Sunday, April 4, 2010

GOMC...What a Great Marketing Ploy!

This past week has required me to do a little light reading for an upcoming class project called the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC).  This contest sponsored by the leading the search advertising provider is quite intriguing not only for its educational focus, but also for its marketing and lead generation capabilities.

 Below is how Google describes the Challenge on it's website:

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is a great hands-on exercise for undergraduate or graduate students in classes such as advertising, ecommerce, integrated marketing communication, management information systems, marketing and new media technologies.

The goal for students is effective online marketing via sound marketing analysis to optimize, manage and update a Google AdWords campaign.

The Challenge works like this:

Students divide into groups of 3-6, and then receive free online advertising vouchers for Google AdWords worth US$200.

The groups recruit a small-to-medium business, under 100 employees, who has a website but doesn’t currently use AdWords.

Each group works with the business to set up an AdWords account and structure an effective online marketing campaign.

During a 3-week competition window, the groups optimize and refine their campaigns. They must submit two competition reports – one before they begin and one after the campaign ends.

Google and a panel of independent academics from all over the world select the winning teams based on the success of their campaign and the quality of their competition reports.


Now at face value, this seems like a nice gesture on Google's part to invest the time and money for holding a contest of this manner.  After all, it is providing free hands on skills development to undergrad and grad students seeking to learn about search engine marketing.  Everybody likes companies that invest in the education of our youth in helping them to prepare for their future endeavours, right?  I do agree that Google is helping to develop students, however, the more I thought about this challenge the more I felt that Google benefits more from this challenge than the students. 
Below are some of the benefits to Google:
  • An army of students thoroughly trained to use Google's product.  As these students begin marketing for their future employers it is safe to say that most will opt for Google's product(s) when it comes to search.
  • Free sales force due to the students having to identify a company that is not currently using Google's AdWords and then sign the firm up as the search marketer for the contest.
  • Free trial program for small businesses that are identified by students to play a part in this contest, leading to an ease of entry to search marketing for the business (not to mention a strategy set up by the students).
  • Increased product awareness due to the promotion of this challenge through universities.
I have to give credit to Google, this is an ingenious program that will continue to reap rewards for the company many years from now.  Great idea to invest a little in the current student population and look forward to them signing on as customers when out in the workforce.
A question I have to ask is why haven't other search advertising providers come up with a mainstay program of this nature?


  1. Michael,

    Wise words - Google is being very smart with this imitative. Not only are they marketing their services (and growing demand), they are training a workforce to use the tools effectively.

    However - Google is not the only Search Engine that is doing this / has done this. A quick Web search will bring up some examples of what their competitors have attempted.....