Lee Odden

Ten Search Marketing Awards You Should Know

trophy“A person will work for a living, but they’ll die for recognition.”  I’m not sure who I heard that from first, but it’s just as true for agencies and companies as it is for individuals.  One common way to recognize excellence is through awards. There are awards for just about every industry from software to design to public relations. What about search marketing?

Awards are like lists. They’re valuable in part, because they include, but mostly exclude. The motivation for organizations to run award programs varies greatly from being a source of revenue from entry and sponsorship fees to seeking to advance the industry by recognizing it’s finest to something in between. Many SEM awards focus on paid search and attract large agencies in that space. Others offer a variety of categories.

Here are 10 awards opportunities for in-house and agency professionals in the Search Engine Marketing industry.

DMA International ECHO Awards
DMA International ECHO Awards
> Search Marketing Category
The Search Marketing Award recognizes the most creative and strategic use of Internet search technology to achieve a direct marketing objective. Includes Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

  • Entry fee: $225 to $350 depending on date of entry
  • Note: (Disclosure: TopRank has been a judge for several years)
  • Next call for entries: Approximately April 2010

OMMA Awards
OMMA Awards
> Online Advertising Creativity Category > Search Marketing
OMMA Awards recognize the year’s best ads, promotions, campaigns and websites in online media, marketing and advertising with 28 award categories for Online Advertising Creativity, one of which is Search Marketing.

  • Entry fee: $195 per single ad/execution entry and $325 per campaign or website entry
  • Note: Award site is in Flash, no dedicated page for SEM you can point to.
  • Next call for entries: Approximately August 2010

MIXX Awards
> Search Marketing Category
As part of Advertising Week, the MIXX Awards stats that it is the only international interactive awards competition judged by an all-star panel representing the entire interactive advertising ecosystem—brand marketers with direct control over many of the largest advertising budgets in the country, major media company executives and advertising agency experts who create campaigns for the world’s most powerful brands.

  • Entry fee: $295 per campaign and includes entry into one category; the entry fee is $150 for each additional category.
  • Note: There are two phases, screening and finals.
  • Next call for entries: Approximately July 2010

ad:tech Awards
ad:tech Awards
> Search Marketing Category
For more than a decade, the ad:tech awards program has recognized talented visual and technology designers who demonstrate excellence in interactive marketing with submissions in the following categories: Interactive Ads, Interactive Campaigns, Optimization/Search Strategy and Web Sites.

  • Entry fee: $255.00/category for each ad or campaign
  • Note: Award site is in Flash, no dedicated page for SEM you can point to.
  • Next call for entries: Approximately January 2010

PROMO Interactive Marketing Awards
PROMO Interactive Marketing Awards
> Search Marketing Category
The program honors the best and brightest in effective interactive marketing—and recognizes the valuable role that interactive tactics play in motivating consumer response and creating strong, exciting brands.

  • Entry fee: $200 per entry
  • Note: For this magazine sponsored award program, you have to register to see the winners & register again to see the webinar announcing the winners.
  • Next call for entries: January 1, 2010

Econsultancy Innovation Awards
Econsultancy Innovation Awards
> PPC & SEO Categories
New in 2009, the Innovation Awards are a natural progression from our commitment to recognizing innovation in the industry, as demonstrated by our regularly updated Innovation Report and a chance to receive acclaim as an innovator, be recognized by your industry peers and stand out from the crowd.

  • Entry fee: $195
  • Note: While this is a new Awards program, Econsultancy has a community of 80,000 members worldwide.
  • Next call for entries: Deadline 23 October 2009

Search Engine Watch Awards
Search Engine Watch Awards
> Various Search Marketing Categories
The mission of the SEW Awards is to recognize excellence, as well as inspire innovation and encourage new ideas in search marketing. The SEW Awards honors 14 outstanding search marketers, search engines and technology providers.

  • Entry fee: $145 per entry
  • Note: (Disclosure: TopRank was a judge this year)
  • Next call for entries: Approximately July 2010

Yahoo Searchlight Awards
Yahoo! Searchlight Award
> Search Marketing
The Yahoo! Searchlight Award represents Yahoo!’s commitment to the best and most creative search advertising ideas and executions recognizing advertising agencies that develop search marketing applications outside of the tried and true direct response mindset.

  • Entry fee:  ?
  • Note: It doesn’t say a Yahoo Paid Search campaign is required, but probably a great idea to include in your submission.
  • Next call for entries: Early December 2009

ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards
ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards
> Search Ad Management
ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards recognize the technologies, and companies that made a positive difference in the online marketing industry.

  • Entry fee: $49 per nomination
  • Note: These awards are not for campaigns, but rather the technologies that enable best of breed online marketing execution in the areas of paid search, analytics, email, mobile and social media.
  • Next call for entries: Approximately March to April 2010.

BMA Pro-Comm
Business Marketing Association Pro-Comm
> Search/Blog/Online Mindshare Campaign Category
Pro-Comm is ranked as one of the advertising industry’s premier award programs, drawing hundreds of entries annually from b-to-b marketing agencies and clients from all around the U.S.

  • Entry fee: $150 – $225 depending on early bird rate and member/non-member
  • Note: This award is specifically for BtoB marketing.
  • Next call for entries: Approximately March 2010

There are also various regional awards programs from marketing related associations such as the EIMA (Excellence in Interactive Marketing Awards) run by the Dallas Ft Worth Interactive Marketing Association plus other kinds of awards such as the SEMMYs (TopRank is a judge), which recognizes the top search marketing blog posts each year and the Marketing Pilgrim Search Engine Marketing Scholarship (TopRank is a judge), which is a contest to create and promote quality SEM content.

Promotion World and a few other similar sites promote top SEO/SEM awards, but judging isn’t done by a panel of industry verterans as with the other awards programs listed above and without 3rd party scrutiny or detailed judging information.

Have we missed any? What influential Search Marketing Awards should we add to this list? Do you have experience with any of the above awards programs? Good or bad, our readers would love to learn more.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.