Webinar Recap: How to Win an AAM-MAA

AAM Awards Season

By Dawn Wagenaar, Ingenuity Marketing Group


Each year, firms and agencies submit their best work to be considered for an Association for Accounting Marketing’s Marketing Achievement Award (AAM-MAA). This award recognizes outstanding achievement in accounting marketing.

We recently surveyed members to find out what questions they had about the process, judging, submissions and more. Based on our results, we held our most recent AAM High! webinar on the topic, “How to Win an AAM-MAA”. We’ve rounded up the top 10 tips on how to win an AAM-MAA from our panelists and webinar attendees.

  1. Start early; plan appropriately. As soon as the submission opens, start your work. Do not wait until the last minute, as your submission will clearly show that it was put together quickly.
  2. Review project goals and outcomes. Did your project meet or exceed the goals? This is a big part of the submission, and the judges want to see quantitative results.
  3. Tell the projects’ story. “Business is about people, if you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business,” says Matt McComb, 2017 judge. Make it interesting for the judge to read, and really tell the story of the project.
  4. Don’t discount the electronic poster. Each submission includes a chance to visually showcase your work samples. Be sure to include text on the poster, if you can, as other AAM members like to know the context of the work.
  5. Include AAM-MAA submissions in your annual marketing budget. When doing your annual budget, include funds for one or two submissions. This will set the expectation and hold you accountable to actually submit the work.
  6. Save work samples. So you just did a re-brand? Great. Make sure to save samples of your previous brand or website, to visually showcase the changes. “We did a re-brand including a new website and didn’t grab screenshots of the old website to showcase. Of course, our web person was able to get them but having those up front would have been much easier!” said Jaimi Koechel, 2017 AAM-MAA winner from Henry + Horne.
  7. The results are what matter. Don’t discount telling the story through words, but at the end of the day, identifying the results is what matters. Highlight growth through numbers; share success quantitatively.
  8. Identify possible submissions often. The submission guidelines should mirror your project’s marketing goals; sometimes it’s just putting the pen to paper and getting the idea out that can help. Consider reviewing projects every quarter to determine submission quality.
  9. Everyone has the same chance. Each submission is evaluated with the same criteria. If your firm submits more than one entry, the chances increase through power of numbers. Once submissions are judged, only our event planner knows who has won until the actual award ceremony.
  10. Review, review, review. Go through your submission with a fine-tooth comb. While a typo may not disqualify you, it’ll show the judges that you didn’t put the effort into your submission.
  11. Bonus! Multimedia links. If you’re submitting a video or audio file, be sure to include a link with access to the file! Judges have had to hunt down links and access to view a video or audio submission, and this is time consuming for everyone. Try using a short link or a QR code to direct the judge to where they can find your multimedia work.

Remember, you can’t win if you don’t submit. We look forward to seeing all of your amazing work!

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About Dawn Wagenaar

Dawn Wagenaar is Principal of Ingenuity Marketing Group, LLC, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ingenuity works with accounting firms across the country on branding, research, marketing and growth to make their professionals famous. Dawn is past chair of the AAM Conference Committee and Virtual Education Committee and past member-at-large for AAM National Board of Directors.

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