Competition Guide - How to win

Kentwood DECA
Conquering the future
Competition Guide
Kentwood DECA – Conquering the Future
Competition Preparation
With hard work
(and a little help)
I will do great
at this!
Most DECA competitions involve role plays. Life is
nothing but a series of role-plays. Role-plays are your way
to demonstrate the skills you have learned and mastered.
What is a business role-play? It is a case study that you are given to
solve. There is no one correct answer, only answers that are better than others, answers
that have been given a lot of thought and use the jargon of marketing and business.
Practice Tests – We have many
Written Test – You take a
multiple choice test as part of your
practice tests with answers to help you.
Work with a partner, make it fun and excel!
Performance Indicators
We have many role play
examples with judging criteria from your
competitive event on hand. Get copies made
and practice. We also have tip books, the
Marketing Essentials text book and other
resources to prepare with. Get good at it.
It’s fun!
Provided before each competition, these
are the requirements judges will be
looking for and the role plays are
designed to discover. P.I.’s are your
clues. Use them to build a winning plan!
We will gather in the Marketing Room after school to practices tests, act as
judges for each other, help each other excel at our events. Work as a team to succeed!
Experts to coach you
Working together
Conquer your future
If you are good at life before it really counts, how great will you be when it does count?
Choosing where and how you will compete
DECA offers a wide variety of competition choices. Determining your event is as simple as
identifying your interests, passion and where you will excel. Chose an event that you
currently work in, that you have a career interest in or that you have adults you know who
can help coach you. Interest = passion and passion = results.
You first must decide between three general categories. Think about what will work best for
you. The categories are:
1) Individual Series Events. This is the easiest category to succeed at. Individual events
measure your proficiency and skills in a selected occupational area. The general concepts
behind each category are the same, but the category determines the specifics of the scenarios
At the actual competition a problem is presented to you and you are given 10 minutes to
analyze and come up with a solution for. You then present to at least one judge for 10
minutes with 5 minutes more where you answer 2 or 3 preset questions the judge has for
2) Team Decision Making Events. The problems presented in this category are more
complex and require the partners make decisions regarding the solution they will present. At
the actual competition, team participants are given 30 minutes to analyze a combination of
elements essential to the effective operation of their chosen occupational area. Your solution
is then presented to at least one judge for 10 minutes with 5 minutes more for 2 or 3 preset
questions the judge has for you. Be careful about who you select as a partner. Pick someone
who you can spend a lot of time with and who is at the same level of motivation as you.
3) Written Events. In these events you do not have any surprises. There is no problem to
analyze or solve. You select a topic, write a paper and then meet with a judge to present.
You can present using a lap top or other means. You do answer a couple questions at the
end, but here you control the process.
4) “Other” Events. These events take place as a quiz bowl team or online.
Written Tests – The Individual and Team events are required to take a multiple-choice
written test. The score for teams is the average of both competitors. Written events do not
have a test associated with their competition.
Individual Series Events
Roles in any of these events range from consultant, manager, entrepreneur, supervisor to
Accounting Applications – situation will measure knowledge in accounting applications.
You will perform entry level or management functions when interpreting business planning,
organizing data from financial statements, developing reports etc. to make business
decisions. Roles can range from supervisors, managers to entrepreneurs. If you’ve taken
Accounting here at Kentwood you will likely do well here.
Apparel and Accessories – situation will apply to the apparel industry ranging from entry
level to management. Your competition will be based on retail, wholesale or manufacturing
in the marketing of clothing or related items. Roles can range from customers, employees,
supervisors to managers. Nordstrom? Designer? Manufacturer?
Automotive Services – situation will apply to service stations, auto parts or automotive and
supporting industries. This could be a car dealer, product manufacturer or auto parts store.
Business Services - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in a business that
is fee or contract based to consumers or businesses – any business that provides a service.
Hair salon and landscaping are examples.
