• Marissa DiCindio, Vice President, Creative & Digital Services, Access, Commercialisation & Communications

Insights from Inside the Jury Room

Over the past two months, I have had the privilege of judging the coveted Medical, Marketing and Media (MM&M) Healthcare Marketing Awards, along with 70 other healthcare agency and biopharma marketers. The commitment was like none I have experienced before. During the preliminary round of judging online, over a 30-day period, my assignment was to review 45 submissions across four categories. The requirement was to score each submission individually, and not comparative to each other, based on five criteria; research and analysis, strategic insight, creative execution, innovation and originality, and results—each to be assigned a maximum of 20 points, adding up to a total score between 1 and 100.

My review of each submission, on average, took approximately 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the amount of supplementary materials provided to support the entry. Submissions that included an overview video and supporting creative documents were, in my opinion, the most worthwhile to review and score. It was also extremely important for entrants to be clear about what research was done to inform the insights. I found it to be much easier to assign higher scores for those who took the time to document how they approached their marketing solutions.

Once all of the judges in our assigned categories had completed the online judging, we were provided with the list of the top 10 submissions based on overall points scored. On live judging day in New York City, we met in our respective category judging groups to re-review and discuss each submission, with the help of an MM&M staff moderator. As experts within the industry, we respectfully challenged each other to understand varying opinions about what makes a piece award-worthy. For six hours, we watched and debated, and we each re-scored using the same criteria as the original online judging requirements. Each judge was allowed to score on his or her own beliefs, and final tallies were kept confidential as we entered them electronically.

Reviewing individually online first and then reviewing together as a group were two vastly different experiences—both of which were necessary to ultimately narrow down to the top five finalists in each category.

What I learned from being a judge for the 2019 MM&M Awards is that it not only requires countless devoted hours and a true appreciation and understanding of the healthcare industry but, most importantly, the ability to challenge and be challenged on what makes 'good' good.

Final Gold and Silver winners remain unknown to even the judges and will be announced at the live 2019 MM&M Awards ceremony in New York City on October 10, 2019.