Google Online Marketing Challenge

To put it simply, the Google Online Marketing Challenge is a competition where groups are given a $250 AdWords advertising budget and challenged to create a three week marketing campaign for a local business. The groups who are most successful can win prizes, or maybe more importantly, gain real world experience in managing search engine marketing campaigns.

The Case for Doing the Google Online Marketing Challenge

Google Online Marketing Challenge

Google Online Marketing Challenge Preview

Like I said, this is a great way to get actual real-world experience, which is a fairly rare thing to be able to get out of a college class. It’s one thing to just have “familiarity with AdWords” on your resume, it’s a completely other thing to actually have concrete evidence of exactly what you did and what you can do with AdWords. It’s really easy for someone to embellish their familiarity with something on a resume; it’s not quite as easy to embellish actual results, which we would have after completing the GOMC. Any time you can come into a company with some sort of applicable knowledge that they don’t have to teach you, it saves them money and gives you a leg up.

Not only does it give us real, tangible skills, it also shows potential employers that we’re willing to go above and beyond to learn about the ever changing world of Digital Marketing. We all know how quickly things change and how often new tools come out, so showing that we can adapt to these new tools in a very real situation will go far in the eyes of a potential employer.

The Case Against Doing the Google Online Marketing Challenge

So. Much. Work.

Professor Kahlil Corazo, who has trained students for the GOMC since 2010, goes as far as to say “there are several hell weeks in their curricular work during the training and competition.” We’ve got to think about that when we consider the work load and trying to balance it between our other classes and jobs.

We also need to consider the group itself. We’ve all been in groups where someone doesn’t really pull their weight, and if that happens in a project of this scale, it could be even harder to manage than normal. In fact, Professor Corazo suggests a very specific group makeup. A group that has worked together before, has 3 or 4 members, at least one member comfortable with data, and at least one team member with “world-class business writing skills.” Granted, this is his ideal group in order to win the whole competition, so it could be completed with a different group makeup, but it’s still something to consider.

Final Thoughts

So, what do we think? Do the pros outweigh the cons?

Can we handle the workload on top of everything else?

Is it worth it?

Further Info:

Let’s Talk GOMCHA (Google Online Marketing Challenge): My Reflections as a Mentee

6 Online Marketing Tips: From Google Challenge Semi-Finalist

How to Win the GOMC – Secret Sauce Revealed!

Youtube Video: GOMC Alumni – Where are the Winners Now?

14 thoughts on “Google Online Marketing Challenge

  • January 30, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    When the idea of participating in the Google Online Marketing Challenge in place of the Digital Hub Project 2.0 was proposed in class this week, my interest instantly sparked. I previously heard a little bit about the challenge a while ago but not in much detail. Initially, my reaction to the proposition was that our class should jump into the competition right away; it sounded like an ideal project to help develop our skills professionally.

    Ike and Russ emphasized that the Google Online Marketing Challenge will require a great deal of work including client interviews, business proposals/essays, and essential Google AdWords training. Given all of the information, I began to weigh the options of going through with the GOMC or Digital Hub 2.0. As stated in this blog post – many students in our class already have a really intense workload in our other courses. While this may be quite difficult to manage, I think the pros outweigh the cons and that our class is equipped with all the skills necessary to be successful in the challenge. Opportunities to develop professionally are not always presented in the classroom setting. The Google Online Marketing challenge will be an excellent chance to make that happen.

    The Independent recently published research figures in an article that 58 per cent of employers rated work experience as “the most popular qualification among those presented.” I have to admit – the GOMC makes me a little nervous with all of our other responsibilities this semester. However, I believe our class is full of driven individuals that seek out ways to solve the world’s problems through real world collaboration. Regardless of the class decision on Thursday, I will be satisfied with working on either project.

    The Independent article >>

    • February 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks for posting that, Eli. I figured that work experience was more preferable than grades on a resume, so it’s nice to actually see concrete proof of that.

      I’m in the same exact boat as you. I think the GOMC is a great opportunity, but I’m a little nervous about the workload as well. I think we can get through it, but we just have to know what we’re getting ourselves into beforehand.

  • January 31, 2016 at 11:33 am

    When the Google Online Marketing Challenge was introduced in class I was immediately for it. As expected, I was apprehensive about the work load especially when taking into consideration outside obligations (other classes, jobs, etc.) however I do feel the pro’s outweigh the cons. This project offers real world experience and because teams are collaborating with an actual business, I believe that makes us accountable for a lot more. Speaking for myself personally, I know that when I am being held accountable by other people the motivation I have to perform well is heightened immensely. Taking the Digital Hub 2.0 into consideration, I see pros in the fact that we’d have more opportunities to tweak things, and there is more room for creativity with this project. As Russ and Ike mentioned, I think the GOMC has to be a case of “all or nothing”. I see a group of people in the class that are highly motivated to participate but I understand others apprehensions also. If I were to participate in the GOMC I would really like to see the class incorporate some sort of workshop day where students could brush up on their skills (even as an extra/optional class day) to get comfortable with valuable online marketing concepts that we would need to be successful in this challenge.

