Mostly Marketing by Theresa B. Clarke

Sharing my love of marketing. Helping marketing students, marketing practitioners, & marketing professors connect with one another. Passionate about nurturing new marketing talent. Enjoys sharing novel ideas about a wide variety of topics…but mostly marketing.

About Theresa B. Clarke

Here are my most recent posts

Industries to Avoid for the Google Online Marketing Challenge

When selecting a business or non-profit organization for the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC), Google recommends avoiding businesses with large advertising budgets and highly competitive industries.  Some of the industries to watch out for are web hosting/design, insurance, law firms, debt consolidation, pest control, and movers/shippers.

Just how expensive are keywords in these industries?  Using data from their Free Keyword Tool take a look at what WordStream reported in their 2017 edition of the 25 Most Expensive Keywords.  They found the most expensive keyword to be “business services” with an average cost-per-click of CPC of $58.64.  The actual CPC could be much higher!  So on a Google Challenge budget of $250, that keyword alone would swallow up the entire budget and only generate 4-5 clicks.

In addition to these industries, I suggest staying away from bail bond services, casinos, asset management, online degree programs, psychics, time shares, and plumbers for the GOMC.  If students want to pursue the GOMC’s Social Impact Award, ensure select the right type of eligible NGO.  Read item #7 in the GOMC Terms and Conditions to learn which organizations are not eligible as clients. Ensure to review Google’s Advertising Policies to learn the prohibited content like counterfeit products, weapons, and fireworks, as well as restricted content such as alcohol and healthcare.  But not to worry, there are many promising businesses and non-profit organizations remaining.

To My MBA 625 Class of 2017

To My MBA 625 Class of 2017:


Thank you for being such a professional and talented graduate class.  It was a true pleasure working with eleven students from cohort #7 in the JMU Innovation MBA Program.

Thank you for the positive attitudes brought to each class.

Thank you for being open-minded when I said that MBA 625 uses non-traditional teaching methods and would be unlike any other course you have ever taken.

Thank you for your understanding at the beginning of the semester when we had to start the course online rather than in a face-to-face context.  Thank you for staying an hour late on that first day to ensure that the course was launched correctly.  Thank you for continuing to work well after the semester ended to ensure there was appropriate closure with your clients.

Thank you for flexibility in rearranging one of the online classes so I could go to my son’s Boy Scout crossover ceremony.

Thank you for the incredible efforts to serve your clients so very well and achieve their online marketing goals.

Thank you for sharing time, talents, and energy within and across teams.

Thank you for bringing the utmost in professionalism and responsiveness into the class.

Thank you for working so hard and at Herculean speed to get 16 weeks worth of work done in only 8 weeks.  (I’m still quite amazed at how you all do this!)

Thank you for the killer questions about the course content and how to continuously improve account performance.

Thank you for feedback and ideas on how to improve the class.

Thank you for putting trust in me when you didn’t necessarily understand why I said “do this” or “don’t do that”.  There was a method to my madness where nothing I asked of you was random, and everything had a distinct purpose in helping you learn and succeed.

Thank you for helping me grow as a coach and teacher.  Each team had very unique challenges during their respective course journey.  Each team kept me on my toes (and on a different toe I might add).  I feel drained from the experience, but drained in a completely good and satisfying way.

I truly enjoyed working with my masters-level GOMC Class of 2017 this semester and I wish them the very best as they finish the rest of their Innovation MBA program at JMU.  Good luck to Jesse, Jessica, Jonathan, Ken, Michael, Sarah, Sonia, Stephen, Steve, Teresa, and Victoria.

Sonia Allana, Stephen Kurtzke, and Sarah McGinnis

Steve Barranco, Teresa Comer, Victoria Landis, and Michael Lantz

Steve Barranco, Teresa Comer, Victoria Landis, and Michael Lantz

Ken Prevete, Jesse Springer, Jessica Drennon, and Jon Nicely.

