successful brand and business at the height of its success to a charitable trust. 'Earth is now our only shareholder' was his comment - iconic.


What does being a changemaker mean to you?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Someone with positive dissatisfaction, a person who tackles problems in a new way and isn’t afraid to stand up or challenge the status quo. Being a Changemaker means being highly values-driven - you need to have deep integrity and steadfast commitment to what you believe in and what you will do no matter how difficult the context.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: Knowing when change is necessary.

Peter Markey, Boots: Being a force for good making a lasting difference and leaving a clear legacy.

Helen Whetton, BT: Changemakers don't navigate change; they drive it. Their force sparks innovation and their commitment to continuous improvement illuminates the path ahead for others to follow.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: Coming with a growth and innovation mindset and challenging the status quo to create new possibilities.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: Someone truly willing to stand up to defend what is right but do it in a way that brings people with you.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): I hope that I can always stay fresh, have new eyes, and keep learning and looking out front, in order to be ready to face whatever the world throws at us. Making sense of this and then responding fittingly for your business is what a changemaker can do. And of course, never shying away from the challenges.


What do you think is the biggest opportunity for marketers in 2024?

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: Creativity. It has the highest ROI multiplier outside of brand size so it's the biggest performance lever available to marketers.

Peter Markey, Boots: Deeper connection with customers through better use of data.

Helen Whetton, BT: How to navigate the power of AI without becoming a stalker brand or losing the human element. Humans laugh at the word "poop" yet AI doesn't get it ... don't lose the poop.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: Significant opportunity to get back into an innovation mindset, after a tough couple of year focussed on building resilience. For sure it’s still tough externally, but there is the opportunity to build on the resilience with more creativity.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: To take full ownership of the customer. Marketing needs to be on the board and if not own, then influence every element of the customer experience.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): Throwing conventional marketing constructs out of the window and embracing the brave new world - everything is changing.


What do you think is the biggest challenge for marketers in 2024?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: A challenging macro-economic environment combined with the added complexity of a more demanding , distracted and less loyal consumer base and a rapidly evolving technology landscape will create an environment where marketeers feel overwhelmed and pressurised to do more with less. The challenge (but also opportunity) will be for them to be braver and bolder when it comes to making insight-powered choices that drive sustainable long-term brand growth.

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: Resisting the drug of short-term performance metrics.

Peter Markey, Boots: Siloed working and more specialism and less strong generalists in each business.

Steve Challouma, Nomad Foods: Navigating the complex myriad of tech, media, tools in marketing (AI, VR, AR, Metaverse, the list goes on) and finding the right avenues that fit brand objectives and consumer needs.

Victoria Fox AAR Group: Two challenges 1) Other stakeholders in the organisation taking ownership of the customer 2) Designing a marketing operating model that allows you to keep up with the pace of customer change.

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): Not allowing long-term goals and ambition to be diminished at a time when many pressures apply, for example from elections to cost of living and inflation, war, increasing cost. Hold the course.


What book or Podcast would you recommend for our members?

Sabah Naqushbandi, Mr Porter: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. 2023 was a tough year on many levels for so many people. Health and wellbeing are a priority for me and I thought this book was fascinating. It has the power to improve your life by literally changing the way you breathe. Enjoy!

Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox: The Rest is Entertainment. Brilliant.

Peter Markey, Boots: Behind the face of success with Visha Kudhail.

Helen Whetton, BT: News Agents for a daily dose of intellect, or Conversations of inspiration from Holly Tucker

Victoria Fox AAR Group: Pivot

Deborah Dolce TK Maxx & Homesense (TJX Europe): For an alternative rest for the mind ... Sticky Notes, the Classical Music Podcast. In depth accessible dives into the classical music repertoire and interviews with artists. A lovely distraction to the rigours of real life.


Find out more about the awards here>> The Marketing Society Awards 2024 


Published on 6 March 2024


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