Congratulations to Christine Provino for being named the 2016 recipient of the Workshop Digital Outstanding JMU Internet Marketing Student Scholarship. After graduation from JMU, Christine will begin work at Workshop Digital, LLC as a PPC Associate.
As is customary in my MKTG 384 class, students vote for the “Best IMC Plan” after viewing all presentations. Congratulations to Titan Agency for earning the “Best IMC Plan in Class” award for the spring 2016 semester!
Based on student votes, the spring 2016 runner up is Xpected Xcellence!
Congratulations to all teams in my spring 2016 class for completing a very challenging integrated marketing communications project.
JMU students completed a ninth consecutive year participating in the Google Challenge (GOMC) at James Madison University. There were some big changes to MKTG 477 in 2016. As you can see from our traditional year-end class photo below, the most notable change was a larger class size compared to years past. Another change was that every student in the Class of 2016 earned their AdWords certification by March 1. Almost all of these students will be graduating from JMU this Friday. I wish them all the very best as they leave their roles as students and begin new phases of their lives as marketing professionals. I hope in some way I have made a meaningful difference in how they choose to approach their new role.
On behalf of the 25 students from the JMU GOMC Class of 2016, we are grateful to the many supporters for the MKTG 477 course.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Google for running the Challenge each year. There is no other educational experience quite like the GOMC. Between the AdWords Business component and the optional Social Media Marketing component using Google+, students get eight weeks worth of planning, executing, and analyzing a digital marketing experience while working with actual clients and a real budget. I have always said “they [Google] don’t call it a challenge for nothing” and this year was no exception. All teams faced unique hurdles, but that is something I appreciate, expect, and respect about the GOMC. I consistently hear from alums how they didn’t realize at that time how the JMU GOMC experience had a major role in starting their growth into the marketing professionals they are today.
Thank you to five non-profit organizations that served as clients for JMU. Thank you for putting your trust in JMU students to take over your Google+ accounts for social media marketing and for giving them a chance to explore how AdWords can help to meet your organization’s goals. In the end, we hope that your participation in the GOMC advanced your marketing goals a bit further.
Thank you to our agency partners from firms in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, Alexandria, Baltimore, and Philadelphia for providing guest speakers, career opportunities, scholarships, prizes, company swag, and networking opportunities. We are grateful for your continuous and enthusiastic support of the educational mission at JMU.
Thank you to 25 dedicated JMU GOMC alumni who served as mentors for the Class of 2016. I am confident that your friendship and support meant so much to the students while they were on their GOMC journey.
Finally, a belated thanks to the 16 mentors from our 2015 pilot test of the professional mentor program. Because of your successful work, the professional mentor program is now a permanent part of all future MKTG 477 classes.
Congratulations to the JMU Ad Club (Madison American Advertising Federation) for their highest placement ever in the American Advertising Federation’s District 3 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). The JMU Ad Club competed against schools from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, ranking 4th overall with their “Caps Off to You” Campaign for Snapple.
Thank you to the AAF and Snapple for sponsoring the 2016 competition as it is such an enriching and educational experience.
To my JMU Ad Club students who worked so hard this year “Caps Off to YOU!” I am extraordinarily proud of you for setting high goals and aiming towards them with such determination.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to work with such talented, dedicated, motivated, and energetic students. I had so much fun and look forward to another exciting year of advertising planning in 2017.
In my recent post about the importance of AdWords certification for digital marketing students, I referenced a Google Hangout with the GOMC team. In this Hangout, I shared how the Google AdWords Certification exam is a new course requirement in MKTG 477.
Here is an excerpt from my spring 2016 syllabus:
The AdWords Professional Certification Exam: To earn the certification, you need a passing score on two exams: the AdWords Fundamentals Exam and one other advertising exam (the Search Advertising Exam is recommended). To earn credit for my class, send me your certification URL via email before the due dates listed below. You can earn more points by passing the exam earlier in the semester rather than later.
