Marketers crowdsource nominees

The latest ACE Awards are being presented next month, but the Reno-Tahoe chapter of the American Marketing Association is already busy preparing for next year’s celebration.

Last Friday was the deadline for nominee submissions for marketing excellence in 13 categories, including Best in Web and Digital Design, Best in Mobile and Best in Direct Marketing.

And, in a change of procedure designed to bolster the award, the nominating process has been widely expanded through a social-media driven crowdsourcing campaign.

“We’ve opened up the floodgate,” says Somer Athari, a senior project manager at Noble Studios in Reno and president of the Reno-Tahoe AMA chapter.

The chapter is accepting nominations through comments to its LinkedIn group after contacting the local business and marketing community via its 2,200-person email list, 750 Facebook friends, 1,500 Twitter followers and 281 LinkedIn contacts.

In the past, nominees had to file a submission that carried a small fee, which was one of the ways the group raised money, mainly to help support the University of Nevada, Reno, AMA chapter.

But the chapter decided the fee was holding back worthy submissions from small companies. So after a few years of not giving out the award, it ditched the fee-based submission process and started accepting nominations from the group’s 75 local members, starting with the 2010-2011 ACE Award. (The time period covers campaigns run from midyear to midyear.)

“We said, ‘We’re small, we’re scrappy, let’s make this our own,’” says Athari.

The new procedure worked well, but wasn’t perfect.

“We got some feedback from attendees that we missed out on some good campaigns,” she says.

So the chapter looked for ways to collect more ideas from more people.

“We’ve built our social media base as much as we can. And now we’re opening it up to everyone, not just our board and not just our members,” says Athari. “We want everybody. The more the merrier, that’s the philosophy we’re going with.”

After the nominating process closes, the nominees will be narrowed down by the chapter’s board to three in each category. To ensure objectivity, the winners are chosen by a sister AMA chapter in North Carolina.

The upcoming ACE Awards ceremony is 6:30 p.m., June 27 at the Aces Ballpark in Reno. For more information, visit the chapter’s Web site at


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