Ken Prevete, Jesse Springer, Jessica Drennon, and Jon Nicely

Prepared to Make the Difference: Three Ideas to Help You Make a Really Big Difference

My faculty commencement address to the JMU College of Business.

Class of 2017, Congratulations!    You did it!

In the College of Business, we have a slogan…Prepared to Make the Difference.

  •    It means you are ready to hit the ground running and have grown closer to becoming a professional.
  •    You learned business fundamentals, collaborated in teams, and participated in our many experiential CoB programs.
  •    You are equipped with resources, knowledge, and connections to help you succeed.

Today, You ARE prepared to Make the Difference —and I want to share three ideas that may help you make a REALLY BIG difference.

  1.      Be courageous.

Think about a moment in your life when there was something you really wanted to do….but didn’t do it because you were afraid to try. My moment was as a child. I wanted to be a cheerleader for my school. But I was apprehensive about trying out, because I doubted my ability to make the squad. I didn’t know how I would face my family, my friends, and the world if I didn’t make it.  So I didn’t try out. It was the cowardly choice, not the courageous one. I. let. myself. down.

But what the experience taught me at a young age, was that NOT trying ALWAYS feels worse than failing.  NOT TRYING was a mistake I didn’t want to repeat again.  So I vowed to never let the fear of failure stand in front of anything I TRULY wanted to accomplish. I stopped caring about failure and I decided to become fearless, ESPECIALLY in my career. I still experience failures today, but I know it really isn’t that bad because I actually learn a lot when I fail and life does go on.  When YOU aren’t afraid to fail, you will wake up every morning willing—and eager—and full of courage.   And the more courageous you can become, the more that big, exciting, and meaningful opportunities will enter your life.  Courage can lead you to do some pretty great things as you try to make a big difference in the world.

  1.      Commit to lifelong learning.

Today, you begin a new frame of learning as a college graduate. There won’t be structured classes or professors guiding you.  We in the College of Business have done our part. Now it’s your turn.  YOU will be in charge of your business education going forth. Let me tell you why this is so important.

When I was a senior looking for my first job, I had good grades, I was an active leader in clubs, and I held an internship where I performed well. Back then if you applied for a job, bad news came through a formal letter in the mail. I knew I could either trash the rejection letter and be angry about it—or make it my friend. I decided to make it my friend, folding it neatly and storing it away in the back of an old filing cabinet. Eventually, that letter had a friend—and then another— and another until I had my-own-little-sorority of rejection-letter-friends.

Over the next few decades, while my rejection letters sat in the filing cabinet…the world of business changed in so many ways…laws, technology, societal trends, the consumer voice, big data, …so many things—but I continued learning — as those changes were taking place. One day I found and re-read all those old rejection letters, I realized something very important.  And here’s what I want you to understand—continuous learning WILL reward you in the long run.

One letter had come from a Fortune 500 Company—my dream job at the time. No job, but…a few years ago that very same company contacted me with a request to do some digital marketing consulting for them. That. Felt. Great!   Another one of my rejection letters was from a graduate school that turned me down.  Six years ago, that university invited me to guest speak in an honors marketing seminar. That felt pretty great too!

I strongly believe that business career success requires you to constantly learn. Class of 2017, I challenge you to continue learning so you don’t miss out.  If you don’t—and you know this—someone else WILL be learning and you’ll eventually turn stale and will be left behind in this highly competitive and dynamic business world.  Don’t let today be the end of your education.  Start by building on experiences you had as a business student—like studying abroad, being a member of a business student organization, service learning, and going on company tours. Find ways to carry those experiences on as a business professional.  Be that person who continues to learn— and you will find NO shortage of ways to make your big difference.

