Marketing & the Importance of Events in an AI world!

In today's lightning-paced world of marketing, do events and conferences still hold a significant position in your marketing toolkit?

While they demand meticulous planning and often represent a hefty chunk of your customer acquisition cost, the answer is a resounding YES—events are indispensable!


In my continuing quest this year to simplify the definition of "What's Marketing?", what I absolutely know is that the essence of Marketing's success lies in one basic principle: "Generate qualified leads that yield desired outcomes at the lowest sustained cost!"

No fluff. No vague terminology. Just results-driven results, measured by expense over numbers of days.

If we opt to include events in our marketing arsenal, acknowledging their substantial cost, we must exercise even greater discipline: 

  1. Direct Sales Capability:
    Events should offer opportunities for immediate product sales. Consider a recent B2C pop-up event for our Tufts entrepreneurs, where hundreds purchased products, providing both revenue and valuable feedback.

  2. Uniqueness: Stand out from the crowd! Whether it's a symposium on climatetech or an annual conference, differentiation is key. I recall how HubSpot, in its infancy, captivated attention with everyone wearing orange jumpsuits and providing short innovative demos using iPads.

  3. Expense Management: Beyond venue and fees, scrutinize necessity.  Ask: "How many attendees are essential?" and "Do all sales representatives need to attend?"  Rationalize expenses to maximize ROI.

  4. Defined KPIs Consensus: Establish clear, measurable goals. Determine prospect interest indicators, follow-up protocols, messaging strategies, and conversion rates—all within a rapid time frame. Without strict KPIs, event participation lacks purpose, and just maybe, you shouldn't attend at all.

This week's highlights showcase the power of impactful events:

At my Wednesday's Tufts Marketing class, we were honored to host David Meerman Scott, renowned for his expertise encapsulated in our course bible:  "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" His visit was nothing short of transformative, from AI insights to engaging anecdotes about The Grateful Dead.

The session was met with enthusiastic participation, culminating in a standing ovation—a testament to David's unmatched prowess in the field.

In my two decades of teaching marketing, David stands out as an unparalleled luminary in the field.

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Tags: Teaching entrepreneurship, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Basic Foundations of Teaching Entrepreneurship


Most everything in business has a definitive rhythm.  Every quarter is marked by various events of annual planning, budgeting, sales kickoffs, trade shows, and of course...summa' vacations, which no matter how carefully we plan around them, they always seem to impact our sales forecasts with delays.  

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Tags: entreprenurial, Sales Best Practices, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, Derby Entrepreneurship Center

Myth: If you build a better mousetrap, they will come.

We've all heard the adage about the better mousetrap and buyers beating a path to the door.  In fact, the U.S. patent office over the years has issued more than 4,400 patents for "better" mousetraps, and my guess is that over my years of owning houses, my choices always seem to come down to two: the old-fashioned, dangerous, lose-your-finger, spring traps and the myriad of make-you-cringe newer glue traps.  4,400 ideas reduced to just a couple of choices and actual buying decisions typically being made in the aisles or on the websites of Home Depot and ACE based on colors, brand names, fonts, images of dead critters, and anonymous reviews citing "better, "faster" and "more humane".   

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Tags: HubSpot Tips, how to write a marketing plan, Making Tough Choices, how to write a sales plan, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, Teaching entrepreneurship, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Everything is a season...

  • Leaving a wonderful Thanksgiving, we're now full speed ahead into the holiday season
  • With 13-14-more real selling days in the Q4 season, we're updating forecasts daily. 
  • After weeks of working on our 2023 business plan, we're deep in the season of budgeting.

And at Tufts, the reality of the seasonality of the last class of the semester, occurred this Wednesday after 12 weeks of content including 10 technical lectures from my alums and my TAs ranging from pricing to SEO, PR, research, competitive analysis, social ad buying, blogging, the art of presentations, budgeting and much more.  Added to this was one HBS case study, 36 individual value proposition presentations and Hubspot Inbound Marketing certifications. 

