The ultimate data product: Awards programs


Awards programs are a great money-maker that can drive significant revenues for trade shows or trade magazines. In B2B, awards for large scale projects have the potential to pull in revenue from both the designer/architect/builder/engineer and the companies they bought components from.

So why aren’t more of these awards programs investing in the next logical step of turning award entries into a data product? It’s a supplier catalog with drama. It’s a look book with pathos. It’s a way to get people to allocate a lot more of their marketing budget to you than they are now. It’s a great path to monetizing a segment of your audience.

Awards programs minus the data product are already pretty compelling. For the 5, 10 or 20 winners and runners-up, there is a great deal of marketing benefit. For the segment of prospects looking to purchase the products or services being recognized, there are useful benchmarks and new ideas. For the awards program organizers, there are entry fees, award ceremony fees, a bump in advertising from some of the winners, and a jump in attendee/reader interest.

It’s similar to the tradeshow revenue model, with nearly all the revenue clustered around the actual show (or awards ceremony) date. There are a lot of logistics and planning to put this together, which is why events teams tend to do it better than editorial teams.

Data product concept

Now let’s extend the model and drive more dollars out of all that work by turning it into a data product. Everyone who pays an entry fee gets into the awards program database with some description of their entry, their company links and an image or two. All entries must specify the manufacturers and model #’s of all the major components of the project.

Winners are easily searchable and are visually distinguished. Winners also have the option of paying for upgrades to a more robust presentation of their project, their capabilities, their people and whatever else is appropriate. A recurring fee to the winner’s credit card keeps the premium presentation on the awards site indefinitely.

Along with every entry are links to either the suppliers’ catalogs, or even better, the individual items in that supplier’s catalog showcased on your site. Suppliers may highlight a product as being part of an award-winning project by purchasing a premium package. This presentation on the awards site delivers far more marketing value (3rd-party independent validation) than a traditional ad placement or Google AdWords placement.

Back to the trade show or magazine: Can you say “scalable recurring revenue model”? I knew you could.

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