The Dames Honored with Most Pretentious Marketing Award Yet

Fake marketing award signage: Marketing Prowess Award from That Marketing Association
Picture of Connie Collins

Connie Collins

A gifted brand storyteller with more than 15 years of experience, Connie translates any subject, from the serious to the silly, into engaging content with the essence intact.

Jen Carroll and Connie Collins team up to write a playful satire about the marketing industry's flawed ecosystem for marketing awards. Connie is currently a keyword research and content collaborator with The Dames.


Polishing their tiara: the inside scoop on how The Dames snatched 'That Marketing Association' award

(Spoiler: it involves glam, grit, and a platinum sponsorship.)

Somewhere, USA – The Dames Marketing & PR, a leading integrated marketing communication company, proudly announces its prestigious Marketing Prowess Award from That Marketing Association. The Prowess Award, a testament to The Dames’ innovative approach and outstanding achievements in the marketing industry, was presented at the glittering That Marketing Association Awards Gala held recently in an undisclosed location.

Expressing genuine shock and gratitude, Jen Carroll, partner at The Dames, remarked, “Winning the Marketing Prowess Award from That Marketing Association is a momentous achievement for us. Even though we were the event’s platinum sponsor and also bought a table, we were genuinely surprised and deeply humbled by this recognition. It’s a testament to the hard work, dedication, and creativity of our team.” 

The Dames’ partner Annalisa Hilliard noted the company wanted to support That Marketing Association and its mission in a big way. She said, “Even though our potential clients have never heard of That Marketing Association, their event was a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with industry peers, learn from the best, and celebrate the collective achievements of the marketing community.” 

The Marketing Prowess Award recognizes The Dames’ outstanding contributions to the field of marketing, including vague documentation about innovative campaigns, strategic thinking, and measurable impact on clients’ businesses. This accolade reaffirms The Dames Marketing & PR’s position as a trailblazer in the integrated marketing communication industry.

About That Marketing Association

That Marketing Association, the brainchild of Jen Carroll and Connie Collins’ satiric wit, is an oasis where marketers from a parallel universe converge to congratulate themselves and, with concern about other agencies stealing clients, give each other the side eye at every gathering.

At That Marketing Association, we believe in the power of make-believe, where marketers can dream up awards as unique as their last underpaid and overworked hire. Our mission? To inspire agencies from around the U.S. to help us break even—year in and year out.

Gold statue and sparkly stars on a yellow background as part of satirical post about marketing awards

A playful satire of the industry's marketing awards ecosystem

Or, why The Dames challenge marketing's pay-to-play awards culture and what it represents

Into the ever-competitive world of marketing, where agencies jostle for the most prestigious awards and industry recognition, I (Connie) am assisting a couple rogue marketers in throwing a curveball that’s both witty and thought-provoking. 

You might wonder why these marketers are giving themselves awards for being great marketers. Simple: no one else will because they don’t have the time or resources to play the game.

In our irreverent satire of the marketing award ecosystem, rogue marketers like The Dames can say, “We win awards, too, and ours are just as valid (if not more so) and a whole lot less expensive.”

I’d like to think a subtle but significant shift is taking place. Perhaps other marketers will consider joining them in their mischievous mocking of the pay-to-play award culture that has long dominated the marketing industry. So, I’ve helped The Dames concoct their own brand of recognition and poke fun at the traditional agency system and its penchant for self-congratulatory accolades.

But there’s more to this story than just humor. We have a deeper message to share—one that seeks to challenge the outdated agency system in not just marketing, but also advertising and public relations. Let’s explore a changing landscape that’s leaving little room for empty trophies and expensive ceremonies.

Prestige over process: exposing the agency model's fundamental flaws

Man with face in hands as two people overwhelm him with assignments, potentially at a marketing agency.The traditional agency model has always had fundamental flaws. With high overhead costs that get passed on to clients, agencies often hire inexperienced, underpaid employees who quickly burn out from the grind, leading to high turnover rates and instability. Agencies often struggle to attract and retain marketing specialists who can provide real expertise. Meanwhile, agency founders get caught up in making sales and enjoying the prestige and profits of the business. 

This version of communication service delivery has long dominated the industry, shaping not only client campaigns, but also the way success is measured. Central to this model is the practice of offering pay-to-play awards for campaigns, design, and other marketing achievements. These awards offer the chance to use the prestigious label of “award-winning” to validate marketing prowess. Though immense talent exists in the marketing field, this critique aims to highlight flaws in the self-perpetuating awards system itself, not to disparage individuals who legitimately deserve recognition for their work. The hope is to see a paradigm shift around the significance of marketing awards, the agencies fixated on winning them, and the associations undergirding the awards culture.

Note: Although these generalizations point to fundamental flaws in the traditional agency model, it’s important to acknowledge there are exceptions. We’ve encountered a small handful of agencies that have found ways to circumvent the system, instead focusing on hiring and retaining talented specialists. These fellow ‘rogues’ excel at collaboration and building meaningful client relationships grounded in true marketing expertise rather than prestige. 

