Search marketing workshop to help businesses navigate online marketing maze

Graduates attest to career value of search marketing classes, including Google AdWords program

by Geoff Larcom, Published October 16, 2012

Businesses are wondering how to get more out of their search marketing efforts while exploring the impact of mobile marketing. An upcoming event at Eastern Michigan University will offer powerful answers. 

Industry experts will share strategies in a search-marketing workshop, to be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 at the Eagle Crest Conference Center at Eastern Michigan University. The half-day workshop costs $40. Attendees must register in advance online at The deadline to register is Nov. 9. The event is expected to sell out, so reserve your place soon.

The workshop will feature a breakfast keynote address by Chad Wiebesick of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, speaking on "Lessons Learned in the Pure Michigan Digital Campaign," along with a lunch keynote talk by Michael Lorenc of Google, who will speak on "The Convergence of Search, Social and Mobile."

The conference will feature industry experts, EMU faculty moderators and EMU students presenting highly instructive case studies from their research. Students will also offer social media support by monitoring twitter hash tags during sessions for questions. Some of these award-winning students will participate in a mid-morning poster session and interact with attendees.

The workshop grows out of EMU's highly successful search marketing course sequence and the associated Google AdWords program, in which the College of Business and Google have partnered to develop a program to assist non-profit organizations with Google AdWords.

In January 2008, Bud Gibson, a professor of computer information systems at EMU, offered the first course in this program. In this first-of-its-kind class, students help non-profits discover new audiences and markets for their services, frequently resulting in significant improvements in web traffic and performance. 

The class is offered each semester, and non-profits are encouraged to apply to participate. To apply for a Google Grant, visit: Each term, EMU works with a new slate of recent grantees vetted and designated by by Google.

Among the 80 or so non-profits EMU has worked with are the Arab-American Museum, in Dearborn; United Way of Toledo and The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

The search marketing sequence now includes three classes:

Google AdWords and Webpage Design: Students learn how to manage a search engine advertising budget as they apply the fundamentals of search visibility and web page design to capitalize on search-driven traffic to web sites.

Google Analytics and Landing Page Optimization: Students master the algorithmic business models that dominate the web today, the most important of which are search and search marketing. The course focuses on optimizing landing pages for targeted search engine marketing campaigns using Google AdWords.

Practicum: Students manage a non-profit's Adwords campaign and analyze account performance using Google Analytics. They develop an online professional networking presence using a personal blog, Twitter, Linked In and Google+ to gain direct experience using online social networking to gain search visibility. Successful students may qualify for professional certification.

Students completing the sequence have been hired at excellent salaries in a wide variety of firms, ranging from southeast Michigan to as far as Silicon Valley. The companies include the likes of Quicken Loans, Google, Apple (Silicon Valley), Yelp, MRM, Pure Visibility, The Whole Brain Group, and Fluency Media.

"With everything (in the marketplace) shifting to online now, we're rolling out people ready to go from Day One," Gibson says. "Our students learn the core skill of how to deal with interpreting analytics and how to adapt in real time."

One example is Michael Consiglio, who transferred to EMU in 2010 and was delighted to hear of the hands-on search-marketing program. After completing the practicum, he received an internship at Biznet Internet Solutions through attending a networking event.

"As I spoke about the courses at Eastern, the president of the company was interested and amazed that a college is teaching such a course," Consiglio says.

Then came a position as assistant media planner for Chevrolet Retail at Carat as he finished up his final semester at EMU.

"While I was enjoying my job as a media planner, I missed doing search, and briefly looked around for a position with more of a search marketing focus," Consiglio recalls. "I applied at Starcom MediaVest Group and landed a job as a search analyst at SMG Performance Marketing in the Chicago office, working on Ally Bank.

 "(Again) they were very impressed with the search classes. By transferring to EMU, I found my passion for search marketing and advertising, and love doing what I do."

EMU graduate Joseph Carroll, who became a marketing product manager SEO at Quicken Loans, says he has no doubt that "search engine marketing is now a key factor to success for any business that participates online."

"The search marketing program at EMU allowed me to graduate with the exact knowledge and skill set that employers are looking for," he says. "I was able to start my first job with confidence, and I can't even begin to explain how important that was to my success."

Eric Wortman, the Pay Per Click lead at Pure Visibility, says that, "EMU's search marketing classes allowed me to apply my passion for marketing, math, and data to one industry. "

"The skills I developed and the professional connections I was able to make through the program directly led to a lucrative job offer at a local Internet marketing and consulting agency," he says. "EMU's search marketing program and marketing department as a whole prepared me for the workplace and has put me ahead of many of my peers in advancing along my career path."

Another recent graduate, Kristine Adams, was not seeking out a career in search marketing but saw the EMU program as more of a resume-building opportunity.

"The more I learned about search marketing, the more I realized that it was something that I could apply in any position I held," she says. "Networking with search marketing professionals throughout the program led me to my current position as president of the Ann Arbor Ad Club. I've been able to apply the skills I learned in the program to the tasks I face for the ad club, and have helped to bring it into the digital age."




Geoff Larcom


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