Once again, my MKTG 477 and MBA 625 students have shown the world what amazing talent we have at JMU. On behalf of my eight teams that participated in the 2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC), I dedicate their recent successes to our strong network of alumni and agency partners. We are extremely grateful to our alumni and agency partners who support this experiential learning experience through guest speaking, mentoring services, and intern/externship opportunities.
First, I wish to congratulate Lauren Crain, Dan Froehlich, Morgan MacKenzie Moore (Team Captain), and Brea Zeise for being named Americas AdWords Business Winner in the 2015 GOMC! This marks the fourth time that JMU has won this same award which means they were the top team in the North America, Central America, and South America region of the world. They join the ranks of Rachel Bruton, Meredith Rauh, Brandon Lawlor, Molly Shea, Larissa Cookson, Lindsay Keller, Nicole Behr, Rachel Krause, and Tara Goode in holding this prestigious title. I look forward to our team visit to the Googleplex this weekend as part of their winning package.
Second, in addition to winning the Americas region, this same team won second overall in the Social Impact category of the GOMC. As result of this win, their client, the Calvert Marine Museum, a museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, and interpretation of the culture and natural history of Southern Maryland, will be given a $10,000 donation from Google. This brings JMU’s total Google Challenge donations earned for non-profits to $50,000! Lauren, Dan, Morgan, and Brea join the ranks of many Dukes who earned one of the top three prizes in the Social Impact category: Scott Guengerich, Melissa Dennis Allen, Jeremy Daniel Vogan, Josh Baugher, Baris Bilek, Chris Foster, Carla Larson Reese, Kelcey Troxell, Xavier Pickett, Craig Honeycutt, Dale W. Richards, Lauren Hale, Ashleigh Rojanavongse, Rachel Lam, Kaci Lassiter, James Carter, Monika Kelpsaite, Carly Calhoon, Aly Wilkins, Rory Salzberger, Kelly Pollhammer, Melissa Kniceley, and Hannah Irene Johnson.
Third, the MBA team of Chris Meyers (Team Captain), Glen Hollowood, Matt Ropp, Taylor Schwalbach and Naureen Versi were named Semi-Finalists in the 2015 GOMC. This means they were among the top 15 teams in the Americas region and were a contender for the winning title. This team developed a campaign for Friendship Industries, the first organization in our local community to provide commercial work and training opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Finally, the other six participating JMU teams were ranked as a “Strong” team which means the students demonstrated strong AdWords proficiency and understanding of online advertising.
Over 1,700 teams competed in the 2015 GOMC and the top 322 teams made it into the Strong, semi-finalist, or winner category. Thus, we can confidently state that all JMU teams performed in the top 20% of the world! I am immensely proud of all of my 2015 students for these accomplishments. But moreso, I am proud of their drive, determination, hard work, and overall performance in my class. Because of their efforts, each team made a meaningful difference through the marketing services provided to their clients.
In the middle of showing a very gruesome and shocking ad, blaring fire alarms started going off in the building. You had to be there to know just what kind of effect it had on everyone.
After the fire alarm, we got settled into class again and some students wanted to know how the ad ended. So I played it again, and in the VERY SAME place as my first showing of the ad, the loud fire alarms started going off again. Several students, including myself, jumped in the air in panic when it happened. Very freaky.
If you are so inclined, take a look at the ads. It is a very graphic public service announcement from Western Australia with the message “stay in school”. http://mashable.com/2014/01/30/stay-in-school-psa/… Then imagine a class of students watching this ad with fire alarms blaring around the one minute mark. Crazy!
If future classes, I’ll have someone to pull the fire alarms at just the right time to get the full effect.
If you were a student in my Integrated Marketing Communications class between the fall of 2003 and spring of 2009, then you probably recall the name Andrew Lux. If you don’t recall his name, perhaps “the adidas project” rings a bell.
Andrew was a 2002 graduate of the JMU Department of Marketing and was recognized as the 2001 University Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2002 College of Business Outstanding Student in Marketing. After graduation, he accepted a position at adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany as the Communication Manager for Football (what we call soccer in the U.S.) and Rugby. Andrew was promoted to Global Advertising Manager and worked in Amsterdam before returning to adidas headquarters as the Senior Football Communication Manager.
During Andrew’s tenure at adidas, we collaborated to create a highly beneficial and reciprocal learning partnership between adidas and JMU. After drafting confidentiality agreements and figuring out how to assess course learning objectives, we crafted an experiential project for my course. The project involved students developing integrated marketing communication plans for one of adidas’ real soccer products, the F50. As students gained real-world experience, adidas gained fresh insights and new ideas about ways to market their products.
