Salisbury and JMU Take Honors in the 2019 Spring MAXI Competition

Youth for Understanding headquartered in Washington, DC, offered the challenge for DMAW/EF’s 2019 Spring MAXI Competition.

Participants, who met April 12 at the headquarters of Chapman Cubine and Hussey (CCAH) in Arlington, VA, were challenged to develop a multi-channel marketing campaign to incorporate direct mail, email, digital advertising, social media, telemarketing and other relevant channels that address YFU’s goal.

YFU advances intercultural understanding, life-long learning, global competencies, mutual respect, and social responsibility through transformational educational exchanges for generations of youth, families, and communities, supported by dedicated volunteers and professional staff.

Under the guidance of Professor Paul Morris, Salisbury University undergrads, Taylor Garner and Ryan McGuire, took home a Gold award from the 2019 MAXI competition on April 12.

Professor Theresa Clarke of James Madison University coached both JMU teams to the Graduate School honors.

Barney Casino, Tam Nguyen and Thao Overkott took the Graduate Gold. (left)

Thacher DeStefano, Trevor Nichols, and Kevin Spitzer won Silver. (below)

The following professors and DMAW/EF Board members served as judges:

Alan Rich, Nova Label

Bruce Gregoire, Wise Guys Marketing

Lynn Waller, CCAH

Scott Huch, Direct Creative

Also present were observers:

Dr. Marilyn Liebrenz-Himes, professor at George Washington University

Rebecca Rorke, Director of Philanthropy at Youth For Understanding

Professor Paula Morris, Salisbury University

Professor Theresa Clarke, James Madison University

Graduate and undergraduate teams took on the same case challenges, but chose different audiences to grow YFU’s program. Proposed strategies included a variety of approaches to engage program alumni and recently retired participants looking to volunteer more time. Participants toured the CCAH office and heard from staff about direct marketing trends, as well as questions likely to arise during a job interview. In turn, students asked staff about their personal job searches and work experiences in direct marketing. Following the presentations, judges offered constructive feedback, as well as insights about direct marketing careers generally. Across the board, teams received high praise for their thorough SWOT analyses, well-developed graphics, and professional presentations.


Challenges outlined by the organization, included:

  • A clear outline of their proposed strategy that includes a solid, measurable goal regarding the team’s proposed marketing efforts. The strategy outline should state where the organization is presently – then where the team feels the organization would be because of the team’s campaign.
  • A sample of the team’s proposed creative campaign copy and design for print or online components, sample digital ads and sample social posts for Facebook, Twitter and/or other optional social channels. Please note the intended audience segment/target for each creative element.
  • An expense budget and projected revenue for the campaign. The team’s budget can be generalized, if necessary. Example campaign costs and response rates are listed later in this document for use.
  • Other communication approaches also were encouraged. For example, the team might propose developing a mobile, video or DRTV campaign to be used to reach specific segments of the team’s identified target segment or sub- segment.


The case budget for the team’s campaign was set at $100,000, to be used for the creation of the team’s campaign promotional materials and media/advertising budget. Teams were also permitted to submit a campaign that would be deemed to be more expensive than the current budget, but if so, the team would need to also provide its reasons for this increased expense. In all cases, teams were instructed to provide a general summary regarding costs of the team’s recommended campaign along with the team’s rationale for the campaign but need not go into great detail.


Teams had 15 minutes for the team presentation, followed by 10 minutes for questions by the judges. Cash prizes were awarded to the top teams the day of the competition, at the end of the oral competition event.

DMAW/EF Thanks the Following 2019 Spring MAXI Sponsors!

Concord Litho
Nova Label Co., Inc.
Scott Huch