  1.      Cherish the good in every day of your life.

It will be hard to make those big differences if you aren’t feeling good. We all have bad days—but you can always find something to appreciate, even on your darkest of days, if you look.  I have a nightly ritual. I call it my blessing box. It’s a box I found at Michael’s craft store—it’s about the size of a six-pack. Inside I put 365 blank notecards—one card for each day of the year.  Every night, I pull out the card for that day and add the current year—then, I write ONE sentence about something meaningful from that day: an activity, an accomplishment, something funny, something joyful.  Just something good I want to appreciate and remember. Then I move it to the back of my box, and my card for the next day awaits me. In that little box, over the course of many years, I’ve ended up with a personal collection of special moments from every day, of every year. And it is rewarding to look back at the goodness in my life as I write on my card each day.

I have 365 of these.  Each card reminds me to be forever grateful for the people, passions, big experiences, and little moments that are so special. Writing on these cards and reading them each day made me discover that when you are in tune with the good in your life, you can better operate from a position of incredible strength.  And with that strength comes powerful insight that guides you towards where and how to make those really big differences in your life and in the lives of others.

Today might be a great day to start your own blessing box, or a journal, or even just daily moment of silent reflection.  What will you write or think about?   I hope it’s something that captures today as a cherished, positive, festive, and joyful celebration of your entire JMU and CoB experience that you shared with your classmates, friends, and loved ones supporting you today.

Tonight when I write the 2017 entry on MY May 5th card I will probably say: “I never imagined I would give a commencement speech, but I did…and it was a genuine honor that I will always cherish.”

On behalf of the faculty and staff in the JMU College of Business, we wish the Class of 2017 our very best.  We hope that you find courage, that you continue to learn after today, and that you find the good in every day of your life.  And, as you make YOUR difference in the business world, YOU — will – make – us – proud.

Dr. Theresa Clarke's Commencement Speech to the JMU College of Business Class of 2017.

Four Teams Earn IMC Plan Awards for Spring 2017 in MKTG 384

My spring 2017 students in MKTG 384 demonstrated very thoughtful IMC plans that were full of creativity.  Every team truly did a wonderful job!

At the end of the semester, students vote for the “Best IMC Plan” after viewing all presentations.  I am pleased to announce that four teams are receiving recognition this semester based on the student votes.  Below each team’s photo are comments from their peers.

Jami Adler, Keyanna Gibson, Savannah Kerchner, Alyson Kroll, Ornell Islam, Frans Nicholas

“Unique idea and they had promotional strategies that seemed to align with the target market.  Theirs was very easy to follow and had no major problems.  I loved it!”

“Very nice presentation overall as well as a great story using a lot of local facts.”

“Clean presentation throughout the slides.  Good integration between all media.  Loved the logos and creative name.  Clean ads.  Sold the product as a piece of the community.  Overall it was the best one that I didn’t have any issue with and I’ve seen a lot of creative plans.”

“I really enjoyed the the presentation.  They incorporated several topics and tips from class.  I enjoyed their advertisements and color scheme.  Really liked the self-mailer.”

“The dove idea was very unique and creative.  They highlighted the fact that you are doing something good by purchasing.  I like the doing good aspect of it.  Their advertisements were great as well.  They used a lot of things learned in class like the pop-up.”

“They had the best visuals and graphics in the class.  They had several promotional materials that they explained very well all throughout the presentation.  The “peaceful” idea with the dove was what sold me.”

“This team clearly did their research and seemed to understand what IMC is all about.”

“I think that they had a very universal concept that would really sell in stores.  Their visual plan was very  organized.”

“Their approach seems best for the area we were limited to.  I think it would appeal to most people in the area and also stay aligned with the client’s values.”

“This group had a great major selling idea.  Everyone wants peace.  They had great promotional mix strategies with all good designs.  The target markets were very relatable and realistic.  All their slides were organized and straight to the point.”

“They had a very creative product name and their packaging was very attractive.  Their advertising methods and the way they used their budget was good.”


Organized Chaos:  Blue Bowen Briana Cifelli, Nina Coffaro, Laine Hamilton, Haley Nininger, Joel Siliadin

“I enjoyed the creativity and design.  The angle of advertising the blemishes was cool.”

“I think this group had the best overall presentation.  They executed the best and all of their information worked well on its own.”

