By Stephanie Stahl published September 5, 2019

Latest Winners of Content Marketing Awards Up the Game

As content marketers, everything we do should serve the needs of our customers and target audience. And from what I’ve seen this week at Content Marketing World 2019, we, as an industry, are making amazing strides.

I’ve seen impressively creative content that makes our businesses more relatable, trustworthy, and responsive. I’ve heard about innovative tools and techniques to distribute our messages and analyze our results. I’ve observed marketers’ willingness to embrace change and pursue new strategic paths when a situation calls for it.

Of course, ours is a job that is never truly done. There are always new performance milestones to strive for; new technologies and media platforms to explore; and new audience challenges to conquer as needs shift, business opportunities emerge, and the nature of communication evolves.

Take a minute to pat yourself on the back for the great work you do. Then look beyond your efforts at the greatness produced by your fellow content marketers. There’s a lot of talent and creative ideas out there; nowhere is this more apparent than in the field of winners and finalists from the 2019 Content Marketing Awards.

Now in its 15th year, this program recognizes the impressive accomplishments of content marketers in categories that span strategy, distribution, editorial, and design. In all, our judges selected 85 winners from a field of more than 1,100 submissions.

2019 #ContentMarketing Awards: 85 winners in field of 1,100+ submissions via @editorstahl. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

In addition to the category winners, seven best-in-show prizes were announced Sept. 4 at Content Marketing World:

  • Project of the Year
  • Agency of the Year (fewer than 100 employees)
  • Agency of the Year (more than 100 employees)
  • Best B2B Branded Content Campaign
  • Best B2C Branded Content Campaign
  • B2B Content Marketer of the Year
  • B2C Content Marketer of the Year

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the noteworthy efforts of this year’s Project of the Year winner as well as the work of a few of the category’s finalists. And keep reading to learn the agency, campaign, and content marketer of the year winners.

Searching for Salaì (SAP America Inc.)

(Winner: Project of the Year and Best Podcast/Audio Series)


Rising above the noise in a crowded marketplace is difficult enough, but imagine achieving this goal when your subject is so technologically complex and future-facing that even the industry’s foremost experts struggle to explain it in terms that are broadly understood.

.@SAP America wins 2019 Project of the Year in @CMIContent #ContentMarketing Awards for #podcast series. @editorstahl Click To Tweet

That’s the challenge SAP faced when creating content around SAP Leonardo. The new digital innovation system helps enterprise clients harness tech advances such as blockchain, predictive analytics, “internet of things,” machine learning, and design thinking.

To demystify these innovations, SAP’s marketing team turned to a content platform with an innate ability to tell rich, memorable, and resonant stories: podcasting.

The resulting series, Searching for Salaì, uses the perspective-altering nature of time travel to ease the audience into the scientific principles behind the development of Leonardo. The audio format enables the brand to blend elements of the fantastic, the historic, and the scientific into a compelling tale that’s simultaneously engaging and technologically illuminating.

Notably, Searching for Salaì never interrupts the storytelling experience to mention the solution or SAP by name. However, the credits invite listeners to check out SAP’s companion website to learn more about Leonardo’s potential to transform their business operations in a real-world setting.

The 2019 Project of the Year never interrupts #storytelling experience to mention the brand or product. @editorstahl Click To Tweet

The show hits the mark in terms of both listener interest and brand awareness: Within its first four months online, it generated:

  • 65,000-plus blog views across 25 industries and two lines of business
  • 33,500-plus unique downloads
  • Five-star customer rating on Stitcher

In addition to earning high praise from the Content Marketing Awards panel of judges, the effort garnered the attention of several other marketing and media outlets, including the American Marketing Association, AdExchanger, and the S.M.A.C. Talk Live Technology Podcast.

The Well by Northwell Health (Revmade)

(Finalist: Project of the Year, Best Content-Driven Website and Best Overall Editorial – Digital; Winner: Best Content Strategy)

In an era when publicly available health information can be unhelpful, unreadable, or even unreliable due to the influence of false idols of wellness, Northwell Health’s The Well is committed to connecting directly with its audience through first-person stories, authentic journalism, and health and wellness truth.

The digital publication pairs the best of editorial packaging with data-driven CRM distribution to provide meaningful content when its audience needs it most, and offers clear next steps for working with Northwell Health.

