Nineteen Redmond High School (RHS) students have qualified to compete at the International conference of DECA, an association of marketing students, this spring.
Traveling to the event, April 23-28, in Louisville, Ky., will cost about $1,200 per student. The RHS DECA delegates are seeking corporate and individual sponsors to help them pay their way to the competition and continue their tradition of excellence.
The RHS DECA chapter includes sharp, highly motivated, young people who’ve elevated their expertise by creating marketing manuals to help local businesses in this weak economy. Applying knowledge from Entrepreneurship and Marketing Management classes at RHS, DECA teams reviewed existing marketing strategies at Redmond’s Pinkalicious Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes, Emerald City Smoothie and the Subway franchise on Avondale Road.
“We gave recommendations for a marketing plan, established a problem, did research, created and defended recommendations,” explained Joe Junor, a RHS senior who also serves as president for DECA Area 3.
“We actually present plans to the businesses, who test them to see if they’re valid,” noted senior Matthew Kimmel, vice-president of business relations for the RHS DECA chapter.
Senior Morgan Burke, RHS DECA secretary and historian pointed out, “People have only so much expendable income. They have to choose spending on cupcakes, smoothies or going to Subway instead of just making a sandwich at home.”
To overcome consumer apathy, businesses have to use “guerilla marketing,” said RHS DECA chapter president Kim Kruse, also a senior. “We show them how to keep it within their budget, show them how to advertise without a huge toll,” she noted.
If there’s anything these students have learned through business classes and DECA, it’s “features tell, benefits sell,” Junor stated.
For example, a team of RHS DECA students advised the folks at Emerald City Smoothie to implement a campaign with benefit-related catchphrases for each season. “Build up” was the theme for fall and football season. “Slim down” was tied to New Year’s resolutions, when everyone wants to lose weight. “Go green” is the theme for spring. “Stay lean” will be the motto for summer.
Kruse elaborated, “Emerald City Smoothies are all-natural, nutritious, high-protein, high in antioxidants, with not a lot of sugar. ‘Nourish your body’ is already their slogan so we focused on the benefits of changing your habits instead of drinking a smoothie as a one-time splurge.”
Tom Napier, owner of Emerald City Smoothie, said he was “surprised by how in-tune” the RHS DECA students were, with real-life business situations.
“They asked a lot of good questions about promotions, our customers, what kind of customers we serve and how to reach them,” said Napier.
Margo Engberg, owner of Pinkalicious Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes, described the RHS DECA students she encountered as “amazing, bright and mature beyond their years.”
Engberg added, “They were persistent about getting together with me and conducted a very thorough interview. I was impressed with their tenacity and flexibility to try to meet me at my convenience. They seemed to understand the craziness of running a business. … I know they will go far in life.”
Presenting marketing manuals and other business documents will be just one of many talents showcased at the International DECA competition.
Attendees will also engage in business “role-play” activities where they’ll be given a problem and will have just a few minutes to offer a solution, answer questions and explain why their ideas will work.
Although they’ve not yet confirmed dates or locations, the RHS DECA members will host at least two car washes, possibly a bake sale or dance, and “flamingo flocking of homes in the Redmond and Woodinville areas” to fundraise for the journey to the International competition.
The 19 RHS students going to Louisville and their categories are as follows:
Paul Burke, Tom Cote and Brian Haug: Third place, Sports and Entertainment Business Operations Research Written
Elise Adams and Margaux Helm: First place, Buying and Merchandising Management Team Decision Making
Taylor Brown and Morgan Burke: Fifth place, Creative Marketing Research Written Event
Joey Costello and Kate Garland: Fourth place, Creative Marketing Research Written Event
Kevin Light: Third place, Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Joey Gregoritch, Joe Junor and Kim Kruse: Third place, Creative Marketing Research
Mark McCondochie and Trevor Wyke: Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making
Katie Morris and Ashlyn Trussel: Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making
Paul Cretu: Accounting Applications
Brianna Dankberg: Sports and Entertainment Marketing
If you’d like to learn more or lend your support, contact RHS DECA advisor Grace Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.