“I thought they had a really good campaign idea that was incorporated throughout all touchpoints.  I think it would get people’s attention.”

“I like the name, their ads were very bold and easy to read.  Their event in the Arboretum was creative.”

“I loved their idea of selling the blemish aspect of the product.  Very risky but a good idea.”

“This group had a very interesting approach as well as visually appealing presentation.  They had a unique selling idea as well as a budget and integration map.”

“Really  liked major selling idea – unique way to challenge society’s norms.  Graphics and visuals were by far the best.”

“The presentation overall is very clear.  The objectives are detailed and get the point across.  The graphic images were well done and very unique.”

“I think aspects of the plan were very eye-catching and just very well done.  The major selling idea relates to issues in society, which will entice people to buy it.  Overall the visual pieces were very well done.”


Lucky Leapfrogs:  Emilou Landas, Travis May, Katina Robinson, Brian Sweeter, Katie Winesett, Greta Wolking

“The packaging and labeling made the product seem more of a luxury; which was consistent with their product positioning.  Good promotional ideas.”

“I feel they offered the best integration throughout their plan.  The creative strategy made sense with the target they were trying to reach, and I thoroughly enjoyed their plan.  If I was shopping for this product, that is the one I would have purchased.”

“Very specific, organized, good ideas, split up nicely, overall understood their IMC plan the most as well as how they would carry out their plan.  They presented it in an organized and aesthetic manner.”

“I think that they had an integrated plan that was thought well-through.  I liked the ties into wineries, as there are so many around Harrisonburg. The labeling fit the theme of the sleek design.”

“Their ideas for advertising were the best I have seen out of everyone.  The sweepstakes and events went very well for their target markets and were just great ideas in general.  Very strong advertising plan for a local market.”

“Overall had one of the best presentations as well as product name.  Seemed to understand what the client was looking for and executed their marketing plan excellently.  They differentiated themselves with Crosskeys and overall had one of the best plans in the class!”

“They were extremely consistent with their creative strategy.  They also had a unique idea to partner with Cross Keys.  They also had a great brand image.”

“The group convinced me that the luxury product look and feel could really be successful.  The sleek black look along with their strategies could definitely work and be a successful campaign.”

“I thought this was the most thought-out and visually appealing visual summary.  I loved the contrast and imagery.  Overall, from the content of the IMC process to the attractiveness and appeal of the presentation, I truly thought that this was the best plan overall.”

Third Place:  PURPLE PASTA
Gianna Arango, Abigail Benchimol, Maureen Bradley, Kayla Rodrigues, Chris Ogunfowora, Matthew Wallace

“Very unique marketing strategy using individual cups as a form of distribution.  It allows the product to be versatile and appeal to multiple different target segments. Selling idea was creative and set a straight-forward message to who you wanted to appeal to.”

“Their product is very unique and original.  I really enjoyed the single serving approach.  The presentation was put together nicely and flowed very well.”

“I love the idea of on-the-go.  I think they’d get a lot of market share with it.  The “dip it, spread it, pour it, savor it” was a good promotional approach.  It’s a different idea and not on the market yet from what I know.”

“They were the only group to not market it simply as a jar.  They did single serving cups.  The slogan was very creative and stuck in my head.  Their overall presentation was clear and efficient.”

“This had the coolest design layout and concept to go along with it.  The “pour it, dip it…..” is really cool.  The visuals are flawless.  People are going towards not big jars, but single servings.”

“I think that this group had one of the most unique and creative approaches to creating the IMC plan.  I think that the single serving sized packets will really appeal to the target market and will stand out in grocery stores among all of the other pesto brands.  I really like their idea to add facts about homelessness awareness under the lids of the packets because it will keep consumers engaged with their brand, even post-purchase, and it also could help the community by making people want to help/donate in addition to the plan itself.  The visual summary was appealing to the eye and very professionally put together.”