    • February 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      I went through that same exact sort of process. Right off the bat I was all for doing it, but as we talked more I got a little apprehensive about the workload. I think you’re right about the pros outweighing the cons. As long as everyone is on board I think that it would be great experience for us.

      Also, I think your idea for a workshop day is a great idea. The GOMC involves using some tools that we might not have a lot of experience with, so getting to learn about them before having to dive into the project could be super helpful.

  • January 31, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I think it’s reasonable to weigh the pros-and cons of this competition. You make some good points for both. I watched the YouTube video from the link in your blog. It’s hard to deny that each one of the winners interviewed attributed some of their success in their careers from competing and winning in this competition. As you mentioned, quantifiable experience is not something you can embellish on a resume, or if you do you can be easily exposed. I think this is a no-brainer for those interested in working in the field. The truth is, the world outside of school is highly competitive, and if you want to stand out you have to work for it. This is an amazing opportunity to do just that. I was truly surprised to hear how many people want to work in social media after hearing the push back on this idea.

    There are some reasonable cons as well. The main point is the groups. I doubt that each student in this class could not deliver everything and more to their group if they were truly motivated. I have heard intelligent, articulate, and some brilliant comments and questions from just about every member of our class. I suspect that if everyone really got into the idea, one of our groups could win. The amount of work is definitely something that scares me. I have a full plate just like everyone, that being said, if the vote went to do this, I definitely can make it work. I vote no, because I have no interest in the field of social media for a career, however, I really do think our class has talent for this, and if you want to do this, I will give it everything I’ve got.

    • February 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      I’m right there with Jesse in saying that we admire your willingness to take on the workload even though its not necessarily something that would be beneficial to you, Denny.

      Like you said, if enough people want to do something with Social Media after graduating, this could be a huge opportunity. If not, we could just be causing people unnecessary headaches. But I guess that’s what it all comes down to, trying to figure out out that balance.

  • February 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I think the GOMC sounds like an amazing opportunity. As eluded to by my fellow classmates, it is a great opportunity to gain hands on experience. I also understand how it may seem like a lot of work and some people might not be willing to commit to it. I agree with Maranda that the pros outweigh the cons, but I also understand Denny’s point of view. I admire that he is willing to give it everything he’s got even though it is not something he really wants to do. I am for the challenge, but I also understand if more people are not and we end up not doing it.

  • February 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I have to say that I agree with everyone relaying that the pros outweigh the cons. The GOMC looks like an incredible opportunity to get more knowledge and understanding of how the digital marketing world works. I agree with Jesse and Denny being up for the challenge and I have to say I would be too. I think with the groups of students we have in our class we really could succeed in great fashion. The problem with groups is creating ones that are cohesive and want to work with each other and that can work extremely well together. Last semester I took Ike’s PR class and I got in a group where we really tried to go above and beyond the campaign that we had to assess and I believe we did that. It looks to me that this GOMC will be a lot more work than what we completed in the PR class. With all that being said I’m in for it if the rest of our classmates are, I think the challenge would be very intense but would pay off tremendously. I know that I could bring a unique set of skills to any group and a different perspective on things. Whether it’s the GOMC or Digi Hub 2.0 I believe we will all come out of this advanced SoMe class much more enlightened ready to start off our careers. Great post though Blake, I really got a lot of useful information on the GOMC. Thanks.

  • February 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    When Ike and Russ brought up the idea of the Google Online Marketing Challenge, my eyes grew big and I became eager to jump at this opportunity. Then we talked about all the work that would be involved with this project. With already working around 20-25 hours a week, plus class and extra curricular activities, this didn’t sound like the most ideal situation. Walking out of the classroom last Thursday night, I’d say I wasn’t on board with the GOMC. Literally the last thing I want to do is add more to my plate.

    However, after thinking about the opportunity we have at hand, I would have to say that the GOMC has the potential to be one of the most beneficial projects we will ever work on as college students. I agree with everyone who talked about how the students in this class have the drive and determination to succeed. The fact that we all possess different skills, talents, and minds leads me to believe that we can do really well in this competition. Yes, all of our schedules are insanely busy this semester. Yes, we may in fact go insane towards the end of the year. But I don’t think we can pass this opportunity up. I’m coming along for the ride with you all!


  • February 1, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Honestly when the GOMC I immediately thought of the insane challenges that was depicted in the film “Interns” with Vince Vaughn. I feel like the GOMC will be like that but on steroids. Like everyone else above when you look at the Pros and Cons. The Pros overwhelming outweigh the cons, looking at the benefits with the GOMC along with the certifications it would definitely give an edge over others when looking for jobs after college. Especially when companies are looking for graduates or individuals are looking for someone with like some experience or twenty years of experience immediately after you graduate which is ridiculous. My stance is that on the GOMC is that I am nervous about doing the challenge and I am willing to put in the work to do it especially since this a one time opportunity and probably won’t get this opportunity ever again.

  • February 3, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    When Ike and Russ first introduced the GOMC challenge I was on board and was very excited to actually have something that could be very valuable on my resume. However, after we got more in depth about the challenge it scared me, I’m not going to lie. I feel as though the experience is extremely great and will probably be the best experience we’ve ever gotten in our whole college careers; but honestly I’m still kind of skeptical about doing it.

