As DECA members, we spend so much time thinking about marketing for other brands – but don’t forget about marketing your own chapter! Check out these three under-tapped audiences that you should be targeting with your chapter’s marketing and some key ways to reach them.
The Almost-Eligible Members
Marketing to students already enrolled in DECA-related classes is a given. To keep your chapter’s brand strong, check out these ideas to expand your efforts and reach students who will soon be eligible to join your chapter:
- If your school only offers DECA to juniors and seniors, start building the brand with underclassmen now! Host DECA socials open to all grades and identify upperclassmen ambassadors to talk to underclassmen about the benefits of DECA. Or follow the trend of many chapters and create a pre-DECA program for underclassmen. These programs give almost-eligible members a taste of DECA membership through competitive events and networking opportunities that build awareness and interest in all things DECA!
- For chapters already open to underclassmen, start building the DECA brand among students about to enter high school. These younger prospects will be excited to build relationships in high school before they even start, and DECA will be at the forefront of their minds as they pick their classes for next year. Work with your counselors and administrators to find the best way to schedule an online social or guest presentation to share the benefits of DECA with these students.
Counselors and Administrators
Your chapter marketing is also about building support for DECA within your school community. Creating awareness and advocacy for DECA among your school’s counselors and administrators is critical to make sure that your members and advisors get the recognition and support they need.
- To engage counselors, gather some of your chapter’s top competitors and have them share how DECA events and activities helped them define their college and career plans. Share how DECA’s competitive events are connected to career clusters and growing job fields and ask for their support in recommending DECA-related classes to students.
- From competitive event wins to successful community service events, you should always market your chapter’s successes to your school’s principals and superintendents. For every success, have the DECA members involved create a write-up that shares what they accomplished and send it to your administrators. Also, flex your PR skills and use these write-ups to secure coverage in your school and/or local media. Your school administrators will pay attention, and this coverage highlights the positive publicity that DECA creates for their students and their school’s brand.
Local Business Owners
Whether your chapter needs donations and sponsorships, internship opportunities or businesses to feature in competitive events, marketing DECA to your local business community is essential for building relationships that help your chapter succeed.
- Ask your local chamber of commerce about opportunities to talk about your DECA chapter with its members. Have a few officers share your chapter’s activities and goals at an upcoming chamber meeting, or see if you can provide content for the chamber’s newsletter or social media accounts. Take it to the next level and ask to provide a recurring update to the chamber community—the more frequently you share your message, the more likely these business owners will remember and support you!
- With many small businesses facing unprecedented challenges this year, some additional marketing support can go a long way. By choosing a local business for an internship or competitive event, you can provide them with additional marketing ideas that could make a real impact! If your chapter is looking to businesses for donations or sponsorships, consider offering some marketing services in exchange, like social media advice or a free promotion in your chapter’s newsletter. Building these relationships now will continue to benefit your chapter for years to come!
When planning your chapter’s marketing efforts, think outside of the box and don’t forget to target these key stakeholder groups. Your chapter will benefit from increased support and awareness, as well as a steady stream of future members!