Mostly Marketing by Theresa B. Clarke

Sharing my love of marketing. Helping marketing students, marketing practitioners, & marketing professors connect with one another. Passionate about nurturing new marketing talent. Enjoys sharing novel ideas about a wide variety of topics…but mostly marketing.

Jordan Kimball’s Experience at the 2016 Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit

Jordan Kimball from JMU at the 2016Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit - Digital

Jordan Kimball was a student in my MKTG 384 course (Integrated Marketing Communications) at JMU during the spring 2016 semester.  After learning that Jordan was one of 40 students selected nationwide to participate in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit, I wanted to hear all about her experience.  Jordan kindly shared her perspectives for an interview-based guest post on my blog.  Continue reading to learn more about the summit from a student participant’s perspective.

How did you hear about the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit – Digital?

I was first introduced to Marketing EDGE as a student in Dr. Clarke’s course in spring 2016. Our class participated in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge, which I really enjoyed being a part of. During that semester, I was browsing the JMU Recruit-a-Duke website and saw a link for the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit. I looked into it and thought “Wow this would be an awesome opportunity”, but did not apply to the summit right then and there. Shortly after, Dr. Clarke sent out an email to her students about the summit, which reiterated to me that it really was something I should consider, and I decided to apply.

Why did you decide to apply?

I decided to apply for various reasons. First, I have always been passionate about marketing and after taking Dr. Clarke’s class, I knew digital marketing was an area I definitely wanted to further pursue. The idea of learning about the industry from experts I wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to interact with sounded like a once in a lifetime experience.

Secondly, the location was ideal. I grew up in Central New Jersey, about 45 minutes outside of NYC, so I’ve had my fair share of visits. However, the city is limitless and I definitely have not seen it all. I was excited to discover that the summit would be held in the Financial District, meaning I would spend time in offices on Wall Street and in the World Trade Center (AKA the ultimate corporate dream). New York City is filled with endless opportunities when it comes to employment, especially in this area. I was very intrigued at the thought of experiencing what business life is actually like.

Lastly, just like any other JMU business student, I would really like a job. At the time I applied to the summit, I had already accepted an internship position with a company in Midtown Manhattan. Although this was a great opportunity, I was nervous that it was not related to marketing enough, and therefore wouldn’t help me transition into the field I aspire to work in as smoothly as I hoped. I felt that the summit was another chance to gain exposure to the digital aspect of the industry and that attending this conference and learning as much as I could would only help me in the future.

If I’ve learned anything from being a business student searching for internship and career positions, it’s the importance of NETWORKING. Attending a conference with undergraduates from all over the country and connecting with some of the most successful professionals in the field was the number one reason I knew I needed to do everything I could to be accepted.

What did you do at the summit, who did you meet, and what was your biggest takeaway? 

The summit was essentially a marketing “boot camp” because of everything attendees were able to take away from the experience in such a short time. Here is a synopsis of what exactly went on during my time in NYC broken down by each day:

Night 1- Sunday, June 5th: I arrived at the Holiday Inn in the Financial District of Manhattan in the afternoon and met my roommate who was an undergraduate from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Then, all of the attendees went to a kick off dinner at South West NY (courtesy of Marketing EDGE, lucky us!) followed by a double-decker bus tour of the entire city. It was a great opportunity to be able to get to know all of the students and our advisors.

Day 2- Monday, June 6th: Opening session took place in an awesome office on Wall Street and we had our first day of presentations given by five marketing professionals: Professor Leora Kornfeld of York University Schulich School of Business presented “How It’s Made: The Connection Between Chocolate and Data”.  “What’s So Great About Email Marketing” was presented by Laura Derr (Marketing Operations Manager) and Kimberly Oscarson (Associate Director of List Marketing) both from Hearst Magazine. “Social and Customer Marketing in a Mobile World” was presented by Megan Maguire (VP, Digital Customer Experience and Marketing Consumer Services) at American Express.  Yvonne Heyne (CEO of Next X) presented “Personalized Engagement: the Uncompromising Value of 1:1 Mobile Relationships”.  Finally, “The Search Marketing Landscape and its People” was delivered by Michael McVeigh who is the VP of Advisory Services Practices at PMX Digital.  The presenters were all very interesting, but the most memorable for me was Megan Maguire. She discussed how relevant mobile marketing is today and how it impacts the consumer in such a social world. She told us about how important partnerships are and mentioned some of the many partnership relationships American Express has, including its current one with Coachella.