AdWords Certifications from the JMU GOMC Class of 2017

I am pleased to announce that the names of JMU GOMC Class of 2017 students who have passed the exams necessary to become AdWords Certified.  The certification is a professional accreditation that Google offers to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of AdWords. According to Christopher S. Penn, professional marketing certifications provide value in two key areas:  a) signals of base knowledge, and b) heuristics we use to make judgments about others.

Certified students from my MBA 625 course include:

Join me in congratulating the ENTIRE class of students enrolled in MKTG 477!

  1. David Bruce – Display
  2. Annalise Calpabo – Search, Mobile, Video, Display, Shopping
  3. Nicole Carothers – Search
  4. Maddie Divita – Search
  5. Caroline Galiwango – Search, Mobile, Video, Display, Shopping
  6. Ashley Glennon – Search, Display
  7. Allie Hammond – Search
  8. Devin Hogue – Search, Shopping
  9. Riley Jamison – Search
  10. Lauren Jones – Search
  11. Jordan Kimball – Search
  12. Rachel Kirbabas – Search
  13. Katie McGee – Search
  14. Michelle Mullins – Search
  15. Brendan Reece – Search, Display
  16. Raquel Sheriff – Search
  17. George Shtern – Search
  18. Joey Scully – Search
  19. Emily Vaeth – Search, Mobile, Video, Display, Shopping, Analytics
  20. Amanda Zwerin – Search, Display, Analytics

The JMU GOMC Class of 2017

Top Performers in the 2017 Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge at JMU

As part of the kickoff meeting for my MKTG 477 class, our good friends from Silverback Strategies generously donated a collection of very cool prizes. The prizes serve to motivate my MKTG 477 students to study hard and perform well on my AdWords test given during the second week of the the semester.  We refer to this unique program as The Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge.  The top performing student gets first pick from the prize pool, the second highest student gets the second pick, and so on.  On behalf of all of the students in my class, BIG thanks to Silverback Strategies for supporting the AdWords Test Challenge for three consecutive years.

Allie Hammond, Winner of the Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge

Allie Hammond, Winner of the 2017 Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge 

Allie Hammond is our grand prize winner for 2017 as she achieved the highest AdWords exam score in the class.  Allie is a senior marketing major and a mathematics minor.  She worked as a marketing intern at National Spine & Pain Centers and currently is the Marketing Manager at JMU’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Allie was recognized by Marketing EDGE in 2016 as a member of the 3rd Place Bronze Winning Team in the Collegiate ECHO marketing competition. Congratulations to Allie on her strong performance!

Michelle Mullins earned the second highest exam score. Michelle is a junior marketing major and a communications intern at JMU where she writes for the Daily Duke.

Rachel Kirbabas, a senior marketing major with a minor in art, achieved the third highest score. Rachel worked as Merchandising Intern at Kitty Hawk Kites, Inc.

In addition to the aforementioned students, I wish to recognize the first three students in my class to earn their AdWords Certification, a professional accreditation that Google offers to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of AdWords. Joey Scully was my first certified student this semester.  Joey is a senior marketing major, a staff writer for JMU’s Breeze, and the Director of Film for the JMU University Program Board. Lauren Jones was second in the class to complete the certification.  Lauren worked last summer as a digital marketing intern at R2Integrated. Brendan Reece, a senior marketing major, was the third student to earn the certification.  Brendan works as an Operations Manager in the JMU Student Success Center.

2017 Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge Winners

2017 Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge Winners

JMU Marketing Students Participate in 2nd Annual CoB MLK Jr. Day of Service to Help Local Non-Profit

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day the JMU College of Business (CoB) participated in its second MLK Day of Service inclusive of many CoB students, organizations, and faculty members. Students in my MKTG 477 class celebrated their MLK Jr. Day by making a difference for a local non-profit, the Explore More Discovery Museum (EMDM).  This service project was a continuation of the students’ task from the GOMC Class of 2016 when they generated creative and effective marketing ideas for birthday parties held at the museum. This year’s students focused on ideas for increasing party and membership sign-ups as well as branding the museum. EMDM’s birthday events are designed to alleviate parent’s stress while providing a stimulating experience for the children. The MKTG 477 class excelled in a fast paced environment with new group structures. I asked three of my students to write a guest blog post about their experience. Here is what Michelle Mullins, Amanda Zwerin, and Brendan Reece had to say…

