For Immediate Release:

London, ON — April 20, 2021 — In January of this year, London-based agency, Northern Commerce, and Fanshawe College announced the launch of the Northern Digital Marketing Challenge—a co-funded, experiential learning competition that provided students with hands-on learning experience supporting marketing efforts for local businesses amid the pandemic.

The challenge tasked teams of students to build, execute, and manage live marketing campaigns using Google and Facebook Ads for 15 local businesses over a two-week period.

Students were given the opportunity to learn directly from the team at Northern Commerce, North America’s leading digital solutions agency. “At Northern, we are committed to helping educate the students in our community. We designed this competition to help students learn, experience, and improve their digital marketing skills while preparing them for a career in the marketing industry,” says Lauren Dixon, Digital Advertising Team Lead, Northern Commerce and Part Time Professor, Fanshawe College.

Through Northern’s relationship with Facebook, Facebook’s Partner Manager, Charlie Shin shared a creative best practices presentation with the students at the beginning of the program to provide them with fundamental tips and information to build successful campaigns. “The Digital Marketing Challenge is a great educational experience for the students. It provides them with the right tools and resources to be successful in the program and their future careers,” say Charlie Shin, Facebook Partner Manager.

The program, co-funded by Northern Commerce and the Centre for Research and Innovation at Fanshawe College, provided each team with a budget of $400 to spend on Google and Facebook ads to support the selected local businesses. “The program provided me with a deep understanding of pay-per-click advertising and data analytics, as well as an understanding around consumer behavior—all while supporting and impacting the results of local businesses,” says Matt Vickery, Student at Fanshawe College and participant in the Northern Challenge.

Many of the businesses reported that they saw an uptick in results after the launch of the campaigns. “We feel our student group did a fantastic job,” says Michele Burk, Office Manager of Mclauchlin Wellness Clinic in Blenheim, Ontario. “After the ad campaign started, our new patient registrations nearly doubled. Looking at our new patient statistics over the last 12 weeks, we can only assume the large increase was due to the advertising campaign run by our students.”

Last week, the Northern Digital Marketing Challenge concluded and teams presented their campaigns and results to a panel of judges from Northern Commerce who selected and awarded the top three teams based on the criteria of business impact, technology knowledge, presentation skills and campaign performance. “This experience was extremely valuable for both students and our community as many students and small businesses have been impacted by the pandemic,” says Liz Gray, Instructor at Fanshawe College. “Although the program was delivered completely online this year, we were able to provide a hands-on learning experience which was tremendously important for the students.”

The following is a summary of the 15 local businesses that were included in this program:

Northern Commerce and Fanshawe College are committed to their partnership and impacting the community. They have partnered on other initiatives that include Northern’s web developers teaching Shopify and Drupal web development courses at Fanshawe College. Northern also offers internships and co-op placements to Fanshawe students, with many transitioning into full-time jobs at Northern Commerce.


Nicole Potter
Marketing Manager, Northern Commerce


Megan Zinn
Corporate Communications Officer, Fanshawe College

About Northern Commerce

Headquartered in London, Ontario, Northern is an integrated digital solutions agency. Northern unites creativity, technology, and performance marketing to create immersive digital experiences for leading brands in their pursuit of digital transformation.

For more information on Northern Commerce, please visit

About Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College is one of Ontario’s largest colleges, serving students with a promise to educate, engage, empower and excite. The College has over 200,000 alumni and attracts students from 80 countries every year, opening up a world of possibilities through more than 200 degree, diploma and certificate programs, along with apprenticeship training.

Located in London with additional campuses in Simcoe, St. Thomas, Woodstock and throughout Huron and Bruce Counties in Ontario, Fanshawe College has been providing excellence in academic learning and industry training for more than 50 years helping people to unlock their potential and achieve success.