Day 3- Tuesday, June 7th: We continued with presentations this day, but also took part in more hands-on workshops as well. My favorite workshop was led by Tim Carr, the Chief Lifter at LIFT Agency in California, (Chief Lifter is LIFT’s creative title for CEO). Mr. Carr taught us a list of important rules used to create successful campaigns. Then we broke up into small teams and were asked to improve two real campaigns from competing companies based on the rules we learned.

The biggest take away I had from Day 3’s presentations was the importance of Programmatic, which is the automation of digital media buying in real time. This presentation was given by Laura Rodriguez, the Senior Manager of Global Planning and Operations at the New Marketing Institute, which is a branch of Media Math. What made this presentation so special was that I learned it is possible to become certified in Programmatic, which is very beneficial for the next generation of marketers who will be looking for jobs in the near future.

That evening, we attended a reception with the Marketing EDGE Board of Trustees. This took place in the Media Math office located in the World Trade Center, which overlooked a beautiful portion of the city, including the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tour.  There were finger foods and drinks served and we were free to mingle with a wide variety of professionals. It was a great experience to network with a diverse group of successful marketers one-on-one. One interaction that stood out to me was with Jeff Nesler who is the Senior Program and Web Manager for Marketing EDGE. He told me that JMU students often do very well with Marketing EDGE competitions and that our College of Business has earned top awards in recent years. It felt great to hear that my university has such a positive reputation.

Day 4- Wednesday, June 8th- This was our final day of presentations and activities. I was lucky enough to meet a great recruiter, Ms. Meredith Trotta, who is currently a Principal at Polished Student Recruitment Consulting, and held past positions recruiting for Time Inc., the University of Connecticut, and the Penn State MBA Program. She put us through extensive workshops on how to be successful during interviews and networking events. Another really important portion was resume roulette, where we were able to sit with HR specialists one-on-one to review our resumes and receive helpful feedback. I learned a lot through these feedback sessions, but one piece of advice that stuck out to me especially was to always have a “you in a few” prepared. This is essentially an “elevator pitch” and entails telling someone about yourself in a concise manner that will help you stand out and be remembered.

During this session, we also sat in on panel discussions. The first was “Global Privacy in 2016: Strictly Compliance or Marketing Opportunity?” The speakers discussed how the privacy sector has changed over the years and how much more relevant mobile technology is becoming. This was interesting, because we learned about privacy laws and the differences between ours and other countries. For example, European websites need more consent before taking personal information from viewers than the U.S. does, and that information is taken through cookies.

The next panel discussion was “College-to-Career Panel: True Tales of Real Survivors”, which was very beneficial, because it consisted of real professionals telling their story of how they got to where they are today in the business world. It was relieving to hear that even though some people struggled finding the career they loved at first, it worked out for them in the end. After interacting with them, I felt motivated to work hard towards my career goals and to not get easily discouraged.

Lastly, I was thrilled  to be a part of the summit for the first ever EDGE Awards. This was a huge event held at Gustavino’s and was pretty much a giant party and perfect opportunity to network. There was great food, an open bar, a live band, and an endless amount of professionals to talk to. Most importantly, there was an awards ceremony for different businesses and professionals that have done a great deal to support Marketing EDGE’s mission.

Although there were so many presentations, activities and events throughout the day, we were also given a good amount of free time to explore the city and have fun with the new friends we met throughout the conference.

Do you have any tips for JMU students who want to apply to the Marketing EDGE Summit?

