Vice President - Marketing


As the Vice President, Marketing, you're in charge of developing and implementing the marketing and media policy of the club to increase the strength of the club, its membership, and the speaking and leadership opportunities of the club's members outside the club.


Develop a marketing budget and marketing plan

You can do many things to project your club, but as always, time is limited, funds are even more limited (or even nonexistent), and you need to decide what to focus on.

Of course, "what to focus on" will depend a lot on what you want to achieve and how aligned or appropriate are each of the activities towards those goals. It's also essential that you don't keep changing the goals. If you keep changing all the time the direction in which you're going, you'll just be doing a lot of apparent movement, but in circles, and in the end, will remain exactly where you started.

Here's some practical guidance on how to create a marketing plan:

1. Read this article and all the ideas in it thoroughly.

2. Write down where the club is right now and what are the issues it's struggling with. For example:

We only get one or two visitors every couple of weeks - this hurts the club's growth and decreases the richness of the meetings.

3. Set a clear set of metric-driven goals (check the specific article on "SMART" goals"). These could be two such goals, for example:

1. I'd like to increase the flow by the end of the term to 6 new guests each weekly meeting.
2. I'd like to increase our community's awareness about our club so that at least 2 in 30 people asked randomly on the street know about us.

Make sure each goal has a specific priority or importance. If you had to choose between achieving goal (1) and goal (2) above, which one would it be?

4. Brainstorm with your fellow Officers and club members any other marketing ideas they might have on how the above set of goals might be achieved.

Your marketing activities won't be happening in a vacuum. You'll be fighting for the attention of people against other commercial and non-profit organizations or against simply other activities. "Why should I go to your club instead of watching a movie at home,  or instead of going to the theatre or this class about yoga"?

One of the fundamental activities that you need to do at this point is benchmarking the competition. This means:

  • Determining, for each of your goals, who you are competing against.
  • Determine how that competition is getting the attention of your target public and what arguments they're using
  • What advertising actions they're using
  • How effective they are in achieving that goal

Please also have in mind that the effectiveness of some ideas and actions is very location-dependent. For example, having meetup.com groups works very well in Madrid, but terribly in some other countries. Facebook ads work very well in Asia and Africa, not so much in Europe, and terribly in Russia, where the vk.com social network or Instagram are more dominant.

5. Estimate how aligned each of those ideas is with your goals or how much you think they can help for each goal. Unless the club has a well-kept history of previous marketing plans and activities, it will be difficult to put specific numbers for each activity and goal - just use some symbols like "0", "+", "++", to indicate how much that particular activity can help with the goal. If you're lucky enough to have access to previous marketing activities and their results, by all means, use that information as a starting point instead.

For example, in the following matrix, the VPM estimated that events on meetup.com would help a lot with bringing in visitors, but not really in making the club more visible in the community.


Marketing Matrix
Marketing Activity   Increase visitors to 6/meeting
(Importance: 4)
Increase awareness to 2 in 30
(Importance: 1)
1. Participate in Agora Marathons   0 0
2. Ad in the local newspaper   ++ ++
3. Event ads on meetup.com   ++ 0
4. Events on Facebook   + +
5. Put the club on Google Maps   0 +
6. Hold meetings in public places   + +


6. For each activity, indicate how much effort and funds it will require.

Marketing Matrix
Marketing Activity Effort (h) /
$ (year)
Increase visitors to 6/meeting
(Importance: 4)
Increase awareness to 2 in 30
(Importance: 1)
1. Participate in Agora Marathons 1 / 0 0 0
2. Ad in the local newspaper 5 / $600 ++ ++
3. Event ads on meetup.com 2 / $150 ++ 0
4. Events on Facebook 1 / $100 + +
5. Put the club on Google Maps 2 / $0 0 +
6. Hold meetings in public places 0 / 0 + +


7. Next, prioritize the activities from those that bring "the most bang for the buck" to those that bring the least.

8. Finally, decide which activities you're going to do, and distribute them throughout time.


Measure your results

Whatever actions you take - from sending a PR to holding an open-doors event, always have a specific set of goals beforehand and track and measure the outcomes of the activity. Don't simply convince yourself that "it went great", and keep repeating something that clearly has no effect.

Apply the "SMART Goals" and Continuous Improvement approaches.

  • How much did the activity cost? (not only in terms of money, but also in terms of time, effort, and number of people involved)
  • What were the specific goals of the activity?
    • Increasing visitors to the club? - How many more did you get?
    • Raising funds? -  How much money was raised?
    • Increasing page views?  - What was the change?
    • Etc.
  • What were the lessons learned? What was the feedback?
  • How can the effectiveness of the activity be increased if repeated (if it makes sense at all repeating it)

If you repeat a campaign or action, try to make a few controlled adjustments. If you change ten things and the efficiency improves 10%, you wouldn't be able to tell which of the ten things caused the improvement.


Core Marketing Tools

In this section, we'll share some core tools and ideas that you might want to apply in your club:

Get a club EMail address.


One of your first tasks as VP of Marketing should be ensuring that the club has its own EMail address, different from anyone's personal EMail. The credentials to access that EMail address should be available to all Club Officers.

It's totally up to you where that address is located - it might be @gmail.com, @outlook.com, etc. Make sure the name of the EMail contains the club name. For example, if your club name is "The Silent Hills Speakers", some good options should be thesilenthillspeakers at gmail.com, thesilenthillsclub at gmail.com, etc.

The received EMail is critical and should be read daily. If possible - and with the help of the other officers - try to answer all Email requests on the same day, the moment you read them.

