Hands on experience in digital marketing is important, theoretical knowledge is crucial

This blog is written by Rimantas Gatautis and Elena Vitkauskaitė, two of the Joint Masters in Digital Marketing tutors from Lithuania. It details their student’s success in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, an international marketing competition!

While teaching digital marketing at the Kaunas University of Technology, we have supervised 35 teams of students who took part in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, a global competition organised by Google, which we have taken part in since 2009.

So, what did the online marketing challenge involve?

The competition involves teams of 3–6 students collaborating with a company to produce a three week long Search Marketing campaign, planned and implemented on Google Adwords, using a budget of $250. In 2012, Google decided to up the stakes and integrate social media platform Google Plus into the challenge. Meaning students taking part in the competition had to carry out an additional Social Media Marketing campaign for the company on Google+ social network. For last two competitions, the teams under our supervision were recognised as Global Winners of the Social Media Marketing award!

Students who participate in the competition have to plan their search and social media marketing activity in detail, implement the campaigns and then reflect on the results they achieve by writing detailed reports. All of it has to be done in cooperation with a company they advertise, their client. This gives students real hands-on experience and an insight into what it’s like managing budgets, client expectations and campaigns.

How the champions gained invaluable experience…

Google+ Social Media Marketing Global Winners of 2014 – KTU students Aivaras Juška, Povilas Mastauskas, Monika Ambrazevičiūtė, Rūta Žemaitytė and Justina Mizeraitė – worked with Kaunas company Miegantys Drambliai, a rock climbing activity centre. They admit that “before the competition we had little knowledge about online marketing. After participating in the challenge, we can discuss online marketing issues, we are able to work effectively in a professional team, and we know how to incorporate social media into a company‘s marketing plan. We learnt how to produce an online marketing campaign that complimented the company‘s marketing strategy objectives. We now understanding the need for consistent communication between the team and the client.”

digital marketing competition

In the photo: Google+ Social Media Marketing Global Winner team of 2014 and Elena Vitkauskaitė

Google+ Social Media Marketing Global Winners of 2015 – KTU students Eglė Žalnerauskaitė, Aistė Stanislavičiūtė, Giedrė Labanauskaitė, Vydmantė Rastokaitė and Ignas Radžius worked with Sveiko Stuburo Mokykla, a company that specialise in spinal exercise classes. The company organise workshops to help small groups under the supervision of a physiotherapist as well as seminars and exercises for companies. The team claims: “Thanks to the Google Online Marketing Challenge we learnt how to produce text ads for both searching engines and the Google+ social media network. That is what inspired us to further our knowledge into social media marketing.” They also agree “If we had a second chance to participate in this Challenge, before the start of the campaign we would also dedicate more attention to the theory”

Google digital marketing challenge winners

In the photo: Google+ Social Media Marketing Global Winner team of 2015 after photoshoot at the premises of the client, Sveiko Stuburo Mokykla

It might seem easy and straightforward to do marketing on social media sites, as we daily use such services as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Tools provided to advertisers by paid search marketing platforms such as Google AdWords or Yahoo! Bing Network, might appear to be easy to use as well. However, time and time again we observed the crucial need of comprehensive theoretical knowledge in order to apply such services and tools successfully for Search and Social Media Marketing.

Want to gain such knowledge? Why not sign up to this free course in Digital and Social Media Marketing?