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The Northern Marketing Awards 2014: now open for entry


PrintThe Northern Marketing Awards 2014 are now open for entry across 20 categories spanning key professional specialisms of the marketing and marketing services industry. The entry deadline is 11 July and the awards dinner, which is being held on Thurs 16 Oct, will be the ‘must attend’ industry gathering for in-house marketers and marketing agencies this autumn in the North.

Over 300 marketers attended the inaugural awards dinner last year and in common with Prolific North’s only other annual awards event, the Prolific North Awards (which attracted 730 guests last week), we are confident we will see a sizeable increase in numbers this year given the level of enquiries we have already had, ahead of the launch today.

Now in their second year, the awards celebrate the excellence, creativity and achievements of the marketing industry in the North. The region benefits from an abundance of quality communications initiatives generated each year by thousands of successful private and public companies and not-for-profit sector bodies.

And hugely popular Prolific North initiatives such as the Top 100 Brands, Top 50 Integrated Agencies, Top 50 PR agencies and Top 50 Digital Agencies, simply reinforce the abundance of marketing expertise there is in the North.

To submit an entry or to get more specific information about the Awards, please visit our dedicated website at or contact Helina Thompson at Don’t Panic on 01706 828855 or email

NMA13winnerThe submitting company or agency or their client must be headquartered or have an operational base within the North of England.

We are also pleased that we will be working again with the advertising and media support group NABS for whom we helped raise a four figure sum last year: a sum we’re committed to increasing this year with some even more attractive prizes on offer: more to be announced later.


Once again we have assembled an outstanding group of judges to help us ensure the whole process is managed and ultimately decided upon with the greatest possible degree of marketing expertise and professionalism. The full list of judges and their biogs can be found later in this article and at this link. 

Headline partners

We are delighted to announce that this year we have two headline partners of the awards: Click Consult and Bytemark Hosting.

The leading search agency Click Consult was our headline partner for the Prolific North Awards this year and Bytemark Hosting is a fast-growing York-based hosting company expanding rapidly across the North.


Bytemark logo





The Northern Marketing Awards 2014 – the categories


The 20 categories on offer are:


Your hosts for the evening…

We will be announcing our two cracking comperes shortly but rest assured, they will ensure the evening on 16 October goes off with style, authority and plenty of fun.


Judging panel


We are fortunate to have secured so many outstanding judges to help decide upon the process and the winners. A majority of our judges were judges for the inaugural dinner last year and we’re pleased that several new ones have also joined us to increase the number of judges this year to 17 (15 last year).

Liliana AshtonLiliana Ashton, Executive Producer, Eurocamp

Liliana Ashton is the business consultant currently leading Eurocamp’s digital roadmap. Ashton offers the Northern Marketing Award judging panel her extensive experience working in the global Digital Business and Marketing Industries for over 15 years gleaned from international roles at Amaze PLC, Blast Radius, Guardian Media Group and her own company, LA UK Consulting Limited.

Liliana has a wealth of international experience in the leadership of digital teams including interactive advertising, online marketing, large content management implementations, website design & build. Through her work she has lived, worked and study in England, Germany and in South America, putting her in a key position to assess entries to this award with an international point of view. She has, in the past, been involved in submitting and attending a number of digital awards which offers her an insight into the submission process and is now keen to collaborate with this special Marketing Award celebrating the excellence, creativity and achievements of the marketing industry in the North. Liliana’s industry and client experience extents across a range of business including Digital and Traditional Media, Professional Services, Education, Automotive, Entertainment sectors, International Cosmetic Industry and Beverage.

Her academic qualifications include qualifications in International Business and Marketing, an Honours degree in Computer Sciences with Distinction for her final thesis. Certification in High Performance Leadership at Oxford University and is currently studying on a part time basis for an MSc in Strategic Leadership and Change Management at Manchester Metropolitan University.

steve BaronSteve Baron, Professor of Marketing, University of Liverpool Management School

Steve Baron is Professor of Marketing at the University of Liverpool Management School. Since November 2012, he has been responsible for encouraging and monitoring the impact of marketing and management research on business and communities. He has served on the panel of judges for the Northern Marketing Awards in 2009-2011 and 2013. He is currently managing a LinkedIn Discussion Group on ‘Bridging the Marketing Academic/Practitioner Gap’.


Julie BesbrodeJulie Besbrode, Group Chief Executive Officer at Fresh Approach (UK)

Having worked exclusively in the world of marketing and communications since graduation, Julie co-founded creative events business The fresh Group with Nick Porter in September 2004. Through tenacity, creativity, attention to detail and sheer graft the company was propelled from a standing start with only 4 people to outperforming its five-year business plan in just over a year. Today, 9 years on, The fresh Group employs over 85 talented individuals, has sales exceeding £13m and counts M&S, Santander, DFS, Clarks, Halfords, and Homebase amongst its loyal clients.

