Maybe Winning Isn’t Everything

I’m not a person who likes to acknowledge or discuss losses. I have an older brother, and sports and competition were a huge part of my childhood. I hate to lose. I don’t like participation trophies, and I don’t believe the philosophy that you play to have fun. To quote one of my favorite Twitter follows, former ESPN analyst and current Arizona State head football coach, Herman Edwards, “You play to win the game!” 

A few months ago, I submitted several entries on behalf of our agency to Ad Age’s Small Agency Awards. We entered categories including Best Agency and Best Culture. I dedicated hours to compiling information on campaigns and concepts we developed and executed over the past year and tapped into many on our team for everything from creative elements, their thoughts on our culture, website analytics, and feedback on what I’d written. Like everything we do around here, submitting for these awards was a team effort. 

On one of our GoToMeeting calls, we shared the information we compiled with our full team including those who weren’t involved or weren’t around last year when these campaigns took place. In reviewing everything we put together, I felt like we had a decent shot to win something. Our agency has added eight fulltime positions since May 2019, and that growth came from the hard work of everyone as well as the clients who’ve trusted us to help grow their business. 

It was like a walk down memory lane going back to review everything we developed and executed during the past year. We helped launch Southwood’s Pain & Spine Center and introduced the Valley to a new healthcare opportunity offering relief to those suffering with chronic pain. Our work with Greenwood Chevrolet began with social media and the Extra Mile videos featuring Greg Greenwood and various employees. Both of these initiatives led to 898 Marketing being named Agency of Record for both clients. Our success with them also led to other clients coming on board, entrusting us with their business growth which helped us grow to our current roster of 11 fulltime employees and five summer interns. 

While this all sounds uplifting and promising, the sad part of the story is that I recently received the standard, “Thanks for entering, but you are not a finalist” email. Not gonna lie, that was a bit of a blow to my ego and competitive nature, and not a piece of news that I was very anxious to share with our team. In my mind, I went back through what we submitted. Could I have done something different? Should I have highlighted different campaigns? 

The reality is not winning a Small Agency Award doesn’t change the amazing work we turned out and the team we’ve become. Honestly, there are days I’m more productive working from home with a toddler running around than I am listening to the various conversations that randomly happen in our office. We have more inside jokes than I can keep track of, not to mention the ones I don’t understand, or the dad jokes I don’t find funny.  We don’t need an award to enjoy our work and our team every day. I just hope Herman Edwards never reads this.


kelly_fertig_feature_imageKelly Fertig is the Media & Communications Manager at 898 Marketing. She is responsible for planning and executing media buys for a variety of clients as well as developing and cultivating relationships with local media outlets. A graduate of Youngstown State University, Kelly has over a decade of experience in media buying.