Fall 2014 Best IMC Plan Awards

On December 13, 2014, in James Madison Marketing Students, MKTG 384, by Theresa B. Clarke

Smokin' AcesAs is customary in my Integrated Marketing Communications class (MKTG 384), students vote for the “Best IMC Plan” after viewing all presentations in their section.

One team deserves special recognition for smokin’ (or perhaps I should say acing!) their presentation so I am awarding one “Best in Course Award” this semester.

Congratulations to SMOKIN’ ACES for earning the top award!

Based on the student votes, our fall 2014 winners are:

11:00 section:

Best in Section Award:  Epic Effect (45%  of their section’s vote)
Alexa Balsome, Corinne Cardinal, Carolyn Rezny, and Nick Spinner

Honorable Mention:  A-Team (30% of their section’s vote)
Emma Barlow, Emma Delmontagne, Andrew Hippe, and Julia Uglietta

12:30 section:

Best in Section Award:  Marxman Marketers (33% of their section’s vote)
John Bassford, Alex Dixon, Kevin Harmon, and Kelsey Hinkle

Honorable Mention:  Hoku Consulting (25% of their section’s vote)
Samantha Carr, Nicole Ferraro, Erica Moore, and Lynn Radocha

Honorable Mention:  In Sync (25% of their section’s vote)
Mary Bruton, John Mueller, and Michael Parzych

2:00 section:

Best in Section Award and Best in Course Award:  Smokin’ Aces (80% of their section’s vote and the most votes overall across the three sections)
Alicia Hahn, Ruby Katz, Casey Lynch, and Michael O’Day

Honorable Mention:  Official Business (15% of their section’s vote)
Will Dunkenburger, Matt Krobath, Alyson Phillips, and Catherine Schindler

I had a wonderful group of students in IMC during the fall 2014 semester and I congratulate them on completing a very challenging course project.  I wish them all the very best as they complete their marketing education and move into the practitioner world.


Finding Customers Through Search Engine Marketing

On December 12, 2014, in Marketing, Theresa Clarke, by Theresa B. Clarke

sv-sbdc-logo Thank you to Joyce Krech for inviting me as a presenter in the  Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SV SBDC) monthly speaker series.

Listed below are some of the resources included in my December 12, 2014 presentation to the SV SBDC about “Finding Customers Through Search Engine Marketing“.

There are several outstanding agencies located close to the Shenandoah Valley that provide services in SEO, Paid Search, and other digital marketing areas.

If you are looking for something on a smaller scale, I can connect you with some of my JMU students to help you get started in AdWords.


As I craft this blog post, I can’t help but think of my colleagues and friends on the west coast who are bracing for Pineapple Express.  I pray that everyone remains safe and unharmed from this powerful storm.

On a more positive note, thank you to all who were involved in the JMU visit to the San Francisco Bay area last month. The four JMU students from a 2014 AdWords Business Global Winning Team had a very memorable experience and I am grateful to all who had a role in taking care of my students.  On behalf of Ashleigh Rojanavongse, Rachel Lam, Kaci Lassiter, and Lauren Hale, we wish to thank the Googlers and JMU Alums for arranging such an amazing trip.  Special thanks to Cynthia Davies Cline (JMU Alum) and Dr. Mary Gowan (JMU College of Business Dean) for their support as well.

Ashleigh Rojanavongse, Rachel Lam, Kaci Lassiter, and Lauren Hale visiting Google Headquarters as part of their prize package for being named an AdWords Business Global Winner of the 2014 Google Online Marketing Challenge.

Ashleigh Rojanavongse, Rachel Lam, Kaci Lassiter, and Lauren Hale visiting Google Headquarters as part of their prize package for being named an AdWords Business Global Winner of the 2014 Google Online Marketing Challenge.

As part of the global winning prize package, I accompanied my students for an entire day at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA.  Ciara O’Donnell  handled all of the logistical arrangements while Piotr Heilig, Lindsay Keller (JMU Alum), and McKelle Holyoak were gracious hosts for our visit to the Googleplex.

We enjoyed a variety of informative presentations from Joe DeMike, James Snow (JMU Alum), Jen Reed (JMU alum), Kim Rafeedie, and Ryan Martin.  The students presented their AdWords, Social Impact, and Google+ Social Media Marketing campaigns  to the Google Online Marketing Challenge team.

Thank you to all of the Googlers who helped make our visit so fun, informative, and memorable.  We savored every minute of the experience!