Pass date before March 1 = earns the full 5%
Pass date before April 1 = earns 3%
Pass date before May 1 = earns 1%
I am pleased to report that 100% of my students passed the Google Certification Exam by March 1.
Join me in congratulating ALL twenty-five students from the JMU GOMC Class of 2016:
- Alex Adley
- Rachel Broudy
- Jacob Brown
- Annie Delafield
- Matt Deters
- Drew Dyer
- Alexandra Ender
- Elka Feinstein
- Caitlin Fikac
- Morgan Foran
- Taylor Glazebrook
- Amy Goffe
- Laura Hart
- Natalie Krewin
- Emily Maynard
- Molly McDevitt
- Alex Murphy
- Maianh Phan
- Christine Provino
- Lynn Radocha
- Cari Ross
- Claudia Schnorbus
- Patrick Shamburger
- Jacob Shibley
- John Thompson
Below is an excerpt from a survey that I give to my MKTG 477 students. Based on their responses, I try to figure out their strengths, weaknesses, and interests and then use that information to form the class into balanced teams.
Read the descriptions below about different types of roles. Then, answer the questions that follow about these roles.
- TEAM LEADER: Likes to take charge. Enjoys leading/motivating others, time management, project management, meeting deadlines, organization, and writing. Knows how to manage/disseminate electronic information quickly and correctly through electronic and other means. Enjoys planning, working with schedules, logistics, and getting information to the right place at the right time. Detests procrastination.
- ACCOUNT MANAGER: A very social and people-oriented person. Enjoys working with organizations, clients, and external constituents. The primary point of contact between your client and your team. A sales-oriented, relationship-oriented, extroverted person. Extremely professional and mature. Not afraid to communicate with people who are older and more experienced.
- STRATEGIST: Enjoys developing long-term and “big picture” marketing strategies. Good at finding market opportunities and figuring out innovative ways to achieve marketing goals. Good at seeing how many moving parts can fit together into a larger whole. A visionary. Avid reader of popular press articles about the marketing industry and enjoys learning about many different aspects of marketing.
- ANALYST: Loves working with data, details, numbers, analytics, and technology. Good at develops detailed, short-term, and fine-tuned marketing tactics. Strong eye for detail, not afraid of online marketing interfaces. Prefers working with data rather than people.
- BRAND MANAGER. Enjoys branding, community service, and working with social media. Very strong communication skills with a good eye for detail and visual communications. Interested in personal branding of yourself and helping others do the same. Has a knack for finding ways to improve ads, messages, packages, products, etc. Always looking for ideas on how to make things look better.
Based on the above descriptions, which role are you most drawn to?
- 1. TEAM LEADER
- 2. ACCOUNT MANAGER
- 3. STRATEGIST
- 4. ANALYST
- 5. BRAND MANAGER
Based on the above descriptions, which role are you least drawn to?
- 1. TEAM CAPTAIN
- 2. ACCOUNT MANAGER
- 3. STRATEGIST
- 4. ANALYST
- 5. BRAND MANAGER
Based on the above descriptions, what role are you most interested in further developing? You can further develop your biggest strength, you can further develop your biggest weakness, or you can further develop the choice that fell in the middle.
- 1. TEAM CAPTAIN
- 2. ACCOUNT MANAGER
- 3. STRATEGIST
- 4. ANALYST
- 5. BRAND MANAGER
From their responses, I assign students into teams and give them one of five roles. Each role comes with certain tasks and class assignments as well as opportunities for leading their team in specific parts of course experience. For example, the Account Manager lead a “Letter to Business” assignment and the Analyst leads the team in metrics reporting assignments. In addition to assignments, each role is responsible for leading their team in suggested areas of the report writing process. When I say “leading their team”, I mean just that. Students are expected to lead the other four team members in accomplishing report goals; they are not expected to write sections of the reports on their own.