    The article Blake posted, How to Win the GOMC – secret sauce revealed! opened my eyes a bit more and it actually made me even more skeptical about it. Some things that really stood out to me were first having the right team composition. Kahlil Corazo, the trainer of top ranked winning teams in the GOMC competition stated that all the teams that were successful had experience successfully working with each other and teams with weak relationships break down during the hell weeks that Blake addressed in his post. The majority of our class does have good relationships considering we’ve all had at least one class with one another in the past, but I’m not sure on how strong our working relationship, as teams are which could be a problem. I do believe that everyone in the class has the potential to give their all in something they are motivated for but you never know until you actually work with them. Also everyone’s motivation might not be as strong as others, which depends on their plans after college.

    Secondly Kahlil said that after the algorithmic screening, it is all about business writing so teams should have at least one team member with world-class business writing skills, putting emphasize on “world-class.” I also watched the where are the winners now video that was posted in the blog and most of them were business marketing majors which is obviously a good background for business writing. Our classes that we’ve had with Ike and Russ like PR, So media, and advanced definitely prepared us to take on a challenge like this but I’m not sure about anyone else, I’m not a good business writer I have little to no experience with writing business reports. Kahlil also mentioned that the most common difficulties his students had are related to their clients, “Difficulty in meeting and getting data from decision makers and difficulty in working with the website administrators of their clients” which brings me to everyone’s schedules and work load that they already have. I’m sure that this competition will be require time outside of class and with my job, organization, and road to graduation just like everyone else I’m not sure if I can create more time.

    It seems as if I’m being negative here but I’m just listing some of my concerns. Also it seems that almost the whole class is willing to take on the challenge so I will definitely not leave you guys hanging and do everything to the best of my ability! I’m not totally against the idea I just had to prepare myself for the worse so that it won’t take me by surprise too much once we start working. If it’s a go then I’m going to be all in and will make the best experience out of it, if it’s a no then I will do the same for the Digi hub 2.0 project! Sorry for the extremely long comment!

  • February 3, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    I agree that at first glance the pros do outweigh the cons, but the issue of time really resonates with me. Personally, I have a very full course load, work with the newspaper and radio station, volunteer and have family obligations. If it were a semester before this (my last one), I could probably move things around.

    I am graduating in a few months and feel like I have a good resume for entering the workforce. Adding this much work to my schedule doesn’t seem to make the most sense but I understand why it would be a benefit to my classmates, even if it was just so that they could try it out.

    Our syllabus already mentions that we will be working with Google AdWords and, albeit, we won’t get to use funding towards truly testing it out, this is still a skill that many other universities won’t teach their Mass Comm (or name equivalent) students. We learn many valuable skills in this class and the one previous that I believe put us ahead of other applicants.

    If our class does choose to do the Google Challenge, I will still give it my best effort. I just fear a poor performance for my other courses.

  • February 3, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    So when we first learned about the GOMC project I was stoked. There really is no better opportunity than this as far as digital marketing and ad words campaigning. And even if none of our groups make it to the top, this is still good experience and a wonderful thing to include on our resumes. However, the time issue scares me. Not only that, but the fact that they have to re-iterate over and over again that it is A LOT of work. That’s intimidating. In the past when surviving intense workloads there were usually no warning signs if even a subtle hint to give you a heads up. You would usually just have a strong feel for it starting at the beginning of the semester. This time there’s a warning and its in bold… And there’s always someone in every group who isn’t 100% down and motivated all the time to carry out the necessary actions for the rest of the group to be successful. The pro’s definitely do outweigh the con’s (just like every other person has stated above) but I’m not sure this is something the entire class can commit to on a whim.

    Now if we end up going forward in this new direction, I will be happy to give it my all this spring and do what it takes to be successful and walk away from it all feeling like a champion at the end of the semester, but unfortunately I am completely undecided. I feel like it would be best to let Ike and Russ make the call on this one. If it happens it happens. And I promise I will give it my all and get things done if we go forward with it. It really is a good experience and I feel up to the challenge, but only if we can create a perfect mix of people in the right groups. As stated by Professor Corazo, every group should have “at least one member comfortable with data, and at least one team member with world-class business writing skills.” If we cannot find a way to completely balance the teams, then I believe at least 2 out of the 3 groups will be staring into the face of danger. Just my two cents on the subject :)

  • February 3, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Good argument for doing this competition-you made some great points, especially in regards to how outstanding this would be for real experience and in the eyes of employers.
    However, I also feel for the opposite argument. The group aspect is one thing to consider, as you mentioned. Professor Corazo mentions it’s highly advised to make sure each part of the group is skilled in certain aspects, including “world-class” business writing skills and more.
    Brooke has mentioned these concerns as well and I am in the same semi-nervous boat as she is–if everyone truly believes we can make it work, then I will put forth my best effort because in the end it is a reflection of myself and all my team members. (Although I won’t be upset if we continue with the Digi hub 2.0 either:)

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