Google Announces Bauer MBA Team as Global Champion in
Online Marketing Challenge For Houston Symphony Campaign
Google announced today that a team of four MBA students from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business are the global champions of the 2011 Google Online Marketing Challenge.
The team, comprised of Erin Blatzer, Carolina Thomas, Jeffrei Clifton and Lauren Davis, is the first-ever group from North America to win the competition, which has been held annually since 2008 and gives college students across the globe the chance to show off their skills in advertising, ecommerce, integrated communication, management information systems, marketing and new media technologies.
This year, more than 35,000 students in 4,429 teams competed from 68 countries, with the UH Bauer student team coming out on top, winning an all-expenses-paid trip to Google’s headquarters in California, Googleplex.
“Our students continue to excel both inside and outside the classroom,” said Interim Dean Latha Ramchand. “Awards like this one reinforce the belief that our curriculum is framed around content that is academic and relevant to business practice.”
“It’s satisfying to see our students serving as a resource to a local organization like the Houston Symphony, especially in such a cutting-edge aspect of marketing,” she added.
To begin the process, student teams selected a client — the Bauer team chose the Houston Symphony — and analyzed the company’s business and marketing needs. Then, teams drafted a pre-campaign report, according to a rubric provided by Google. After submitting the report online, teams were given an online AdWords account and $200 provided by Google for a three-week campaign.
“The $200 turns out to be perfect because it causes the teams to be very careful and measured with their execution, constantly analyzing for the smallest results for continuous improvement,” said Steven Koch, executive professor and director of the college’s Business Consulting Lab.
Koch teaches the course designed to prepare students for the competition. In order to be accepted into the class, students had to be interviewed and complete a course in Internet Marketing and Ecommerce.
“They worked on the competition nonstop for three months,” Koch added. “It was a considerable amount of work for the students, far more than the average three-hour course. This was not a ‘show up for the weekend and we’ll be done by Sunday afternoon’ competition.”
The team’s post-campaign report was evaluated by Google on 30 performance metrics grouped into five constructs — account structure, optimization techniques, account activity and reporting, and budget and performance.
This is the second year for UH Bauer to enter a team into the competition. Last year, a team of four MBA students were semi-finalists, finishing in the top 100 out of more than 3,000 teams, for an online marketing analysis of Uptown Park’s Crave Cupcakes.
By Jessica Navarro