My number one piece of advice for students considering applying for the summit is… DO IT! If you think this field is something you are interested in,you should definitely  go for it. It is an awesome opportunity for upcoming seniors, but I encourage underclassmen to give it a shot as well. If not successful the first go around, don’t be discouraged! My roommate did not get accepted her junior year and applied again and said she was really happy she didn’t give up.  If I have one regret, it is that I did not know about the summit sooner.  I feel that being introduced to such a wide variety of companies before senior year could have helped broaden my search for internships. Overall, it was an amazing experience to learn so much about marketing and to go beyond your comfort zone. Being in a new place and meeting new people is always nerve wracking, but I promise it was more than worth it. I made friends from all over the country that I plan to stay in touch with, and gained professional contacts that are willing to help with future endeavors in any way they can.

Thank you once again to Jordan Kimball for providing such a detailed accounting of the 2016 summit experience.

Based on what she shared, I definitely will encourage more of my JMU students to apply for this exciting professional opportunity.

Learn more information about Marketing EDGE, marketing career opportunities, and the Marketing EDGE Collegiate Summit.

JMU Wins Bronze in 2015-16 Collegiate ECHO

On August 11, 2016, Marketing EDGE announced the winners of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge. I am pleased to report that the team of Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, Mitchell Meyers, and Mariam Bekele captured the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the undergraduate division.  The team developed an integrated marketing communications plan for Facebook Custom Audiences.  Learn more about this team and their exciting experience in this year’s competition.

Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Mitchell Meyers, Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, and Mariam Bekele - 3rd Place Bronze Winners in the Undergraduate Division of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

Dorothy Capasso (Team Leader), Mitchell Meyers, Allie Hammond, Joseph Scully, and Mariam Bekele – 3rd Place Bronze Winners in the Undergraduate Division of the 2015-16 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge Advice from the 2015 Bronze Award Team

Several teams of James Madison University participated in the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge as part of my Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 384) course.  The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is sponsored by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing.

As part of the Challenge each team developed marketing plans, using direct and interactive channels, with a goal of encouraging DIRECTV customers to participate in their Refer-a-Friend Program.  Students also created a visual summary presentation and an online video ad.

In the end, over 200 teams competed and seven JMU Marketing teams earned an award or honorable mention.  One of the JMU teams emerged as the winner of the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the undergraduate division.

I asked this team to share their thoughts about the experience and provide tips to help future competitors.  Here’s what they had to say…

 

JohnBassfordJohn Bassford –  Starting is the hardest part of this project. To me, it seemed a very daunting task, but as soon as we started working on the project, things began to pick up momentum and the pieces fell into place. Communication is important in order to be successful. Do not be afraid to bounce ideas off of teammates. Even if you think the idea is ridiculous, talk it out with the team. You never know what ideas you will help your teammates create by telling them your ideas. Once you find an idea that you all can get behind, use that idea to keep everything within your plan consistent. There will be some arguing and maybe even some very vocal disagreements, but do not forget that this is a team competition. Be open to each other’s ideas and make sure to communicate between each other to avoid confusion on what needs to be done. Don’t overthink things and make sure everything ties in with your main idea. Before you know it, you’ll end up having a great plan.

AlexAlexander Dixon – Take into account how long it takes to finally settle in on an idea, but make it an idea that will resonate with your audience.   We initially brainstormed many different ideas on specific topics that played to our client’s advantages — in our case it was DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket.  For example we had a bunch of ideas on the football packages, their refer-a-friend rewards already in place, and other DTV assets.  We then realized that DIRECTV’s major selling point was their NFL Sunday Ticket, so we decided to combine the two to strengthen the refer-a-friend program.  Brainstorming the ideas on the topics separately initially took most of our time.  Once we honed down on our topic we were able to see ideas that we had on different DIRECTV assets. We were able to use them with our final idea which made it inherently better.  The problem with this all was that once we finally found an idea that would work, we had about two weeks left in the semester to actually create the plan, which made us work quickly and under pressure.  So my main piece of advice would be to not underestimate how long it takes to actually come to a solid idea that will stick out to place in the competition.

