A Major in Marketing With a Minor in Google

Time is running short for aspirant Web marketeers to take up the Google Online Marketing challenge.

Google sent out a notice today calling for more universities to enter the competition where marketing students will see who can deliver the best results to a local small business using AdWords.

The rules: the company can’t have more than 100 employees, and it has to already have a Web site.  Faculty members divide up their marketing students into teams, and each team gets a $200 AdWords voucher to work their marketing magic.

Teams are to submit a market analysis of the company before and after the AdWords campaign.  What could be better?  A small business gets a free marketing consult, marketing students get some high-octane resume fodder, and Google takes yet another step toward institutionalizing itself.  After all, what better way to position AdWords as the pivot point of online marketing for small businesses than to secure the endorsement of academia at large?

Talk about a marketing strategy: Google reaches out to the university community, offers a modest AdWords voucher and the promise of the real-world experience that professors love to talk up in their course descriptions, and — BOOM!  Google’s on the syllabus of Marketing 101 classes in schools around the world.

Google said that it set out with the modest goal of signing up 200 schools worldwide.  To date, 724 universities in the United States alone have signed up.

Ingenious.  To the clever folks in Mountain View, I doff my mortarboard to you!

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