The 2017 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) class was introduced to the MLK Jr. Day of Service during our first class in December. After group discussions during our first meeting, we decided that our skills would be best put to use by continuing the efforts of the GOMC 2016 class, especially since Dr. Clarke encouraged us to use our strengths to give back to the community.

“MLK worked tirelessly to make my life better so I love giving back in his memory” Raquel Sheriff, Blue Team

Dr. Clarke coaches Lauren Jones, Allie Hammond, Jordan Kimball, and Annalise Capalbo on the Green Team while they work to solidify their marketing proposal.

Last year’s students developed new ideas to promote birthday parties held at the museum. They successfully supplied The Explore More Discovery Museum (EMDM) in Downtown Harrisonburg with marketing plan ideas to increase birthday parties sales. The 2017 GOMC students were excited to pick up where the talented students before them had left off and brainstorm more ideas to help spread awareness of EMDM’s birthday events and increase memberships.

Students were given an opportunity to branch out from their GOMC groups and conceptualize innovative ideas with new teammates, each of which had a different team color assigned to them.

“It was really great getting to know and work with other students in the class that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to interact with.” –Riley Jamison, Red Team.

David Bruce, Emily Vaeth, Riley Jamison, and Caroline Galiwango of the Red Team bonding and brainstorming for EMDM.

Dr. Clarke’s students are given one of four roles for her course:  Team Captains, Account Managers, Strategists, and Analysts.  Today, she had the “Strategists” step up to lead the teams for the day. All other class members were randomly divided into cross-functional groups to work together on our class goal: converting birthday party participants into members at EMDM, as well as further branding the museum. The 2017 GOMC students made it their mission to discover ways to make EMDM birthday parties more attractive to parents and children and spread the word about the great opportunities EMDM has to offer.  This project required each team to utilize their creative talents under strict time constraints.

“Thinking of ideas that are easy to implement and realistic to achieve was challenging but rewarding.” Devin Hogue, Yellow Team  

George Shtern, Devon Hogue, and Madeline Divita from the Yellow Team talking about new marketing ideas for the EMDM.

The Explore More Discovery Museum has basic party options and additional themes that can be added depending on the child’s interests. Other add-ons include Explore More souvenir cups, ice cream cups and more! The participating students wanted to emphasize that the hard-working staff at EMDM makes birthday parties easy and enjoyable for both parents and children. Continuing branding for the museum is important for museum foot traffic and potential membership opportunities for visitors.

“I really liked being able to utilize the marketing skills that we’ve learned in our classes to help out a local non-profit organization.” –David Bruce, Red Team

As a result of the GOMC MLK Day of Service, several great ideas emerged related to new party themes, coupons/discounts for parents, and small scientific projects to complete at home. Expanding informational materials throughout the facility can be helpful for showing parents and children what other opportunities EMDM offers. Our birthday party enhancement and branding recommendations are low cost and exciting for participants. One common idea that all students supported was a loyalty program to incentivize families returning after attending a birthday party.

“It was cool to see like-minded marketing students come together with similar ideas and build off each other.” Nicole Carothers, Yellow Team

Participating in service directly related to our skills created a unique experience for the GOMC students. Marketing is not only our area of study but has also become a way for us to give back to the local community. Collaborating with our classmates allowed us to develop great ideas for the EMDM. Students were able to collectively dedicate 50 hours with a clear purpose and goal in mind. It was an exciting and unique service experience that all students had fun participating in. We look forward to seeing this project continue with future GOMC classes!