KevinKevin Harmon – I learned that staying organized and not procrastinating are keys to success. Once you come up with your main idea, have confidence in it and let it fully develop. Don’t veer too far off your original course, there are a lot of moving parts to this project and constantly changing your ideas will cost you lots of valuable time. Last but not least, have fun with it. This is a great opportunity to apply your knowledge from the classroom in a creative way.

KelseyKelsey Jordan Hinkle – I often still think about my group experiences and what I wish I could’ve done differently. While there’s some I remain unsure of as a perfect solution, here’s what I would advise focusing on to fellow marketing majors:

1. Emotional Intelligence.  A successful group begins with knowing yourself, your teammates, and yourself around your teammates. We learned in COB 202 to start group projects by taking the Myers Briggs test – a great tool for developing Emotional Intelligence. However, it wasn’t until Maymester as a senior, after being forced in COB 487, that I realized how beneficial this test is to a groups’ success. I highly recommend knowing your Myers Briggs score and your teammates within the 1st week. You not only discover personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your teammates, but also this reveals any latent imbalances early-on. So now your team can create a more relevant plan of action to address any potential issues, and also better allocate specific roles/duties. But my favorite part is about this test is how much personal insight you gain, as well as those around you, especially opposite personalities. It explains why you react a certain way to surrounding personalities/situations and how to more effectively control any negative reactions.

2. Logistics.  Go over everything you have to do together. Set up weekly deadlines and stick to them. Google Calendars and Google Drive are lifesavers. Share everything. But, do not overly rely on Google Docs. Don’t assign a task to only one person. Have everyone edit/add writing up until at least 3 days before the due date. Then, pick one person to create a version in Word. Read it aloud slowly together. If there’s something you want changed but no one agrees, change it on your own computer first. Wait for everyone’s approval before changing it yourself. If you want to make a drastic change, be sure to sufficiently back up your ideas. More importantly, don’t be afraid to do so. We actually changed our overall theme less than 2 weeks before the due date, which was incredibly stressful, but worth it.

3. Taking Initiative.  The busyness of the business school, and lack of group rooms, makes procrastinating even more tempting. Do not succumb. Even if “there’s nothing to do” that week, do something. Meet at least once every week for an hour. As a change of scenery, I recommend not meeting in Showker (i.e. the café in Martin’s, Barnes & Noble, Rose Library, etc…)  although, so long as you can find a space, Showker works, too. The issues I faced with most group projects resulted from my own laziness and/or entitlement. When 1 or more members procrastinate, it’s easy to follow suit, especially in the beginning weeks. Start something, even if no one else will. But always try your best to include the team on your work. Regardless of how much more effort you put forth, avoid feeling like you deserve greater control or credit. Vice versa, avoid negative thoughts of what you don’t deserve, whether related to grades or treatment by your teammates. Unfortunately, groups do not work that way, and neither does life.

4. Direct​ Communication​.  The moment you have something you’d like to say to another member,tell them.  Never be afraid of making things worse because, trust me, that rarely happens.  Remaining silent is much more destructive. If you feel uncomfortable telling the person directly, go to your professor as early as possible, not another member of your team.

Thank you to John, Alex, Kevin, and Kelsey for sharing their advice. To summarize their key points:

  • Get started early.
  • Brainstorm and then stay focused on your main ideas.
  • Keep communication lines open within the team.
  • Develop a team plan for completing the plan requirements.

For even more insights, read what the 2014 Bronze Winners from JMU had to say about succeeding in the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge.

Seven JMU Teams Win Awards in Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge by DIRECTV

Marxman Marketers – Winners of the 2014-15 3rd Place Bronze Award in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge Alex Dixon, Kelsey Hinkle (Team Leader), John Bassford, and Kevin Harmon

Winners of the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the 2014-15 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge. Marxman Marketers – Alex Dixon, Kelsey Hinkle (Team Leader), John Bassford, and Kevin Harmon

Among the 200+ teams from around the nation, the JMU team of John Bassford, Alex Dixon, Kevin Harmon, and Kelsey Hinkle captured the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the 2014-15 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge by DIRECTV.

