Q: I’m a small marketer, and only the big guys become finalists and win.
A: There is a category made just for you: Small Cataloger/Web Merchant, open only to marketers with annual sales of less than $10 million! Plus, small marketers have walked away with top honors in bigger categories. For example, in the 2006 MCM Awards travel cataloger Country Walkers breezed off with the Gold Award in the Consumer Specialty category and SherrillTree took home the Silver Award with its first consumer catalog.
Q: The same companies win every year.
A: First-time entrants and new companies take home Gold and Silver awards each year. Last year, first-time entrant Steiner Sports Memorabilia earned a Gold Award in the Small Web Merchant category; another first-timer, Ethel M Chocolates, won a Silver Web Channel Award in the Food category. Other first-time entrants or winners included SherillTree, Smith+Noble, One Step Ahead, and CWDKids.com—and that’s just for 2006.
Q: It’s a beauty contest.
A: Each entry is judged on multiple, equally weighted criteria, including cover/home page, merchandising, copy, design and production/navigation and usability, and customer service and ordering. Judges are continually reminded to weigh the marketing success and other factors included in the evaluation just as heavily as graphic appeal.
Q: If I submit my financial results on the entry form, the judges might discuss our numbers with competitors.
A: Entry form data is confidential—members of the judging panel sign a contract in which they promise not to share the information provided on the forms. And in the 22-year history of the Awards, there has never been a breach of confidentiality.
Q: The judges may be biased toward their own catalogs or Websites, or those of their clients.
A Judges are prohibited from reviewing any catalog, or Website, with which they have or have had an affiliation as well as those of competitors.
Q: It’s not worth the time and expense to enter.
A: Even if you don’t make it through to the finalist round, all entries receive feedback from the prescreening judging panel. In fact, this year we’ve restructured the evaluation form to include more detailed information. So just by entering, you’ll receive a mini-critique from an industry expert—well worth the price of entry!