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.

Big Changes to MKTG 477 in 2016

After much internal dialog and deliberation, as well as some coaxing from colleagues in industry and at my university, I decided it was time to make a big change to MKTG 477.

Instead of 16 students on four teams of four students each, I’m planning to admit 25 students to work on five teams of five students each.  That might not sound like a big deal, but it is a very big deal.  And, I fully understand if my former students are against this idea since “small class size” is a frequently mentioned statement on my teaching evaluations.  Trust me, I like the small classes too, but…

I get so many applicants each year and I really hate turning away so many qualified students  from such a great learning experience.  It feels like telling someone who is hungry that they can’t have anything to eat.

Even with a larger class, I will still have to send rejection letters to quite a few great students.  But by moving to an enrollment of 25, at least I can offer this experiential learning opportunity to nine more students compared to past years.  Before moving to 25, my Department Head gave me his word that I can go back to 16 in 2017 if this doesn’t work with 25 in 2016.  Keep your fingers crossed that I can deliver the same quality of the experience with a larger group.  For example, I once again hope that 100% of  my students pass the AdWords Certification to become an AdWords certified professional.   A great book to help with the certification exam is Learning Google AdWords and Google Analytics.

Enrollments in MKTG 477 were always kept low in order to deliver a flipped-learning and coaching-oriented teaching experience that included engagement opportunities with the practitioner community.  While moving from 16 to 25 may not seem like a big change, it will affect about 30 different aspects of the course delivery.  Most notably, with more students and teams, I will have less time to devote to each student and team.  Instead of 25% for each team, my time will be reduced to 20%.  But I hope we can make up for this lowered level of support through my MKTG 477 alums.  Last year for my 2015 cohort, I pilot tested a Professional Mentor Program whereby each MKTG 477 student was paired with a MKTG 477 alum.  The program received rave reviews from both students and alums.  This year, when I asked alums to volunteer as mentors, I had 21 alums fill out my JMU GOMC Interest Form within the first hour!   Within the second hour I had more than enough alumni interest to cover a Professional Mentor Program for a 25 student class.  Thank you to my wonderful group of MKTG 477 alums for your continued support in making this course such a special experience.  I’m really going to need you this year!

Through brainstorming discussions with one of my recent alums, Patrick Cusumano from Workshop Digital, I have a really good way to use the new fifth teammate.  So, in addition to our usual Team Leader, Account Manager, Strategist, and Analyst, we will be adding Brand Manager into the team mix.  Look for the Brand Manager to have a very exciting role in personal branding, team branding, a service project for their client, and quality control with many different stakeholders.  I shared the concept with Morgan Moore, Lauren Crain, Dan Froehlich, and Brea Zeise (2015 AdWords Business Americas Winners) during our visit to Google last week.  They were enthusiastic about the idea and think it will work out quite well.

Sadly, a few of our traditions will need to change, such as our end of year Duke Dog picture in the exact same pose.  Somehow I don’t see that being the same, but I will challenge my 2016 class to find a way to treasure our past while making room for exciting changes and future growth.

The 2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge Results from JMU

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.

Morgan Moore, Lauren Crain, Brea Zeise, and Dan Froehlich

Morgan Moore, Lauren Crain, Brea Zeise, and Dan Froehlich from James Madison University were the Americas Region Winners and the 2nd Place Social Impact Winners of the 2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge.

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.

Matt Ropp, Naureen Versi, Glen Hollowood, Taylor Schwalbach, and Chris Meyers (Team Captain).

Matt Ropp, Naureen Versi, Glen Hollowood, Taylor Schwalbach, and Chris Meyers (Team Captain) were named AdWords Business Semi-Finalists (top 15 in the Americas region) and AdWords Social Impact Finalist (top ten in the world) in the 2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge.

Third, the MBA team of Chris Meyers (Team Captain), Glen Hollowood, Matt Ropp, Taylor Schwalbach and Naureen Versi proved to be strong contenders in the 2015 GOMC by winning two awards.  They were named a 2015 AdWords Business Semi-Finalist which means they were one of the top 15 teams in the Americas region on the AdWords component.  Students developed a campaign for Friendship Industries, the first organization in our local community to provide commercial work and training opportunities for persons with disabilities.  Because they partnered with a nonprofit with public charitable status and they submitted an Impact Statement, they were eligible for the Social Impact Award.  Their superior performance earned a second title as a 2015 AdWords Social Impact Finalist which put them in the top 10 teams in the world in the Social Impact category.

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.

