The value of being involved in the Industry Awards

It is that time of year again, the invites are being sent out to buyers asking them if they will consider being judges for the various industry awards that are coming up.

As a buyer, judging awards can be really useful, while the focus is related to your specialist knowledge, inevitably there will be categories that involve suppliers you’re less familiar with. Often they’re new to the market and you get the opportunity to see their products for the first time. Even those suppliers you already know well may have forgotten to show you something, or not realised it was an area you were looking to develop. However well you ‘shop’ the stands, it is easy to miss something, which might be just what you’re looking for. This was proven this week, where 4 of the 5 judges at the Stationery Awards finished the judging and went back out onto the floor to find products and suppliers they had noticed whilst judging.

It’s really simple for suppliers to enter awards and they’re usually free to enter! What’s required is; a completed entry form, an image and usually a sample or two. Yes, it also requires a certain amount of planning to make sure you get it there on time. Surely a small price to pay given the exposure, your product will get in front of buyers. Often these are the buyers you’ve been wanting to meet and not yet been successful - now they have your attention.

There are often other benefits too… take the Henries Greeting Cards Awards, not only is it free entry, the displays are set up by genre and anonymous. Once the category has been judged, buyers can obtain contact details of cards they’d like to stock - a great benefit to the buyers but also you as the supplier. Likewise for the Gift of the Year Awards once the winners are announced the buyers are given the product lists and contact details of all entrants’ so they can follow up on anything they thought would be useful.

At this week’s Stationery Awards, (also free to enter), not only do you get your products seen by a group of top industry buyers but you also have your products showcased as part of the New Products Display; this is a display for all awards entrants at the entrance to the show, what better way to get your product ‘spotted’ by all the visitors! And of course once one of the majors is stocking your product the others are likely to see it when they are out doing their market research, it could be just the break you need. 

Given that it is so difficult for suppliers to get products in front of the key buyers, get a response or find out when they are looking for new products - Awards provide a supplier the perfect opportunity to get on their radar and equally by judging the awards buyers find new products that could be just what their looking for.