The media landscape has entered an age of transformation, but the ability to sell advertisements remains the cornerstone of any successful operation.

As proof of this, the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Advertising Federation hosted its second annual Suit Awards in November to honor the sales professionals who make creative products a reality.

“Although it’s the creativity that’s being sold, nothing happens without the ability to sell the concept,” says Judy Thompson, AAF Cincinnati executive director. “Without [sales professionals], creative ideas would go nowhere.”

While the National American Advertising Awards honors creativity in advertisement, the AAF Cincinnati Suit Awards recognize the individuals who perform in an exceptional manner for their respective businesses.

Thompsons says the idea to honor salespeople was born from the awards that journalists, artists, photographers and professionals in other creative specialties often receive for outstanding accomplishments.

“Sales people were kind of being overlooked even though their work was critical to the whole industry,” Thompson says. “We wanted to honor the men and women who were pounding the pavement every day for their industries.”

To do that, Thompson and AAF Cincinnati decided to move forward with the Suit Awards as a signature event that conveys the importance of sales in media.

The 2013 ceremony at the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront in Covington acknowledged the best sales representatives in 12 different categories, including magazines, social media, and digital services. AAF Cincinnati received more than 300 nominations from throughout the Tristate. Consideration was given to the individual’s professionalism, accessibility, flexibility, negotiation skills, customer service skills and ability to close the deal. The individuals with the most nominations in each category were selected as winners. Industry representatives from cable television, radio, publishing and media marketing were among the honorees.

Also among the 12 winners was Cincy Magazine Sales Manager Brad Hoicowitz, who was recognized for his sales work in the print industry.

Each nominee received a congratulatory certificate, while the winner was awarded with a commemorative glass trophy.

Since 1904, AAF Cincinnati has supported the industry and its respective fields. The nonprofit organization is the oldest national advertising trade association in the nation and represents more than 40,000 professionals. The AAF has more than 200 advertisement clubs across the country with more than 100 blue-chip corporate members that are advertisers, agencies, and media companies, comprising the nation’s leading brands and corporations.

As media platforms shift, and information outlets like news, publishing, and radio explore different avenues of delivery, Thompson says the sales occupation will remain an important role.

“I think it’s clear to all of us that everything is going to more digital, but there will always be a need for sales people.”