HAMMOND | For three weeks; teams of Purdue University Calumet students in an advertisement management course consulted with local businesses on their search engine optimization — identifying key search or ad words that connect with website searching prospective customers.
The senior level students presented their marketing campaign reports Wednesday on campus.
One group worked with Zealous Good, a Chicago-based company that matches nonprofits that need specific goods or services with businesses and individuals who have excess resources to donate.
Communications major Angela Miramontes explained a strategic planning method her group used for Zealous Good called SWOT analysis, which evaluates the business venture's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Working with a fixed budget, the group created and managed a Google Adwords advertising campaign. Class instructor Kasia Firlej said typing various search words and phrases to exercise a typical web-based search on the Google search engine produces numerous listings — so numerous they can comprise a multiplicity of screen pages. First or primary page search engine listings generate more customer looks and business hits.
"That's where the importance of identifying and utilizing proper search adwords in a web-based marketing campaign is important," Firlej said. "The Google Adwords experience allows the students to see advertising at work and the students are forced to think outside the box."
During the campaign the Zealous Good group reported an increase of 97 visitors to the company's website.
Another group managed a campaign with Zig-E's Funland in St. John. Advertising major Trista Domasica said there was a spike in birthday events bought by customers at Zig-E's in December and she believes it had something to do with their team effort.
"What I enjoyed about it is we work with a real-life client instead of a professor just giving hypothetical situations," she said. "We were able to sit down with the client one-on-one and talk about how their business is run and what we can do to help them."
Locally, The Times offers its Get It marketplace, which provides an opportunity for local small- and medium-sized businesses to be found through search engines and have an online profile. For more information, visit www.nwi.com/getit or call Kathryn Hepko at (219) 548-4337.