Food Marketing - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in the grocery
industry ranging from manufacturing, wholesale to retail. Think Safeway, QFC or Trader
Hotel and Lodging - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in the hotel,
motel, convention and food/beverage industries. Huge industry with lots of future
opportunity if this interests you.
Marketing Management - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in non-retail
marketing environment. For example, you are to decide which holidays to be open and yet
gain employee interest and morale.
Quick Serve Restaurant – situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in a
restaurant that does not hire wait staff. There is lots of money in owning a fast food place.
Knowledge here can be very beneficial if you aspire to this.
Restaurant and Food Service - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in a
full-service restaurant or food service business. Could be a restaurant or behind the scenes
on the wholesale side of the business.
Retail Merchandise - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in any type of
retail business. Think Fred Meyer, Best Buy, or a specialty shop in a mall.
Sports and Entertainment - situation will measure knowledge, skills and attitudes in amateur
or professional sports, entertainment or renting/selling equipment for hobby, cultural or any
business in the leisure industry. Sports perhaps, but also think any kind of entertainment.
Team Decision Making Events
Roles here are definite partnerships. Chose a partner who will help push and pull you
throughout preparation. Make sure their level of ambition matches yours so neither is
disappointed. You are a team in all things and must be committed to each other in all things.
Each event allows your team 30 minutes to prepare a solution involving a combination of
elements essential to the effective operation in the specific occupational area selected. Your
solution will presented to at least one judge for 10 minutes with 5 minutes more fore 2 or 3
preset questions. There are six categories for you to choose from:
Business Law & Ethics – situation will involve US Law (contracts, product liability,
employment, etc) and ethics (social issues that can be debated)
Buying & Merchandising – situation involves getting product into the hands of the customer
(forecasting, planning, buying, display, selling, customer service, etc.).
Financial Analysis – situation involves application of financial data to business decision
making (financial statements, management, interpretation, etc.).
Hospitality Services – situation involves marketing & management applies to hotels, motels,
lodging services, conventions, food & beverage, etc.).
Sports & Entertainment – situation involves marketing applying to amateur or professional
sports, entertainment events, selling or renting supplies etc., all relating to enjoying leisure
Travel & Tourism – marketing & management that can be applied to transportation that can
be applied to transportation, traveling public agencies, etc. related to travel or tourism
These team events are considered more advanced than individual events. If you have a
teammate as motivated as you are you will have a great chance at success. Again, be sure
each member is equally committed to the cause.
Need more information about any of these events? Go to Look under the
High School division, competitive events section. You will find examples and lots of other
information. Also, come see Mr. Zender. We have plenty of resources in the classroom that
can help you make the right decision.
Written Events
Written Events are another great way to compete in DECA. Role plays require responding
to a surprise situation. Written events do not include that element. So if you don’t like
surprises then this format is for you. You may work individually or as a team of two or
three. In addition to writing your paper, you then present it to a judge. Currently, most are
setting up PowerPoint presentations on a lap top computer. You may also use poster boards
or flip charts. The advantages of these is that they never crash or need power that
mysteriously isn’t available. Judges will have preset questions to ask you as well.
There is not a written test as part of the scoring for a written test. For each, an outline of
topics to cover is provided by DECA. You simply follow the outline. Papers are either 11
or 30 pages. Don’t be intimidated by this. Much of the content will likely be pictures,
graphs, etc.
There is a very wide range of categories available for written competition, far too many to
list here. This provides you a wide variety of options. Among the most common selections
are Community Service Project, where an event Kentwood DECA sponsors is used as the
centerpiece for your project. Among other popular topics are Advertising Plan, Fashion
Merchandising Plan and Professional Selling. There are many more. See for
the complete list and description.
Top Tips for “Making the Stage”
 Test Well – your score on the written test is an important factor. Prepare by looking at old tests and
answer sheets. Test yourself. For questions you get wrong, make note cards. Study. Bring a calculator
to the test. Challenge yourself and enjoy it!
 Fundamentals – No matter what you’re in, know your Marketing fundamentals. The next page
provides a list of things you want to be familiar with and ideally know. Using these will be highly
effective. Learn and know the Marketing jargon.