Tips for Completing the 2015 GOMC Report Upload and AdWords Account Crediting Process

GOMC logoI 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.

2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge Team Captains from JMU Marketing:  Danielle Squeo, Olivia Deputy, Shannon Thompson, and Morgan Moore

2015 Google Online Marketing Challenge Team Captains from JMU Marketing: Danielle Squeo, Olivia Deputy, Shannon Thompson, and Morgan Moore

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.




GOMC Participants from JMU Pass AdWords Certification Exams

adwordscertificationAll 16 students from James Madison University’s MKTG 477 course (Internet Marketing Practicum)  passed the required exams to earn their AdWords Certification.  By passing the certification exams in this globally recognized program, students demonstrated proficiency in necessary subject areas critical to gaining competence in Google AdWords.  Certified individuals are qualified to effectively manage Google AdWords campaigns using the latest tools and best practice techniques.

Congratulations is extended to:

Learn more about AdWords Professional Certifications.

Winners of the Silverback Strategies AdWords Test Challenge

Silverback Strategies donated four prizes as awards for the top performing students on my MKTG 477 AdWords Exam.  The prizes created a lot of excitement and clearly served as a good motivator for my students to study over the holiday break.  Thank you to Silverback Strategies!

The top scores for the GOMC Class of 2015 at JMU are:

1.  Morgan Moore
2.  Ashley Musumeci
3.  Jordan Blair and Patrick Cusumano (tie for third)

Class of 2015 AdWords Test Winners

Patrick Cusumano, Morgan Moore, Ashley Musumeci, and Jordan Blair



#GoogleAtJMU on Thursday, January 22 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm in Showker Hall, Room 105

The JMU College of Businesses is pleased to welcome Exie Huntington, a Google University Programs Specialist, who will be presenting “Career and Internship Opportunities in the Business Side of Google.” This special presentation will cover topics such as:

  • The history, culture, and business of Google.
  • An introduction to Google’s non-technical and business focused careers.
  • Internship and undergraduate educational programming opportunities at Google based on class year:
  • What does Google look for when hiring?
  • How does Google hire?
  • Learn helpful resume tips/tricks, how to frame your experiences, and how to stand out on paper.
  • Learn Google’s interviewing format and the necessary adjustments to make for phone or Hangout interviews.

We encourage all students students in the College of Business to attend.

Mark your calendars now for #GoogleAtJMU on Thursday, January 22 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm in Showker Hall, Room 105.

The 2014 JMU Trip to the Bay Area

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!


Silverback Sponsors the MKTG 477 Kick-off Meeting

On Friday, December 5, 2014 I held my first class of MKTG 477, marking the eighth time that James Madison University will participate in the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC).

It has become tradition to start the course prior to the official start date in mid-January.  We meet for three hours, but in yesterday’s case it was almost 4 and a half, to discuss the course requirements, form students into teams, and review the important tasks that must be completed over the holiday break.

One of those important tasks is studying for an AdWords final exam which is administered on the first day of class on January 16.

Your read it correctly when I said the FIRST day of class.

To make the holiday studying experience a more enjoyable one, representatives from Silverback Strategies sweetened the deal at our annual kick-off meeting.

While everyone enjoyed delicious cupcakes from a local bakery in Alexandria, VA…

cupcakes  …Andrew Nelson and Shay Meadows shared their experiences from participating in the GOMC at JMU.  They talked about how the Challenge inspired them to go into search engine marketing as careers.  Andrew and Shay provided valuable advice for doing well in the Challenge, working with clients, applying for jobs, and thinking about future careers.

Andrew Nelson (Director of Search) and Shay Meadows (PPC Manager) at Silverback Strategies talking to JMU students participating in the 2015 GOMC.

Andrew Nelson (Director of Search) and Shay Meadows (PPC Manager) at Silverback Strategies talking to JMU students participating in the 2015 GOMC.


They also challenged the class to study hard for the AdWords test in order to win one of four special prizes.  Thank you to Silverback Strategies for donating an iPad mini, a Chromecast device, a Google water bottle, and a Google bag.  The top performing student on the AdWords test gets first pick from the four prizes.  The second highest performer goes next, and so on for the top third and fourth place performers.Silverback Prizes

I thought that these prizes were such a great idea to highlight the competitive nature of the Google Challenge and to motivate students to work hard over the break.  Thank you to Silverback for their generosity with these gifts and for your continuous support of our educational programs at JMU.

Stay tuned to see our winners!

JMU Students Impact Local Non-Profit Through the Google Online Marketing Challenge

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.



Privacy Policy | Disclosures