How VGM Insurance Services Led Last Year's Best of Show Awards

VGM Insurance Services, an insurance agency based in Waterloo, Iowa, cleaned up at the 2019 IMCA Showcase Awards, bringing home Best of Show trophies in the Employee Corporate Communications, Corporate Audio/Visual Communications, Audio/Visual Communications More than 1 Minute, and Total Sales/Marketing/Branding Campaign Less than $15,000 categories—plus an Award of Excellence in the Corporate Communications Campaign category.

Rachel Harris, VGM’s director of marketing, said, “As a small organization competing against companies that dwarf us in size, resources, and budget, it means so much for VGM Insurance to make our mark on the industry in this way. It shows that creativity, innovation, and a well-thought-out strategy can be just as valuable as a large budget and a household brand name. It’s encouraging to be recognized by our peers and the industry as marketing thought leaders, and it keeps us striving to be our best and produce our best work every single day.”

Harris encourages companies of all sizes to submit their work to the 2020 IMCA awards. IMCA recently caught up with Harris to learn more about her experience.

What made you decide to submit this project? Did you know it was a winner?
We have submitted work to the IMCA Showcase Awards for the past two years, and have found that sometimes the projects you least expect turn out to be the biggest winners. In 2019, we submitted seven entries and won five, which was an amazing accomplishment that we never would have expected. When reviewing your work from the year, I think it’s important to evaluate it from an outsider’s perspective. Try to put yourself in the judges’ shoes, viewing your work for the first time. As marketers, we are usually so involved in the creation of the work that it loses its ‘sparkle’ for us. We’ve scrutinized the tiniest details to the point that we sometimes aren’t able to see the work from a bigger picture anymore. From our experience, I think it’s important to broaden your scope when submitting your entries—throw in a couple of wildcard entries and see what happens! You may just be surprised.

How did the Best of Show recognition impact your team? 
The impact of winning IMCA Showcase awards has been enormous for our company and for our marketing team. Winning Best of Show in four categories in 2019 was an accomplishment beyond our team’s wildest dreams. It provided so much validation that what they do every day matters. Receiving recognition from industry peers, leaders, and organizations that we respect and look up to has encouraged our team to keep pushing boundaries, thinking outside the box, and working together to make an impact for our customers and partners in the work we do. It has fired us up to push every project we work on to the next level—to make it the very best it can be with the resources we have available. We have had such a positive experience with the IMCA Showcase Awards and will continue submitting our work for years to come!

Any advice for people considering submitting to Showcase?
I think it’s important for marketers to take the leap, be brave, and put themselves out there by submitting their work to Showcase. It can feel a bit scary at first, especially if you have a small team, or if you are the team, but in my experience the rewards are so worth it! At the very least, you’ll receive some helpful feedback from the judges with ways you can improve your work, process, strategy, or results moving forward.

In terms of putting together your entry submissions, it’s important to be prepared. Take your time. Plan your responses carefully. Tell the story behind your work. Your word count is limited, so make those words count! It’s also crucial to back up your results with evidence. Gather examples and data that show the impact your work had and how it relates to your goals.