When marketing professionals put together campaigns, we are confronted with a lot of questions. Designers and photographers wonder which photo will make a customer stop mid-scroll. Copy editors ponder the perfect wordplay that will delight and entice folks to click. A whole team may question if the current logo effectively communicates a company’s values. It takes skill and creativity to answer these challenges and the result is deeper customer engagement for the most distinctive companies in Texas. Crystal Awards judges who select the top projects among these creatives are motivated by one main question: Which of these marketing strategies actually worked?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) Houston chapter’s annual Crystal Awards represents the best-of-the-best in the marketing field. To win a Crystal is to join an elite group of marketers over the past 31 years from every industry and career level. With more than 100 categories in digital, print, event marketing, and research, there are plenty of opportunities to show how your work achieved the business goals it intended. Given the volume and innovation our local market demands, it’s not difficult for brilliance to get lost in the shuffle or go unheralded.   

“We move so fast in this business,” said Gavin Marks, Vice President of Digital Advertising at Decode Digital, 2016’s winningest organization. “It’s not uncommon to exceed goals by 100%, smile, nod, and immediately go to the next challenge. Winning a Crystal is a chance to feel good about your work.”

The Crystal Awards committee added ten new categories for 2017 that reflect wider industry trends. It’s no surprise that online marketing has the most new awards, including trophies for search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and loyalty programs. Winners of these awards must prove how their technical wizardry helped customers find businesses online and kept them coming back. Maintaining an attractive and mobile-friendly website is still a hallmark of effective marketing and there are multiple opportunities to win here. There are also special AMA member awards that recognize corporate citizenship, shoestring budget marketing, and startups. The brand-new Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Decode Digital, will recognize one AMA Houston member for their dedication and time.

“AMA Houston is completely volunteer driven,” said Tracie Welch-Brenton, AMA Houston president. “It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to keep America’s largest chapter running as well as it does. This award affirms the effort.”

Do you know what helps make winning sweeter? Winning at a fancy party filled with all your admiring colleagues. The Crystal Awards gala will be held Thursday, May 11, 2017 at the Bayou City Event Center. The evening will feature a cocktail reception, seated dinner, and innumerable opportunities to network with like-minded leaders. This year, Skyline Displays of Houston will create a unique exhibition to show off the entries. The Sullivan Group, a leading corporate event planning company, will create an unforgettable atmosphere worthy of scrupulous professionals.   

Here’s the nitty gritty on submitting: The final deadline for entries is Friday, March 31, 2017. Any project completed or launched during the 2016 calendar year is eligible and submission to multiple categories is encouraged. To keep things fair, all entries are judged by a select group from across the country who represent various disciplines within the marketing field. We’ve got a full list of instructions on how to prepare and enter your work here. Give yourself enough time to complete the submission process so your work stands out against a highly competitive group.

“[Winning a Crystal Award] is reinforcement that what you are doing works,” said Kimberly Vetter, a senior communications specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital and past winner of the judge’s choice award. “It gains the attention from others that you are on the right path.”

The only question left is, what are you waiting for?  

 

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