Paul Holland (JMU '82), General Partner, Foundation Capita

Paul Holland (JMU ’82), General Partner, Foundation Capital

After the Google visit, my students spent two days visiting seven local firms to network with our JMU alumni.  I extend my heartfelt thanks to Paul Holland (Foundation Capital & JMU Alum) and his Assistant Angela Baiamonte, for making these visits possible.  Through Paul’s efforts my students enjoyed company tours and connected with the following JMU alums:


    • Paul Albright, (Captora & JMU Alum)
    • Caitlin Friel, (Square & JMU Alum)
    • Lauren Kennedy, (Guidebook & JMU Alum)
    • David Rabil, (Airbnb & JMU Alum)
    • Tim Roche, (Quantifind & JMU Alum)
    • Michael Ross, (Visa & JMU Alum)
    • Dan Smolkin, (Quixey & JMU Alum)


Rachel Lam compiled a Google photo album to showcase some of the highlights from our trip.  Enjoy!



HootSuite CertificationDuring the fall 2014 semester in my MKTG 384 course, students were offered an opportunity to earn a few extra credit points through a HootSuite Certification Assignment.

One part of this assignment entailed students passing a certification exam to showcase knowledge about social media marketing.  Topics included scheduling social media updates, tracking social media performance, managing team and information flow in social media, and working with social media reports.

I am pleased to report that 18 James Madison University marketing students recently passed the HootSuite Certification exam and are now identified as HootSuite Certified Professionals.  Join me in congratulating the following individuals:

If you are interested in other types of social media certification, check out 8 places to get certified in social media.


Congratulations to my former MKTG 384 students for recently winning the Fall 2014 Direct Marketing Association of Washington Educational Foundation’s Collegiate Maxi Competition.

The team of Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger developed and presented an integrated marketing communications plan for the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Earth Hour, an annual event where people are encouraged to turn off all lights for one hour in March.

Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger presenting their "Earth Hour" Campaign at the World Wildlife Fund Headquarters.

Lauren Crain, Dan Frohelich, and Patrick Shamburger presenting their “Earth Hour” Campaign at the World Wildlife Fund Headquarters.

While I am extremely proud of this group for winning the top award, I’m even more happy that they did the work for no course credit.  It is always a pleasure to work with students who invest their extra time into projects because they genuinely want to learn more about marketing.

Thank you to Lauren, Dan, and Patrick for giving me an opportunity to be your coach.

To learn more about this amazing team, please visit this JMU story about Marketing Students Taking First.



My spring 2014 students at James Madison University participated in the *Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge as part of the Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 384) course.  Each team developed marketing plans, using direct and interactive channels, with a goal of increasing the number of orders driven through a Domino’s Mobile App.  They also created a visual summary presentation and an online video ad.  In the end, five JMU teams made it to the semi-finals and one of those teams emerged as the winner of the 3rd Place Bronze Award.

I asked our winning team to share their thoughts about the experience and provide tips to help future competitors.  Here’s what they had to say…

Haley SvadebaHaley Svadeba – I learned to not be afraid to go with an idea that seems to be random or completely unrelated to the task at hand.  These are the very kinds of ideas that end up being creative breakthroughs.  It is very important in the beginning stages of the creative process to not discourage any idea that your team has because you never know what could catch the target audience’s attention.  Once your team has decided on the “big idea” for the plan, I would recommend sticking with that one idea and building off of it.  Be consistent with your overall theme.  Even after deciding your main idea, your minds will continue to come up with additional ideas as you go through the semester but don’t try to make it more complicated by coming up with too many.  Keep it simple and make sure to use the one big idea very well by expanding upon it and integrating it into the plan.

Shawn MisarShawn Misar - Consistency is king!  Also, taking a few minutes of time out of each day, dedicated solely to thinking creatively is well worth it.  I would highly, highly recommend talking about your ideas with your friends, family members, or anyone else who can give you some feedback.  Go to your professor’s office hours. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off someone who has had a vast amount of experience and who is so committed to helping you do well! Meet regularly with your team, set a schedule, and stick to that schedule.  If all the team members meet every few days with real progress, you will have a lot of extra time near the end of the semester to “polish” the plan and give you the best chance of success.

Lauren CrainLauren Crain – I learned is it is very important to know and understand your target market and your client. Being very familiar with your target market will help in every aspect of the plan. You need to think like your target market, envision how they would interact with the client’s brand, and figure out what is the best way to effectively engage them. It is important to immerse yourself in the brand, know what they stand for, how they currently communicate with their audience, and understand how they interact with their customer. Some advice I can offer to other students is to get started on the project as early as you can because it contains many intricate components.  The Challenge is a large undertaking as you have to learn about an industry, a client, the marketing environment, and the competitive landscape.  With that information, you will be challenged to make recommendations, come up with a very creative big idea, a media plan, a budget, ROI projections, a video, a presentation, etc.  Teams with the highest quality plans were started at the beginning of the semester.  You want to put time and thought put into the process throughout the entire semester…not just pulled together quickly at the end.  You really do get out as much as you put into the project and will learn so many skills that will be applicable in the future.  Don’t waste this opportunity.

