JMU Places in Top 10 in Worldwide Online Marketing Competition

HARRISONBURG—Five James Madison University marketing students proved their marketing mettle by securing a top 10 finish in the Google Online Marketing Challenge. For their efforts, they’ll receive a trip to Google world headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

The innocuous text known as Google AdWords that appears on some Web pages got the attention of thousands of college students, including five teams from James Madison University’s College of Business. Google hosted a worldwide competition for 1,600 student teams who used their marketing savvy to build ad campaigns for the global competition.

One of JMU’s five-member teams placed in the top 10 out of teams participating from 42 countries. The team was one of two finalists in the Americas region, which includes North, Central and South America. Ryan Farrell, Bethany Kent, Julia Marchetti, Katie McGinnis and Renee Montmeny (team captain) worked on a campaign for L’Avenir Skin Care. The team will be flown to Google headquarters to meet the team that created AdWords and will be recognized in an awards ceremony.

Additionally, four other JMU teams placed in the top 10 percent worldwide. Three JMU teams were designated as “Regional Semi-Finalists” for ranking in the Top 50 for the Americas region. Members of each of these teams will receive a certificate from Google.

All five teams that placed entered the challenge as part of a course taught by marketing Professor Theresa Flaherty, who said she had hoped all five teams would rank in the top 50 percent. She was pleased to learn that all five teams had performed above the goal she set by ranking in the top 10 percent globally.

“These students were competing against undergraduate and graduate students from 42 countries,” she said. “Throughout the three weeks while the campaign was running they used analytics to improve and change their strategy.”

Each team received $200 of free online advertising with Google AdWords to create and run an online marketing campaign for a local business. Teams set up an AdWords account, outlined a strategy, assessed their results and made changes as the campaign progressed. They also provided the businesses with recommendations to further develop their online marketing. Teams submitted reports and were judged by a panel of academics from all over the world. The challenge is open to any undergraduate or graduate students at higher education institutions from anywhere in the world. The challenge was developed through collaboration between Google and professors.

For more information about the Google Online Marketing Challenge and to view the list of winners, go to

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Published: Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last Updated: Friday, November 6, 2020

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