Judges' Brief | Scoring

In the 2016-2017 Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge, Market Research will be of paramount importance, comprising 50% of the score.  Market Research conclusions lead to a cohesive Marketing Strategy, which in turn leads to a Creative Strategy, a Media Plan, and Budget / Metrics / Return on Investment calculations, among other facets, to create a marketing plan. Excellence in these and other aspects of marketing are eligible for special recognition when campaign entries are judged.  

To achieve a winning entry, every point counts.  Below is the Judges' Scoresheet. Scoring values are shown just below each category (left column), with a maximum total score of 50.

I. MAIN SECTION: Executive Summary and Appendices

An Executive Summary 

  • summarizes the marketing campaign, focusing on market research, marketing strategy, media plan, creative strategy, and budget / ROI metrics. 
  • foreshadows succinctly what is to follow. 
  • gives a clear understanding, implications, and actions.  
  • is written keeping in mind busy clients at the executive level.

Appendices provide backup for the Executive Summary, such as primary research questionnaires and results, media plan charts, detailed budget / ROI calculations, creative samples, references and citations, etc. Judges review citations for assumptions made and substantiations for industry standards (e.g., costs, response rates, etc.). Are substantiations / citations provided that support the market research, and are they valid and clear?  Are the appendices indexed / organized well vs. a dumping ground? Is the market research (25 points) thorough, insightful?

A note about Creative Strategy (4 points): Judges take into account not only creative strategy - the key component of creative in this Challenge - but also how well the team executes it.  Judges review creative briefs, information, samples and other creative elements that the student team provides in the Executive Summary and Appendices.

  Category 0-5 6-15 16-20 21-25  
Market Research
(25 points)
Incomplete, or incohesive. Acceptable, but needs further development, more substantiation needed. Sufficient research.  Detailed, exemplary research.    
  Category 0-1 2-3 4-5 6-7    
2 Marketing Strategy
(7 points)
Incomplete or detracts from the brand. Acceptable, but needs further development. Sufficient strategy and substantiation. Detailed, exemplary strategy flowing from the market research, with complete substantiation / citations.      
  Category 0-1 2 3 4  
3 Creative Strategy
(4 points)
Detrimental to brand, or Incomplete to partial strategy. Looks more intuitive than  research-based, needs more development.

Sufficient strategy.


Detailed, exemplary, breakthrough creative strategy.    
4 Media Plan
(4 points)
Incomplete or
needs a more strategic focus.
but needs further development.

Sufficient plan.


Detailed, exemplary plan.    
5 Budget /
Metrics / ROI
(4 points)
Incomplete, unrealistic or inaccurate ROI calculations & analysis. Partial budget,
ROI calculations and analysis, acceptable but not necessarily realistic; over budget, or would go over budget because estimate is unrealistic; over-inflated metrics, etc.
Efficient  budget, ROI calculations and analysis; budget is used well; some inflated metrics.   Detailed, exemplary  budget, ROI calculations and analysis; budget is used very well; realistic metrics.    
II. STRATEGIC SUMMARY CHART:  This document focuses the team on its marketing strategy development. The team draws strategic conclusions / solutions from its Market Research, which drive the entire marketing plan.  This chart is required, and may appear in the Executive Summary, the PowerPoint, or both – depending how the team chooses to organize its presentation - with research conclusions on the left, and corresponding strategies on the right.  


Strategic Summary Chart
(2 points)




  Too simplistic,  overly presumptive, leaves the reader wondering what this is all about. Gaps in the research. Chart attempts to identify how research is to be applied. Or summary is good, but basic. Research is stated in detail.  Conclusions are clear, logical. More advanced analysis is used.     

III. VISUAL SUMMARY: In lieu of a face-to-face presentation, the PowerPoint or video presentation visually summarizes the main elements above (in Section I), showing detail where appropriate. 

Professionalism relates to this presentation’s “look and feel” – items such as readability, writing, creative graphics / charts, statement of objective(s) and outcome(s), etc. – arranged in a clear and concise hierarchy. Consistency with the main section is a given.

Judges are asked to evaluate:

  • the overall presentation
  • professionalism
  • summary of key points from the Executive Summary / Appendices / Strategic Summary
  • team's ability to provide detail where appropriate.
  Visual Summary
   (2 points)
0 1 2    
    Incomplete or not professionally presented; may detract from brand; does not reflect strategy. Good, but needs development and organization. Exemplary.  Exceptional, professional-quality presentation, well written, well-summarized and thought through.  

IV. OVERALL CAMPAIGN COHESIVENESS AND PROFESSIONALISM:  Are all elements cohesive, i.e., reflected throughout the campaign, flowing from the Market Research conclusions and Strategic Summary Chart? Are they realistic, substantiated? Are they organized and presented in a professional manner?  Does the judge, acting as "the client,” have a complete understanding of strategy development from the Executive Summary, Appendices, Strategic Summary Chart, Visual Summary (PowerPoint or video presentation) and Video to Consumers?

Judges are asked to evaluate overall campaign cohesiveness, integration, organization and professionalism.


Overall Cohesiveness and Professionalism
(2 points)

0   1   2      
    Needs significant work.  No to low cohesiveness.   Adequate to   good to very good.  Meets basic objectives to near professional.   Outstanding.  Achieves key objectives.  Superior, professional-quality; highly creative, breakthrough, realistic, outside-the-box thinking.
V. HONORABLE MENTION NOMINATIONS: If a team shines in any particular area, judges are asked to nominate it for an Honorable Mention in one or more of the following categories:
1  Market Research  
2  Marketing Strategy  
3  Creative Strategy  
4  Media Plan  
5  Budgeting / ROI  
6  Executive Summary  
7  Visual Summary  
8  Innovation * (see below)  
9  Other:   
* A note about Innovation: An innovative entry will reflect out of the box thinking / ideation.  Execution is feasible - it may succeed or fail - but the idea is brilliant, unexpected, worthy of Honorable Mention.