Fulton Welcome Sign Students in Professor Chad Allred's Experiential Marketing class began a project in fall 2016 to help revitalize the economy of Fulton, Indiana. The initiative continued in spring 2017 and will be carried forward by students in Allred's 2017-18 academic year courses.

Partners in Progress

Experiential marketing class aims to revitalize economy in Fulton, Indiana

As a lifelong resident of Fulton, Indiana, Pat Brown has been concerned about the economic future of his hometown, a small city with about 330 residents near the heart of its namesake county and an hour’s drive northeast of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.

As a graduate of Krannert Executive Education’s Applied Management Principles program and a former staffer at both the School of Management and Purdue Marketing and Media, he also knew where to go for help.

Brown contacted Krannert Dean David Hummels, who recommended he reach out to faculty member Chad Allred, a clinical assistant professor and PhD program alumnus. Allred’s Experiential Marketing (MGMT 42910) course had already found success helping preserve the economy of a village of woodcarving artisans in Baan Tawai, Thailand, more than 8,000 miles from Boilermaker country.

Allred added Fulton to his list of available projects for the fall 2016 semester, and eight undergraduates quickly formed a team led by then-seniors Nicholas Schuberth and Taylor Frohnapfel, both of whom graduated in May.

Brown, who now works as digital marketing lead at MedPro Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana, began by inviting the Krannert team to his hometown, giving them a tour, briefly outlining its history and introducing them to other community leaders, including Terry Lee, director of the Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDC).

“The revitalization aspect of the project was most appealing to me,” says Schuberth, who now works at Shell Oil in Houston.

“At one time, Fulton had a thriving economy, primarily farming, but also textile manufacturing,” he says. “Despite plenty of skilled workers, it now has a declining economy, very few residents and little to no resources to make changes. With a high unemployment rate, increasing drug-related incidents and little commerce being generated, the town was in dire need of assistance.”

“The opportunity to apply my learning in a real-world project was great,” says Frohnapfel, now a district manager at Aldi’s. “The face-to-face interaction we had with people in Fulton is something you can’t get in a classroom.”

After additional visits and research, the team completed a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of Fulton. “Our goal was to create a strategic marketing plan to pinpoint opportunities for business growth and boosting the economy,” Frohnhapfel says. “In addition to increasing tourism through an increased social media presence, our primary recommendation for new business was a bakery.”

Brown says Allred’s enthusiasm and leadership gave the community a boost of confidence. He describes the students’ work on the project as “amazing.”

“Their imagination paired nicely with the discipline that Krannert instilled in them, and their idea for a bakery was a great start,” Brown says.

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