The Judging Criteria Critical for a Successful Contest
What is a Contest?
A contest is an activity where skill is needed to win. Unlike a Sweepstakes where a random draw identifies the winner, in a contest the participants has to take an action that requires some degree of skill. That degree of skill depends on what the promotion or event is asking the participant to do. For example; in an essay where participants enter and compete by submitting original writing.
The Judging Criteria
Contests also have an element of competition that requires the Sponsor or advertising agency set clear contest judging criteria so that the participants knows how they will be judged, and the judging body knows what to look for, and what to assign value to based on the judging criteria. As a marketer, you can save yourself a lot of potential trouble, and complaints, if your judging criteria is clear and made clear to all participants and judges. For example, here is a snippet of a judging criteria; “Essay Submissions must be in the English, comply with the Official Rules, meet all requirements called for on the Contest Website and be original work not exceeding 1,000 characters in length.”
The “How-To” Guide for Judging
In a contest, the judging criteria is an attempt to focus the participants, as well as the judges, on the expected outcome of the entry. A properly design judging criteria aims to minimize the judges unconscious biases and set the attention on the qualities that are going to be weighed and assigned a value or score. For example, here is an extract of a judging criteria score sheet; “33.3% creativity, 33.3% originality; and 33.3% adherence to topic.”
The judging group or individual judge ideally should be an expert or have some degree of expertise in what they are judging. This is not a requirement, but it helps the Sponsor or contest administrator select the winner. Plus, the contestants gain a sense of fair play when they see that the winner was chosen by an expert.
How to Pick the Judges for the Contest
If you can’t find or afford an expert judge, then an individual or group with a clear understanding of the judging criteria and no conflict of interest or bias could serve as a judge. Beyond the judging criteria the judges should have seen enough examples of the work being judged to determine what poor, average and exceptional within the judging criteria.
Ultimately, the judge or judges objective is to assign a total value or points and select the winner based on a total amount of points earned.
A shortcut to judging large numbers of entries is to use social media networks to judge on your behalf up to a certain degree. For example, you can run your contest on Facebook and have the fans vote for the top five Entries. From there a more formalized judge or contest administrator can select the winner based on the judging criteria. This can work well, but there are risks associated with fan-voting. One of the risks is that participants can simply ask their friends to vote for them regardless of the quality of the work. It undermines the promotional effort when a poor Entry gets lots of votes. This is why we usually don’t allow the fans to be the sole decision makers on who wins.
Protect Your Contest With A Judging Criteria
Having your judging criteria set will also protect the integrity of the contest and guide judges when it comes to ties. A well-articulated judging criteria will explain what to do in the event of a tie. For example; “In the event of a tie for any potential Winning Entry, the score for Creativity/Originality will be used as a tiebreaker.” Or “If there still remains a tie, Sponsor will bring in a tie breaking Judge to apply the same Judging Criteria to determine the winner.”
Bottom Line- Contest Are A Great Marketing Tool
Contests are worth the effort and repay the sponsor handsomely. Contest are fun and they generate lots of buzz, awareness and potential sales for the sponsor. Just make sure your judging criteria are set in place. If you need any help with your contest let us know at email@example.com