How to win the Forrester Groundswell Awards
by Josh Bernoff
The Forrester Groundswell Awards entry deadline is in two weeks, on August 27. As usual, most of you have waited until the last two weeks to enter. If you haven't entered yet but plan to, this advice is for you. (If you just want to see other people's entries, click on the items at the left of the Awards site.)
Our awards process is transparent, and so are our criteria. So in interests of helping you spend your time wisely, let me tell you how to win. I'll use examples from entries already submitted, and from previous winners. (Just because I show an example doesn't mean it will win ... we judge things in detail, this is just from a cursory review.)
I'm going to assume you already built a kick-ass social or mobile application for customers or employees. So your only problem is to show it off. Here are three pieces of advice:
1.Include numbers. Show us, as quantitatively as you can, how you accomplished a business goal. For example, this entry from TurboTax has some impressive numbers including a sales increase of 18%. That kind of thing gets our attention.
2. Link to more detail on the Web. For example, this entry from Federated Media links to a PDF file on Google Docs. The PDF file has links out to several other places, including a video. Our entry form may be limited in space, but with the URL you get to type into it, you can link out to any place on the Web where you talk about your entry. Some people just link to a blog posts about their entry ... that's a nice way to tell others that you're entering the awards even as you provide the backup information we need to judge the entry fully. In the case of PTC the blog post was right within their own community, which is a nice touch.
3. Point out what you've done that's unique. For example, this employee application from UPS saved money by using viral techniques to accelerate hiring -- not a typical objective for a social application.
By the way, don't agonize about what category to put your entry in. The FAQ gives details on this, but if we determine that your entry would be more likely to win in a different category, we'll move it.
We'll leave with three pieces of advice on what NOT to do.
1. Don't wait until the last minute. A good entry is made up of a lot of pieces -- an external site, a graphic, some statistics on how you accomplished business goals. You're not going to be able to do a good job if you have to assemble this on the last day. And we won't accept late entries -- the deadline remains August 27.
2. Don't forget to get your client's permission. Those who submit the entries -- including technology vendors, PR agencies, and advertising agencies -- need to secure permission to publish the information. We've gotten those embarrassing calls -- "Our client doesn't want to make this public, can you please take it down off the site?" -- and they make you, the agency or vendor, look very bad. You did check first, didn't you?
3. Don't call us to see if you've won. I promise, if you've won, we'll call you.
So, now you know how to win. Get those entries in! We can't wait to judge them.