The DMA International ECHO® Awards competition recognizes “the whole package”: marketing strategy and tactics, creative execution/media selection and results. To win an ECHO, you must prove you have devised a brilliant strategy, developed revolutionary creative, crafted smart media selection/planning and have achieved astounding results based on your campaign objective(s).

Entries that engage the judges and build your business case for winning an award are simple, clear, and concise, all while telling a story. Make sure you know and can articulate the difference between objectives, strategies and tactics. The judges who read the entries know the difference and expect the entrant knows the difference as well. They expect to read a clear entry form—free of typos, bad grammar, and illogical thought sequences. On your entry form, everything counts.

Here are a few pointers to increase your chance to win an ECHO.

  • Get started on the entry process early. Read the rules and entry application; note the requirements, the number of samples you will need to gather, and the entry formats for creative materials. Remember, you must get client approval for each entry submitted.
  • Completeness counts. Be sure to fill out the form completely. If the information requested is not relevant to the entry, or if it’s confidential and the client will not approve its release, say so. But complete the form.
  • Spelling counts. Misspellings, grammatical errors and typos are other ways of showing carelessness—and yes, spelling counts. Also, the DMA maintains archives of winning entries, so poorly written entries will make you look bad for years to come.
  • Math counts. Incorrect or improperly stated figures can undermine your opportunity to show your entry at its best. For example, a few years back we read an entry where the section on results included something like this: “The new package got a 2.4% response, compared to a 1.2% response for the control. This entry should be a winner because it pulled 1.2% better than the control.” Huh? An improvement of 1.2%? The new package DOUBLED response. It improved response by 100% over the control! This kind of performance can get your entry into award consideration … as long as it is presented properly. So look for ways to express your results most dramatically. And share as much result information as you can in hard, numerical form. Percent response, cost per lead, conversion rates, cost per sale and ROI. Judges are impressed by hard results. And results count for 33% of your entry’s score. We know many clients consider results to be proprietary, so you can index the results. Statements like: “We delivered an ROI 350% above the existing benchmark.” Or “When compared to the previous years’ efforts, we were able to increase sales by 400%.”
  • Content counts. As that example about results illustrates, what you say and how you say it can be extremely important, especially when you summarize the reasons why your entry is deserving of an ECHO award. When you get to this point, focus on why your entry has the “WOW” factor.
  • Context counts. To dramatize the importance of your entry, you often have to put your accomplishments in some kind of context. With the ECHOs, you have the opportunity to explain how the entry was measured. In the marketplace challenge and marketing strategy sections, set up the context in which your program was devised and evaluated. This helps the judges know the challenges you were facing. Context counts, too, especially when it comes to results. If your client won’t let you reveal results in terms of actual response rates or sales, express results in relative terms—like percentage improvement over control or return on investment ratio. Index results against your allowable, your past campaigns’ successful performance or another standard. But if you do, be sure to explain what that standard is. Index numbers are meaningless if out of context.
  • Conciseness counts. Be clear and concise—pay attention to space limits within appropriate sections of the entry form. Watch the adjectives. And resist the temptation to add “stuff” to the entry. When you have a multimedia/integrated campaign, it’s difficult to go into great detail about each step of the campaign due to space restrictions. In such cases, add a Campaign Flow page (PDF format) in with the creative samples to help explain the order of the efforts and to whom they were directed. This will aid in explaining complicated campaigns.
  • Keep hotlinks live until August. The ECHO judges want actual, live samples. If you’re entering a three-dimensional campaign, send actual samples instead of an electronic photograph. If you’re entering digital media, your content should be live, and continue live—exactly the same as it was when you entered it—until August. Judges want to see the entry in the way that the consumer would be seeing it. You can move it to a server so it is the way it was at the time of the entry. And remember to provide appropriate user IDs and passwords—and make sure your URL does NOT include the name of the agency.
  • Tips from Past ECHO Winners. Write your entry in Microsoft Word first for those sections of the form that require a detailed explanation. Carefully proof your document for typos, punctuation and accuracy of translations. This is important to ensure that ECHO Judges can properly evaluate your entry. Conduct a word count on each section to make sure it complies with the allowable number of words. Then, copy and paste your answers into the online form. Make your entry form answers concise and easy to read, yet complete. Do not use lots of adjectives or “sell copy”. This raises suspicion amongst the judges. The facts of your campaign should be enough to convince the judges of its quality. Make sure that all URLs referenced in your entry form are active throughout the period of judging (through August, 2016), and check for case sensitivity. Digital creative work cannot be judged if judges cannot access your site. Do not include the agency name in the body of the write-up or in the URL. This can disqualify your entry. Include the agency name only where asked on the entry form.


15 March

Early Bird Deadline:

28 May

Regular Deadline:

25 June

Extended Deadline:

14 July

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