Then it all came to a close on Wednesday with a team lunch and a final presentation from another extraordinary marketing executive alum on her process of bringing together her own marketing plan.  Next week are the final 90-minute presentations to their host management of their team projects where 40% of their overall semester grade is decided by the management of their companies on the depth and quality of their marketing plans constructed over the semester.   For me, it's been an extraordinarily exciting semester which has resulted in strong academics and 18 new part-or full-time jobs generated from the course.  

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Tags: Tufts university, Sales Hiring Perfectly, Teaching entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, Derby Entrepreneurship Center

2 months to sell?  Really 38 days!

When I returned from a couple of years in the Peace Corps, it was relatively easy for me to find a job...even given the fact that I had zippo experience in business and only an undergraduate degree from BC with a major in English.  No one really cared about the degree or my skills; they just wanted to hear about the Peace Corps.  One of my primary takeaways from those early years working first at Honeywell in their newly launched memory chip initiative and then at Becton Dickinson in their medtech division was the criticality of time management.   


Maybe, it was my inherent drive to make sure that I could stay ahead of the curve working with really bright manufacturing and engineering types, or maybe it's just the way I'm wired, but I've become highly focused and highly protective of my own time and that of the teams I work with both in my consulting role and at Tufts.

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Teaching entrepreneurship, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

No Profit, No Mission

I was sitting in a board meeting two weeks ago-great company and a superb team of directors and management-when one of the directors used this phrase of "no profit, no mission".

That quick comment crystallized for me in an instant that exacting balance we want to achieve in all our companies between "doing good" and "making money".  In fact, in this particular company, we're a public corporation that manufactures specialty chemicals, so immediately one would think "well, there's an immediate problem with doing any good". The reality, however, is totally the opposite:

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Tags: Teaching entrepreneurship, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

We're quickly talking our way into a recession !

Last night in watching the first 5 minutes of the national ABC news, the "I" word was mentioned 9 times

Bloomberg this morning was not much better with everyone focused on today's 8:30 retail sales data.

Technically, given the clinical definition of a recession, we were at that point at the end of Q2, but it was decided to "adjust" the definition a bit.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Making Tough Choices, Inboound, Teaching entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning

Tufts Marketing & Sales Projects for the January Semester

Tomorrow morning I'll send out my normal Friday blog on an issue that I am increasingly very concerned about which is that it seems to me that we are rapidly talking our way into the downward spiral of a recession and a very cold winter.    That's for tomorrow!

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, Tufts internships, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Teaching entrepreneurship, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Competition is always good!

This is going to sell by itself!

Too many times, inexperienced entrepreneurs of all ages will use that deadly phrase.  It reminds me of the old Ralph Waldo Emerson cliche of "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." 
In the cold reality of the science of entrepreneurship, most likely that path will be very narrow if it exists at all.  As professional marketers, what we all want is for that small path to become a four-lane highway, and what we know is that will occur only through consistent marketing that doesn't talk about the product at all but highlights the value that the product brings.   After all, we really don't need a better mousetrap; we just need to get rid of the mice quickly, efficiently and without looking at squished mice caught in an ugly trap.   

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Tags: Tufts marketing projects, branding plans, Making Tough Choices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship

The 10 Must Do's in your Job Hunt

I love Tufts where I teach a course in Marketing and another in "The Science of Sales".  Actually, considering the method that I use, both courses are deep into the engineering and analytics of their respective disciplines and follow a consistent thread of "Process-Tools-Technology-Metrics & People". Totally integrated into the courseware of building detailed marketing and sales plans for real companies, is the corresponding rigor of "The Marketing of You", where everyone needs to develop their personal Value Propositions for jobs.  

Most importantly, at Tufts, we have a superb Career Center with very highly experienced leadership and hands-on advisors who really care about their work. 

At this time, given 1,500+ alums who have gone through my courses, many of whom are now managers and looking to hire my recent graduates, plus a very wide network of thousands of business and investor connections, we can open a lot of job opportunities ranging from companies the size of Hubspot to Deloitte and Amazon down to tiny startups.  The process is fun, often complex in a marketing sense, which makes it more fun, and, most importantly, very rewarding!

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Tags: how to write a marketing plan, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, 2020 business plans, 2020 sales plans, 2022 business planning, 2022 sales planning, 2022businessplansuccess, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning