The Direct Marketing Association International ECHO™ Awards represent the oldest and most prestigious honor in response based marketing. Supported by the DMA, the ECHO™ is the only international award where judges rigorously assess entries based on strategy, creative and results.
The focus is on balanced judging assessment, combining top-notch, experienced judges and outstanding entries year in and out, has played a major role in the ECHO™ Awards representing the best that direct and digital marketing have to offer.
ECHO™ entries are judged by business category. There are fifteen separate categories representing business segments. Categorizing entries by business segment enables entries to be evaluated by judging panels who are experts and leaders in their peer groups in the relevant business category. This leads to a more intelligent and insightful evaluation of entries.
All International ECHO™ Award winners go through three rounds of judging.
Round 1 is a screening round so the main objective is to determine which entries should be considered as ECHO™ Award contenders with a chance to make it through to Round 2. Through a combination of individual reviews followed by collaborative discussion, judging panels determine which entries represent an effective balance of strategy, creative execution and results; and which move on to the next round. Ultimately the scoring will be: "PASS" or "FAIL."
Round 2 is a "Scoring" round so the main objective is to identify entries or campaigns that should be considered for one of the five tiers of awards. The judges determine if an entry is "superb" or "above average" in the campaign strategy, execution and results and if this entry should be considered as an "ECHO™ Award contender", with a chance to advance to Round 3.
Judging in this round is done individually. For every campaign, the judge assigns a score from 1-30 for each of the 3 distinct areas - strategy, creative and results.
Round 3 is a "FINAL Scoring" round, meaning the judges identify the shortlisted campaigns that are eligible for one of the five categories of awards, and determine if a campaign's strategy, execution and results are "superb". Ultimately the judges are helping to decide which entries will have the opportunity to win the prestigious Diamond ECHO™. In Round 3, entries are reviewed individually by three senior level judges, all of whom are the most experienced direct and digital marketers.
Each entry carries its Round 2 score into Round 3. The Round 2 score is an average score based on the sum total and the number of judges. Scores will range from 54 to 90 based on the category as some categories are scored higher or lower than others. In order to move on to Round 3 an entry's score must: = or > than the category average. Each Round 3 judge reviews each entry in the three areas - strategy, creative and results - and awards a score of 0-3 for each. This is the "last 9 yards" which will ultimately determine which award the entry will receive.
The ECHO™ Board of Governors, along with award sponsors, will determine potential eligibility for six special awards. The Diamond, ECHO™ Governors Strategic Innovation Award, Hoke Award, and USPS Gold Mailbox awards are selected by pulling from the highest scoring entries from Round 3. Other special awards — Personal Connections ECHO™ (sponsored by Pitney Bowes), and Green ECHO™ are chosen by members of the Board and other experts in those fields from the top scoring entries that meet the specific award qualifications.
For the 2013 DMA International ECHO™ Awards, Round 1, 2, and 3 judging will take place in New York City and International Judging will take place in one European location. Overall, participating judges come from cities across the United States, as well as from UK, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, France, Brazil, South Africa, Slovenia, India, Ireland, and Malaysia.
For more on the benefits of participating as a 2013 ECHO™ judge, experienced direct response marketers should contact Jenny Abreu, CMP, MTA, DMA — Director of Awards & Recognition Programs at email@example.com or 202.861.2496. For a list of the 2013 ECHO™ jury, click here.