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Hello OMC Participants,
I am Ammar, the program manager of the Online Marketing Challenge, a role I recently acquired. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I sincerely apologize for the frustrations you felt with the challenges in the past. These are all issues that I am tasked with to fix and restore the challenge to its original glory and mission. I would love to use this opportunity to share some insights about the decline of challenge and upcoming improvements/timeline.
When I took over as program manager, the Online Marketing Challenge was running in automation without a dedicated support team, and riddled with bugs. My first steps were to track down all the bugs and errors, work with the academic panel and professors to understand pain points, and to update our support documents and website before the 2019 fall semester.
One of the first changes was to address our support and contact insufficies, many professors and students would have to wait days if not weeks for an answer to their issues from our support team. Hence the following channels were created:
- A Professor's Google group to allow professors to communicate with each other, with myself directly, and so I can share upcoming updates and support documents.
- An online forum where our trained community managers can offer online support
- A new email alias (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- FAQs page
Please note that you G+ page is officially closed and out old email address is no longer receiving messages.
Secondly, I comprehensively debugged the OMC platform and tracked over 20 critical issues over the past 4 months. These were causing problems such as double matching student teams with a single NPO, misinformation in the student's dashboard, matching with inactive NPOs, matching students with NPOs in different time zones, and many other issues. This no doubt was a contributor to the frustrations of running the challenge the dip in quality. The good news is that the vast majority of the bugs have been resolved and a rollout of the new platform will happen in the next 2 weeks.
New Changes to the OMC:
Thirdly, working with many professors and the academic panel we listened to your pain points and recommendations. Along with the roll out of the new platform, we are implementing the following changes:
- Professors will be CC'd in all communication sent to students.
- Professors will have more robust admin controls of their dashboard
- New support documents and checklists are now available to help guide students and professors
- Updated the language of our email communications to reflect new changes
- Marketing campaign with NPOs to educate them about the OMC, set expectations when working with students teams, and to opt out if they are no longer active.
- Update the matching algorithm to incorporate time zones and student preferences.
- New incentives and potential prizes
- Quicker certificate distribution
- Top Marketer Spotlight on our website and Ad Grants newsletter
- More stringent accountability rules for professors, NPOs, and students.
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