Developing a Local Council Marketing Committee

Contents

Background

A key to success for professional Scouters is the ability to identify, recruit, train, motivate, and support high-caliber volunteers to deliver a quality program for young people involved in Scouting. This is the hallmark of the Scouting organization and has been the main ingredient for success in fundraising, membership growth, new unit development, and program delivery since Scouting's inception in the United States more than 100 years ago.

It is no different for the marketing efforts of a local council. Through the recruitment and organization of a high-caliber, knowledgeable group of volunteers, a professional Scouter can support a marketing committee to increase public awareness of Scouting; highlight positive Scouting stories; and influence community leaders, parents, youth, donors, and chartered organizations.

According to research done for the BSA's 2002 Program of Emphasis, a majority of councils (71 percent) have a volunteer public relations, or marketing committee. The research also indicates that as council size increases, the likelihood of the council having such a committee increases.

A marketing committee is vital to promoting Scouting in all communities. Having a superior program is of little value if the community does not know about your program or how to join it.

This guide will provide your council with ideas that will enhance your present marketing efforts. Remember, this is only a guide; your committee should be structured to best meet the needs of your council and the communities you serve.

Structure

Typically, the marketing committee is a standing committee guided by the council's vice president of marketing. In some local councils, the vice president of marketing also serves as the chair of the marketing committee.

The marketing committee's size is dependent on the council's needs, community size, and the vice president of marketing's recommendation. Meetings are set as needed, and committee members take on various projects and chair various subcommittees as needed. (A detailed summary of committee roles and responsibilities is provided below.)

Many councils have found that it is important to have the vice president of marketing serve as chair of the marketing committee. This structure gives the council's marketing efforts the same visibility as the work of the vice president of finance or vice president of program.

Identification and Recruitment of Marketing Volunteers

The council's vice president of marketing, marketing committee chair, or other council volunteer responsible for marketing should recruit volunteers, preferably marketing practitioners, to serve on the marketing committee and assist with the council's marketing efforts. In large and small communities alike, marketing committee members can be recruited from several sources:

  • Local college and university marketing or business departments, including instructors, students, and administrators (Many upper-level marketing courses require students to participate in a practical application of their studies.)
  • Corporate marketing, advertising, and graphic design companies that specialize in business development, planning, communications, public relations, advertising, market research, etc.
  • Freelance writers, designers, and photographers
  • Radio and television (including cable) stations
  • Newspapers, magazines, and other print media
  • Major advertisers
  • Local chapters of the American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America, or Ad League
  • Marketing departments of local businesses
  • School district public relations coordinators

Have current board members recommend marketing professionals with whom they work.

Ensure that the opportunity presented to a volunteer is not a professional conflict of interest and that the volunteer believes in the Scouting program.

Roles and Responsibilities

Written descriptions for members of the committee clarify responsibilities, which will contribute to the effectiveness of the committee. The following descriptions are suggestions to get you started. You may find you need to make changes in some areas to better fit your committee's needs.

Marketing Committee

The local council marketing committee is responsible for all facets of marketing, including public relations, media relations, promotions, advertising, and research. The committee's principal responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Develop, implement, and evaluate the marketing plan in support of the council's strategic plan. The guidebook, "Developing a Local Council Marketing Plan," can be used as a guide for writing the plan.
  2. Prioritize projects and set short- and long-term marketing goals.
  3. Develop a budget with the help of the council finance committee to support the marketing plan. Depending on council needs, this may include expenses for newsletters, annual reports, research, professional services, audiovisuals, literature, and recruitment materials.
  4. Determine which marketing methods are most effective in communicating the local council's mission and goals.
  5. Be informed of, evaluate, and communicate to the council executive board any societal influences that affect the delivery of the Scouting program. The Environmental Scan provides information on societal trends.
  6. Support the delivery of the Scouting program by producing and placing printed and audiovisual marketing tools. The Marketing Department offers a variety of resources to help. 
  7. Ensure that the BSA's markets—families, youth, and chartered organizations—have the accurate knowledge and materials needed to promote Scouting.
  8. Continually inform council leadership of the value of positive public relations. Provide the public and media with information that will promote a positive image of the BSA. Consider using bumper stickers, billboards, and print ads as publicity tools. 
  9. Use national BSA marketing materials as part of the overall plan. Also integrate marketing strategies from National Council departments.
  10. Promote positive public relations from the council level to the unit level.
  11. Assist and support the planning, promoting, and launching of new programs and projects.
  12. Ensure the creation of consistent messages, communicating the fun and values of Scouting. When possible, coordinate with nearby councils.
  13. Provide audiovisual communication programs and services to inform audiences, both internal and external, of Scouting's mission. The National Council has created a number of PSAs to promote Scouting. 
  14. Ensure the orderly and effective planning and development of all local council publications in order to make these publications more responsive to their readers.
  15. Support the council through timely, useful research. Continually research and evaluate all aspects of the council's program. Keep the program relevant to the current and future needs of youth, families, and chartered organizations, while upholding the principles and ideals of the Scouting movement. The Local Council Research Kit, No. 02-127, can be used as a guide for local market research.
  16. Motivate district- and unit-level volunteers to continue conducting positive public relations at the district and unit levels.
  17. Create and maintain a favorable climate of public opinion to help the council achieve its mission of youth development.
  18. Track how effective marketing efforts are by keeping a record of positive and negative feedback.

