The majority of the winners and finalists of the 2019 Content Marketing Awards were announced in July. However, the biggest awards – for the agencies, campaigns, and content marketers of the year – were revealed during a live awards ceremony at Content Marketing World in September.

After the trophies were handed out, CCO caught up with the winners, each a deserved leader of our industry.

Category winners:

Agency of the Year (<100 Employees)

256 Media, Ireland

Ireland’s first content marketing agency launched in 2013 while the country was still suffering from a chronic recession. The six-strong team knew their tiny office wouldn’t wow potential clients, even if everyone could fit in the small meeting space. So instead they let the quality of their work speak for them. Despite these humble beginnings, 256 soon began to attract bigger clients … as well as the occasional award. Today, 256 has grown to a team of 36, with annual revenue of $4.8 million and a shelf holding up seven global content marketing awards. The agency has also expanded into Europe with multi-lingual content, such as the #KeepUpWithTheGirls campaign for Special Olympics Eurasia, which was recently shortlisted for the Best Social Content Marketing Award at the Irish Content Marketing Awards. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that 256 is the first agency in the world to achieve and maintain the ISO 9001 quality assurance standard for the creation and delivery of content services.

Agency of the Year (>100 Employees)

Manifest, United States
Manifest agency logo

When the long list of category awards was announced in July, Manifest popped up again and again. A finalist in nine categories, the agency won five – an impressive record the judges couldn’t ignore when it came to awarding Agency of the Year. A common thread of all of their entries was a strong ROI story, backed up by specific performance metrics and clear client strategies. One example was the agency’s five-year relationship with Alamo Rent a Car, shifting the conversation from a focus on price to become a brand of preference for the family vacation through a content campaign called The Scenic Route. Manifest also attracted $10 million in new business in 2018 by demonstrating how content marketing was a more effective way for clients to achieve their business goals.

Best B2B Branded Content Campaign

Honeywell Threat Data Exposes Industrial USB Risks
Thought Marketing & Honeywell, United States

Image detail from Honeywell USB social media campaign

Industrial process control networks might not seem like a fertile topic for content marketing glory but, as always, it’s about finding the right story to tell. During an internal R & D review of its decades-deep reservoir of data, Honeywell noticed a surprising amount of malware and other cyberthreats attempting to infiltrate industrial networks through USB devices, with 44% of industrial plants at risk. This gave Honeywell and Thought Marketing a powerful and necessary cybersecurity story to tell CEOs, board members, CISOs, and CIOs. The judges were impressed by an excellent use of data to uncover a threat with the potential to impact human and environmental safety. As the intended industrial audience is both highly specialized and highly dispersed, the campaign used a mix of traditional and new media distribution tactics, from AdWords and social media to distributing printed copies and allowing select media outlets to share the report ungated. The campaign reached over 3 million prospects, resulting in $1.3 million in new B2B business, including seven major deals that had been on the fence for months.

Best B2C Branded Content Campaign

Vprašaj življenje (Ask Life)
PM, poslovni mediji, Slovenia

Sad woman with the caption When the worst happens.

Insurance is one of those products people know they need but would rather they didn’t because it makes them contemplate the worst that can happen. And when the product is life insurance, the topic can be even more uncomfortable for people to think about, never mind discuss. In Slovenia, life insurance company Zavarovalnica Triglav decided to launch a long-term content campaign for its life insurance products that tackled this discomfort head-on – the taboo topic of death – by exploring a question everyone should ask themselves: How would my loved ones manage if the worst were to happen to me? Agency PM, poslovni mediji opted to use genuine and relatable people as the main narrators to share their experiences in plain and honest language. The campaign addressed the target audiences at every phase of the decision-making process, with content and related activities integrated across numerous media channels designed to appeal to different personas, such as an event for new parents and financial advice for young couples. Backed by impressive reach and awareness metrics, the campaign exceeded its sales goals in the first six months of the campaign.

Content Marketer of the Year (B2B)

Laura Hamlyn, Director, Global Content Team, Red Hat

A dynamic and creative leader with a natural talent for inspiring those around her, Laura built Red Hat’s content team from a handful of people taking content orders from sales and the C-suite to a 50-person (and growing) strategic team. Today, Hamlyn and the content team support the enterprise Linux community through award-winning customer-focused content to nurture meaningful interactions. Behind the scenes, Hamlyn also demonstrates a dedication to less glamorous details, such as UX, content strategy, and content governance.

Content Marketer of the Year (B2C)

Neil Wertheimer, Deputy Editor, AARP

Neil considers it his mission to use the power of words to benefit the world around him. Driven by this passion to create positive change, he makes sure the content team at AARP creates, inspires, educates, and empowers the organization’s enormous, diverse, and savvy audience of over 38 million members. Together, AARP The Magazine and the AARP Bulletin deliver a one-two punch against stereotypes about aging, while informing, educating, and inspiring action along the way.