The Insider's Guide to Marketing Your SBE

January 12, 2021

People like to say that 2020 changed everything, but the reality is that the world of marketing is constantly evolving. If you want to attract new customers while maintaining a loyal base, you need to utilize cutting-edge techniques for your school-based enterprise. With the right mix of activities, you can identify and focus on the most effective marketing tactics to level up your SBE.

There are countless ways you can promote your school-based enterprise, but here are some of our favorites shared by DECA advisors across the globe.

Arrow Mart

Sherando DECA, VA

Contributed by Advisor, Jason Uhry

Go broad to reach a larger audience. At the Arrow Mart, members use a variety of methods to market their SBE. They utilize school-wide announcements, Google classroom posts and social media as the primary tools to market merchandise. But it’s not just about promoting to students. Virtual flyers are sent to parent emails and students are also planning a showcase of products on Facebook Live to reach local community members.

Cat's Corner + The Green Bean

Jenison DECA, MI

Contributed by Advisor, Jordan Whittecar

Empower students. At Jenison High School, students are broken up into six departments at the beginning of the year to manage their retail store (Cat's Corner) and coffee shop (The Green Bean). Three of the departments work together to oversee all marketing activities: Digital Marketing, Visual Merchandising and Promotion. The Promotion Department comes up with innovative new ideas, works with other student groups  (band, student council, athletics) to create influencers, oversees the morning announcements and sends monthly email blasts to the entire school district. The Digital Department creates content for social media and the store website, and the Visual Department takes care of in-store marketing such as mannequins, signage, chalkboards and TVs. The division of responsibilities allows students to become experts in their chosen area while also learning to work collaboratively with all departments. Plus, students are the most in-tune with the latest trends, so why not give them the tools to make decisions and be accountable!

The Corner Store

Paul Duke Stem DECA, GA

Contributed by Advisor, Lauren O'Conner

Make advertisements visual. Make advertisements eye-catching and appealing to students across all platforms. At the Corner Store, students use digital screens, images projected during lunch, window displays within the store and Instagram to capture customers’ attention. Investing in high-quality product photos and well-designed promotions can make all the difference!

DECA Depot

Elk River DECA, MN

Contributed by Advisor, Sonja Weiler

Pop-up in your community. To grow your sales, create opportunities for your SBE to be visible outside of your school building. Set up at local fairs, sporting events, farmers' markets or any other spot where the community gathers. This year, the DECA Depot launched an enclosed trailer converted into a mobile store, called the SWAGON, to make pop-ups easier.

Use student models, not just mannequins to display clothing items. This will drive more people to visit the online store and perhaps decide to purchase. Try hosting a school model search, influencer program or reward DECA members. Be sure to change the pictures occasionally to keep the site fresh and updated with new faces.

Include a “give back” component to your SBE. The community likes to see DECA members in the community giving back, not just selling. Many chapters see stores as an avenue to generate revenue but forget they can be the key to an impactful community service project. Favorable opinions make loyal customers.

Fox Stox

King George DECA, VA

Contributed by Advisor, Dee Strauss

Take advantage of digital platforms. The Fox Stox managers use social media, especially Instagram to promote products. An ongoing campaign includes sharing new videos each Friday to promote the hottest products and promotions. Since the store is also virtual, they partnered with the school to place a link to their SBE website on the school’s homepage.

The Paw Print

Conroe DECA, TX

Contributed by Advisor, Katheryne Hinze

Use social media. Don’t just rely on one person, one platform or one account to reach all of your target markets. The Paw Print uses Instagram (posts and stories) and relies on student staff to amplify the messages by sharing to their own stories. You can also partner with your school or district’s social media accounts to re-share your content.

Use various methods of promotion. The Paw Print places ads in the parent newsletter that their school’s principal sends out every Sunday night. They also utilize morning announcements, the school news crew and the school's digital marquees to spread the word about new products and promotions.


Debbie Taylor
Leadership Specialist

As DECA’s leadership specialist, Debbie implements a comprehensive student leadership program for both the high school and college divisions. She is responsible for the Emerging Leader Series, executive officer teams and elections, and student recognition programs like the Collegiate DECA Leadership Passport Program and DECA Emerging Leader Honor Award. Debbie has worked for DECA since 2019.

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