But this model is under challenge. Many courageous marketers refuse to work for agencies (or have worked for them in the past and run away–fast!). They stand outside the typical agency structure and create their own rules. They’re not joining the local chambers or other sales and marketing organizations with weird acronyms for their over-long names. In addition, they are not claiming to take care of all your marketing needs. Rather, these professionals are experts in marketing strategies AND building strong collaborative relationships with other rogues like themselves.

Rogues are uninterested in (and slightly sarcastic about) the self-perpetuating awards culture and the organizations that sustain themselves with revenues generated by tickets sales and award submissions. Rogues believe these awards hold little value because they are not given by clients, but rather by the industry itself as a symbol of an exclusive and hierarchical structure. Winning insider awards doesn’t equate to serving clients well. Rogues would rather invest in honing their skills to meet clients’ business and communication objectives.

Respecting transparency and building meaningful connections

This value shift in the field of marketing may reflect the priorities of a changing society. People value transparency, need affordability, and crave meaningful connection. They are less apt to be easily impressed (by awards, for instance ) and are slow to offer trust. Rogue marketers meet this moment. They excel at the creation of meaningful, authentic relationships with clients, their audiences, and other rogue marketers.

The rogue wave of marketing is breaking down reliance on the out-dated agency layers and hierarchies where account managers act as intermediaries between clients and creative teams. Many clients want to directly engage with the marketing specialists who do the work: the strategists, writers, designers, SEOs and SEMs, and others. This accessibility fosters better understanding, collaboration, and an authentic exchange of ideas. The result is a more relational connection between clients and the marketing team.

This human-centered approach can also lead to more resonant and relatable marketing campaigns. When the people behind the campaign can connect directly with the client’s customers and brand, they can create genuine, customer-centric messages that resonate within the framework of effective marketing tactics (i.e., SEO, content, SEM and other paid ads, video, social media, etc.).  

The power of aligning values and marketing

What happens when businesses work with rogue marketers who help create authentic brand interactions online and offline? Really important things:

  1. Purchasing Decisions. Authentic marketing that resonates with consumers can lead to increased purchase intent. Consumers are more likely to choose brands that align with their values and provide a personalized, human experience.
  2. Brand Loyalty. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to brands that have established a genuine connection with them. They are willing to forgive occasional missteps if they believe in the brand’s commitment to authenticity and responsiveness.
  3. Ambassadorship. Engaged and loyal customers often become brand advocates, driving organic growth through word-of-mouth recommendations and social media sharing. Their advocacy can significantly impact the brand’s reputation and reach.

Rogues rising: let's revolutionize the marketing industry

Words "mindset changing" inside a cloud with a gray background and a icon that symbolizes uploadingThe shift in marketing culture to rogue marketers is a positive one. It means the industry may be becoming more diverse and equitable. It also means that clients are starting to focus on what is really important: creative, effective, and relevant work.

The marketing-awards system—which we used as a doorway into this conversation—is a relic of the past and no longer relevant to the needs of clients or the changing landscape of the marketing industry. Rogue marketers are leading the way in creating a new system that is based on hard-earned skills and meaningful results.

What can you do if you are looking to partner with marketing professionals? Support rogue marketers and the shift in marketing culture by seeking out experienced marketers who are challenging the agency status quo and creating new and innovative ways to reach consumers.

If you want to become a rogue marketer, we offer these recommendations:

Focus on creating great work for your clients, not on winning awards.

The key lies in dedicating your energy to creating exceptional work that surpasses clients’ expectations rather than chasing awards. By immersing yourself in understanding clients’ unique challenges and goals, you channel creativity and expertise into solutions that not only meet but exceed expectations.

Invest your energy in honing your skills and embracing innovation without losing sight of the things about communication that never change.

Balancing innovation with timeless human elements is fundamental for rogue marketers. Invest in your own skills and embracing new ways of marketing—all while appreciating the enduring aspects of human nature that remain unchanged no matter how technology advances. Yes, mastering new tools is essential, but never forget how emotions, challenges, and the need to get things done drive consumer decisions. 

Approach new projects and clients with transparent communication and a genuine partnership mindset, regardless of the prospect of a long-term commitment.

It establishes trust, ensures clarity from start to finish, and enables creativity to flourish. Even if a particular project doesn’t lead to a long-term relationship, this approach ensures excellence in the short term, leaving a lasting positive impact and laying the foundation for potential future collaborations. Consistently embracing this philosophy can attract clients who appreciate and value your authentic approach, often resulting in enduring relationships.

Find out what it’s like to talk to a couple of rogues, and reach out to The Dames. Our walls and shelves may lack marketing awards, but what you will find are two sincere communication professionals deeply passionate about your success.

(Plus, we don’t have to dust the dang statues!)