“The Google Online Marketing Challenge has literally been a turning point in my life. This challenge has inspired me to build my career in the field of Marketing,” says a visibly elated, Devarsh Ganatra, student of NMIMS Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering (MPSTME), Mumbai.
Devarsh was part of a six-member team of MPSTME, which won in all the three categories at the Google Online Marketing Challenge 2016.
GOMC, which is an unique opportunity for students to experience and create online marketing campaigns using Google AdWords has seen students from over 60 countries participate in the competition, since last ten years.
MPSTME students have been selected winners second time in row. Last year MPSTME team had won the Global AdWords Business Award, 2015.
Prof Shilpa Sawant of MPSTME, who has been the mentor for both the winning teams, is the first Indian national to be appointed on the Global Academic Panel of Google.
“Jamie Murphy, Global Academic Lead, wrote me an email asking me to be on the panel to represent India and he also emphasized the fact that I will be a female representative,” Prof Sawant humbly elaborates.
With a $250 AdWords advertising budget provided by Google, students develop and run an online advertising campaign for a business or non-profit organization over a three week period. The teams that develop and communicate the most successful campaigns win awesome prizes.
Describing his experience, Devrash says, “It taught me that Marketing is more about telling (and selling) your story to people and connecting with them, than about pushing them to buy your product.”
Elaborating on the strategy planned by the team, Prof Sawant states, “there were three factors; team members: We need a blend of competencies and a synchronised effort, The choice of business. We really brainstorm the most for this. And unconditional commitment.
Illustrating her analysis about designing the advertisement, Prof Sawant explains,
“marketing, psychology, social dynamics and communication are the key areas which the team focused on while designing the advertisement.”
Detailing nuances of the competition Devarsh says, “all thanks to GOMC, now I’m adept with designing and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns for well-defined target audiences, story-boarding, operating Google AdWords and Google Analytics, analyzing marketing analytics data from AdWords and Analytics reports and communicating the inferences from these reports with my team to make strategic marketing decisions.”
The coveted title won by the MPSTME team required enormous efforts put together by their entire team, “lot of foundation work is required before the actual competition starts. I make them understand the nuances, put them to study concepts and do research for about 6-8 months. Things have to be on finger tips and GOMC is something that is always at the back of their mind for almost 10 months,” Prof Sawant mirrors her vision about the whole concept.
Highlighting the significant aspects of the winning campaigns, Prof Sawant opines, “the success of campaign needs to be monitored. If it is not giving results, it has to be changed immediately as there is money invested in each campaign. I also train them to capitalise on events, incidents…anything that is making a news. This is a huge task as one has to be updated all the time. An eye for detail is crucial.”
While in 2015 the team designed campaign for marketing Devgad Alphonso Mangoes, in the year 2016, it developed strategy for Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Vaidyakiya Pratishthan (BAVP).
“Marketing BAVP as our client for GOMC made us realise that the cause is greater than the effect – helping the farmers of Marathwada in whichever capacity we could became our single point focus,” expounds Prof Sawant.
Prof Sawant, who is passionate about teaching communication as a strategy, states, “they need to understand marketing as a conceptual subject thoroughly and then spend equal time understanding the client’s business. A lot of teams get disqualified because they miss on one or other basic requirement of the challenge. So a thorough understanding of rules is mandatory.”