Thursday, February 14, 2008
Google is fueling the creative fire
Google has created an awesome contribution to the advancement of buzz and viral marketing-- the company developed The Google Online Marketing Challenge. It is a contest, which is open to any student in any part of the world, to participate in creating an online marketing campaign for a local business, and the winning ad team will receive a trip to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, with a 7-night stay at a 5-star hotel in San Francisco. Question to Park administrators: how did all of these people in the world (look at this Google Map to see 'em) know about this, but we didn't!??!?!?
So anyway, the contest works like this: student teams from academic institutions (who must register for the contest prior to students being able to participate) are given $200 US dollars worth of free online advertisting with Google AdWords. AdWords (see right) are links to a company in a column on a Google search result page labeled Sponsored Links. These AdWords pop up when a person types in a word (which to advertisers, is a want or need) that coincides with the company's product or service.
Students use this $200 to work with their local business of choice (which must be under 100 employees and has a website BUT does not use AdWords) and create their own AdWords account within a competition time span of three weeks. The team must submit a competition report before the competition begins, and one after the three week campaign has ended. The teams can compete in any three week period between February 10th and May 24th of this years. The campaigns are judged by an international smorgasbord of professionals and the winners will be announced this June.
Google explains this opportunity and challenge to interested students as "great opportunity for you to gain practical, real world online marketing experience and gain valuable skills that potential employers are looking for. And for all of those loyal to the mom-and-pop stores, "It's also a great way to help local businesses and your community by supporting them with your online marketing knowledge."
As a person who's enthusiastic about both causes, I give Google serious kudos for seeing the potential in the intellect and talent of the upcoming generation, promoting the increasingly important mode of viral marketing, and supporting small business. That said, when can Ithaca sign up? Guess we'll have to wait for next year...