It is my honor to judge the 2016-2017 Collegiate ECHO Challenge marketing plan competition held every year by Marketing EDGE. Marketing EDGE is a national non-profit bridging the gap between academic theory and the practical knowledge and skills required in the workplace. For 50 years, this organization has been bringing together marketing professionals, corporations, academics and students to apply classroom learning to real-world marketing challenges. Undergraduate and graduate students worldwide competed in the marketing plan competition.
Marketing Plan Competition Challenge: Collette
Students developed marketing plans for Collette, a third generation, family-owned company with offices in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Competing teams researched and evaluated the travel needs of consumers and their expectations for travel experiences today, and for the future. Then they developed an integrated marketing plan with a $5 million budget to entice consumers to travel with Collette. Competitors were given free rein to innovate on the product and the customer experience.
Scoring the Marketing Plan Competition Entries
As a judge, I looked at a number of different criteria across the entries. 50% of the score depends on the quality and use of market research. 50% rests the resulting marketing plan. Success criteria included:
- How thorough is the market research?
- Is the marketing strategy clear and concise?
- How effectively does the marketing campaign drive leads?
- In what ways do teams expand/evolve existing product lines and/or create something new and different?
- Do the proposed product line amendments flow from the market research?
- Is the budget realistic?
- How achievable is the projected return on investment?
- How well integrated is the media plan? Does it employ media where the targeted demographic will likely be found? Does it take into consideration the way the audience plans its travel?
Clear Winners in the Marketing Challenge
Judging will be complete in a few weeks, with the undergraduate and graduate winners announced in mid-July.
Prizes in each division:
- 1st Place Gold: Team members are eligible to split a $2,000 award.
- 2nd Place Silver: Team members are eligible to split a $1,000 award.
- 3rd Place Bronze: Team members are eligible to split a $500 award.
Teams demonstrating excellence in the following individual categories are eligible for honorable mentions:
- Market Research
- Marketing Strategy
- Media Plan
- Budgeting / ROI
- Creative Strategy
- Executive Summary
- Visual Summary