Haley Svadeba

Dan FroehlichThrough the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge, I understood more deeply how motivation directly correlates with success. The first day we were assigned this project, our group had our minds set on winning the competition. We spent more time than we needed to just get a good grade.  We were dedicated to our client’s success and we truly wanted our ideas to make a real difference for the clients.  The extra effort and time we spent on the plan paid off as it positioned us to place #3 overall in the competition out of nearly 200 competitors.   One of the things we did that made the project so successful was our constant effort to improve our plan. We actively sought out our plan’s weaknesses, and built them into strengths. Your plan is only as strong as your weakest link, and this process helped us create a balanced and strong plan.

Thank you to Haley, Lauren, Shawn, and Dan for sharing their insights.  I concur with the advice and will summarize their key points:

  • Be open to all ideas during the creative process.
  • Once you decide on the main creative theme, stay focused on that idea and integrate it consistently into the plan.
  • Obtain feedback from other people outside of your team.
  • Plan a schedule of regular meetings and strictly adhere to it.
  • Learn everything you can about the market and your client.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Set high goals and work hard for your client.


*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.

James Carter was featured in a WHSV-TV video this evening.  Check it out now!

Carly Stephenson’s story shows how James and his team successfully conducted online marketing to help Cat’s Cradle develop a stronger online presence.  By using Google AdWords and Google+ in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, the team placed second in the Global Social Impact category and earned a $10,000 financial donation for Cat’s Cradle.

To learn how our students are making a difference with non-profits and engaging consumers online, read about JMU in the 2014 Google Challenge.




2014 Google Online Marketing Challenge AdWords Business  Global Co- Winners
Learn how our four undergraduate teams from JMU’s College of Business performed in the 2014 Google Online Marketing Challenge.



In the MKTG 384 (Integrated Marketing Communications ~ a.k.a. IMC) course at James Madison University, one of the requirements is that students must develop an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan.  An IMC Plan is designed to help an organization plan, integrate, execute, evaluate, and control the use of various promotion-mix elements, such as advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing, internet marketing, etc., to effectively communicate with target audiences and meet organizational goals.  During the spring 2014 semester, this was the first time JMU students created their IMC Plans within the context of a global marketing competition ~the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge.  

Why ECHO?  ECHO isn’t an acronym, but represents what takes place when a marketer sends out a call to action and receives a response…an ECHO.  It is a sign that your marketing communication efforts were effective.

The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is sponsored by an amazing nonprofit organization called Marketing EDGE (EDGE stands for Educate – Develop – Grow – Employ).  Marketing EDGE, formerly Direct Marketing Educational Foundation – DMEF,  is the only national nonprofit of its kind solely committed to acquaint professors and college students with – and to engage and involve them in – the thriving business of marketing. Marketing EDGE is supported solely by corporations and individuals who want to give back to the community. Marketing EDGE offers many exciting services for students such as a job board, career resources, events, scholarships, and more.

The Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is an opportunity for college students studying marketing to compete and work on a multifaceted marketing assignment for a major corporation.  This year, the client was Domino’s!

As dominos-mobile-appa part of the competition, student teams of 3-4 students submitted plans which include qualitative and quantitative research summaries, strategy outlines, media plans, budget and profit projections, and detailed analytics based on real-world metrics.  Students created plans that integrated direct and interactive channels including Domino’s owned and earned media channels (e.g., social media, e-mail, website, and print) with a goal of increasing the number of orders driven through a Domino’s Mobile App.  Students also created a video advertisement as part of their campaign.  Campaigns were designed to  focus on store retail space in 4,900 stores to drive consumers online for their next purchase.

Dan Froehlich, Haley Svadeba, Lauren Crain (Team Leader), and Shawn Misar

A team from James Madison University was named 3rd Place Bronze Winner in the 2013-14 Collegiate ECHO Competition Sponsored by Marketing EDGE and Domino’s. From left to right: Dan Froehlich, Haley Svadeba, Lauren Crain (Team Leader), and Shawn Misar

According to Jeff Nessler, Senior Program & Web Manager for Marketing EDGE, “there were approximately 200 entries in this year’s worldwide competition.  To review them, our judges, who are experienced marketing professionals, evaluated the campaigns, and from among approximately 30 semifinalists, Domino’s judges made the final rankings. I’m pleased to inform you that five of your teams were among the semifinalists.

