The New DECA: Marketing Virtually


Brooke Chapman, Feature Editor


     In a typical DECA winter, hundreds of prepared students file into an arena to sell their ideas, with marketing skills that they have worked on all year to persuade the audience. However, this year, the tables have turned and thrown the events into a virtual space. Fifty-one North Creek students placed, qualifying for Washington DECA’s State Career Development Conference.

     Instead of an arena filled with bustling people and eager guests, competitors presented their events in 10-minute video presentations. “This year we’re having fully virtual competitions, so this was our first virtual Area! It was quite a different experience, as it became a week-long process instead of the usual 1 day of competition, during which we present and find out the results all within the same day,” said senior and DECA VP of Communications Valeria Hernandez. 

     Although the shift online contained its unique challenges, DECA students worked diligently to adapt. “To prepare, we had members record themselves presenting to become accustomed to the new digital formats, which was quite the change but one we overcame pretty quickly,” said Hernandez.

     The structure of this year’s competition has changed to work with social distancing and pandemic regulations. “Usually, you take an exam before the actual competition, then prepare up until the day of. Then, you walk into the conference room and present for your judge(s). Within a few hours, we all congregate for the ceremony and celebrate each other’s accomplishments,” said Hernandez. “This year, we submitted our materials (a written report and presentation recording) about a week before the actual competition day, to give judges time to read and view all of our projects.” A live awards ceremony over zoom followed at 6 pm.

     The new format set a new scene for members of DECA. Junior and DECA President, Caitlyn Widjaja competed in the service concentration of the Integrated Marketing Campaign event. Her project consisted of a 10-page marketing plan, a 100 question quiz, and a 15-minute presentation about a marketing plan for a restaurant in Seattle recovering from Pandemic losses. “I competed in the service concentration and this year for competition focused on coming up with a marketing plan for a restaurant in Seattle for when the pandemic gets better. The plan focuses on reopening when it is safe to do so and helping the business with the loss of customers and revenue they had during the pandemic,” said Widjaja.

     State competitions are the next step for the 51 North Creek students who placed in the area competitions. Usually, students had until early March to prepare, but this year the virtual competition will span two weeks beginning during mid-winter break. “Those who are competing in prepared events have to turn the written portion of their events in on the first day of break and continually practice their presentations. Those competing in role plays are practicing for the roleplays they might be given for state competitions, and everyone is preparing to take another cluster exam,” said Widjaja.