The Collegiate ECHO Challenge is administered by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing.  In this national competition, undergraduate and graduate students conducted in-depth industry analysis and marketing research, created integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy, selected relevant and effective media platforms for implementation of strategy, allocated a budget, designed marketing creative to engage the target audience, developed a client presentation, and produced a video ad. These materials were judged by seasoned professionals from the direct and interactive marketing community.

The 2014-15 competition entailed marketing DIRECTV’s “Refer a Friend” Program to existing customers, new customers, and affiliate marketers using a budget of $1 million. All students worked on the semester-long DIRECTV project as the focal project in my MKTG 384 course at JMU. The project runs parallel to IMC concepts taught in the course such as marketing strategy, consumer behavior, objective setting, media planning, budgeting, forecasting, and the promotional mix (advertising, direct marketing, digital/interactive marketing, sales promotion, public relations, and personal selling).

Bassford, Dixon, Harmon, and Hinkle proposed a “Join the League” creative campaign to infer that DTV is the league to join. Their slogan used wording to refer to DTV as “the league” and to help promote referrals by using the word “join” within a well-researched media mix.  Judges feedback applauded the JMU 3rd Place Bronze team for their strategy, presentation, quality, and effort.

Great thinking through strategic application of all the channels. Great overall presentation of materials, I can see the clear time investment for quality work and detail of thought put into the campaign. Outstanding job overall and preparation for the real world!

As a result of this win, Marketing EDGE will provide JMU with a trophy for display in our College of Business and a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded by the Department of Marketing.  Students on the third place team will also split a cash prize of $500.

Six additional teams from JMU were recognized for superior accomplishment in other ECHO competition categories.

Three teams received Honorable Mention for major components of their integrated marketing communications plans.

Nifty Networking – Honorable Mention for Creative Strategy Chelsey Carbaugh, Nannan Chen (Team Leader), Denice Donovan, and Joey Bell

Nifty Networking – Chelsey Carbaugh, Nannan Chen (Team Leader), Denice Donovan, and Joey Bell

Joey Bell, Chelsey Carbaugh, Nannan Chen, and Denice Donovan were awarded Honorable Mention for Creative Strategy. The team’s creative concept involved marketing DIRECTV’s Refer-a-Friend Program as a unique gift in a “Channel the Love” campaign.

 

 

 

Formidable Three – Honorable Mention for Marketing Strategy Lauren Doherty, Dylan Katcher, and Corrie Breshears (Team Leader)

Formidable Three – Lauren Doherty, Dylan Katcher, and Corrie Breshears

The team of Corrrie Breshears, Lauren Doherty, and Dylan Katcher received Honorable Mention for Marketing Strategy. The marketing strategy for their “SAVE the Most” campaign involved a highly focused three-month media plan integrating direct mail, e-mail marketing, social media marketing, the DIRECTV website, and existing customer communications channels.

 

 

Getting Direct

Getting Direct – Honorable Mention for Market Research Kemp Bartlett, Nicole Tiffany (Team Leader), Madison Biernacki, and Madeleine Bourne

Kemp Bartlett, Madison Biernacki, Madeleine Bourne, and Nicole Tiffany won Honorable Mention for Market Research.  The data collection methods for their “Score Big” campaign, included qualitative research and over twenty secondary research sources to back up their marketing strategy.

 

 

 

 

Three JMU teams earned Honorable Mentions for excellence on specific components of the report.