We are so proud that five JMU teams were among the semifinalists and one of those semi-finalist teams won 3rd Place Bronze.  Pictured to the left is our JMU winning team:  Lauren Crain (Team Leader), Dan FroehlichShawn Misar, and Haley Svadeba.

The team’s campaign had a family focus that involved the target market in the Domino’s mobile app.  With a proposed slogan of “TAPP the App!  Family time is just a tAPP away” their creative strategy involved showing busy moms how the Domino’s mobile app can create more family time.

Because of their third place win, the team will split a cash prize of $500 and receive certificates of accomplishment.  Additionally, the JMU Department of Marketing will receive a trophy denoting the team’s accomplishment and a $1,000 scholarship grant from Marketing EDGE to award to deserving students interested in marketing.

Congratulations is extended to four other JMU Marketing teams that were named Semi-Finalists!  To make it into the semi-finalist category, teams needed to rank within the top 15% of all 200 entering teams.  I wish to recognize Patrick Cusamano, Jack Crowder, Marissa DeMilio, Lucas Falzetti, Nicole Gombos, Lindsay Jacobs, Oeuyowan Kim, Louise Lehmuller, Chase Murray, Ashley Musumeci, Mike Pazirandeh, Eric Pritchett, Patrick Shamburger, Austin Shifflett, and Jenna Ward.  Each of these students is featured with their respective teammates. For a list of all 2013-14 winners, please visit the Marketing EDGE Winners and Honorable Mentions page.

Louise Lehmuller, Austin Shifflett (Team Leader), and Marissa DeMilio

Louise Lehmuller, Austin Shifflett (Team Leader), and Marissa DeMilio


Patrick Shamburger, Chase Murray, Lucas Falzetti (Team Leader), and Nicole Gombos

Patrick Shamburger, Chase Murray, Lucas Falzetti (Team Leader), and Nicole Gombos


Ashley Musumeci (Team Leader), Eric Pritchett, Mike Pazirandeh, and Jack Crowder

Ashley Musumeci (Team Leader), Eric Pritchett, Mike Pazirandeh, and Jack Crowder

Patrick Cusumano, Jenna Ward, Oeuyown Kim, and Lindsay Jacobs (Team Leader)

Patrick Cusumano, Jenna Ward, Oeuyown Kim, and Lindsay Jacobs (Team Leader)

On behalf of all of my participating students, I owe special thanks to several people and organizations at JMU.  The Center for Instructional Technology at JMU has always come through whenever technological assistance was needed in my teaching.  For this project, E. David Stoops, Educational Technology Consultant and D. Lee Beard, Director of Media Production Services developed a presentation to help my students understand how to prepare the required video ad component of the project.  From JMU Libraries, Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet, JMU Business Librarian, delivered an informative presentation to my students about library resources that can be used in crafting the plan.  My JMU marketing colleague, Steve Hertzenberg, was instrumental in answering questions, sharing ideas about integrated marketing communications, and discussing teaching strategies.

Most importantly, THANK YOU to Marketing EDGE and Domino’s for offering such a rewarding educational experience.  I am confident that my students benefited in so many ways by creating an integrated marketing communications plan for a real client.  JMU looks forward to participating in future Collegiate ECHO Challenges.


Today is my last day of teaching MKTG 477 for the spring 2014 semester.

As I bid farewell to an amazing group of JMU students, there is one student in particular who is deserving of special recognition, James Carter.

James was the forJames Cartermer Webmaster at James Madison University and is currently the Web Developer/IT Support at Immerge Technologies and a Freelancer at James Carter Web.  Although James was my student for two classes, I always viewed him as a trusted friend, a valuable colleague and collaborative partner in the teaching and learning process.  He was also a great listener when I was feeling frustrated about certain technological developments.  If I experienced a technological challenge, James could be counted upon to answer my questions, test out an issue, or lend me a hand in solving the problem.

In one instance (actually there were several instances) very early the morning, I texted James a quick question about ADA compliance for a class lecture to be delivered later that morning on web design.  After a bit of texting between us, I convinced James to come to my class (scheduled for only 2 hours later) and guest speak about these issues.  James had no prep time and didn’t even see my ADA slides until he was in the room making the presentation.  Yet, his delivery was professional, informative, and interesting.  That is just the kind of talent James has!  And impromptu public speaking is JUST ONE of his MANY impressive talents.

Thank you to James for his willingness to share technological expertise, problem-solving abilities, and ideas. For when James helped me, he really helped ALL of the students that I teach.

As a result of James’ impact on my students from 2013-14 academic year, I hereby induct James as the newest solider in My Army of Technological Angels.

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