The Boys on the Bench...and Marketing

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Oct 11, 2018

Vermont's Marketing in the Fall 

The Shot25% of Vermont's tourist dollars come as a result of four weeks during the leaf-peeping season from caravans of busses out the Midwest and outright commercialism of marketing and selling everything that is the essence of Vermont. 
To the left is a picture from last weekend taken from my dirt road 'bout half a mile from my house.  Doesn't get Vermont-better than this in terms of the beauty that is the fall...and the tourist dollars that come rolling in as a result.

Every store is packed with tourists selling Vermont plates, coffee mugs, maple syrup in four different grades, doormats with moose and bears woven into mountain scenes...and everything else imaginable that can be branded as Vermont...whether it's made in Vernont or not. 

No negatives here from me in any of this commercialism since my family (including me) has toughed it out as entrepreneurs living and working in this rural valley for over 220 years.  The reality of life for most Vermonters is that it's a state of both natural beauty on one hand and abject poverty on the other.   

Winhall General Store 2018The very good news down at the Winhall General Store in the town of Bondville (Federal Government's name) or Winhall (Vermont State's name), where I live, is that the marketing of Vermont has now come down to "The Boys on the Bench" outside the store.

On Saturday, I stopped my car at the Bondville Post Office directly across the street from the Winhall General Store with only 50 feet separating the two structures, and I took this picture.  As a result of taking the picture, I was very pleased to discover that marketing has come to town:

  • "The Boys on the Bench" are now actually four older men and one very savvy young woman
  • The dog population has grown 100% from "Blue", the golden retriever, to one more good ol' dog
  • Everyone waved when I took the picture. In the past, they would have used another hand gesture.
  • When I walked over to the store, the benchers offered to take my picture in front of the store
  • Prolific in social media, they suggested that I "follow" the General Store and post on Instagram.
Everyone was laughing, talking about the weatha' and guessing at the date of the first snow.  In the past, back-in-the-day, before recognizing the necessity of being part of the marketing ecosystem of Vermont, the responses would have been grumbles-at the best-about the invasion of "the flatlanders".  

Marketing and the power of marketing Vermont has come even to the tiny town of Winhall/Bondville, population 647.  With the two months of a Vermont summa' now a distant memory followed by these four weeks of leaf peeping, everyone is dreading the next six weeks of "Taint Season".  Taint Summa', Taint Winta' and most importantly, "Taint Tourists" to employ the carpenters, property managers, ski instructors and snowplow jockeys that will put everyone back in the money for the winter season.

Years ago in 1991, Regis McKenna wrote an iconic long article in the Harvard Business Review, titled, "Marketing is Everything", which began my journey into studying the science of marketing, which led me to read a lot more, go back to school, and then have the privilige of teaching business planning and marketing originally at MIT and now at Tufts.  Today, my favorite marketing reads, both in their books and in their blogs, come from my friends, David Meerman Scott, who breaks all the old rules, and from Jamie Turner, The 60 Second Marketer, who is just exquisite in his hands-on, real life tactics and daily reminders.   Whether it's David or Jamie or the "Boys & Girls on the Bench down at the Winhall General Store", it's time to reinvent your views of both marketing and sales as you're doing your October and November budget and business planning for next year!  

As I tell my students at the end of my courses in "Entrepreneurial Marketing" and in "The Science of Sales", "everything we've learned over the last 13 weeks is now obsolete!".  

entrepreneurs at Tufts By the way, if you're interested in having sophisticated, mature and extraordinarily bright teams of Tufts' juniors, seniors and grad students work with you in developing, enhancing or building from scratch your marketing or sales plans for 2019, just email me.  We will begin the formal process of looking for 10 plus projects for the spring semester starting in early November, but the exploration of learning about this exciting opportunity can begin today.  Just connect with me directly by email or LI.


If it's the extraordinarily exciting "Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship" that you want to learn about, come and join in at the Tufts Founders' Workshop on October 19th and 20th on the Medford campus.  Kicking off at noon on the 19th, with an opening from Bill Cummings, the founder of The Cummings Properties, and the author of Starting Small and Making it Big, an Entrepreneur's Journey to Billionaire Philanthropist, then followed for the rest of Friday into Saturday morning by 15 real entrepreneurs, professors and students who have built successful businesses, this is an extraordinary opportunity to engage, activate, question and build both resources and confidence to allow you to successfully launch your own entrepreneurial vision.

Build something today! 

Jack Derby

Please stay connected! 
Jack Derby, Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
Come to our Events
574 Boston Avenue, #102, Medford, MA 02155
Cell:  617-504-4222  

















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