 Performance Indicators – you need to know them cold. They are released prior to each conference.
You should have several “real” examples that apply in your event area. Treat studying these as if they
are homework for an extra class.
 Dress for Success – you have one shot at a first impression. You should consider that you are going
into the interview of your life. Follow the DECA dress code for a business presentation or risk not
winning. Eight to 10 points of your score is “overall impression.” Do the Math.
 Practice – as many different role-plays as possible. For those in team events you need to learn each
other’s strengths and weaknesses. Individuals need to find out what they know and don’t know.
Practice will allow you to adapt well to most any role-play.
 Get plenty of rest – eat right, wash your hands and stay healthy. If you’re ill and miss a conference,
there is no second chance.
 Nail the small stuff – practice simple things like shaking hands, introducing yourself or team to one or
two judges with confidence and remember your best promotion is your smile. So use it! Confidence is
50% of any sale. If you are, it will show.
 Act as an adult – the judges will all be 25 and older. Speak like an adult. Tell them what they want to
hear, not “teen talk.” Use dead air properly. No “umm” or “like” or “uh yah.” A very short pause of
silence is OK. Feel yourself take one breath and go on.
 Judges response – Know that during your presentation the judge is required to simply listen and not
interact with you. It will seem a bit odd, but it is the norm. Even if your presentation was awesome, the
judge will not give your feedback or a reaction.
 Judges questions – they are given set questions to ask you no matter how good you perform. So
respond professionally: listen, acknowledge, rephrase and respond.
 Game Face – competing in DECA is just like most anything. When it is time to perform a job or in a
sport you put on your game face. Visualize success ahead of time to ensure your confidence.
Marketing Jargon – the lingo that wins
Use the Marketing Essentials text book in the classroom or research and look up the text
(2009 version) for these terms and concepts. The first section below includes the fundamentals. Know
these. It’ll be well worth it!
Fundamental Marketing Terms & concepts
As you prepare to compete, always refer to these as the foundation of what you’re doing – especially the
first four listed here. You can always build from here to more complex strategies. But these are the key for
1. The Marketing Concept – always focus on customer satisfaction as the path to profit
2. SWOT Analysis. Say you’ve conducted this to arrive at your plan.
3. Target Market and Market Segmentation – Demographics, Geographics, Psychographics
4. Marketing Mix (the 4 P’s) – Product, Price, Place, Promotion
5. Identify Utilities. Mention the major benefits the product or service provides.
6. Seven functions of Marketing – know what they are and how companies employ these
It is important to not use all of these. Think of them as seasoning to a recipe – a little spice will enhance
what you’re doing and make you a credible professional.
Deepen your knowledge (so you really know your stuff)
The Marketing Essentials web site mentioned above also provides specific DECA help. These are excellent.
Select a unit, then select “DECA Prep.” Highly recommended!
$econdary business terms & concepts that can make you look good
Market Plan, Promotional mix, Advertising mix, Steps to a sale, Types of businesses – sole proprietorship,
partnership, corporations, LLC, etc., ROI, break-even point, ad layout, balance sheet, trademark, GDP,
NAFTA, credit and the various types, licensing, royalties, and so much more. Focus on learning the extras
that pertain to your competition category. Again, still emphasize your knowledge of the fundamentals
Industry Jargon – the lingo that demonstrates current knowledge
Having a mentor within the industry you are competing in is extremely valuable. They can not only help
you with strategies and knowledge, but can teach you key industry jargon and trends that will demonstrate
you have expertise. Also, read industry specific blogs. These are fantastic! Watch television shows within
your industry, but do so through the lens of a Marketer. This is key!
Props – simple extras that win
When you compete you are given ample scratch paper. This can be used to create makeshift extras –
business cards, CDs, charts/graphs, brochures, etc. A brochure can simply be made into a tri-fold, titled and
add some scribbling. Present it just like it were a professional brochure.