Vice President of Marketing

Position Concept

Develops, adopts, and recommends to the council executive board policies and procedures under which marketing practices and approaches should be administered. Administers marketing plans for interpreting Scouting as a resource for chartered organizations, educators, and the media. Communicates the message of how Scouting can build values for a lifetime and promotes awareness of the BSA's mission and objectives both inside and outside the Scouting movement.

Principal Responsibilities

  1. Provides overall leadership to the marketing committee.
  2. Oversees the development and implementation of the marketing plan. Ensures a comprehensive marketing program that includes marketing, promotion, media relations, public relations, and research.
  3. Represents the council at local Scouting events when such participation is deemed necessary or advantageous by the council president.
  4. Supports and coordinates marketing efforts.
  5. Recruits and appoints committee members and subcommittee chairs as needed.
  6. Informs and makes recommendations to the council executive board regarding marketing plans and progress.
  7. Participates in special projects, as requested.
  8. Maintains and extends cooperative relationships with religious, educational, civic, and community organizations at the council level to ensure full use of chartered organizations in making Scouting available to youth.

Qualifications

  • A positive view of Scouting
  • Expertise—through affiliation with local businesses and corporations or educational institutions—in the advertising, marketing, public relations, or communications fields

Marketing Committee Chair

Principal Responsibilities

  1. Reports to the council's vice president of marketing and, in doing so, acts as the principal adviser on all matters relating to marketing, promotions, public relations, research, and media relations and any other matters that affect the BSA in the council's service area.
  2. Provides leadership to the marketing committee and presides at marketing committee meetings.
  3. Develops, implements, and evaluates the council marketing plan in coordination with the vice president of marketing and marketing committee members.
  4. Works closely with the vice president of marketing to ensure that the marketing committee fulfills its mission.
  5. Assists the vice president of marketing in recruiting and appointing to the marketing committee specialists who can help the committee achieve its mission in support of the BSA's mission.
  6. Keeps the council executive board informed, through the vice president of marketing, about societal influences that may affect short- and long-term delivery of the Scouting program.
  7. Initiates and responds to ways that the marketing committee can support and interact with other council committees.
  8. Upholds the standards of membership, the principles of Scouting, and the BSA's commercialism policy, as stated in the BSA's Rules and Regulations, No. 57-492.
  9. Forms subcommittees and ad hoc task forces as needed.

Qualifications

  • Extensive Scouting background (preferred)
  • Expertise—through affiliation with local businesses and corporations or educational institutions—in the advertising, marketing, public relations, or communications fields

Subcommittees

Every council marketing committee should develop subcommittees based on the council's marketing goals. Depending on the committee's size, one member may be responsible for more than one subcommittee.

Subcommittees can be created to address the marketing of specific programs, projects, or tasks.

Role of a Program or Project Marketing Committee

  1. Manages the marketing of a particular program or project (e.g., Boys' Life magazine, Venturing, or a fundraiser) for the council.
  2. Proposes marketing objectives and goals for each program or project, creates strategies and plans, implements them, monitors the results, and takes corrective action as needed.

Role of Task Subcommittees

Public Relations Subcommittee

  1. Communicates Scouting's mission to the community.
  2. Monitors the council's image.
  3. Anticipates public perception and responds to Scouting-related issues.

Marketing Research Subcommittee

  1. Collects and analyzes data on the size, segments, trends, and behavioral dynamics of particular Scouting markets.
  2. Suggests best utilization of particular markets.

Communication Subcommittee (internal/external communication)

  1. Provides communication and promotion expertise.
  2. Develops marketing tools to promote Scouting, and uses marketing tools produced by the National Council.
  3. Remains knowledgeable about the development of messages, media, and publicity.
  4. Recommends how the council can best maintain highquality customer service.

Community Relations Subcommittee (external communication)

  1. Provides the organization with information on relevant developments in government. Manages the council's program of representation and presentation to local community leaders, educators, and organizations.
  2. Works in conjunction with the Scout executive, vice president of marketing, and marketing committee chair to develop and maintain council-level relationships with community leaders.

District Publicity Liaison Subcommittee

  1. Serves as a liaison between the council marketing committee and district publicity coordinators (members of the district marketing committee).
  2. Supports and encourages district publicity coordinators to enhance positive publicity and communication in their districts.
  3. Invites district publicity coordinators to council marketing committee meetings when possible and appropriate. One or more liaisons should be appointed as council size necessitates. The Council Positive Publicity Guidebook, contains further information regarding positive publicity.

Audit Subcommittee

  1. Annually reviews marketing materials and resources, measuring effectiveness and usage.
  2. Recommends new materials.

Council Marketing Structure

View a diagram [PDF] of the council marketing committee structure.

Marketing Committee Recruitment Letter

Dear ___________,

As a (job title) and community (businessman, leader, etc.), I am continually searching for opportunities to serve the community and its members.

The Boy Scouts of America has been important in shaping lives, building character, and teaching leadership to many people in their formative years. My family has benefited from Scouting.

I am asking you to join the marketing committee of the _____________ Council of the Boy Scouts of America. A Scouting background is not required.

This is an excellent opportunity for an emerging leader such as yourself to benefit from a productive learning experience. The time commitment for the committee would be approximately two to three hours per month for a one-year period.

There will be a meeting on (date) at (time) at (place). I look forward to having you attend and learn how you can strengthen your company's service to the community. Please consider this opportunity.

Sincerely,

Name
Council Vice President of Marketing