The JMU Google Online Marketing Challenge Class of 2017 in Showker lobby–post brainstorming and pre-pizza–at the 2nd Annual College of Business Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service!  #jmucob  #mlkday2017  #jmucobmlk  #jmumarketing  #jmugomc17

Fall 2016 “Best IMC Plan in Class” Awards

Best IMC Plan” awards are a tradition in my Integrated Marketing Communications class (MKTG 384) at JMU.  At the end of the semester, students vote for the “Best IMC Plan” after viewing all presentations in their section.  Based on the student votes, our fall 2016 runners-up and winners are presented below, along with excerpted quotes from some of the students who voted for the the top teams.


The Runners-up:

Tie for the Runner-up Team in the 11:00 Section:  CLUB 384 and ENTHUSIASTIC PESTO PEOPLE!

Congratulations to Christian Durrett, Allison Gill, Alyssa Greene, Brad Videon (Team Captain), and Nick Yore from Club 384.  Congratulations to Julie Craft, Kassie Gesuelli, Sonam Gurbaxani, Michelle Mullins (Team Captain), Christi Staufer, and Adam Tamny from Enthusiastic Pesto People.

The Runner-up Team in the 12:30 Section:  HARRY POTTER!

Congratulations to Josh Bolson, Like Brower, Kendall Reulein, Sebastian Salinas, and Julia Shaffer (Team Captain) from Harry Potter.


The Winners:

The Winning Team in the 11:00 Section:  DYNAMITE DUKES!

Congratulations to Rob Farrell (Team Leader), Margot Leibl, Kayla Rasmussen, Lindsay Davis, Allie Bunner, and Hayden Towler.


“They had really good visual content, and everything seemed to flow and connect well.”

“This group had every touchpoint well thought out, explained, and researched extensively.  Their marketing was completed and executed well, better than any other group.”

“Really good visuals and creativity in label/logo, and promotional pieces.”

“The stick figures were a great idea that carried all the way through.  Visual summary was very appealing and easy to follow.  Loved the ideas and felt like it was the most put together plan.”

“I just really liked the simplicity.  I feel like it really resonates with the valley.  As a valley local, it is cool to see how you worked to understand what will work and did research on local events.”

“I think that, more than anything, a good visual summary is key in a situation like this.  They definitely started strong with that.”

“Their entire presentation was extremely thorough.  I love the use of the stick figures throghout.  I liked that the colors and their design was different than all the others, which mostly used green.  The name and logo are neutral but intriguing.  I really enjoyed their presentation.”

“They had a very interesting slogan that brought a sense of bettering lives.  Great hourglass packaging to create a more differentiated product.”

“I love their use of stick figures as well as their justification that it represents.  Their slides had just the right amount of text to be informative, but not information overload.  Their use of media was effective and visually appealing, and also consistent across all platforms.  Also, I loved their package design!  It was unique and consistent with their overall image of the Shenandoah Valley.”

“The visuals and message were very clear.  The logo and package were very appealing.  Loved the entire project.”

“This group did a good job of creating a very cohesive and integrated plan.  They incorporated the skyline mountains in most, if not all, of their communications and matched well with their product name.  The package and logo were very well done.”

“I think that this group was great from their slogan to the ideas and visuals.  I think they had a lot of great ideas about the execution and the product post-launch.”

“Their major selling idea was much different than all the other groups.  We were told by our client that the main goal for this product was to better the lives of others and this campaign encompasses that.  The design of the package was classy and different from competitors.”

The Winning Team in the 12:30 Section:  INCREDIBLY INDECISIVE!

Congratulations to Ian Wood, Kendall Lutts, Ryan Peter (Team Captain), Gabrielle Paolone, and Colin O’Brien

“I think this group had the best creative and unique product name, and the best slogan and package design. I think they came up with the best plan based on the strength of their creative ideas.”

“Loved the small creative aspects they used.  Creative ideas were the best and were well thought-out.”

“They used consistent imagery throughout their campaign.  Their cooking class idea was unique and an interesting way to build awareness and trial.  Also their target market personas were very detailed and specific.”

