When you are considering which digital marketing agency to go for, looking at all the awards that they have won is a fantastic way to measure their success, right? 


Sadly, it is all too easy these days to fake an award and make it seem as if you are more decorated than you truly are…

It’s the business equivalent of taking a selfie next to a random Lamborghini on the street and uploading it to Instagram with the hashtag: #selfmade. 

Real awards do exist of course, but it can be very tricky to spot the authentic from the inequitable. 

So, how can you really judge a digital marketing agency as being ‘the best’ when everyone claims to be? 

In this article, we will take a look at the facts about these so-called awards, and give you a few tips for telling the true gold from the fools.

99.9% of marketing awards are fake and have been paid for…

When we talk about companies with fake awards, we don’t really mean that every business out there is invariably lying to you, inventing imaginary awards, or getting their own mugs engraved with World’s Best Marketing Agency

However, many awards are fake, meaning that they aren’t actually “won” by companies reaching certain standards of excellence or being genuinely superior to every other agency without such an award. 

In most cases, if a trophy is sent out and accolades are given, there’s usually some sort of catch involved…

An example of the scam that we receive on a regular basis

It’s not uncommon for scammers to reach out to various companies, congratulate them on their victory, and then simply ask for a “small fee” (usually around $3000, we get these emails on a regular basis) in return to have the official award/stamp of authenticity posted on their website. It is a horrible scam indeed, however, the real people who suffer in such a situation are the customers who see the shiny awards on a prospective digital marketing agency’s website and then sign up for their services for the wrong reasons. 

Another way that companies can fake being “award-winning” is to receive annual, or similarly spaced awards, from an organisation that they pay regular dues to – as silent sponsors (with benefits). 

The fact is, if a company has to register and pay money to an organisation in order to be considered as being “award-winning,” then they’re nothing of the sort! 

Not all awards are fake! 

Of course, there are lots of wonderful and exciting accolades to be won in the field of marketing, and companies should be proud to showcase these victories; but you shouldn’t take the words: “award-winning” at face value. 

Have a look at the actual awards in question, do a little research of your own, and you may find that the only area a prospective marketing agency really excels in is duping their website visitors (or in some cases) being duped themselves by scammers. 

How are marketing awards judged? Where do they get their data? 

The genuine, officially celebrated marketing awards are an excellent way to recognise the hard work, talent, and creativity of companies and their employees at a given time. They celebrate victories, reward innovation, and showcase what the industry leaders have to offer.

A company will generally enter manually, or (in some cases) put forward to be considered, and as long as it is a genuine, reputable, and well-respected award, the company will be judged fairly, against all the other entrants. 

It’s not so dissimilar to applying for a job. Companies who wish to be recognised for a certain award have to put together an application of sorts and demonstrate to the judges why they should take the prize and be honoured with such distinction (e.g., how well a certain strategy has worked out, the success of a particular campaign, the real or projected ROI for clients).  

As for all of the other so-called “awards”, the only criterion for winning is having enough money to pay for it. 

The fact is, there are better and much more valid ways to measure which company truly is the best!

Why do companies buy fake marketing awards?

The “why” in all this is fairly straightforward; these companies want to attract more business and being able to claim that they are “the top marketing company for such and such, according to so and so for the third year running” can really help to appeal to some customers.

However, what you as a potential client should actually be looking for are genuine awards (of which there are few) that are earned through excellence and quality alone, but also (and more importantly) for an agency that can genuinely deliver results. Otherwise, what’s the point?

From creating high-quality websites to directing traffic through SEO strategies & also paid ads, the best marketing agencies will achieve genuine results that can deliver an attractive ROI – they should also have the evidence to back up their bold claims in the way of case studies, testimonials and Google Reviews. 

A fake marketing award may look all shiny and impressive at first glance, but if you dig a little deeper you will see that it is nothing of the sort. If you have to spend money to appear to be the best company around, odds are that you’re not. Don’t get distracted by all the flash and look deeper to find a company that will genuinely deliver.

One much more reliable measurement of how a company will succeed for you is to take a look at examples of their work, their case studies, customer reviews and testimonials. If a marketing company has done extremely well for their clients in the past, you can feel confident in the fact that they will do so for you as well, and that is worth far more than any award can offer!

Final thoughts

Ultimately, when it comes to making your final decision, let “award-winning” be a happy bonus if it is not a red flag. 

Don’t allow it to be your deciding criteria. 

If you want a marketing company that can truly rely on, with proven strategies that are personalised, broad and all-encompassing, contact us today.

Seeing our clients succeed and dominate their industry is all the recognition we need.