Campaigns of Staggering Genius Awards

Recognizing DC’s best marketing campaigns of 2019

Call for Nominations for 2020 Winners!

What are the Campaigns of Staggering Genius?

The Campaigns of Staggering Genius Awards, sometime called the Genius CampaignsTM, are a program of DC Marketing Tech Talks, the area’s leading marketing technology community. Genius campaign champs win the opportunity to showcase their brilliance at the 4th annual Marketing Tech Magnified 2020 conference on March 27th in Reston, Virginia.

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How do I Nominate my Campaign?

From now to February 29, 2020, we’re taking nominations for Campaigns of Staggering GeniusTM Awards in 4 categories:

  • Account-based Marketing (ABM)
  • Demand generation
  • Brand
  • Omni-Channel

Simply submit your nomination by completing our Genius Campaigns Nominations Form. But before you fill out your submission, please take a few minutes to read our Official Awards Rules.

For each category, 3 finalists will each present a 4 slide, 8 minute campaign overview during a lightning round on our BrightTALK channel on March 13th and 14th. Both sessions will be at 12 noon Eastern.  The audience can vote for their top campaign.  However, winners will be chosen using a combination of audience voting and expert panel.

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Meet the 2019 Winners

The very first Genius Campaigns Contest opened for nominations in February 2019.  Nearly 40 campaigns were submitted and these six stood out.

Each campaigns was genius in its own way, but they all delivered legendary results.

SparkLoft’s campaign was genius in how they planned and executed an ambitious goal within an incredibly short period of time. Fidelis Cybersecurity was ingenious in how it took advantage of buyer intent data together with nurture gain brand awareness. As for Phone2action, its genius was in its plan and execution of a bricks and clicks omni-channel campaign. WebMechanix showed how a relatively small paid and organic search strategy delivered the deals. Upside’s campaign was a genius use of a YouTube comedy sensation to become relatable to their potential buyers. And finally, GE Power’s campaign filled with Anthony Bourdain-styled videos can turnaround negative impressions into inspirational and positive ones.

Hopefully, these campaigns inspire you.

Gio Palatucci, Director of Social Media Services of Sparkloft
Gio Palatucci, Director of Social Media Services of Sparkloft

Score a Social Media Touchdown

As the 2018 NFL Season capped off with the Big Game held in Atlanta, Director of Social Media Services Gio Palatucci,and the Sparkloft team devised the social media strategy to get the city of Atlanta into the endzone of positive buzz.

In the weeks before the Big Game, the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee welcomed 500,000 fans to many events in Atlanta. The Host Committee sought to ensure that fans had a great time and got a positive impression of Atlanta. The Committee worked with Sparkloft Media to create a social media content and engagement strategy to extend their hospitality to the digital space. A Social Media Command Center was established to create real-time content, monitor social conversation gathered by a small army of social media runners, facilitate fan engagement and establish crisis communication plans that were executed across Facebook, Facebook Groups, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

In just ten days before the game, this social media strategy resulted in an epic 10 million+ impressions, hundreds of thousands of video views, more than 100K social engagements, and 79,000 new fans/followers.

Moni O
Moni Oloyede, Marketing Operations at Fidelis Cybersecurity

Let’s Make a Deal

Moni Oloyede of Fidelis Cybersecurity aimed to improve the effectiveness of their nurture campaigns by going beyond brand awareness and educational content, due to their lengthy sales cycle. To get the job done, they used a syndicated content vendor who could provide buyer Intent data around product interest to turn completely cold leads into sales.

The Fidelis campaign was actually three campaign phases sequenced into one large one. Phases are as follows:

  1. Worked with the content syndication vendor to distribute Fidelis-created content. They worked together to do a “mini-nurture” to gather buyer intent data.
  2. Put prospects into an “air cover” nurture made up of a twelve-touch email campaign to build brand recognition and product knowledge.
  3. Used BDR scripts and a follow-up cadence made sure BDRs stayed on message and didn’t give up too early. They also used activity notifications from Marketo to help reps rapidly follow up with active prospects.

Of the prospects who engaged (click in 2 or emails in the nurture) 80% became MQLs, off the 80% that were MQLs – 40% became booked meetings – well exceeding the goal.

Chris Rodriguez, Digital Marketing at Phone2Action
Chris Rodriguez, Digital Marketing at Phone2Action

Newsjacking the Midterms

Phone2Action has a tech platform that empowers advocates to connect via text messaging, social media, email, calling, and landing page microsites — with elected officials around the world.

