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Marketing Sandbox

Sand Box – Ideas and Concepts for Council Marketing Brainstorming

  • Encourage committee to be visionary with our communications and tactics. Think about how the “Move-on” Obama Campaign worked… Grass roots and on-line only, super low cost, leveraged people… and Scouting already has people”
  • Many council’s have a small marketing budget and until that changes I would encourage committees to be FOCUSED on the cost-benefit of every dollar spent. Advertising is expensive, everybody knows the Scouts exist. Consider that every dollar should be spent connecting, physically, to our members and our target audience (our member’s peers), through our members.
  • Consider replacing a $1,000 mailing with 4 – $250 local events. Every $500 glossy printing bill could be replaced with a larger event or sponsorship. Ideally we could loop in the most active troops to the largest events (balloon festival, concerts, Cancer Walks, Park Events), push BSA membership and exposure.
  • Start a sales campaign of stuff (cold water bottles, popcorn, paper, food, camping gear) available at those events to help fund those troops who participate while they get the word out.People are impressed to see well behaved boys, in uniform, interacting and helping others. Figure out a way to get boys helping in the sight of non-members.
  • Leverage and incentivize our Troops in ways we never have they are your feet on the ground, educate them on how to grow their units and let them work, sweat equity with some funding… they should be able to lean on the Council for resources and collateral material, give them a track to run on and some funding for events the council deems beneficial growth and mission. Make it important for the boys to recruit somehow and it will happen… They need to experience the EXCITEMENT and FUN, then tell or even better yet, INVITE their friends to the next exciting event.
  • Consider designing one or two “MEET THE TROOP” nights and rolling them out with your core group of “early adopter leaders” to get some experience, refine the program and attain some success. Then maybe invite some unit leaders from other troops down to a couple to watch and try to bring the program alive with a room full of non-scouts who came for:
    • whatever hook you decided to spend that money on to attract the kids -(Falcon petting, clowns and acrobats, army rangers with guns, lab night
    • with scientists, race car driver night, police SWAT night
    • some education and examples of what Scouts do and learn in the BSA -(camping / weekend get aways / leadership training / friends and fun)
  • Connecting Neighboring Troops – Bring neighboring troops together under some program or initiative or incentive, boys working together,across troop lines – maybe “MEET THE TROOPS NIGHT” where we do it with a few troops and the troops can highlight during those nights what makes them special and why boys might want to join them, create some healthy competition. Kinda like a career fair… With multiple troops we can have a less % of boys bring friends and still have a great night, we can also spend more on the events…
  • Create some constructive competition between troops, what’s more exciting then going head to head with your friendly competition, then celebrating afterwards.
  • Host Council Troop Events.Volley Ball or Walleyball… a “field day” of events at a local community pool or park or lake. A BBQ and softball or soccer games at a state park. Every event should be a Scout bring a friend event. Let’s get some cool prizes or give aways to give everybody who shows up. We should MAKE SURE to create a draw for the parents as well… maybe it’s education, maybe it’s fancy coffee… something they will come for too, and hopefully bring their parent friends…
  • Prepackaged Events – Of all types and complexity – How about speaking with 20-50 scout masters and ask them to submit the outlines for their best troop events… the locations, contact info, maps, costs, etc… Then create a database on your website for troops to plug into, where a scout master can, in 30mins, plan a trip to Delaware, or White Water Rafting, or Williamsburg. (This does not sound like a marketing responsibility, but it is a good way for marketing to promote successful programs)
  • Branding – Merchandise – SHIRTS / HATS – cool stuff! Invest in a few apparel items, get a few hundred of and give to boys who come to your events, that type of everyday advertising in school will go much further than any billboard sign.
  • Create an iPhone knot app or something. That creates a parental community that parents are interested in plugging into so much so they are interested in having their kids involved so they can be part of it too…
  • Connect to your parents, face to face, and via email from the council level, consistently. A welcome letter is an excellent 1st start, with a written orientation on Scouting, what to expect and explanation of the unit, district and council relationships and their part.
  • A follow-up from time to time an contact information for their commissioners to better understand what they should expect from their unit and how to deal with issues that HAVE CAUSED other parents to pull their kids out of scouting. Keeping your members is much easier than getting new ones.
  • Oh, and every time you see or speak to the parents be visionary and positive about not only how much Scouting has done, but what you are looking to accomplish and what is needed to get there, MONEY WISE… Keep the parents fully informed how every additional $100 helps the program they should feel a direct connection to donations and what the council does with them.
  • Contact day-care and after-school programs asking who would be interested in BSA coming down to introduce a wholesome family program designed to improve the lives of families and children. Then we think of something we can do for a short time to have lots of fun with a group of kids… even a mock camp fire with ghost stories would be fun for them… get them on board young.
  • How about Expo in the MALL PARKING LOT or Local Semi-Pro ball park. Make it repeating and fun enough that parents will bring their kids there.

Note: The above “Sand Box” contains ideas and concepts intended only to help marketing committees to be creative and brainstorm. Committees should follow direction from their Key 3 for guidelines within there own council. As always any plan must conform with the polices and guidelines of the BSA.