Donna Ragsdale Dunn (JMU ’94) wrote a feature story about our first semester working together, “Run with the Big Dogs: Marketing Students Get Real-world Toehold working with Adidas Exec on Top Secret Marketing Shoe“. The article showcased Andrew in the spring 2004 issue of JMU’s Montpelier Magazine as he juggled a soccer ball.
Each semester for the next seven years, Andrew and I tweaked the project so that it would be a different experience for each group of students. Over the course of 12 semesters we reworked the project to help students experience different challenges as the products moved through introduction, growth, and maturity while facing intense competition from rivals such as PUMA, Nike, and Under Armour.
To this day, I receive emails and phone calls from alums who ask if Andrew and I are still running the adidas project. My former students often comment on how much they learned, what a memorable project it was, and how it gave them such interesting things to talk about during job interviews. Some even say that it was a marketing project that best prepared them for the jobs they now do today. On behalf of my students who benefited from our collaboration and gained exposure to real-world marketing, I wish to thank Andrew for making this experience possible.
I was inspired to write this blog post when I spotted Andrew at a JMU football game recently. Not only was I absolutely thrilled to see him, but I felt excited to personally share with him what kind of impact he made at JMU. We owe a debt of gratitude to Andrew for truly making a difference for hundreds of JMU marketing students by collaborating, donating his time, and sharing his expertise. Thank you Andrew!
I am seeking talented JMU students with an interest in participating in the 2015 DMAW/EF Collegiate MAXI Oral Case Competition Challenge. Last year, I coached three JMU marketing students who won the first place gold award in the 2014 competition about the World Wildlife Fund.
This year, students have an opportunity to select from one of three nonprofit organizations and create a short IMC plan based on the stated focus of that selected organization. The three non-profts are:
- Central Park Conservancy (CPC) – a private, nonprofit that manages Central Park under a contract with the City of New York and NYC Parks.
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) – an organization chartered by Congress for disabled U.S. military veterans that helps them and their families through various means
- Shriners Hospital for Children (SHC) – a network of 22 non-profit medical facilities across North America
The competition will be held in Washington, D.C. on Friday, November 13, 2015. I can assist with transportation needs and talk to your professors about missing Friday classes.
In order to compete, student teams of 2-4 members must submit an intent to compete/attend form, by Friday, October 23, 2015, before 5:00 PM.
JMU can enter three teams and I would love to coach at least one team of highly motivated and hard-working JMU marketing students. If you have an interest in this engaging learning opportunity, review the Complete Case Competition Document to learn more about the three non-profits and the competition requirements. If you are still up for the challenge, complete the sign-up sheet outside of 517 Showker Hall at your earliest convenience. I would like to form teams no later than September 25 so you can start the project right away.
Several teams of James Madison University participated in the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge as part of my Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 384) course. The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is sponsored by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing.
As part of the Challenge each team developed marketing plans, using direct and interactive channels, with a goal of encouraging DIRECTV customers to participate in their Refer-a-Friend Program. Students also created a visual summary presentation and an online video ad.
In the end, over 200 teams competed and seven JMU Marketing teams earned an award or honorable mention. One of the JMU teams emerged as the winner of the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the undergraduate division.
I asked this team to share their thoughts about the experience and provide tips to help future competitors. Here’s what they had to say…
John Bassford – Starting is the hardest part of this project. To me, it seemed a very daunting task, but as soon as we started working on the project, things began to pick up momentum and the pieces fell into place. Communication is important in order to be successful. Do not be afraid to bounce ideas off of teammates. Even if you think the idea is ridiculous, talk it out with the team. You never know what ideas you will help your teammates create by telling them your ideas. Once you find an idea that you all can get behind, use that idea to keep everything within your plan consistent. There will be some arguing and maybe even some very vocal disagreements, but do not forget that this is a team competition. Be open to each other’s ideas and make sure to communicate between each other to avoid confusion on what needs to be done. Don’t overthink things and make sure everything ties in with your main idea. Before you know it, you’ll end up having a great plan.
Alexander Dixon – Take into account how long it takes to finally settle in on an idea, but make it an idea that will resonate with your audience. We initially brainstormed many different ideas on specific topics that played to our client’s advantages — in our case it was DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. For example we had a bunch of ideas on the football packages, their refer-a-friend rewards already in place, and other DTV assets. We then realized that DIRECTV’s major selling point was their NFL Sunday Ticket, so we decided to combine the two to strengthen the refer-a-friend program. Brainstorming the ideas on the topics separately initially took most of our time. Once we honed down on our topic we were able to see ideas that we had on different DIRECTV assets. We were able to use them with our final idea which made it inherently better. The problem with this all was that once we finally found an idea that would work, we had about two weeks left in the semester to actually create the plan, which made us work quickly and under pressure. So my main piece of advice would be to not underestimate how long it takes to actually come to a solid idea that will stick out to place in the competition.
