Tippie MBA students honored for nonprofit digital marketing work

Tippie MBA students honored for nonprofit digital marketing work

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A group of marketing MBA students in the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management is among the best in the country for driving traffic to the websites of nonprofit organizations using Google AdWords.

The first and second year MBA students took top honors in the first-ever U.S. Search Awards, which recognizes successful digital marketing initiatives, agencies. and technologies. Their category was Third Sector organizations, which includes nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations.

The Tippie Marketing Academy students worked with Tippie alumnus Matt Cardoni, an account director at a marketing agency in Chicago, who advises clients on digital and marketing strategies. He had received a Google Grant, an account with the search firm designed to help nonprofit organizations appear in Google’s paid search ads using AdWords, and passed it along to the Tippie student team.

The group worked with three nonprofit organizations, including Climate Cycle, a Chicago nonprofit that educates young children about environmental issues. Last fall, then first-year MBA students Zachary Daul, Sean Nehf, Sarah Monson, and Maggie Pearthree created a strategy to drive traffic to Climate Cycle’s website by creating the ad copy and selecting keywords that were relevant to the nonprofit, words and phrases such as “help the Earth,” “global warming,” or “climate change.”

Once the ad copy was in place, the team examined how well those keywords performed by examining the quality score in Google Analytics. New keywords could then be chosen and analytics examined until just the right combination of words would get the highest score.

The project began in September 2012, and in its first year, Climate Cycle’s website received more than $120,000 worth of Google traffic. Google also generated more than 75 percent of its traffic in the past six months because of the students’ work.

“This is a major win-win situation for our students,” says Tom Gruca professor of marketing and faculty director of the MBA Marketing Career Academy. “Google Grants are a great way for our students to learn hands-on digital marketing skills. The experience they gain with AdWords and Google Analytics helps them become more marketable in the workforce. The participating nonprofits also win by having top MBA students work on improving the digital marketing efforts of these organizations.”

The Marketing Academy has since added six more nonprofits to its Google Grant project.


Tom Snee, University Communication and Marketing, office: 319-384-0010; cell: 319-541-8434


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