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In October 2018, Cal Partners took home a sparkling trophy from the inaugural North East Marketing Awards, after a fun-filled evening at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle upon Tyne. We had been awarded Marketing Agency of the Year (Under 20 Employees), an award we never really believed we would win.

The judging process

Following nomination an intense judging day takes place, during which entrants are interviewed by the region’s leading marketeers from a wide range of backgrounds and sectors ranging from academics, large enterprises to boutique agencies and consultancies. During the interviews the entrants are given the opportunity to present and explain more about their application and work. A list of finalists is announced a few weeks before the main awards night and the anticipation starts to build.


There was a lot of social media activity around the announcement of the finalists – being Marketing Awards, we really weren’t surprised! That was our first opportunity to learn who had been shortlisted in the Agency of the Year category. Recognising many long-established, successful businesses on the list, we were definitely in good company and thrilled to have been included.

Award winners

There can be cynicism about awards, but this needn’t be the case. Awards events shine a light on the great talent in the region. An awards dinner itself is a great opportunity to get dressed up, have a night out with your team and network with like-minded people. There was also a real buzz on social media before during and after the awards night.

The Agency of the Year category was one of the last to be announced and the night seemed never-ending. Only when the judges’ comments were read out, about the winners “challenging the norm of marketing activities in a highly traditional sector” did we think we might have won!

Still sparkling

The award takes pride of place in the Cal Partners office. The first we won, and hopefully not the last. Winning the award certainly raised awareness of Cal Partners across the region and generated a significant number of enquiries from professional services businesses. It gives us the confidence to continue offering a value for money service in a niche sector.

What the judges said about our “effective and efficient deployment of limited client budgets and highly creative use of resources” still stands today. Some of our clients who come from what are regarded largely as “referral professions” understandably find it difficult to see the value of marketing at the outset, but once we’re engaged, soon realise that the service we provide is meets their needs, whether it be raising brand awareness, targeting groups of prospective clients or promoting a new service.

New opportunities

The Cal Partners team is focused on building their professional qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), as a competitive differentiator in a crowded market, assuring clients that every decision has a core of marketing experience, expertise and training sitting behind it.

We are constantly discovering new opportunities to work with clients locally, across the UK and beyond and members of the team been invited speak at a number of business seminars and training events.

Cal Partners is a marketing agency and business development consultancy for professional services firms. You can keep up to date with us through the website or on social media.

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Account Manager, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services