How to Create an Award-Winning Marketing Campaign

by | Sep 14, 2020 | Awards, Marketing, News, Writing

What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations Wins 5 National Writing Awards 


What does it take to create award-winning marketing campaigns? Stacie Zinn Roberts, president of What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations, based in Mount Vernon, WA, details the process she undertook to create the campaigns recently honored with five national writing awards. The honors came from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), during the organization’s annual conference, held virtually on September 11, 2020. The awards honored campaigns and writing projects that include: articles that ran in national publications featuring client’s products, copywriting for a client’s print ad, and Roberts’ Marketing Matters column that runs in a national trade publication. 

First Place, Writing for a Display Ad, Tahoma 31 “Fans in the Crowd” – This full-page ad for client Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass, shows two golf course superintendents among a crowd of people attending a golf tournament. One turns to the other and remarks on the golf shot just played. The other remarks on how good the grass on the golf course looks. The headline “How Superintendents Watch Golf” jokes that while most folks in a tournament gallery are watching the players, superintendents only notice the grass. This concept, which speaks to Tahoma 31’s prime target audience, golf course superintendents, connected to the product’s customer in a way that spoke their language and they recognized themselves in it. See the ad here.

TOCA Tahoma 31 ad award

First Place, Writing a Feature Story, MarComm, “Renovating Paradise” – When I heard that Waiehu Golf Course on the island of Maui was renovating their golf course with SeaStar Seashore Paspalum turfgrass, (developed by my clients at the University of Georgia, and grown by another of my clients,  Hawaiian Turfgrass), my first question was whether I could go to oversee the work? Just kidding. Kinda. But when I found out that the superintendent at this municipal golf course was doing all of the renovation work inhouse, I knew we had a newsworthy story worth telling. I structured “Renovating Paradise” as a profile of the renovation, but as the grass played a major role in the success of the project, I was able to discuss SeaStar’s benefits without being overly commercial and cover Hawaiian Turfgrass’s methodologies in an educational tone. Beautiful photos from the superintendent propelled this article to become the cover story of the September 2019 issue of Golf Course Management magazine. Read the story here.

Award for Renovating Paradise article shows magazine pages

Merit Award: Writing a Feature Story, MarComm, “Transitioning the Transition Zone” – I’m proud to say I swept this category, winning both awards for Marketing Communications!! In “Transitioning the Transition Zone”, (Golf Course Management, December 2019), I had noticed a trend emerging. Due to advancements in turfgrass breeding, warm-season grasses were now being planted farther north than had been thought possible. Two of my clients, Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass, developed by Oklahoma State University, and several zoysia varieties developed by Bladerunner Farms, were leading the way in this trek northward. I knew I had scientific data, solid testimonials and access to really good photos. I pitched the story to the editor of Golf Course Management magazine and it resulted in a major feature that unveiled a trend and promoted the cold tolerance of my clients’ grasses. The response has been very positive, with lots of customer comments and buyer interest. Tahoma 31 used the article to answer cold tolerance questions in their trade show booth at the January 2020 Golf Industry Show. We’ve even had requests to test Tahoma 31 as far north as Canada, directly as a result of the credibility created by the article. Read it here.

award slide


Merit Award: Writing a Feature Story, Publishing, “Renovating Paradise” – Unbeknownst to me, the editor of Golf Course Management magazine liked the article so much, he entered it on the publishing side of the competition, competing against staff writers for publications in the green industry, and it won, again! 

publishing award slide


Merit Award: Writing an Editorial, “What’s Your Story?” – In December of 2019, a long-held dream of mine came true. My very first column ran in a national publication. Earlier that year, the editor of Irrigation & Green Industry magazine (the  official publication of the Irrigation Association), called and asked me if I would take over the publication’s Marketing Matters column. Readers of the magazine are owners of landscaping companies and irrigation installation firms in the U.S. and worldwide. These hard-working business owners needed some guidance to market their companies. I was thrilled! My very first column served to introduce me, tell my company story, and also illustrate how two of my clients named their businesses/products. Yes, I managed to once again promote Tahoma 31 as well as Green Leaf Solutions, a high-end landscaping company in Englewood, Florida. I now write this column every other month and it is a great joy to write about actionable marketing strategies for small business owners. Read the winning column here.

award slide

The key to creating winning campaigns, I believe, is to really understand your client’s customer base, and to develop messages that resonate with them. Write articles, blogs, ads, newsletters, whatever vehicle you choose, that offers value to the reader. Yes, deliver your marketing message, but weave it into a story that connects with the reader. Cite examples that inform, not sell. That way it’s a win-win.




The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is comprised of editors, writers, publishers, photographers, public relations/advertising practitioners, industry association leaders, manufacturers and others involved in green industry communications. It is a national organization based in New Prague, MN.


About What’s Your Avocado? Marketing and Public Relations


What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations creates strategic narrative messaging, marketing, websites, graphic design, branding, public relations, and advertising campaigns for large and small businesses. The firm serves clients nationwide, with a focus on the agricultural, turf, landscape, golf and real estate industries. By the way, the Avocado? It’s the element that makes a person, product or company special. What’s Your Avocado? helps clients to find their Avocado and express it in the marketplace, thereby building a recognizable brand and a successful business. What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations is based in Mount Vernon WA. 360-428-2878, , @whatsyouravocad