Judges


The awards are judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts, the judging is a rigorous two-stage process including pre-scoring to determine shortlists and a judging meeting where entries are discussed and evaluated in detail to decide the winning entries.

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Head judges

Chris Simmance | CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER | OPTUS DIGITAL

Chris Simmance is a Partner and co-founder of Torque Partnership. He helps enterprise businesses understand their data, build their strategies and transform their presence. Based in London he spends a great deal of time getting cranky at the state of the web and plans to fix it, one business at a time. He solved the BrightonSEO ticketing platform issues, you know, the one that hasn’t gone down on every ticket release day since he changed it. Love the ballot or hate it, it doesn’t fall apart anymore. He’s a big fan of Bill Gates’ quote “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” as it’s a really good way of getting away with finding a shortcut. Chris is almost entirely much self taught and started working in SEO from a small local agency through to a multinational before deciding to “go it alone” and set up for himself. 5 years later and 2 regional offices and he’s winning work from some well known established high street brands.

Judges

Pietro Bagnasco | Mobile Apps Partnerships Manager | Google

After leaving Italy, his home country, more than 10 years ago Pietro has cultivated his passion for technology and the digital world by engaging in business experiences across consulting, startups and corporate. He has been with Google over the past 6+ years, where he has consulted Italian advertisers with their investments in Google Ads before moving on to helping kickstart the Mobile Apps business across the EMEA region. He currently leads the Agency Partnerships team, working towards structuring a solid partners ecosystem that can help provide customers with value added solutions in today's thriving Apps economy.

Carlotta Bonafini | SEO Lead | Vodafone

Carlotta is leading the SEO team at Vodafone UK, where she is overseeing the development of their new digital strategy. She started her professional career in the marketing field working for Expedia in the search department. She directed many regional projects before moving into a global position where her initiatives created outstanding results whilst pioneering new processes. She supervised both creative campaigns and technical projects, and launched many impactful ideas. Carlotta graduated from London Metropolitan University and Milan Catholic University and has been living in London for over 9 years. Passionate about high-tech, she is working on improving her coding skills and is always eager to expand her technical knowledge.

Steve Clark | Head of Digital Growth | Tangent

Steve has several years' experience planning and executing cross-channel digital campaigns for a variety of international clients, including DHL, TikTok, Lenovo and Slack. Starting his career copywriting on a creative team, Steve's covered almost all aspects of digital marketing, from SEO and CRO to paid media and influencers, picking up skills in stats, analytics, data science and web development along the way.

Richard Collingwood | Brand & Digital Manager | Riverside

Richard is responsible for developing the digital marketing strategy for one of the UK's largest housing providers, with major stakes in social housing, home ownership and homelessness services. Previous to this role, Richard spent eight years in the policing sector leading on several pioneering digital projects, most notably introducing social media as a key tool for frontline police officers, transforming the way modern policing operates. In sectors which have faced increasing uncertainty in recent years, Richard has enjoyed the challenge of delivering digital initiatives in tough financial and political environments, which have had a genuine positive impact on many people's lives.

Michael Durey | Head of Digital and CRM | Samsung Electronics

Michael joined Samsung in 2018 and since then has helped to deliver triple digit Ecommerce growth through Samsung’s owned eStore, EPP and Student websites. Aligning Digital Marketing strategies across Search (Paid and Organic), Affiliates, CRM, Paid Social and Programmatic Display has allowed Samsung to maximise in-market traffic through to Samsung.com and ultimately has led to the most successful flagship launch (Galaxy S10) and Black Friday sales period the company has ever had.

Adam GUERGUIS | DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER | AIRBNB

Based in Montreal and currently leads organic growth marketing for airbnb LUX, Adam has more than 10 years in search marketing experience and has been working with very exciting brands in several industries, languages, and sizes like Yahoo!, MSN, Groupon, UNHCR, Skrill, and others. Adam is also a digital marketing trainer, guest speaker, digital marketing blogger since 2010, and a MSc. Marketing Candidate.

LinkedIn profile

Neil Hardy | Digital Director | Shearings

Neil has been involved in commercial, digital and online since 1993. With vast experience in commercial partnerships, product sourcing, online strategy, large travel operations , project management and digital marketing.

Danielle Haugedal-Wilson | Head of Technology | Co-Op

Liam Howley | Chief Marketing Officer | musicMagpie

As Chief Marketing Officer at musicMagpie, Liam is tasked with the development and direction of the business's strategic marketing plans to maximize brand growth, customer acquisition, conversion and retention through online and offline channels. This includes control and management of internal digital, marketing and design teams & external agencies, with responsibility for planning, analysing and optimising a multi-million pound marketing budget in the UK for musicMagpie.co.uk and in the US for Decluttr.com.

Richard Keenan-Heard | Head of SEO | Trainline

Richard joined Trainline three years ago from GroupM agency Wavemaker where he spent five years working for global brands including GE Digital, GE Healthcare, Tiffany, Michelin, Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer. As a result, he has a diverse background in SEO and brings a wealth of experience to the judges’ panel. With a growth mindset and a passion for trains matched only by his determination to help customers find the best options for sustainable travel, Richard has assembled the team from the ground up. Now boasting a breadth of talent and expertise across European train travel, the Trainline team continue to take on new, more complex challenges.