Advanced Ambition – Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy | Executive Summary Andrew Tsitos, Casey Sayre (Team Leader), Hao Dang, and Tommy O’Connor

Advanced Ambition – Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy | Executive Summary
Andrew Tsitos, Casey Sayre (Team Leader), Hao Dang, and Tommy O’Connor

Hao Dang, Casey Sayre, Tommy O’Connor and Andrew Tsitos earned Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy and the Executive Summary.  Their creative strategy evolved around a “Share the Wealth” campaign included a unique internal sales promotion that motivated and rewarded DIRECTV employees (e.g., installation technicians, customer service reps) for efforts generating referrals.  The Executive Summary is a report section that involved succinctly summarizing in one page the entire IMC plan.

 

 

Cre8ive Solutions – Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy | Marketing Plan Brooks Chilcoat, Katherine Cutrone, Christina Provino, and Trevor Wilder (Team Leader)

Cre8ive Solutions – Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy | Marketing Plan
Brooks Chilcoat, Katherine Cutrone, Christina Provino, and Trevor Wilder (Team Leader)

Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy and the Marketing Plan was awarded to Brooks Chilcoat, Katherine Cutrone, Christina Provino, and Trevor Wilder.   Their creative strategy was based on the premise that  people are more incentivized by emotions than money alone. The team’s emotional appeal aimed to create a personal state of exhilaration in a “Spread the Excitement”.  Their marketing plan used a viral marketing campaign as a focal point.

 

 

 

Epic Effect – Honorable Mentions for Market Research | Innovation Nick Spinner (Team Leader), Alexa Balsome, Corrine Cardinal, and Carolyn Rezny

Epic Effect – Nick Spinner (Team Leader), Alexa Balsome, Corrine Cardinal, and Carolyn Rezny

Alexa Balsome, Corrine Cardinal, Carolyn Rezny, and Nick Spinner received Honorable Mentions for Market Research and Innovation.  Both primary and secondary research served as the basis for developing an innovative “Share the Wonder” campaign.  Their strategy centered around using a scratch-off promotional sweepstakes aimed at increasing brand loyalty with DIRECTV.

 

Congratulations once again to the seven teams from JMU for superior accomplishment in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.

On behalf of all of the JMU students who participated in this year’s Collegiate ECHO competition, I wish to thank Marketing EDGE for their support of such an educational endeavor. As a result of this project, students acquire valuable marketing experience for use in their upper-division marketing courses, job interviews, and marketing careers. A special thank you is extended to all of the practitioners in the judging community for generously donating time to evaluate the students’ materials and provide comments. The feedback is highly valuable to the students, as well as myself as an instructor, in better understanding the highly complex nature of successful marketing strategy.

Marketing EDGE Programs for Spring and Summer (2015)

Marketing EDGE logoMarketing EDGE (formerly known as the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation) provides a number of very helpful resources and programs designed specifically for students looking to prepare for a career in the marketing industry.

Check out the listing of job, internship, and scholarship opportunities below.  Note there are varying deadlines associated with their programs.  If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Terri Herschlag, Program Manager for Marketing EDGE Career Services, at therschlag@marketingEDGE.org.

  • Marketing Scholarship Awards – On average, $75,000 provided to students to help with tuition.  The application process closes on April 15, 2015.
  • Marketing EDGE Job Board
  • Next Generation Leaders Program – NY or SF; 1 year – 2 rotations; networking, learning, and challenging work.  The NextGen program is limited to new college graduates (2015). The next program will begin the first week of September, after Labor Day. 
  • Summer Internship Program – Multiple states and companies attend I-MIX program.  Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.
  • *Interactive Marketing Analytics Xperience (I-MAX) – The application deadline is June 5, 2015.
  • *Interactive Marketing Immersion Xperience (I-MIX) – The application deadline is April 3, 2015.  This year’s Xperiences is co-sponsored by GoogleThis truly unique marketing intensive presents students with a chance to…
    • Visit Google’s main campus
    • Participate in company specific workshops and get insights into major marketing campaigns and strategies directly from top Google executives
    • Develop a better understanding of new and evolving marketing platforms: mobile, social, and search
    • Receive resume critique that will help prepare them for the tough job market ahead
    • Work on a practical marketing business case
    • Interact and network with marketing students and marketing professionals from across the country
    • For questions about this program, contact Rachel Fontana at  RFontana@marketingEDGE.org.

