With $2,500 at stake, four universities, five well polished teams and one freshly revamped DMAW-EF Collegiate MAXI Competition awaited a panel of six judges at the US headquarters of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The competition challenged student teams throughout the mid-Atlantic to each create a marketing campaign for WWF to generate excitement and buzz around residential rooftop solar and drive consumers to buy or lease a solar system. With less than a month to formulate a campaign, students assembled teams, grabbed coffee and started preparing their pitch for a judging panel comprised of DMAW-EF board members and the WWF Renewable Energy Campaign’s communication and research executives.
After countless hours of researching, brainstorming and prepping, it boiled down to one thirty-minute presentation and ten minutes of Q&A with the judges for each team. With the new Collegiate MAXI Competition oral format in full swing, students were able to bring their ideas to life in front of a room full of listening ears.
As the day unfolded, judges expressed how pleased they were with the presentations. “What impressed me most was how thoughtful and professional the presentations were. It often times felt like we were a real client and they were a real company giving their pitch. It was very impressive,” said Lynn Englum, the program officer of the Renewable Energy Campaign at WWF, who helped write the competition case.
Once all five teams presented their unique campaigns, it was up to the judges to decide the rankings. And it wasn’t easy. “Every group that participated presented compelling and creative ideas on how to convince more people to install solar panels, which made it hard to select the top three,” said Keya Chatterjee, WWF Senior Director of Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach.
After deliberation, the judges awarded Gold to Christopher Newport University’s team made up of William Blanton, Katie Kessler, Brooke Little, Bella Nguyen; Silver to Salisbury University’s Leslie Nielsen; and Bronze to Salisbury University’s team comprised of Gloria Majchrzak, Deepish Matani, Lindsay McCoy and Courtney Mulcahy.
Thanks to the event sponsors, WWF and Kirk Swain at DirectMail.com, the award winning teams all received cash prizes. Winning students also receive the opportunity to shadow a company in the direct marketing industry through the DMAW-EF’s Mentor for a Day program.
The new format was a big success and you won’t want to miss the next competition. Who knows? You may just find your next employee.
Danielle Hart doubles as an Online Fundraising Account Manager at The Engage Group and a Postal Logistics Account Manager at MailSmart Logistics. She also serves as the DMAW-EF’s Student Ambassador Advisor. Feel free to contact Danielle at Danielle@engageyourcause.com.