Kevin Harmon – I learned that staying organized and not procrastinating are keys to success. Once you come up with your main idea, have confidence in it and let it fully develop. Don’t veer too far off your original course, there are a lot of moving parts to this project and constantly changing your ideas will cost you lots of valuable time. Last but not least, have fun with it. This is a great opportunity to apply your knowledge from the classroom in a creative way.
Kelsey Jordan Hinkle – I often still think about my group experiences and what I wish I could’ve done differently. While there’s some I remain unsure of as a perfect solution, here’s what I would advise focusing on to fellow marketing majors:
1. Emotional Intelligence. A successful group begins with knowing yourself, your teammates, and yourself around your teammates. We learned in COB 202 to start group projects by taking the Myers Briggs test – a great tool for developing Emotional Intelligence. However, it wasn’t until Maymester as a senior, after being forced in COB 487, that I realized how beneficial this test is to a groups’ success. I highly recommend knowing your Myers Briggs score and your teammates within the 1st week. You not only discover personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your teammates, but also this reveals any latent imbalances early-on. So now your team can create a more relevant plan of action to address any potential issues, and also better allocate specific roles/duties. But my favorite part is about this test is how much personal insight you gain, as well as those around you, especially opposite personalities. It explains why you react a certain way to surrounding personalities/situations and how to more effectively control any negative reactions.
2. Logistics. Go over everything you have to do together. Set up weekly deadlines and stick to them. Google Calendars and Google Drive are lifesavers. Share everything. But, do not overly rely on Google Docs. Don’t assign a task to only one person. Have everyone edit/add writing up until at least 3 days before the due date. Then, pick one person to create a version in Word. Read it aloud slowly together. If there’s something you want changed but no one agrees, change it on your own computer first. Wait for everyone’s approval before changing it yourself. If you want to make a drastic change, be sure to sufficiently back up your ideas. More importantly, don’t be afraid to do so. We actually changed our overall theme less than 2 weeks before the due date, which was incredibly stressful, but worth it.
3. Taking Initiative. The busyness of the business school, and lack of group rooms, makes procrastinating even more tempting. Do not succumb. Even if “there’s nothing to do” that week, do something. Meet at least once every week for an hour. As a change of scenery, I recommend not meeting in Showker (i.e. the café in Martin’s, Barnes & Noble, Rose Library, etc…) although, so long as you can find a space, Showker works, too. The issues I faced with most group projects resulted from my own laziness and/or entitlement. When 1 or more members procrastinate, it’s easy to follow suit, especially in the beginning weeks. Start something, even if no one else will. But always try your best to include the team on your work. Regardless of how much more effort you put forth, avoid feeling like you deserve greater control or credit. Vice versa, avoid negative thoughts of what you don’t deserve, whether related to grades or treatment by your teammates. Unfortunately, groups do not work that way, and neither does life.
4. Direct Communication. The moment you have something you’d like to say to another member,tell them. Never be afraid of making things worse because, trust me, that rarely happens. Remaining silent is much more destructive. If you feel uncomfortable telling the person directly, go to your professor as early as possible, not another member of your team.
Thank you to John, Alex, Kevin, and Kelsey for sharing their advice. To summarize their key points:
- Get started early.
- Brainstorm and then stay focused on your main ideas.
- Keep communication lines open within the team.
- Develop a team plan for completing the plan requirements.
For even more insights, read what the 2014 Bronze Winners from JMU had to say about succeeding in the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge.
Among the 200+ teams from around the nation, the JMU team of John Bassford, Alex Dixon, Kevin Harmon, and Kelsey Hinkle captured the 3rd Place Bronze Award in the 2014-15 Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge by DIRECTV.
The Collegiate ECHO Challenge is administered by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing. In this national competition, undergraduate and graduate students conducted in-depth industry analysis and marketing research, created integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy, selected relevant and effective media platforms for implementation of strategy, allocated a budget, designed marketing creative to engage the target audience, developed a client presentation, and produced a video ad. These materials were judged by seasoned professionals from the direct and interactive marketing community.
