Industry partners are a vital connection for any college student, and those who train students in the latest technologies for use after graduation are very valuable. Performics, a digital marketing company specializing in search marketing, understands that and the benefits of the industry/educational partnership.
For the second year, Performics has partnered with UGA’s Grady College to lead and mentor students who are interested in learning about buying keywords for search engine marketing. Once a month during spring semester, three to four Performics employees traveled to the Athens campus to work with students, teaching them about all aspects related to online advertising: paid search, display advertising, integrated marketing, strategy and creative. Between their visits, each of the 12 students consulted with their mentors online and on the phone in preparation for their certification exams that were taken in March and April.
The students were even given a small account, which they could use to create and purchase paid search ads for use in a real-life application.
Creation of the program was the brain child of Dana Todd (ABJ ’91), the former senior vice president of global marketing at Performics, and Karen King, an advertising professor at Grady. Elaine Lin, an assistant professor in advertising at Grady College, coordinated the student program this year along with King.
“We have been very fortunate to partner with Performics to offer students the opportunity to gain a competitive edge in a digital media career through the program,” said Lin. “Performics mentors not only work with our students on exam preparation and real-world campaign assignments, but also give them valuable career advice and counseling.”
“Students in the program last year told us that having the certification on their resume drew the attention of almost everyone with whom they interviewed,” King added. “It was a real point of differentiation between them and other applicants.”
This program is beneficial for both entities. The students learn directly from professionals actually using the applications in their every-day work. The team from Performics uses the program as a training ground. The program was so successful last year that two of the Grady students completing the certification were then hired to work at Performics after graduation.
“The majority of the current Performics Atlanta team are UGA/Grady alums, and we are excited to create a partnership with a leading advertising program to further education and growth of search,” said Katherine Provost (ABJ ’07), media manager at Performics and one of the mentors.
Lisa Tully (ABJ ’13) is one of the students from last year hired by Performics after graduation.
“I didn’t know much about search at all prior to the program, so I figured why not take the opportunity to jump in and learn about it from experts and Grady alums,” said Tully. “It’s funny to look back and think about how little I knew prior to the program, how much I know now, and even just the fact that I ended up working for Performics. It makes me very thankful for all the time and effort that Dr. King, Dr. Lin, and the Performics team put into making this program available to students.”
Most of the students involved with the program are fourth-year undergraduates, masters or PhD students in advertising who have taken media planning and have had a social and/or digital media internship.
Grady College student Steven Coulombe participated in the program this year and found that it was a worthwhile experience.
“The program was very relevant,” Coulombe said. “Digital media is a burgeoning business and it is important to increase visibility and awareness. I had no idea it was that complex.”
He said he believes it will help him be more competitive the marketplace. “The certification on the resume looks really nice,” he said.
Samantha Meyer, also a Grady College student who was enrolled in the program, liked the direct contact the Performics mentors provided.
“The fact that Performics came to campus really was a nice personal touch,” Meyer said.
Personal interaction with Performics mentors and the ability to practice online bidding and driving traffic to a real website are key benefits of the program. There is also an opportunity for students who are not in the program to become certified as one of the major search engine certifications now provides a free study tool online.
May 8, 2014 Author:
Sarah Freeman, firstname.lastname@example.org