Leave behind winning clues
You are not allowed to leave the judging area with anything. Therefore, what you leave behind becomes
important. It always takes judges a few minutes to score your performance. They use their memory but
also look at some of what you leave behind. Excellent props and well-organized notes will be very
complementary to you and help your score. Put your name on these props! Brochures, business card, jump
drive or CD with presentation material. Leave at least one thing behind. Be sure your name is on it very
What to do during a role play
Arrive 15 minutes early. You’ll thank yourself for doing this.
1. Upon receiving your role play instruction packet, first check that they handed you the correct event
category. Mistakes have been made!
2. Participant Instructions are the same for all role plays. There is no need to read it. Skip.
3. Write down the Performance Indicators (PI’s) on the blank paper provided. Spread them out evenly
from top to bottom on the page so you have ample room to fill in the blanks. This will serve as the
outline for your presentation to the judge.
 Integrate the PI’s (in order) into your solution. Refer to them throughout. If you are a beginner, feel
free to mention them directly and respond directly.
4. The back will give you your Event Situation. Read this very carefully. Determine exactly the problems
5. Write down how you will solve the problems.
 Do so in the order of the PI’s. Judges are looking for it in that order. In many cases, share your
solution with the judge as a “Marketing Plan”
 Create and then bring in visuals (business cards, etc). But only use them at the appropriate time in
the presentation. You don’t pull out a business card at the start of a meeting for instance. Save it as
an additional professional element at the “natural” time.
6. You are escorted to the judge. Upon arrival, take control by assertively reaching for a web-to-web
handshake saying, “Hi, my name is NAME.” Allow them to introduce themselves. Listen to their
name. “Hi THEIR NAME, we are to discuss TOPIC. I bring EXPERIENCE to this process and my
objective is GOALS FOR MEETING. May I (we) go ahead and get started?” Have a focused, central
purpose! It might look like this . . . . “Hi my name is Kate (pause for them to introduce). Thank you for
seeing me today Mr. Smith, my purpose today is to demonstrate a sales plan that will increase your
bottom line 10% within the next 12 months. I bring over 10 years experience as a successful sales
manager to our meeting and believe strongly I can help you. May we get started?”
7. Present your solutions
 Use performance indicator language with each solution
 In general your presentation should address the problem given, set goals (I/we believe this will
increase your sales 10% in the next year), and then demonstrate how your plan will achieve them.
Explain your plan using the verbiage of a marketing plan. “I/we have put together a marketing plan
for you.”
i. Give a brief overview (executive summary)
ii. Conduct a SWOT analysis – judges like this. Show that this has shown what their company’s
competitive advantage is. Now make the key element you’re marketing is that competitive
Continued next page
iii. Be sure to identify the target market, attempt to locate their specific market segment, then attack
it by building a promotion plan that wraps the product/service in emotion – tie the product to an
idea with strong appeal to that target market.
iv. Build interactive technology into your plan (social media, sales tracking, rewards program, etc).
This shows you are current in your thinking. Marketing Information Management
v. The kicker to your promo plan is a Unique Selling Proposition. Develop a customer guarantee,
special price, strategic placement of the product or something that will be exclusive to the
company compared to their competition.
vi. Finish by re-stating your original goal. I/we believe this will increase sales for you by 10% over
the next year.
 Conclude with recommended next steps – for example a follow-up final implementation details.
Simply think what would naturally come next. “We should meet next week to finalize. Does
Monday or Tuesday work best for you?” (notice that this is not a yes or no question, you’re just
giving options for “yes.”)
8. Conclusion and questions. Next say, “That concludes my presentation. Do you have any questions for
me?” The judges now ask you pre-determined questions they ask everybody. You may have already
covered what they’re asking. If so, answer in a re-phrased way. Don’t say “Like I said before ...”
Leaving. Take Control. “Before I leave, I want to emphasize … (restate 1 or 2 of your key points),
then say “Thank you for your time today.” Shake hands once again, with confidence web-to-web, push
in your chair and then leave.
Great Web Site:
Kentwood DECA
Conquering your future