“Overall selling idea was great.  I liked their brand name especially and how they incorporated it within most selling ideas.  Their promotional ideas looked great also.”

“The name, logo, and slogan really stood out to me.  They had a clear and concise IMC plan that seemed like it could be successful.  I liked the idea of cooking classes, especially with their target market.  Overall I thought this plan was the most professional and most likely to succeed.”

“I thought their presentation was well thought out.  It was visually appealing and strategies were descriptive and realistic.”

“They visually displayed a realistic look on all of their touchpoints and promotional materials.  They integrated all of their ideas together very well.”

“I really enjoyed watching their presentation.  I think they had some great ideas about choosing a name with a meaning and having a slogan that matches the name.  They had great advertising ideas and their presentation was organized and put together well.”

“Wonderful radio ad!  Great integration throughout plan.”

“I believe they were extremely consistent, everything seemed visually appealing.  Their social media really pulls the reader in and makes them want to learn more.  I also thought the way they claimed the product provided ‘hope’ was well done.”

“I believe that they did a great job of communicating their objectives and coming up with great ways to accomplish them.”

“Overall, a highly professional, cohesive, clear, and strategic plan.  I was highly impressed with this group’s creativity and differentiation from all of the other teams in the class.  They took risks and it paid off.”

I truly enjoyed working with ALL of my talented MKTG 384 students this semester as they created social-entrepreneurship focused IMC plans for a local non-profit.  I am confident that our client will benefit from their efforts and terrific ideas about the marketing of pesto.  Thank you to all of my IMC students for a wonderful fall 2016 semester at JMU.

Marketing in the 2016 Presidential Election

I have been pondering various marketing dimensions of the recent Presidential campaign.  A July 2016 Advertising Age predicted that the better candidate doesn’t win, the better marketer does.  Some great learning opportunities can be found via leaders from the academic and practitioner community in “Marketing Experts Dissect the Outcome of the Presidential Race“, published on November 9 from the American Marketing Association.  A November 13 article by Forbes, “Don’t Trust Marketing ‘Lessons’ from the 2016 Presidential Election” implies that we will be studying the marketing lessons from this election for some time. In a November 21 Wall Street Journal article entitled “Trump’s Win Has Ad Agencies Rethink How They Collect Data, Recruit Staff“, advertisers are questioning if they are in touch with their non-cosmopolitan audiences.

I attended a presentation by Madeline Twomey, Director at Bully Pulpit Interactive, on “Political Advertising in the 2016 Election” at the DMAW/EF Professor’s Institute.  There were a number of takeaways from her presentation.  Social media is not longer optional in political marketing campaigns…Donald Trump proved that.  Strategy still matters.  You will never have enough content.  Tailor creative to targets, but don’t over segment.  In terms of measurement, engagement does not equal persuasion.  Millennials need “digital-first” content.

There are many interesting marketing issues to examine within both campaigns as we inquire about the marketing successes and failures from both candidates. I hope you enjoy these thought-provoking articles as a means of better understanding marketing.  I am curious to see what our Presidential candidates do in 2020.





JMU Dukes win Gold at Fall 2016 DMAW/EF Collegiate MAXI

Lynn Radocha (Team Captain), Nicole Carothers, Briana Cifelli, and Bryce Pangman won first place in the Fall 2016 Direct Marketing Association of Washington’s Educational Foundation (DMAW/EF) Collegiate MAXI competition.  I had the pleasure of working with this JMU team during the fall 2016 semester as they prepared for this five-state regional case competition about direct/interactive marketing.  Read more about how JMU won top honors at the 2016 DMAW/EF MAXI.

Lynn Radocha (Team Captain), Bryce Pangman, Briana Cifelli, and Nicole Carothers at the DMAW/EF Fall 2016 Collegiate MAXI.

Lynn Radocha (Team Captain), Bryce Pangman, Briana Cifelli, and Nicole Carothers at the DMAW/EF Fall 2016 Collegiate MAXI.

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