The 2nd Annual Comma Club Awards were held on May 12th, 2019.

These awards were established by the Comma Club to celebrate excellence and innovation in online marketing.

Nomadic Digital Group, a marketing company that worked with brands such as Talkwalker, Moki, and more, sponsored this event. They work closely with brands to analyze, optimize, and plan digital marketing campaigns.

The purpose of the Comma Club is to promote thought leadership, collaboration, and education within the marketing industry.

The 2019 winners are:

Marketing Agency of the Year

TikTok, an app that allows users to create and share short-form videos, took home this year’s award for Marketing Agency of the Year.

The company’s success can be attributed to its ability to understand their customers’ needs and wants through user-generated content.

“With over 200 million active monthly users and nearly all advertising accounted for by digital media, it’s no wonder that marketers are looking for ways to engage with consumers in this new world of online advertising,” said Ben Mercer, VP of marketing at AdWords.

Forrester, an advisory company that tracks online marketing and consumer behavior, predicts that by 2022, 86% of all new consumer relationships will be established online. Having a digital strategy in place is therefore essential for any business.

It’s not just about having a website – although that’s a good start – businesses need to understand how customers are finding them online and what they’re doing once they’re there.

Marketing Platform of the Year

Buffer, an app that helps people discover content across social media, took home this year’s award for Marketing Platform of the Year.

The platform is popular because it’s simple to use and allows non-techy users to have a go at creating and managing a digital marketing campaign.

“In an age where consumers have a plethora of options at their fingertips, businesses must ensure they have a clear message and are reaching the right audience. This is where digital marketing can help, as it allows for more targeted, relevant, and effective campaigns,” said Ben Mercer, VP of marketing at AdWords.

Hootsuite’s Shana Rothman said that while the industry is still adapting to the changes brought on by COVID-19, the demand for smarter digital marketing strategies has only increased.

“Marketing, social media, and digital marketing are more important now than ever before, as consumers increasingly rely on their smartphones to seek out services and resources, as well as establish connections and stay informed,” said Rothman. “Marketing in the post-pandemic world will be about creating relevant content for your target audience, engaging with them on the right channels, and measuring the impact of your efforts.”

HubSpot’s Senior Director of Marketing, Lauren Moore, says that as marketing becomes more digital, consumers are demanding businesses to take a more strategic approach to marketing – rather than just throwing money at social media and expecting results.

“Marketing is not a one-and-done activity, and it shouldn’t be treated as such,” said Moore. “Marketers need to be aware of the long-term strategy behind their efforts, and take the time to establish benchmarks and review metrics regularly to ensure they’re making the right impact on the right audiences.”

Inbound Marketing Award

Sprout Social, a social media management tool, took home the award for Inbound Marketing – a sub-category of Marketing Agency of the Year.

The company’s success is based on its mission of making social media effortless for businesses.

“One of the distinguishing factors of inbound marketing is that it focuses less on attracting customers to your company and more on developing a relationship with them,” said Steve Clayton, CEO and co-founder of Sprout Social.

“This sort of marketing is all about getting to know the people who matter most to your business – your customers. And it starts by simply listening to what they have to say and then acting on what you learn. You don’t want to force your will on them or try to convince them that what you offer is the best – that’s called selling,” said Clayton.

Sprout Social’s co-founder and CMO, Pete Maher, added that it’s not just about sales; businesses should be focusing on establishing a trustworthy relationship with their customers through transparent communication.

“Your customers should feel like you’re engaged in a genuine dialogue with them, rather than just pitching your product to win their business. So rather than focusing on a single action (i.e. buying a product), you want to look at the bigger picture (i.e. a relationship) and consider what you as a brand will do to make them feel valued and appreciated,” said Maher.

He continued: “Customers want to do business with brands they believe will respect them as individuals and contribute to making the world a better place. When a brand can demonstrate this through a series of meaningful interactions, the possibility of creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships exists.”

“Consumers are demanding more from businesses than offering the best priced product with the most positive reviews,” said Ben Mercer, VP of marketing at AdWords.

“They want to do business with brands that align with their values and are committed to making a lasting impression. This is why businesses must ensure their digital marketing strategy is thought-out and takes a long-term approach, as it relates to developing brand loyalty and trustworthiness – which will naturally lead to increased consumer interactions and improved sales.

These awards are a great way to celebrate excellence and innovation in online marketing. Nomadic Digital Group’s Ben Mercer said: “It’s an honor to work with some of the best in their fields, and to be able to celebrate their achievements with the Comma Club is something special.”