Umar Khan | Senior Digital Strategist | Nakheel Malls

Umar is a passionate digital marketer with over 8 years of experience in managing high budget digital marketing campaigns. With experience and expertise on all the verticals of Digital Channels including SEO, Google Ads, Social Media, Content Marketing, CRO UX and others. Umar is currently linked with DAMAC Properties as the Digital Marketing Manager. He also conducts digital marketing workshops & regular classes for well-known educational institutes in Dubai.

Steve Kuncewicz | Head of Creative, Digital & Marketing Sector Group | BLM Law

Steve is a Partner and Head of Creative, Digital and Marketing at BLM Law in Manchester. He specialises in intellectual property, media social media and privacy law and is listed as a "recommended lawyer" in the Legal 500’s 2019 edition, and was a Co-founder if the Bulletproof Agency Network. He is a regular media spokesperson, and has given interviews to the local and national press through BBC Breakfast, Sky News, ITV, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and LBC London. Steve is also the Manchester Publicity Association’s Honorary Solicitor and Co-Chair of Creative ProManchester.

Davina Lines | Managing Director | Mixing Digital

Davina Lines is Managing Director of Mixing Digital and the Ecommerce Club. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a big black book of digital contacts to ensure Mixing Digital’s event management services are of the highest standard. Davina co-founded Netimperative in 1999 and became Managing Director in 2002, stewarding the brand into new product launches and creating one of the most successful events programmes in the digital marketing industry. In the mid 90s Davina cut her digital teeth on New Media Age (now Econsultancy), forming part of the founding team and was responsible for the commercial development of the magazine and its early events from launch in May 1995 to 1999. In recent years Davina launched an ecommerce peer-to-peer community, the Ecommerce Club, which runs regular events in London and Manchester on topics relevant to the retail community.

Trond Lyngbo | Senior SEO Consultant

Trond Lyngbø is the founder of Search Planet and a senior SEO Consultant. He has over two decades of experience in SEO, e-commerce, content strategy and digital analysis. His clients include multinational Fortune 500 corporations and major Norwegian companies. Trond has helped grow businesses through more effective search marketing and SEO strategies. He is most passionate about working with e-commerce companies and web shops to develop and expand their omni-channel marketing initiatives.

Plamen Popov | Senior SEO Lead Manager | Acronis Global

Plamen Popov is an experienced digital marketer & SEO Expert with history of working for internationally renowned brands. He currently is working as Senior SEO Lead in Acronis, world leader in cyber protection & data security company. Plamen joined last year from the marketing team of Management Financial Group, where he lead global marketing strategies for various fintech brands inside the holding. Plamen has a genuine interest in marketing and technology and that drives his experience through out consulting start up companies and leading teams in enterprise brands exploring various aspects of marketing activities including PPC, Social Media, Display, Programmatic, App Marketing and SEO. His passion for Search Marketing & SEO always drives him to learn and explore new possibilities of creating better user experiences and results.

Claire Richardson-Critcher | Digital Business Development Director | McCann Connected

Over the last 15 years Claire has worked in media, creative and digital in multiple capacities, from client service to new business development. Claire’s passion for the industry drives her curiosity in all areas of brand and consumer interaction, and her focus on working in close collaboration with skilled practitioners means she is able to build a story around what they do, how they do it and how this drives a transformational outcome for clients.

Alexandra Severn | Lecturer in Digital Marketing | Manchester Metropolitan University

Robert Shaw | Marketing Specialist

Rob Shaw is the CEO of Creative Race one of the longest running independent marketing agencies in the North of England working with household names including ASDA, Greggs and Pets at Home. Previously he was CEO of Jaywing PLC, a data science-led agency and consulting business. With over 30 year’s experience in marketing and technology Rob has managed services for some of the UK's largest brands including Lloyds Bank, Tesco and O2.

Top Tips from the Judges

 

Gerry White, JustEat 

  1. Don't waffle, make sure it is meat rather than buzz word stuff, if it feels like the paragraph doesn't say anything all it does is frustrate smart judges. Concise answers are often better with a fuller explanation below.

  2. Answer the question, all too often it feels like the question has been missed - going off tangent is fine but front load the answer to the question, we understand you often want to say something else something that really is important to you and your entry but our marking criteria means we need to be able to answer the question. In programming there is something called 'rubber duck debugging' imagine you are explaining this to a rubber duck it works well for programmers, the same principle would apply to award entries.

  3. Don't underestimate the judges, if you say you have done xyz, we can check - we have the knowledge and experience to validate many claims, our knowledge and experience are suitably high enough for us to be able to validate almost all claims. Percentage increases are valid but backed up with enough numbers that we understand it was a real impact not a low number to a still low number.


Daniel Evans, MSL Group

  1. Tell a story! Numbers, clicks, growth, client satisfaction etc are all good as evidence to support why you should get an award, but they are not reasons in themselves.

  2. Don’t be afraid of telling the bad as well as the good. good work in difficult circumstances, or challenges overcome, are just as award-worthy as effortless brilliance.

  3. Remember that to be worthy of an award you need to stand out, not just be creditable. Emphasise what is exceptional about what you are submitting, including what constitutes the “normal” that you are standing out against. the judges may not be as familiar with your specific area of business as you are.

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