Julie has proved the courage of her convictions in leaving the conventional event management arena to pursue her goal of building a company that is fresh and dynamic in its approach. Through hard work, determination and foresight, the business is a resounding success.

Sarah BradleySarah Bradley, Managing Director, Acquire New Business

Sarah has spent all her working life in the creative and marketing industry. With a background working for some of the worlds largest agency networks including TBWA\ and McCann Worldgroup, Sarah is passionate about finding new ways to engage and communicate with people.

Sarah currently runs two businesses, a consultancy called Acquire New Business that works with agencies to help them improve their sales and marketing strategies, and a UK network for Business Development professionals called “The Art of New Business” which aims to encourage best practice and innovation within the discipline.

Passionate about helping to support and develop the creative industry, particularly in the North, Sarah founded Northern Soho, a collaborative movement for all those who work in the creative industries, which earnt her a nomination for a women in business award. Generous with her time, she is keen to help whoever, and wherever she can, has spoken on the subject of Marketing and New Business at various conferences in the UK and Europe, and has also held positions on steering committees focused on developing the industry.

Andrew DiggleAndrew Diggle, Head of Content, Manchester United

Following graduation from the University of Durham, Andrew joined the publishing house Macmillan as a senior commissioning editor where he remained for six years before he moved North to head up the research and information activities of the information publishing company j4b, latterly Idox where he also was promoted to deputy MD.

In February 2012, he joined Manchester United plc as head of content. He has expertise and knowledge of multi-lingual and multichannel portal and content development, commercial models and implementation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJacqui Gay, Communications Manager, UK City of Culture, Hull

The phrase ‘From Hull, Hell and Halifax, good Lord deliver us’ has been in common use since 1600 – and attitudes to Hull have been scarred by it ever since. So the announcement last November that Hull had won the title of UK City of Culture 2017 was a huge PR coup for a city determined to reposition itself in the UK and the world. For years, Hull had carried a negative reputation as outdated statistics and misconceptions of the city were reinforced by less-than-favourable national representation and media coverage. Bidding for the UK City of Culture title would be a key milestone in the delivery of a £190m cultural capital programme, supporting Hull’s ambition to become a world-class visitor destination.

Hull 2017 Communications Manager, Jacqui Gay is a PR and marketing professional with over 20 years experience in the public and private sectors. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

gavin hawthornGavin Hawthorn, Head of Loyalty and Digital Marketing at Pets at Home

Gavin recently moved to the North West from London to join Pets at Home as head of crm and digital 18 months ago where he’s launched the “Very Important Pets Club” which already has over 2 million members signed up to. Prior to Pets at Home he has held senior roles with Whitbread Plc, InterContinental Hotels group plc, Hyatt Hotels, Hertz Rentacar and United Airlines.



Gary JenkinsGary Jenkins – Vice President, Corporate Affairs, MBNA

Gary is a former news journalist turned corporate and marketing communications strategist and leader with experience across both public and private sectors. Working previously for Warrington Borough Council and Merseyside transport authority Merseytravel, Gary has devised integrated communications strategies for complex multi-million pound businesses for more than 13 years. Gary has led cross-platform, multi-channel external relations and influencer campaigns; media and social media strategies; internal and change communications; and complex transition and transformation communications for business divestments worth more than £2 billion.

In his role as Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Gary has responsibility for media relations, reputation management and corporate affairs for MBNA, a multi-billion pound business with affinity relationships with some of the world’s most famous brands in the sport, airline and charity sectors among others. He also leads and manages a range of sponsorship and CSR investments on behalf of MBNA, including its Principal Partnership with Sale Sharks, the Manchester-based Premiership Rugby side.

James Lawton-HilJames Lawton-Hill, Head of Marketing, Brother UK

A commercially astute B2B marketing professional with experience both agency and client side across global brands throughout Europe, Asia and America including Brother, Vodafone, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft. Currently responsible for leading a team of 23 marketing professionals as well as the overall marketing strategy and deployment for the Brother brand in the UK.

Twitter: @jameslawtonhill


Katrina MichelKatrina Michel, CEO, Marketing Cheshire

Katrina is CEO of Marketing Cheshire.

Before joining Marketing Cheshire, she worked for a number of communications agencies including Ogilvy and JWT and was co-owner of a communications planning consultancy, Planning Express for three years.

She has won 5 IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards.


David Mycock, Channel Manager at The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADavid is an experienced marketing professional with around 25 years commercial experience, working in property, construction and civil engineering. Initially trained as a structural engineer, he moved into marketing 15 years ago and has worked as a senior marketer with a range of businesses as well as undertaking consultancy work. Currently, David is a Channel Manager with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). His role includes working with organisations to develop their marketing capability and contributing to projects which highlight the work of CIM.