Suggested Leadership Roles for the Google Online Marketing Challenge Written Campaign Reports
Google+ Pre-Campaign Strategy
- Brand Manager leads (tip: get help from Account Mgr)
AdWords Business Pre-Campaign Strategy
- Account Manager leads pages 1 and 2 (tip: get help from Brand Mgr)
- Strategist leads pages 3 and 4
Google+ Post-Campaign Summary
- Brand Manager leads (tip: work with Analyst)
AdWords Business Post-Campaign Summary & Impact Statement
- Analyst leads Executive Summary
- Strategist leads “Campaign Overview” and the “Evolution of The Campaign Strategy” sub-sections within the Industry Component (located within pages 2-6).
- Analyst leads “Key Results”, “Conclusion”, and “Future Recommendations” sub-sections within the Industry Component section (located within pages 2-6).
- Team Captain leads Learning Component (pages 7 and 8) and Impact Statement (pages 9 and 10)
Is Google AdWords Certification Important for Digital Marketing Students? If you plan to enter the world of online marketing, I say yes, and there are many reasons why. Learn what Liz Gray and I had to say about why AdWords Certification is important in this video series about various aspects of the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). Liz Gray is a faculty member at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada where she coaches students in the GOMC. We both are very passionate about the GOMC and AdWords Certification opportunities for college students.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day the JMU College of Business (CoB) and the CoB Diversity Council introduced their first MLK Day of Service, inclusive of many CoB students, organizations, and faculty members. All of the students in my MKTG 477 class braved the cold and came together to make a difference for a local non-profit, the Explore More Discovery Museum (EMDM). Their task was to generate creative and effective marketing ideas for birthday parties held at the museum. EMDM’s birthday events are designed to be relaxing and stress-free for parents. They offer full assistance with event planning, a set-up and clean-up crew, and pre-made party themes including decorations. I asked five of my students, the “Brand Managers”, to write a guest blog post about their experience. Here is what Rachel Broudy, Taylor Glazebrook, Molly McDevitt, Christine Provino, and Cari Ross had to say…
The moment Dr. Clarke presented our Digital Marketing Practicum class with the opportunity to participate in a day of community service by developing a cohesive marketing strategy for EMDM, our minds buzzed with anticipation. Our goal was aimed at increasing sales of our client’s birthday party events by utilizing and combining our marketing expertise. We spent a total of five hours each, yielding 100 hours of combined service, working towards an objective that will ultimately benefit the local Harrisonburg community.
At the start of the day, Dr. Clarke divided us into cross-functional teams based on our team roles in the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC): Brand Managers, Strategists, Analysts, Team Leaders, and Account Managers. The specialized roles allowed us to work with other students in the class, outside of our GOMC project, to manage individual tasks that contributed to our overall goal. Our teams were positioned in an open environment, which allowed for greater collaboration between all cross-functional groups. As the day went on, teams were able to develop multiple marketing strategies to present to the Explore More Discovery Museum. This is the first time we, the Google Online Marketing Challenge students, have participated in a service event all together. Needless to say, we were eager to spend our time serving the community and sharing our marketing skills.
The Account Manager team consisted of Amy Goffe, Laura Hart, Claudia Schnorbus, Patrick Shamburger, and John Thompson. This group consulted with the EMDM Director, Lisa Schull mid-way through the day to ask questions and obtain information. In preparation for the client call, the account managers brainstormed a list of questions that were geared toward finding how we can better help EMDM’s event sales, specifically for birthday parties. The team was also in charge of taking the presentation template, designed by Brand Managers, and incorporating the class content to present to EMDM. Account Managers were an important component of our process, as their main objective was to understand everything about the EMDM’s current situation and then bring everything together in the end for the final the presentation to the client.
“It’s great to give back to the Harrisonburg community, especially kids, using the skills that we learn everyday in the classroom.” – John Thompson (Member of the Account Manager team)
The Analyst team was made up of Alex Adley, Jacob Brown, Anne Delafield, Caitlin Fikac, and Alex Murphy. Tasked with the job of creating an extensive competitive analysis for EMDM, this team went into great detail with regards to over 25 of EMDM’s competitors and their offerings. After developing and analyzing a spreadsheet full of competitive data, the team looked at trends among competitors, compared them to EMDM, and conveyed their findings to members of the Account Manager team through a perceptual map.
