Students help businesses to build online profile

May 4, 2011

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For the first time several local businesses and charities are set to benefit from Murdoch University’s involvement in the annual Google Online Marketing Challenge.

The Challenge, which attracts competitors from more than 50 countries worldwide, sees Murdoch Business School students devise and execute online market strategies for their chosen business to the value of $200 through GoogleAd words.

The teams are also required to justify their marketing strategy in a pre-campaign strategy report and a post campaign summary.

Over a three-week period they will create, optimise and refine their marketing campaigns for local businesses which include Go Surf, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Kids Camps Inc and Jungle Sports.

CEO of Kids Camps, Tony Morley, said his organisation operated as a charity therefore the Challenge would will be invaluable to raising their profile.

“Kids Camps provides recreation and respite camps for children aged six to 18 who have an intellectual disability and are able to walk unassisted.  We offer 250 placements each year with the support of over 150 volunteers but despite being operational for almost 30 years our organisation has remained fairly low key,” Mr Morley said.

“We hope that participating in the Challenge will raise our profile within the community so that more people become aware of us, not only to increase donations and volunteer support but so more people enroll their children to participate in this exceptional experience.”

Paul Lofthouse, who operates Go Surf was equally enthusiastic saying it would be a good learning experience for his business, as well as the students and it would help him to better understand the online market place.

“Most of our business comes from the internet,” Mr Lofthouse said.

“We are listed on all the search engines and have links to Facebook but we don’t actually do any paid advertising.”

“There are currently three surf schools in the metro area all with their own licensed zone in which to operate and we are all quite different in what we offer, but hopefully the Challenge will result in an increase in traffic to our website and an increase in business overall.”

Around 90 students will take part in the Challenge under the direction of Murdoch Business School lecturers Gordon Dawson and Associate Professor John Gountas, who incorporated the Challenge as a practical way to help students think laterally and provide a better understanding of what it's like to work in the advertising industry.

“The Google Online Marketing Challenge is a good introduction for students into the world of digital advertising because they really have to think about their campaigns and understand how the digital side of things work,” Mr Dawson said.

“They have to be very strategic because the way they word their ads will ultimately determine how the marketing strategy will work for their business, and this is a good lesson for them to learn.”

Google and a panel of independent academics from all over the world will select this year’s winners based on the success of their campaign and the quality of their competition reports.

The winners will be announced in July and will each receive a Mac Book Pro and a trip to the Googleplex in California to meet the team that developed AdWords.

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