The AMBIT Awards are unique in a sea of awards shows: in the spirit of data-driven marketing, the KCDMA recognizes great strategy and great creative… but also great results. 22 companies won Gold, Silver or Bronze awards in 18 categories from Print to Search Engine Marketing, and from Email to Mobile Apps.

The 2018 Awards gala was a special one, though, in that it also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the KCDMA! Past presidents and members came together to celebrate and remember the original mission and the ways the organization – and the industry – has grown.

The big winners of the evening included Sullivan Higdon & Sink, who took Best of Show for their Twist’d Q Seasoning brand campaign, along with 2 Golds, a Silver, and a Bronze award for companies like Iris by Lowe’s and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Boulevardia also scored big for their 2017 campaigns. They took 3 Golds for Integrated Business-to-Consumer Campaign, In-App Mobile Marketing, and Social, a Silver for Business-to-

Consumer Email, and notation as a Consistent Achiever. Plus, they took home the big trophy for Most Innovative Campaign for the Boulevardia Mobile App.

Voltage snagged the final big award for the night: Most Bang for the Buck for their work on Search Engine Optimization for Burger Theory in 2017. This paired nicely with their eight total awards, including 2 Gold awards in SEO.

The night honored more than just excellent marketing campaigns, though. One of the best moments of the evening was seeing long-time KCDMA supporter, leader, and advocate, Jackson Davis named the 2018 Direct Marketer of the Year. As only Jackson, could, he gave credit to the room full of amazing marketers, reminding us the “WHY” for all we do.

“We have data coming out of our eyeballs,” Jackson says, “but at the end of the day, we’re humans. When I look out into this room, I see the human-driven marketing association.”

Bethany Nesbitt was also recognized as an up-and-coming star, honored as the 2018 Young Direct Marketer of the Year, based on her incredible dedication to using data to increase the relevance and response rates of marketing for her company. In her seven years at Theater League, she has demonstrated a mastery of data-driven marketing – including helping to acquire the most season ticket members the organization has seen in 40 years – without losing her passion for creating memorable, noteworthy experiences for Theater League patrons.

As Bethany so eloquently put it, “These days, it’s not enough just to market ourselves. We have to create loyalty. We have to create an experience.”

Perhaps the best part of the evening was seeing familiar and long-missed faces from around the country, as the KCDMA celebrated a 70-year-strong organization. Special thanks to Greg Bruner (co-founder of the AMBIT awards!), Jenny Super (past president 1995) and Debbie Roth (long-time sponsor Japs Olson, 2018 AMBITS judge, and International ECHO Co-Chair) for making the trip into KC to join the celebration!

Pat Friesen summed up the night best: The KCDMA, in one word, is about the people. Thank you to everyone for celebrating 70 years of KCDMA. Here’s to the next 70!