As a start-up, they aimed to grow brand awareness and recognition as a thought leader. So during election week 2018, Senior Director of Marketing Chris Rodriguez pursued an omni-channel strategy of:

  • Politico Influence email newsletter sponsorship (which came with ads on its static web version)
  • Advertising in the real world – on the Capital One Arena giant screens for a month
  • Informed and timely election week content promoted via LinkedIn and Facebook ads
  • Digital ad retargeting via AdRoll

The result was millions of impressions across their chosen channels. They had nearly a million and half impressions from the billboard ads, nearly 100,000 social media ad impressions, and more than 20,000 views from the newsletter sponsorship. On every metric, from users, new users, session duration, to bounce rates, Phone2Action saw double digit improvements and expanded awareness across greater DC.

Chris Mechanic, CEO at Webmechanix
Chris Mechanic, CEO at Webmechanix

How SalsaLabs and WebMechanix Slayed the Salesforce Dragon

CRM company SalsaLabs spent more than $60,000 on Google AdWords within a few months that had no sales. To change that, they partnered with Webmechanix CEO Chris Mechanic to better compete against CRM giant Salesforce. Obviously, SalsaLabs’ budget can’t ever match Salesforce’s, so Webmechanix had to outflank them.

They developed branded organic and paid search campaigns to target users who were already searching for SalsaLabs and who may have mistakenly clicked on competitor ads. Also, they developed retargeting campaigns re-engaged users who did not convert, and a “product finder form” to improve conversion among users referred by AdWords campaigns.

How’d it work? This small and scrappy genius campaign reduced overall ad spend by 80%, had a 656% return on spend, reduced cost per conversion by 19% and reduced ad spend to annual contract value ratio by nearly 80%.  So the SalsaLabs saved big on ad spend AND got conversions and sales to strengthen their rightful place in the CRM market.

Catherine Guarnieri, Growth Lead at Upside Business Travel
Catherine Guarnieri, Growth Lead at Upside Business Travel

Air Travel in Real Life: Growing Awareness using YouTube Ads

Upside is a DC-based travel management company that saves companies time and money on business travel. As a growing startup, Upside sought to grow brand awareness among a younger, tech-forward audience of ‘DIY’ business travelers.

Catherine Guarnieri, Growth Lead at Upside developed a campaign featuring two well-known YouTubers to produce relatable comedy videos about the less glamorous parts of business travel. The videos streamed from the comedians’ YouTube channel, as well as on an Upside landing page. They drove landing page visits through paid and organic social channels, as well as the comedy team’s owned media channels.

By March 2019, the Air Travel in Real Life  video had 700K+ views on their YouTube channel. Perhaps most impressive, though, was in the week after release, the video was picked up by Facebook video aggregators, which lead to another 6.5 million views. Watch the video yourself and you’ll agree that it’s a winner.

Photo for Kristin Fallon
Kristin Fallon, Head of Content and Storytelling at GE Power

Improving Brand Affinity in Negative News Cycles: Editorial-Style CNN Ads

After several challenging years, GE faced negative media coverage. The company desperately needed to “take back” their voice and reassure customers that GE is still a valuable, innovative company with a brilliant future.

To show a positive GE Power, Head of Content and Storytelling Kristin Fallon and her team developed a first of its kind campaign by teaming with CNN, to deliver smart, creative branded content on CNN’s digital and linear media channels. GE aired branded content on CNN’s global social media channels, effectively distributing paid advertising. Together with Courageous Studios, GE created Anthony Bourdain-style, energetic videos that explored how power changes lives. Videos were supplemented by lower-value, human impact journalistic-style stories aired on CNN’s channels, giving viewers a media-style UX and a message applicable to all markets.

The results exceeded expectations. GE reached 39 million people digitally and another 22 million via linear, and 15 million through videos, articles and infographics. It became GE’s farthest-reaching customer brand campaigns and first global media partnership. By using CNN channels to spark positive sentiment, it improved brand familiarity, preference, and web traffic while reaching many key accounts. Also, while not the campaign goal, it drove significant new demand with 50% more lead form fills than the non-promotion period, delivering a huge percentage of all new leads for future-facing products.

From now to February 29, 2020, we’re taking nominations for Campaigns of Staggering GeniusTM Awards in 4 categories:

  • Account-based Marketing (ABM)
  • Demand generation
  • Brand
  • Omni-Channel

Simply submit your nomination by completing our Genius Campaigns Nominations Form. But before you fill out your submission, please take a few minutes to read our Official Awards Rules.

For each category, 3 finalists will each present a 4 slide, 8 minute campaign overview during a lightning round on our BrightTALK channel on March 13th and 14th. Both sessions will be at 12 noon Eastern.  The audience can vote for their top campaign.  However, winners will be chosen using a combination of audience voting and expert panel.

Please Join Us!

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