“It’s amazing to see a big group of people working together on one common goal and getting it done efficiently.” – Annie Delafield (Member of the Analyst team)
Contrary to their usual leadership role within the GOMC, the Team Leaders were assigned as ‘followers’ for the day of service so they could experience a supporting role. Their job for the day was to assist the other groups as needed. They began by helping the Analysts collect data for the competitive analysis, they provided edits to this blog post, and then assisted the Strategists with details for a recommendation plan. Team Leaders included Matthew Deters, Alexandra Ender, Morgan Foran, Emily Maynard, and Lynn Radocha. When asked what their biggest takeaway from this day was, the Team Leaders collectively responded, “the experience was a glimpse of what a real-world working environment is like, with cross-functional groups and departments coming together to accomplish a goal.”
The Strategist team included Drew Dyer, Elka Feinstein, Natalie Krewin, Maianh Phan, and Jacob Shibley. This team brought a lot of creativity to the plan as the task was to generate media strategy ideas, message elements, and theme ideas for EMDM’s birthday parties. The team commented that “narrowing down our ideas and expanding on them” was crucial to their part of the marketing plan. The Strategists initiated new ways of communicating the client’s unique selling proposition by emphasizing ideas such as “more fun less work,” to
promote the stress free events to parents. They brainstormed ideas to target the parties towards a variety of events beyond traditional birthdays, such as celebrations for local sports teams and other child-focused organizations. In addition, Strategists were tasked with developing potential revenue-generating “add-ons” for the party such as t-shirts, goody bags, or “green screen” pictures that could be added to their party package experience. The team came up with a few website-enhancing ideas in order to make the online experience more enjoyable for consumers, such as providing customers the ability to search for and book dates for a potential party. When Strategists were asked what the most challenging part of their day was, all agreed that “having to put ourselves back into kids’ shoes was definitely a challenge, but a fun one to face.”
The final team, Brand Managers, had a primary objective of publicizing the experience for the members of our class. This consisted of live tweeting and creating a guest post for Dr. Clarke’s blog to track and discuss the activities of all 25 students throughout the day of service. Brand Managers were in charge of taking pictures, inquiring and keeping up with the progress of the other teams, and collaborating with cross-functional groups. In addition, Brand Managers were assigned to design an aesthetically pleasing template for the final presentation to EMDM.
“It’s important for students to brand themselves using the work they’ve accomplished at JMU. The College of Business Day of Service was a great representation of what students are capable of doing to build their business skills while providing a great service to a local non-profit.” – Rachel Broudy (Member of the Brand Manager team)
By the end of the day, our class of 25 students alone devoted a total of 100 service hours to further benefit the Harrisonburg community. Our class was successfully able to develop a cohesive marketing plan for our client. The plan consisted of ways to enhance their current website, promote and advertise their birthday party experience, and create “add ons” to increase revenue. We had a great time working with EMDM and were happy to help them work towards their sales goal. Overall the first College of Business MLK Day of Service was a great success, filled with pizza, cakes, laughs, and camraderie among everyone involved!
Hard work really does pay off.
Alex Adley and Morgan Foran were students in my Integrated Marketing Communications course (MKTG 384) last year. They each won a scholarship from Marketing EDGE because of their overall performance in the course, which included the creation of an integrated marketing communications plan for DIRECTV.
Marketing EDGE (Educate-Develop-Grow-Employ) is a nonprofit organization that provides funding to support student scholarships, marketing challenges, internships, and teaching resources. They are the only national nonprofit solely committed to help college students become engaged in the field of marketing.
Learn more about Alex and Moran by reading JMU’s article Real-World’ Experiences Translate to Scholastic Success.
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.