The 2014-15 competition entailed marketing DIRECTV’s “Refer a Friend” Program to existing customers, new customers, and affiliate marketers using a budget of $1 million. All students worked on the semester-long DIRECTV project as the focal project in my MKTG 384 course at JMU. The project runs parallel to IMC concepts taught in the course such as marketing strategy, consumer behavior, objective setting, media planning, budgeting, forecasting, and the promotional mix (advertising, direct marketing, digital/interactive marketing, sales promotion, public relations, and personal selling).
Bassford, Dixon, Harmon, and Hinkle proposed a “Join the League” creative campaign to infer that DTV is the league to join. Their slogan used wording to refer to DTV as “the league” and to help promote referrals by using the word “join” within a well-researched media mix. Judges feedback applauded the JMU 3rd Place Bronze team for their strategy, presentation, quality, and effort.
Great thinking through strategic application of all the channels. Great overall presentation of materials, I can see the clear time investment for quality work and detail of thought put into the campaign. Outstanding job overall and preparation for the real world!
As a result of this win, Marketing EDGE will provide JMU with a trophy for display in our College of Business and a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded by the Department of Marketing. Students on the third place team will also split a cash prize of $500.
Six additional teams from JMU were recognized for superior accomplishment in other ECHO competition categories.
Three teams received Honorable Mention for major components of their integrated marketing communications plans.
Joey Bell, Chelsey Carbaugh, Nannan Chen, and Denice Donovan were awarded Honorable Mention for Creative Strategy. The team’s creative concept involved marketing DIRECTV’s Refer-a-Friend Program as a unique gift in a “Channel the Love” campaign.
The team of Corrrie Breshears, Lauren Doherty, and Dylan Katcher received Honorable Mention for Marketing Strategy. The marketing strategy for their “SAVE the Most” campaign involved a highly focused three-month media plan integrating direct mail, e-mail marketing, social media marketing, the DIRECTV website, and existing customer communications channels.
Kemp Bartlett, Madison Biernacki, Madeleine Bourne, and Nicole Tiffany won Honorable Mention for Market Research. The data collection methods for their “Score Big” campaign, included qualitative research and over twenty secondary research sources to back up their marketing strategy.
Three JMU teams earned Honorable Mentions for excellence on specific components of the report.
Hao Dang, Casey Sayre, Tommy O’Connor and Andrew Tsitos earned Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy and the Executive Summary. Their creative strategy evolved around a “Share the Wealth” campaign included a unique internal sales promotion that motivated and rewarded DIRECTV employees (e.g., installation technicians, customer service reps) for efforts generating referrals. The Executive Summary is a report section that involved succinctly summarizing in one page the entire IMC plan.
Honorable Mentions for Creative Strategy and the Marketing Plan was awarded to Brooks Chilcoat, Katherine Cutrone, Christina Provino, and Trevor Wilder. Their creative strategy was based on the premise that people are more incentivized by emotions than money alone. The team’s emotional appeal aimed to create a personal state of exhilaration in a “Spread the Excitement”. Their marketing plan used a viral marketing campaign as a focal point.
Alexa Balsome, Corrine Cardinal, Carolyn Rezny, and Nick Spinner received Honorable Mentions for Market Research and Innovation. Both primary and secondary research served as the basis for developing an innovative “Share the Wonder” campaign. Their strategy centered around using a scratch-off promotional sweepstakes aimed at increasing brand loyalty with DIRECTV.
Congratulations once again to the seven teams from JMU for superior accomplishment in the Marketing EDGE Collegiate ECHO Challenge.
On behalf of all of the JMU students who participated in this year’s Collegiate ECHO competition, I wish to thank Marketing EDGE for their support of such an educational endeavor. As a result of this project, students acquire valuable marketing experience for use in their upper-division marketing courses, job interviews, and marketing careers. A special thank you is extended to all of the practitioners in the judging community for generously donating time to evaluate the students’ materials and provide comments. The feedback is highly valuable to the students, as well as myself as an instructor, in better understanding the highly complex nature of successful marketing strategy.
Congratulations to KREATE Marketing for earning the top award for the spring 2015 semester!