How to Excel in the 2014 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge: Advice from JMU Winners

Marketing-EDGE-Bronze-JMU

My spring 2014 students at James Madison University participated in the *Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge as part of the Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 384) course.  Each team developed marketing plans, using direct and interactive channels, with a goal of increasing the number of orders driven through a Domino’s Mobile App.  They also created a visual summary presentation and an online video ad.  In the end, five JMU teams made it to the semi-finals and one of those teams emerged as the winner of the 3rd Place Bronze Award.

I asked our winning team to share their thoughts about the experience and provide tips to help future competitors.  Here’s what they had to say…

Haley SvadebaHaley Svadeba – I learned to not be afraid to go with an idea that seems to be random or completely unrelated to the task at hand.  These are the very kinds of ideas that end up being creative breakthroughs.  It is very important in the beginning stages of the creative process to not discourage any idea that your team has because you never know what could catch the target audience’s attention.  Once your team has decided on the “big idea” for the plan, I would recommend sticking with that one idea and building off of it.  Be consistent with your overall theme.  Even after deciding your main idea, your minds will continue to come up with additional ideas as you go through the semester but don’t try to make it more complicated by coming up with too many.  Keep it simple and make sure to use the one big idea very well by expanding upon it and integrating it into the plan.

Shawn MisarShawn Misar Consistency is king!  Also, taking a few minutes of time out of each day, dedicated solely to thinking creatively is well worth it.  I would highly, highly recommend talking about your ideas with your friends, family members, or anyone else who can give you some feedback.  Go to your professor’s office hours. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off someone who has had a vast amount of experience and who is so committed to helping you do well! Meet regularly with your team, set a schedule, and stick to that schedule.  If all the team members meet every few days with real progress, you will have a lot of extra time near the end of the semester to “polish” the plan and give you the best chance of success.

Lauren CrainLauren Crain – I learned is it is very important to know and understand your target market and your client. Being very familiar with your target market will help in every aspect of the plan. You need to think like your target market, envision how they would interact with the client’s brand, and figure out what is the best way to effectively engage them. It is important to immerse yourself in the brand, know what they stand for, how they currently communicate with their audience, and understand how they interact with their customer. Some advice I can offer to other students is to get started on the project as early as you can because it contains many intricate components.  The Challenge is a large undertaking as you have to learn about an industry, a client, the marketing environment, and the competitive landscape.  With that information, you will be challenged to make recommendations, come up with a very creative big idea, a media plan, a budget, ROI projections, a video, a presentation, etc.  Teams with the highest quality plans were started at the beginning of the semester.  You want to put time and thought put into the process throughout the entire semester…not just pulled together quickly at the end.  You really do get out as much as you put into the project and will learn so many skills that will be applicable in the future.  Don’t waste this opportunity.

Haley Svadeba

Dan FroehlichThrough the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge, I understood more deeply how motivation directly correlates with success. The first day we were assigned this project, our group had our minds set on winning the competition. We spent more time than we needed to just get a good grade.  We were dedicated to our client’s success and we truly wanted our ideas to make a real difference for the clients.  The extra effort and time we spent on the plan paid off as it positioned us to place #3 overall in the competition out of nearly 200 competitors.   One of the things we did that made the project so successful was our constant effort to improve our plan. We actively sought out our plan’s weaknesses, and built them into strengths. Your plan is only as strong as your weakest link, and this process helped us create a balanced and strong plan.

Thank you to Haley, Lauren, Shawn, and Dan for sharing their insights.  I concur with the advice and will summarize their key points:

  • Be open to all ideas during the creative process.
  • Once you decide on the main creative theme, stay focused on that idea and integrate it consistently into the plan.
  • Obtain feedback from other people outside of your team.
  • Plan a schedule of regular meetings and strictly adhere to it.
  • Learn everything you can about the market and your client.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Set high goals and work hard for your client.

 

*The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is sponsored by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing.

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