Marketing Executive Brings Career Experience to the Classroom
Tom Manchester teaches Integrated Sports Marketing in Meehan, room 320 on Monday nights. It’s his first semester teaching—ever. Still settling in, he remains slightly uncomfortable with being called Professor, preferring the more casual Tom.
Having worked with top athletes and teams, Manchester brings a wealth of real-world experience to the 25 students in his class.
“I have been blessed to work with many top tier athletes such as Lebron James, David Ortiz, Rob Gronkowski, Odell Beckham, Jr. and several members of the Women’s U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey team just to name a few. All the athletes are incredibly engaging and want to be the best in all their marketing campaigns in similar fashion to how they want to be the best at their sport,” notes Manchester.
A results-driven, award-winning marketing executive with an entrepreneurial mindset, Manchester retired from Dunkin’ Brands INC. earlier this year after a 20-year career with the 70-year old company.
Prior to Dunkin’, among the world’s leading franchisors of quick service restaurants, he held senior marketing positions at The Gillette Company and Ocean Spray Cranberries. As his career concluded, Manchester says he found himself wanting to spend more time “seeking significance” in helping others succeed in their lives and careers.
“Beyond my professional work, I volunteer coach the girls’ soccer team at Falmouth High School and am involved with an internship program at the Cape Cod Church in East Falmouth. Mentoring has proved to be very rewarding, and I was eager to do more of it,” explains Manchester.
That’s where Marketing Professor Lee McGinnis saw an opportunity. McGinnis, who directs the College’s Integrated Marketing Communications master’s program, knew Manchester professionally and moved to see if he’d be interested in doing something at Stonehill.
As Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing, at Dunkin’ between 2018 and 2020, Manchester helped the company achieve $8.5 billion in sales across 9,500 stores and 1,100 franchisees.
He built the Dunkin’ marketing strategy on engaging storytelling and innovative partnerships. Two of his campaigns, featuring the brand’s professional athlete partners, earned three Clio Awards for creative excellence.
“Lee’s invitation came at the right time for me, and I am really excited to have this opportunity,” says Manchester who began developing his course this past winter and found that there isn’t really a single book or text that captures the range or intensity of the industry today.
Teaching Through Stories
“Things move so fast now in the world of sports and sports marketing today. So, I built the course from scratch based on my various marketing roles and, instead of having a course book, the students subscribe to the Sports Business Journal, an industry bible,” notes Manchester, who also knows Stonehill through his daughter, Allyson Manchester ’11.
Having led teams and guided brands into new phases of growth, Manchester is running his course as if he were a supervisor at the students’ first job, working closely with them on setting goals, creating strategies, having one-on-one meetings and insisting on accountability and punctuality.
For Graham Sweetnam ’21, a marketing major and a sports, commerce and culture minor, Manchester’s class is both challenging and full of practical insight.
“Tom is the epitome of teaching through stories, using examples from campaigns at Dunkin' that we watched a few years ago that he worked on. He gives us a real insight into his team's thought process during their inception and implementation. I would gladly take more classes with him,” says Sweetnam.
The excitement of working with famous sporting figures notwithstanding, Manchester stresses to students that success in sports marketing is based on fundamentals as opposed to flashiness. To that end, he identifies four key points.
- Know and practice the basics—be on time, meet deadlines, engage, be prepared and stay humble.
- Sports marketing is a very relationship driven business. Learn how to develop and sustain good relationships with others across all categories—refine and perfect your interpersonal skills. Don’t burn bridges despite the temptation to do so. Even in long careers, things can rebound to haunt you.
- After gathering the right data, master the art of extracting worthy, helpful insights as that is what makes effective, winning strategies.
- Be solutions orientated. Think innovatively and learn how to pivot and adjust in life and in your career as they inevitably knock you off course.
Earlier in his career, when he was at The Gillette Company, one of his colleagues gave him advice on dealing with that situation.
“He said it is all about getting your priorities right and certain things come before work if you want balance in your life. God is first. Family is second and Gillette a distant third. Because if the first two are not in a good place, you will not be of maximum value to Gillette. That approach has served me well,” says Manchester who is active in Cape Cod Church and integrates prayer into his life.
As he approaches the mid-point of the semester, Manchester reports that he finds the students in class to be “well prepared, engaged and hard working. They are also humble, a trait that’s key to lasting success and achievement in work and in life,” he says.
In addition to teaching at Stonehill, Manchester is involved with a startup, The Mobile Locker Company, serving on its board and as an investor. He is also the Chief Marketing Officer for Pizzeria Uno. Furthermore, he reports he will be teaching his undergraduate course Integrated Sports Marketing again in the spring as well as an Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) master's course in Sports Marketing.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have been asked to teach spring semester 2021,” says Manchester. “I am learning a lot from this first class and will incorporate those insights as I revise my course for next year.”