In the 2013 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC), over 12,000 students from 80 countries and territories participated. Out of the 2,454 teams competing, there were 12 top awards and Google awarded three to JMU. Two teams from JMU’s iMBA Program earned global recognition in the social impact category and collectively won $20,000 for local non-profits. Additionally, a JMU Department of Marketing team was named global winner for the G+ Social Media Marketing Award. Each student on these winning teams will receive prizes such as a computing device, an exciting opportunity to participate in Google+ Hangouts with Google team members, and personalized certificates noting their status as global winners in the competition.
What is the Challenge?
The GOMC is a global online marketing competition where students work in teams to develop an online marketing strategy for a real business or non-profit organization. Using a budget of $250.00, teams develop a Pre-Campaign Strategy Report, execute their strategy in Google AdWords, use optimization techniques to run and refine the campaigns for three consecutive weeks, and then develop a Post-Campaign Summary Report. Google uses a proprietary algorithm that considers over 30 factors within an AdWords account to select winners. Factors include account structure, optimization techniques, account activity, reporting, performance, budget, and relevance.
Social Impact Award Global Winners from JMU
Teams working with non-profits are eligible for the Social Impact Award by developing a Non-Profit Impact Statement as an additional and required part of their reporting. Google recognized three teams as global winners in this category; two of the winning teams came from JMU.
The team of Melissa Allen, Josh Baugher, Baris Bilek, Scott Guengerich, and Jeremy Vogan (Team Captain) from JMU’s iMBA Program were named the First Place Global Winner of the Google Online Marketing Challenge Social Impact Award. This award recognizes a team that made an outstanding difference to their nonprofit partners via superb online marketing campaigns. Teams were judged on their impact on and relevance to their nonprofit partner, the overall success of their Google AdWords campaign, and their overall report presentation. The global first place winning team partnered with the Augusta Regional SPCA as their client. The SPCA advocates for the humane treatment of companion animals including adoptions, spay/neuter efforts, and pet education. As a result of being named global winner of the Google Online Marketing Challenge Social Impact Award, Google will provide a $15,000 donation to the Augusta Regional SPCA.
Another team from JMU’s iMBA Program was recognized as the Third Place Global Winner of the Google Online Marketing Challenge Social Impact Award. Chris Foster (Team Captain), Craig Honeycutt, Xavier Pickett, Carla Reese, Dale Richards, and Kelcey Troxell participated in the Challenge with The Virginia Quilt Museum as their client. The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing a permanent collection of nearly 300 quilts as well as other Civil War artifacts, antique and toy sewing machines, and rotating exhibits from across the United States. As a result of earned the global #3 spot, Google is giving a $5,000 donation to the Quilt Museum.
Social Media Marketing Award Global Winners from JMU
As an additional component of the Google Challenge, the Google+ Social Media Marketing Award recognizes teams that successfully designed and implemented a successful Social Media campaign for six weeks. Two additional reports are required to compete in the social media category. This was the first year JMU had a team participate in the social media marketing category…and this team came out on top!
Four recent graduates from the JMU Department of Marketing were named the First Place Global Winner of the Google+ Social Media Marketing Award. As the global winner, this JMU team is recognized for the best-run Google+ campaign and clearly-communicated social media strategies. Hats off to Lindsay Hayes (Team Captain), Cortney Marchetto, Lauren Mason, and Shay Meadows for their success. They participated in the Challenge with The Valley Preferred Cycling Center (VPCC) as their client. The VPCC promotes bicycle track racing, championship racer development, and community programs for racers and non-racers.
There were six JMU teams competing in 2013. Aside from the three global winning teams mentioned above, the other three JMU teams earned a spot in the “Good” category which means that their AdWords campaign performance was in the top 12% in the world. Many of the 2013 JMU students passed Google Certification Exams after the class was over. Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any better (e.g., Americas Winner in 2012, 2011, and 2009) it did. JMU students rocked in the 2013 Challenge. I am so proud of each and every one of my undergraduate and graduate students for their effort and performance this year.
Special thanks is extended to our amazing alums and colleagues at Search Mojo, RKG, and Silverback Strategies for their continuous support of the Challenge at JMU. We are so appreciative of the individuals at these companies who share their time and expertise with JMU students.
Apply now for an opportunity to participate in the 2014 Challenge at JMU. Students will be notified of acceptance in early November. Accepted undergraduate students take MKTG 477 and iMBA students take MBA 678. Each course counts as an elective in their respective program. For detailed information on the GOMC, please refer to the Google Online Marketing page.