As is customary in my Integrated Marketing Communications class (MKTG 384) at James Madison University, students vote for the “Best IMC Plan” after viewing all presentations in their section. There were sixteen teams in my two sections this semester. Based on the student votes, six of the spring 2015 teams emerged as winners:
2:30 Section Winners:
Best in Section Award: Heading Direct (36% of their section’s vote)
Alex Adley, AmyGoffe, Brian Reuss, and Max Truchen
Honorable Mention (three-way tie): Advanced Ambition (18% of their section’s vote)
Hao Dang, Tommy O’Connor, Drew Tsitos, and Casey Sayre
Honorable Mention (three-way tie): Digital Crusaders (18% of their section’s vote)
Greg Kozlowski, Taylor Neff, Andres Neira, and Meghan Person
Honorable Mention (three-way tie): Fantastic Four (18% of their section’s vote)
Rachel Dansey, Jacob Shibley, Chris Talbot, and Allison Tugentman
4:00 Section Winners:
Best in Course and Best in Section Award: Kreate Marketing (71% of their section’s vote)
Drew Dyer, Morgan Foran, and Taylor Glazebrook
Honorable Mention: Jacked Marketing (12% of their section’s vote)
Anne Delafield, Heather Luing, Joe Nisivoccia, and Johnny Robbins
My spring 2015 IMC students are to be commended for completing a very challenging course project. I wish them all the very best as they complete their marketing education at JMU and move into the practitioner world.
Fifteen James Madison University students recently passed the HootSuite Certification Professionals Exam as part of a HootSuite Social Media Marketing Assignment. Certification requires an understanding of how to schedule social media updates, track social media performance, manage team and information flow in social media, and work with social media reports.
Please join me in congratulating these JMU Marketing students on their new professional credential.
- Alex Adley
- Patrick Cusumano
- Hao Dang
- Rachel Dansey
- Sydney DuBowy
- Drew Dyer
- Tyler Faley
- Kayla Gibbs
- Katherine Glazebrook
- Gregory Kozlowski
- Natalie Krewin
- Meghan Pearson
- Christine Provino
- Bridget Reardon
- Andrew Tsitos
If you are interested in other types of social media certification, check out eight places to get certified in social media.
I am a seven-year veteran (going on eight) as a professor involved in the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC).
One important lesson I learned is that the AdWords account crediting process can be very tricky for students (and professors) during this phase of the competition. As Google makes improvements to how their crediting system works for the GOMC, participants witness slight (and sometimes significant) differences based on the prior year’s process. Personally, AdWords account crediting is the one and only part of the GOMC that I dread because when problems occur student teams could be slightly (and sometimes significantly) delayed in getting their campaigns executed. When student teams are delayed, this causes huge issues for the instructor in terms of overall course management and ensuring all course requirements can indeed be met before the course ends.
As a friendly gesture to help students and professors around the world have a successful experience with this part of the GOMC, I am sharing some Tips for Completing the 2015 GOMC Report Upload and AdWords Account Crediting Process. Specifically the information in this Google Doc is based on my teams’ experience in the 2015 GOMC so far and is aimed at helping teams navigate the somewhat challenging, but highly important, process of getting their AdWords accounts credited properly.
Good luck to all teams competing in the 2015 GOMC and thank you to Google for providing this amazing learning experience.
I wish to extend a very special thanks to four of my 2015 Team Captains at James Madison University (Olivia Deputy, Morgan Moore, Danielle Squeo, and Shannon Thompson) for sharing information, responding quickly to my requests for information, and working with me to better understand the report upload and account crediting process for this year’s Challenge.
Marketing EDGE (formerly known as the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation) provides a number of very helpful resources and programs designed specifically for students looking to prepare for a career in the marketing industry.
Check out the listing of job, internship, and scholarship opportunities below. Note there are varying deadlines associated with their programs. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Terri Herschlag, Program Manager for Marketing EDGE Career Services, at therschlag@marketingEDGE.org.
- Marketing Scholarship Awards – On average, $75,000 provided to students to help with tuition. The application process closes on April 15, 2015.
- Marketing EDGE Job Board
- Next Generation Leaders Program – NY or SF; 1 year – 2 rotations; networking, learning, and challenging work. The NextGen program is limited to new college graduates (2015). The next program will begin the first week of September, after Labor Day.
- Summer Internship Program – Multiple states and companies attend I-MIX program. Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.
- *Interactive Marketing Analytics Xperience (I-MAX) – The application deadline is June 5, 2015.
- *Interactive Marketing Immersion Xperience (I-MIX) – The application deadline is April 3, 2015. This year’s Xperiences is co-sponsored by Google. This truly unique marketing intensive presents students with a chance to…
- Visit Google’s main campus
- Participate in company specific workshops and get insights into major marketing campaigns and strategies directly from top Google executives
- Develop a better understanding of new and evolving marketing platforms: mobile, social, and search
- Receive resume critique that will help prepare them for the tough job market ahead
- Work on a practical marketing business case
- Interact and network with marketing students and marketing professionals from across the country
- For questions about this program, contact Rachel Fontana at RFontana@marketingEDGE.org.