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.

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



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.



Thank you to James Carter ~ The Newest Soldier in My Army of Technological Angels

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.

The Fall 2013 Google AdWords Assignment in MKTG 470 at JMU

As usual, my MKTG 470 students at JMU completed a major course assignment using Google AdWords.  The primary learning objective was to acquire hands-on experience using AdWords to drive traffic to any one of their own web pages and any one of their own blog posts of their choice.

Through this assignment, students developed some initial skills in paid search.   With a total account budget of $25.00-$30.00 and a window of 14 possible days, students had an opportunity to learn how to structure accounts, create campaigns and Ad Groups, develop and manage keyword lists, utilize effective matching options, test ad copy using A/B testing, modify keyword bids,  assess account performance, adjust daily budgets, utilize keyword tools, and much more. Through GoDaddy, students new to AdWords were able to utilize a $100 AdWords credit to complete this assignment.

I want to recognize a few students from my Fall 2013 Internet Marketing class for exceptional performance in a few key areas from this assignment.

Aside from seeing my students perform well, another rewarding outcome is having former students contact me to volunteer to help current students on this assignment.  I love receiving a call or email from a former student saying “Hey Dr. C., let me know when you are doing the AdWords assignment in 470 so I can come in and help!”
My classes were treated to three separate visits from JMU Google Challenge alums to offer their assistance.   Having been through this assignment themselves, as well as participating in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, these alums know what it feels like to be a newbie at AdWords. Thank you to Andrew Nelson (Director of Search Marketing at Silverback Strategies), Shay Meadows (PPC/SEO Account Manager at Silverback Strategies), Sarah Carpenter (Paid Search Analyst at RKG Digital Marketing), and Mollie Delp (PPC Analyst at Dynamic Web Solutions) for volunteering their time and sharing their expertise.  Andrew, Shay, Sarah, and Mollie ~ thank you for sharing your passion for digital marketing and for giving back to JMU in such a wonderful way.


The MKTG 477 Elective at JMU

Rumor has it that some students are under the impression that MKTG 477 “replaces” another required marketing course in the curriculum at JMU.

To clarify, MKTG 477 is simply a marketing elective.

Please note that the official course title is “Internet Marketing Practicum”. I realize the class seems to have the unofficial name of “the google challenge course”. Please don’t use that name on your resumes, cover letters, etc.

When discussing this course with prospective employers, you may wish to refer to it as “The Internet Marketing Practicum course where I will be participating in the Google Online Marketing Challenge as one of the major course requirements.”

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



JMU Wins Global Titles in 2013 Google Online Marketing Challenge

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

2013 First Place Global Winners of the Google Challenge Social Impact Award: Scott Guengerich, Melissa Allen, Jeremy Vogan (Team Captain), Josh Baugher, and Baris Bilek

2013 First Place Global Winners of the Google Challenge Social Impact Award: Scott Guengerich, Jeremy Vogan (Team Captain), Melissa Allen, Josh Baugher, and Baris Bilek

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.

2013 Third Place Global Winners of the Google Challenge Social Impact Award: Xavier Pickett, Craig Honeycutt, Kelcey Troxell, Chris Foster (Team Captain), Carla Reese, and Dale Richards

2013 Third Place Global Winners of the Google Challenge Social Impact Award: Xavier Pickett, Craig Honeycutt, Kelcey Troxell, Chris Foster (Team Captain), Carla Reese, and Dale Richards

Another team from JMU’s iMBA Program was recognized as the Third Place Global Winner of the Google Online Marketing Challenge Social Impact AwardChris 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

The 2013 Google+ Social Media Marketing Award Winners: Shay Meadows, Lauren Mason, Lindsay Hayes (Team Captain) and Cortney Marchetto

The 2013 Google+ Social Media Marketing Award Global Winners: Shay Meadows, Lauren Mason, Lindsay Hayes (Team Captain) and Cortney Marchetto

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.

MKTG 490 Turns Into MKTG 477 at JMU

Woo hoo!  After three years of curriculum development, MKTG 490 (Special Studies in Marketing) finally evolved into a stand-alone, official course at JMU.  MKTG 490 is now MKTG 477 (Internet Marketing Practicum).  It is the same experience but with a new course number, a new course name, and an updated description in the JMU catalog.  See below for details.

MKTG 477. Internet Marketing Practicum.  3 credits.  With an applied focus, this course introduces students to some of the most important and fastest growing sectors in online marketing. Students apply marketing theories in a uniquely applied manner as they become active learners involved in an online marketing campaign, facing real pressures similar to those in the professional workplace (i.e., account management, client relationships, financial constraints, market competition, time limitations, technology, etc.). Student teams will work with actual clients on online marketing campaigns. Throughout their campaigns, students continually make finance, advertising and marketing decisions. Students gather real world data using online marketing dashboards to gain a strong understanding of real market conditions. Students experience traditional advertising concepts such as copy writing, cost per thousand (CPM), return on investment, as well as online marketing concepts such as click-through-rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), conversion rates, landing page strategies, and optimization techniques. Prerequisite: MKTG 470 and permission of the instructor.

Thanks to all of my former MKTG 490 students for helping us make the case that MKTG 477 should be an official course at JMU.

Apply now for an opportunity to participate in the Challenge under my direction.

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