Award winners exemplify boldness, creativity, success

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Award winners exemplify boldness, creativity, success

Making predictions for the coming year—a venerable tradition for end-of-the-year essays—proved vexing this year. The business atmosphere is clouded by uncertainty. Ask businesspeople about their expectations for 2003 and you’re likely to get a sigh, a shrug, a stare. Is the long-awaited U.S. economic recovery under way? The signals are mixed. Add to this the looming and seemingly inevitable war with Iraq and the ongoing terrorist threat against the U.S. and its allies—events that may throw unknown variables into the mix—and it’s little wonder many business planners are hesitating, reluctant to make investments while facing an uncertain future.

But not all businesses. This issue of BtoB features two of our most popular annual special reports: the Sawyer Awards (Page 20), for the best b-to-b creative, and the Top Marketers of the Year (Page 24).

Our Sawyer Award winners all exemplify the same trait: boldness. Campaigns that know what they’re about, at such a deep level that they’re willing to break the mold and take a risk, are downright magical. The magic of these creative—and effective—ads is a counterweight to the anemic efforts by the vast majority of organizations that are suffocating and paralyzed, and whose advertising hasn’t changed in a decade.

After his keynote speech last month at the Chicago Chapter of the Business Marketing Association, I asked Sergio Zyman, former chief marketing officer of The Coca-Cola Co., what he’d advise distressed companies to do from a marketing standpoint. "Companies will declare Chapter 11 to get relief from their old creditors, but they keep producing the same [expletive deleted] ads," Zyman answered. They ought to declare their old marketing ideas bankrupt as well, he added.

Have you re-assessed your marketing plan? Are you planning a bold initiative in 2003? BtoB is constantly hunting for such stories. Send me an e-mail about your plans. And, as always, feel free to contact me about how BtoB can better serve you.


In 2003, BtoB will expand its coverage. Along with our monthly issues, we will produce in June our first-ever special issue on interactive marketing. In November we will publish the second edition of our Marketers Resource Guide, a collection of our best special reports and top lists from the year. In addition, BtoB will expand its electronic products, adding an additional weekly e-mail newsletter on the topic of b-to-b e-mail marketing. And, as in past years, we’ve scheduled an exciting series of breakfast events around the country; at these events, b-to-b marketing executives from top U.S. companies will provide an inside look at their programs.

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