Digital awards are more than a slap on the back

The annual IAB SA Bookmark awards has in less than eight years of existence established itself as the country’s premier digital industry awards, and amongst the most coveted awards in the South African marketing landscape.

Josephine Buys, CEO of the IAB SA, states that this is in line with international trends, where digital marketing is increasing in importance at an exponential rate. Since the digital space does not impose many of the barriers experienced by other media, the opportunity exists to create content that is innovative, unique and free from a formulaic approach.

“The digital space has changed the face of marketing forever,” says Buys. “In the past, the basic fundamentals of advertising were applied to the digital space, but the emergence of mobile devices and social media means the approach has gone from talking to people, towards creating a memorable experience. Instead of a single expert on marketing, the digital industry requires the input of several experts in several sub-fields such as SEO, social media, content creation, and campaign design.

“Although the concept of digital marketing has been with us since the 1990s, there is no indication that the rate of change is slowing down, which means that the ability to adapt quickly is indispensable in this space. This is why we believe that the Bookmarks, and other digital awards, are so important, as they showcase the best local talent prevalent in a truly dynamic industry.”

She emphasises that digital awards should be seen as much more than just a ‘slap on the back’ for good work. “As digital marketing becomes more and more indispensible to brands of all sizes, the rate of innovation in the space will ramp up, as is evidenced by the increased number of entries this year. The importance of the Bookmarks is not only its recognition of excellence in the digital marketing industry but also in its ability to inspire the brands and agencies that are continually seeking new and exciting ways to reach their target audiences.”

The fluidity of the digital industry means that the awards themselves are in a state of constant change.

“We constantly relook the categories and sub-categories of the Bookmarks to ensure that they remain relevant and provide a comprehensive overview of the South African digital space,” says Buys. “The awards are benchmarked against the best international industry showcases, and the local entries stack up very well to the best work being done around the world. For this reason, awards that showcase this excellence are indispensable.”

Buys highlights the importance of adding value through awards, which the IAB SA did through the introduction of the IAB Digital Summit, which runs alongside the Bookmarks and is now in its second year.

The Summit brings together industry leading professionals, decision-makers and thought leaders and provides a platform by which they are able to exchange and share their experiences and knowledge on all aspects of digital marketing and media. Additionally, the event provides a multidisciplinary forum for the presentation and discussion of the most recent innovations, trends, strategies, challenges and solutions in the industry.

“The introduction of the Summit means that as an industry body, we are able to promote the evolution of the local digital industry in line with international trends, whilst recognising the best local talent,” says Buys.

Speakers confirmed for this years IAB Digital Summit include Guy Phillipson, IAB UK CEO; Vinny Lingham, tech start up extraordinaire and leader of Gyft; Roli Okoro, Director of Audience on Demand, VivaKi MENA; Ros Atkins, host of BBC News’ Outside Source; and many more.

In conclusion, Buys notes that in order to create a more inclusive and accessible event, the IAB SA has managed to significantly decrease the price of Summit tickets for 2016.

“On the back of the success of last year’s summit, sponsorship of the event has increased. This means we’ve been able to allocate this revenue to the ticket budget allowing for a decrease in price, while still delivering high quality content and a world class event.”

The deadline for early bird Summit tickets is looming and tickets are selling fast. Book now to avoid disappointment:

For more information on the IAB SA Bookmark Awards, or ticket bookings, visit:

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