An established set of accolades within the Performance Marketing Awards, the Industry Awards categories endeavour to recognise those who have earned the particular favour of their performance marketing partners.

It’s a unique and highly-prized scalp to take away from the annual ceremony, and one that’s testament to the influence that technologies, relationships, support, revenue – and other attributes – have on creating a sterling perception among clients.

Adhering to the standard entry deadline of January 20, there is still time to enter this coveted category, at no cost, for the chance to be voted Industry Choice of Advertiser, Network or Publisher when the PMAs return to the Grosvenor House Hotel in April.

While there’s only so much we can say about these awards, the words of past winners speak volumes for the value of entering; PerformanceIN caught up with two Industry Awards champions to find out more.

Tell us about winning Industry Choice of Tech Solution and Publisher respectively?

Emma Marti (Performance Horizon, Industry Choice of Tech Solution 2016): It was an honor to win the Industry Choice of Tech Solution at the PMA awards earlier this year, especially after being shortlisted alongside a group of prestigious companies.

Our team has always been committed to our goal of ensuring our customers’ success and we consider the award a positive indication that we are both upholding our company values – staying accountable, thinking big, and being tenacious – and delivering the technology and services that enables our brands and partners to succeed.

Graham Jenner (TopCashback, Industry Choice of Publisher 2016): It was a big surprise to be honest, not because we didn’t deserve it, but because we hadn’t really asked people to vote for us.

The comments we received suggested we won because of our flexible and consultative approach to working with clients. We try really hard to listen to what people want to achieve and come up with original ideas designed to meet their goals.

Earlier in the year we won ‘Consumer Moneyfacts Cashback Site of the Year’ and ‘Most Trusted Insurance Comparison Site’ in the Moneywise Customer Service Awards, so this felt like the grand slam of customers, clients and networks.

Where does the value lie in winning Industry Choice of Partner?

EM: There’s certainly some gravitas that comes with winning such a prestigious industry award, but the real significance comes from knowing that our customers and their marketing partners value our solutions and services highly enough to publicly acknowledge us as their preferred technology vendor, and cast their votes in our favour.

GJ: For us, the main value was in the recognition. As a company, we have always strived to be the best partner to work with; from quick response times to a well-trained team of people who care about the work they do, we have built something special at TopCashback. This extends beyond just my team – from tech to customer service, marketing to finance, everyone genuinely cares about growing the company. We have gone from being a small challenger to now being recognised as one of the biggest publishers in the UK, while keeping our ‘fair play’ ethos and strong ethics.

On a personal note, it’s great to see my team rewarded for all the hours and hard work they put in. It’s fair to say we are always well represented at every industry event which is a reflection of how dedicated and passionate they are, and I’m so pleased the award recognises this.

Has anything changed for your company since winning the award?

EM: We’re never satisfied with resting on our laurels and always stay focused on innovating – that will never change. What has, and continues to change, are consumer behaviours, their devices, and the channels they use along the path to conversion. It’s our mission to help our customers and their marketing partners to better serve consumers and ensure that we provide the support and technology they require.

GJ: I have constantly reminded people that we are an award-winning team, but not too much has changed for us. If anything, we have tried even harder to be people’s publisher of choice. It also just reinforces that as a company we are focusing on the right things.

What has been really good, is that we have continued to grow 30% year on year, which seems to be exceeding both the cashback sector and industry. Other companies are also taking note as we have started to see some of our longstanding USPs being replicated, which has also been a flattering reminder of how we are getting things right.

In your opinion, what kind of attributes represent ‘winner’s quality’ for this award?

EM: My biggest piece of advice is to listen carefully to clients – both existing and potential. Understand their challenges and goals and then work hard to create and deliver a technology solution that meets and exceeds their expectations. We do our best to align our product development to our clients’ needs by taking advantage of opportunities for additional feedback whenever possible. For example, the process of working with clients on award submissions helps us identify any emerging needs or requirements they may have.

As far as attributes, I’d say accountability is key. It’s one thing to say “this is what our technology provides,” but another to actually deliver consistently and well through the integration, deployment, migration and ongoing support stages.

GJ: I believe the award recognises a few different areas: firstly, and probably most overlooked, is a general reliability and responsiveness. People tend to take it for granted but there is nothing worse than emailing people and getting no response.

After that, I think it’s the quality of the response, the originality of the ideas, and taking the time to listen. One of our big strengths as a company is that we try to understand what people want to accomplish; you can’t beat face time with clients talking about seemingly irrelevant topics and then stumbling across something that is important to their business.

What’s your take on awards as a vital aspect of driving the industry forward?

EM: The Performance Marketing Awards is the standard bearer in recognising excellence in the industry. Over the past decade, the PMAs have played an important role in both encouraging and celebrating innovation across the entire performance marketing ecosystem. When all players – from advertisers, publishers, agencies, networks and technology providers – are pushed to deliver their best, the entire industry moves forward in a positive way.

GJ: Some people create specific plans and ideas with the aim of winning an award, so it helps to encourage innovation. As an industry we are sometimes a little bit reluctant to progress. People like the idea of it, but unless they are guaranteed a return, they’re often unkeen. The PMAs give the incentive of an award – people are more willing to take the plunge on something new that might not bring an immediate, measurable return.