Through research to evolve the content strategy for Northwell Health, consulting agency Revmade’s team uncovered an interesting pattern: Women – especially those who are taking care of aging parents – bear an unequal burden of stress regarding family and community care.

Revmade leveraged this moment of clarity to lean into the informational needs of this niche audience. To do this, it created a map of the content these women would likely find most valuable at each stage of a health-care event (before, during, and after) where they might need Northwell services. Revmade then customized the publishing process and plan around creating and delivering that content through highly personalized and laser-focused campaigns, with each potential pain point mapped to the most appropriate content solution.

Customizing the content marketing process in this way brought about a change in how Revmade approached content measurement for Northwell Health, too. Instead of focusing on the number of website visits or page views, success is gauged in terms of content creation costs, relevance scores, and growth of reach. And the results have been remarkable:

  • Hybrid in-house/freelancer model reduced content creation costs by five times.
  • Northwell Health’s average Facebook relevance score has jumped to nine to 10, from an average of three to five.
  • Stories under this initiative have been read more than 1.5 million times – 80% of those coming from the primary target audience of women aged 25 to 45 – making it the fastest-growing publication ever produced by Northwell Health.
  • The Well e-newsletter has outperformed Northwell Health e-newsletter metrics by 50%, capturing an average 20.52% open rate as well as an average click-through rate of 6.45%.
  • With the same media spend as previous campaigns, The Well has reached up to 20 times more people and drives twice the engagement rate of standard visits to the website.

Project XY (Edge)

(Finalist: Project of the Year, Best B2C Branded Content Campaign and Best Content Marketing Program in Retail; Winner: Best Use of Video in Content Marketing) 

In 2017, Nulon – a family-owned, independent Australian motor oil brand – attracted an audience of 2.5 million Aussie car lovers with a series of 32 mini documentaries that told the stories of Aussies and the amazing cars they built and modified.

To capitalize on this big win, Australia-based agency Edge helped Nulon undertake its own car rebuild project, turning a rare classic of Aussie motoring history – a 1971 Ford Falcon XY – into the ultimate street machine.

The mammoth project was documented from start to finish across eight original webisodes. The video series drove demand for the vehicle while showing the brand’s dedication to motoring perfection. Then, in Episode 3, Nulon announced that the Project XY GT replica street machine was up for grabs for one lucky consumer. Fans could get one sweepstakes entry for free and get 10 more entries for every purchase of a Nulon product at retail outlets.

The series was supported by social posts, sponsored posts, and digital display advertising, as well as print efforts and a suite of point-of-sale promotions. Consumer data was captured with every entry, building a remarketing pool to target with additional social posts and direct messages throughout the campaign.

Project XY generated over 1.37 million views and 29 million impressions (amassing over 1.5 million minutes of viewing time), and the associated sweepstakes created a database of nearly 55,000 consumer contact details to fuel the company’s CRM efforts. More importantly, the content campaign generated an additional 10,000 purchases of Nulon products from retail outlets, generating a total sales increase of over $1.7 million compared to the same period in 2017. It was also well received by Nulon’s retail partners, which loved the originality and cut-through of this content campaign in the auto-retail market, as well as the increased foot traffic it delivered to their stores.

Preprosto (PM, poslovni mediji)

(Finalist: Project of the Year; Winner: Best B2C Branded Content Campaign and Best Retail Publication)

Lidl Slovenija – part of a global discount supermarket chain – believes that long-term success comes from producing content so relevant and appealing that its customers would pay for the opportunity to read it. Hence, when the local business created Preprosto in 2014, it became the first (and still only) custom branded magazine in Slovenia sold in stores.

Rather than hiring food industry professionals, Preprosto features original content produced by local food enthusiasts and bloggers who write in their spare time. Yet, readers might never notice the difference, judging by the high-quality writing and production standards. Every article is designed to tell a uniquely intriguing story, while fitting in with the larger brand story of promoting the benefits of food that’s always local, fresh, simple, and alluring.

Preprosto is targeted to women because they make most grocery shopping decisions for Slovenian families. These women commonly prioritize pricing and product quality over brand loyalty. To help the company build stronger customer relationships with this cautious and well-informed consumer group, agency PM, poslovni medili, built a comprehensive communication program around Preprosto.