David is committed to advancing the marketing profession. As such, he regularly writes articles for the trade press, leads research projects and speaks at events. He has been involved with CIM for around 6 years with the CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group and as the Chair of CIM Lancashire branch. David has extensive experience of judging built up over a number of years including the Marketing Excellence Awards, the Construction Marketing Awards, Lionheart Challenge and the Red Rose Awards.

David holds a Masters degree in Management Practice from the University of Salford. He is a Chartered Marketer and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Management Institute.

ian ratcliffeIan Ratcliffe, Head of Communications and Public Involvement, Stockport MBC

With a clear focus on delivering effective communications and consultation projects that help the organisation achieve its business goals, Ian and his team at Stockport have won dozens of national and regional awards for outstanding communications over the years. With a background in private sector consumer marketing including roles at BUPA, Littlewoods and Lion Foods the focus on customers and results-driven campaigns is central to Ian’s approach. In his current role Ian has also worked in co-ordinating communications at a regional level with the Greater Manchester Health Commission, covering issues such as minimum level pricing for alcohol, and and his team are currently leading on the consultation on the proposed £300 million A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road on behalf of a number of local authorities. His team’s public information programmes have ranged from Kill the Chill, focusing on affordable warmth, a campaign resulting in an 8% drop in deaths due to excessive cold, at a time when Stockport had its coldest winter for 12 years, to the ‘Right Thing, Right Bin’ campaign, resulting in a boost in recycling rates and customer satisfaction. Current projects include Channel Shift – encouraging service to use more effective and efficient ways of communicating and engaging with the council, to work on changes in welfare reform, as well as consultations on proposals for change to help the Council to meet its savings challenges.

jason spencerJason Spencer, Business Development Director, ITV

Jason Spencer is Business Development Director at ITV, where he leads a team across 8 regional offices responsible for driving all commercial revenue outside London. In almost 3 years at ITV, Jason has overseen significant growth across airtime, sponsorship and multiplatform revenue. Last year ITV were named Regional Media Sales Team of the Year twice, as the regions play an ever stronger role within ITV. Prior to joining ITV, Jason spent most of his career on the media agency side, working for Carat in London and then PHD in London and Manchester. His highlight prior to joining ITV was winning a Cannes Gold Media Lion for IRN-BRU’s BRUZIL campaign during the last World Cup.

will stoneWill Stone, Creative Communications Specialist

Will is a creative communications specialist, working in corporate communications for global business covering the publishing, forestry, construction, design and renewable energy sectors. He has previously held marketing roles at UPM Group, The University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire. A journalism graduate, Will also ran a successful creative consultancy, Philosophie, which worked with brands such as Stella Artois, Heineken, Dockers and Absolut. He lives in South Manchester with his wife and two children.

Michael TaylorMichael Taylor, Chairman, Downtown Manchester

Michael Taylor is an events producer and writer. He used to write about sport, music, fashion, design and culture – but that was in Australia in 1989. He came home and became a moderately successful business journalist. In 2012 he gave up Blackburn Rovers, alcohol, carbs and a job. He’s now started DIscuss, a new debating forum for Manchester’s intellectually curious, and is the chairman of business lobbying group Downtown Manchester, a director of Liberty Pensions and is on the board of the University of Manchester Alumni. In 2012 he published Northern Monkeys by William Routledge, a history of northern working class fashion.

Karen WebberKaren Webber, Marketing Director, Axonn Media

Karen is the Marketing Director at content marketing agency Axonn Media, which is responsible for brands including NewsReach and ContentPlus. Before joining Axonn Media in 2005, Karen worked in journalism and marketing in both her native South Africa and in the UK public sector. She has co-authored white papers on content marketing, spoken at industry events including TFM&A, and contributed to sites such as and the Guardian.


John Williams, CEO, Mason Williams Communications

John Williams progressed from being a school meals service potato peeler and driver via driving a JCB on building sites to working on local, regional and national newspapers before starting his first PR agency, Staniforth Williams.

John WilliamsA change of direction lead to the formation of Mason Williams Communications with partner Rita Rowe in 1986. The multi-award winning consumer agency has worked for some of the UK’s leading brands and increasingly seeks work from outside the UK. It has offices in Manchester and London. MWC is the UK consumer partner in IPREX, the $250m+ 1,500 staff communications network with over 100 offices throughout the world.

John Williams is also chairman of wearenative – a newly established Digital Marketing Business. This results from his long-time fascination in new technology and communications. He was CEO of an SEO business from 1996-2010. He is a Fellow of the CIPR and the Institute of Directors and a former Member of the Board of the Public Relations Consultants Association. He belongs to the Royal Automobile Club, the British Racing Drivers Club, and various other associations reflecting his loves of sailing, driving racing cars, enjoying fine food and good wine – and playing bad golf.



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