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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.