Entries in Product Launch and Cross-Media Integration categories all surged and, according to the awards, this points to where marketers are increasingly focusing their efforts.

Sarah Utermark, MMA South Africa's country director, says, "This is in line with trends across the EMEA region as evidenced by the WARC 2019 State of the Industry: Mobile Marketing in EMEA, which was released recently."

"The Mobile Payments category sparked interest from new entrants this year, which mirrors the WARC study findings predicting this to be the most popular behaviour among consumers for 2019," adds Utermark.

"As expected, Cross Media Integration and Innovation remain the two most popular categories; again, the WARC study shows that these two marketing competencies see mobile having the most impact," she says.

The SMARTIES Awards has 18 categories this year, which marketers, agencies and tech enablers entered their work into. Judging took place in September by a panel of industry experts, including SMARTIES jury chair Dudu Mokholo, chief marketing officer for Samsung Africa.

"Our judging criteria differs from other awards as we first review business impact. This makes up 40% of an entrant's mark. This is followed equally by creativity, strategy and execution, which each account for 20%," says Utermark.

"We do this to showcase the tangible impact that mobile can have on a business's ROI — a metric that has become a non-negotiable among marketers today as they increasingly need to prove impact to the bottom line," Utermark adds.

Judging chair Dudu Mokholo concludes, "It was such a pleasure reviewing the entries across all categories. The standard of work continues to improve across the industry. It is really encouraging to see such a high level of quality workmanship submitted for this year's entries." 

All of the SMARTIES 2019 finalists can be viewed here

Winners of the awards will be announced on Wednesday, 30 October at the SMARTIES gala event at Monte Casino. This event is sponsored by Apps Flyer, Just Palm and Vicinity Media.

For more information, visit www.mmaglobal.com or contact [email protected]. You can also follow the MMA on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.