The program, You Are Our Inspiration, curates the magazine’s content for other media outlets and brand content initiatives, which include social media, cookbooks, and local events. However, You Are Our Inspiration is more than a content or media play. By providing a platform for its audience members to share culinary skills and creative ideas, Lidl Slovenija gives its community an added incentive to engage with, support, and evangelize its stores on an ongoing basis.

Ask Troy (Marcus Thomas LLC)

(Finalist: Project of the Year, Agency of the Year – 100+ employees and Most Innovative Content Distribution Strategy; Winner: Best Use of Content Involving Artificial Intelligence)

Millennials may be new to home ownership responsibilities like yard care, but what they lack in experience they make up for in their eagerness to ask questions and passion for mastering the craft.

Troy-Bilt’s goal was to demonstrate and personify its brand promise – “We Won’t Let You Down” – and become consumers’ most trusted source for relevant yard care answers and expert advice. Recognizing that the millennial audience seeks information and assistance differently than older generations, agency Marcus Thomas LLC powered the company’s latest content play with three of the trendiest communication innovations around: artificial intelligence, voice response, and chatbots.

Through these three spokes of its Ask Troy program, the company aimed to deliver on-demand answers wherever and however these modern yard warriors most likely sought them. For example, in-market consumers were targeted with relevant ad content delivered through IBM’s Watson AI technology. For consumers who like the experience of speaking with a knowledgeable salesperson but not the frustration of searching for one in the store, the Ask Troy Facebook chatbot is available. To help overscheduled mower owners find time to tackle their yard work, a branded Alexa Skill takes personal calendar, personal preferences, and real-time weather information and makes recommendations.

After a 90-day trial, results showed these powerful content tools successfully driving Troy-Bilt’s goals. For example:

  • 6,614 total product recommendations were made throughout the campaign.
  • Its Watson-powered ads received over 43 million impressions, exceeding Watson ad benchmarks for mobile-branded backgrounds (1.2 times), user inputs (1.4 times), and Google rich media interaction rates (1.7 times).
  • More than 43,000 active user sessions were initiated, and 1,574 external link clicks were recorded to troybilt.com.
  • The Ask Troy Facebook chatbot generated 716 conversations.
  • The branded Alexa Skill attracted 982 users who initiated an average of 60 sessions a week.

More winning content creators

The CMI team would like to take a minute to congratulate all of the amazing agencies that took top honors this year, as well as the inspiring marketers who were recognized as finalists for Content Marketer of the Year. We’ll feature many of their innovative examples in the coming months.

Among the other winners announced on the CMWorld stage:

Agency of the Year (fewer than 100 employees)

Winner: 256 Media

Finalists:

Agency of the Year (more than 100 employees)

Winner: Manifest

Finalists:

Best B2B Branded Content Campaign

Winner: Honeywell Threat Data Exposes Industrial USB Risks – Thought Marketing and Honeywell

Finalists:

  • Synchrony’s State of Pay Content Program – Synchrony
  • Business Chemistry Book Launch and Media Campaign – Deloitte
  • Semcon: AddPerspectives – Semcon
  • The YouTube Ad of the Year 2018 – Methods+Mastery 

Best B2C Branded Content Campaign

Winner: Let’s Ask Life for Those We Love – PM, poslovni mediji

Finalists:

B2B Content Marketer of the Year 

WinnerLaura Hamlyn – director of global content team, Red Hat

Finalists:

B2C Content Marketer of the Year 

WinnerNeil Wertheimer, deputy editor, AARP

Finalists:

To learn the previously announced winners in the other categories, visit the list at Content Marketing Awards.

Have you and your team created some awesome content marketing this year? Make sure to enter it in the 2020 Content Marketing Awards. Sign up for our newsletter to get a reminder when the site opens for entry submissions.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Stephanie Stahl

As General Manager of CMI, Stephanie leads the brand’s event, digital, print, and e-learning operations. Previously, Stephanie served as VP of Content Marketing for UBM’s Technology portfolio, providing strategic guidance on content development, content optimization, audience engagement, and go-to-market platforms for technology clients. Stephanie also spent many years as Editor in Chief of InformationWeek. Find Stephanie on Twitter @editorstahl and LinkedIn.

Other posts by Stephanie Stahl

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