Depending on whether you can count on a Community Manager's help, it's a good idea to also create accounts on various social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

It's better not to have a presence in a particular social network than having a stale or abandoned account. Do not try to cover more ground than you can service afterward. Ideally, start with the single most popular social network for your country and target members, then once it is consistently and steadily updated with content, you may open other accounts.

Publish that EMail address on all of the club's online sites and social networks so that anyone can get in touch with the club.

Please remember that you may only use your club logo as an avatar/profile picture on those social network accounts, not the Agora Speakers International logo. Please check with the Branding Guidelines for details on proper logo usage.


Create a club banner

Having a banner is not a requirement for Agora Clubs. However, it does pay to have one:

  • All your club materials (photos and videos) will look much different and more marketable with the banner present.
  • You will be able to take the club banner to contests and conventions
  • For external visitors and companies, a club with a banner looks much more permanent and professional.
The club banner needs to be printed using the standard design, on durable material (such as vinyl or cloth),  and with a precise size (76 cm x 122 cm or 2.5' x 4'). You can download the template from our Brand Portal.  You can also use our Asset Creator to have it generated for you without using any software.

Usually, the cost of printing a banner should not exceed $30. 


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Creating Advertising Materials

Another task of the VP of Marketing is creating all necessary advertising materials for the club. This includes guiding and helping the videographer and photographer with meeting roles and gathering, classifying, and using all of the multimedia materials.

It's imperative that you follow all branding rules when creating advertising materials.
  • Creates advertising materials.
  • Designs and executes advertising and outreach campaigns for club activities (either regular meetings, "open door" meetings, or contests).
  • With the assistance of the Vice-president, Education plans "open doors" meetings for the general public and other membership-building campaigns.


Build the club multimedia asset library

The club's multimedia assets library is a fundamental tool for promoting the club and offering proof that the system works. Here's what your club asset library should include:

  • Recordings and photographs of meetings
  • Specially prepared "Before" and "After" videos, showing the beginnings and current progress of some members.
  • Screenshots or recordings of Testimonies
  • Screenshots or photographs or video recordings of media participations.


Build a mailing list with tags (labels)

A mailing list is a great tool for promoting your club and for helping the VP of Community Leadership find external speaking and leadership opportunities for your members.

Usually, your Internet provider can add mailing list support for free or for a minimal fee. If not, you can use online providers such as emailDodo that have a free option for small lists and nonprofits (although you will need to explain the reason for wanting to operate a list, explain where you get the EMails from, and wait for approval).


A note about privacy

All clubs, regardless of their location, must have a privacy policy in place that complies with the EU GDPR. This means that you need to get explicit consent to add someone to the mailing list, and you must clearly indicate who is the entity making the collection (that would be the club), how you intend to use the collected information, and give all people included in it the ability to request corrections to be made to their entry and to be removed from it altogether.

Make sure you keep a copy of the consent record.


Low-budget marketing activities

Here are some ideas that you can use to promote your club:

Open Doors events - Together with the VP of Education, plan for open-door events that are promoted among the community.

Workshops - Create special workshops on speech and leadership subjects. It's great if you place that workshop as part of an event that includes a club meeting after the workshop to invite attendees to stay and experience the system.

Create a free Google MyBusiness account - This will allow you to place your club on the map. Even if you're currently meeting virtually, it's a great avenue for visibility.

Marketing 00


Agora Marathons - Participate in inter-club events such as Marathon and friendly competitions

Cross-linking- Look for other organizations related to similar areas of activity (public speaking, leadership, debating, critical thinking) and suggest cross-linking

Make sure that it's clear that you're not endorsing the linked organization, as that would violate the Neutrality principle.

Tag or @mention interesting people in your club's social media posts -  (This activity should be coordinated with the Community Manager). Tagging people that might be interested (media, local leaders, celebrities, prospective members, etc.) in interesting posts is a good way to draw their attention, as long as it is done carefully.

Produce wearable merchandise -  It's usually relatively cheap to have T-shirts, polos, or masks press-printed. There are even kits that allow you to do that at home, using a regular printer.

Give club-level awards and certificates -  Members and guests usually love posting their achievements on their own social profiles.

Announce club meetings as events in online meeting platforms-  There are many such platforms - Airbnb, Meetup, CouchSurfing, Internations, etc. Announce the club's meetings there and actively encourage people to join. Needless to say, you should also be doing the same on the regular social networks  (e.g.:Facebook events)

Create a Google Calendar with the schedule of your club's meetings and share it publicly -  This will allow people to easily see when and where your club meets and add those events to their own calendar with ease.

Leave leaflets in schools, universities, libraries, bookstores, cultural and community centers -  As Agora is an educational non-profit foundation, many institutions are very welcoming to working with us and helping local clubs.

Reach out to local enterprises-  Actively reach out, together with the VP of Community Leadership, to companies in your area.  Commercial public speaking and leadership programs usually cost thousands upon thousands of dollars, and you will be offering them a proven method for pennies. This might not only result in new members to your club but possibly in a whole new corporate club within the company, as well as many new opportunities for your members: from speaking slots in a professional environment to networking opportunities to career openings.  You'd usually want to talk to the HR or Training departments in the companies.

Create pins and encourage members to wear them at non-club events.

Create merchandising materials - stickers, mugs, shirts. Etc.

If your club doesn't have a Community Manager, you may want to do some of their tasks.

You can also apply all of the ideas expressed in the "Starting a new club - Creating the Team"  chapter.

You might be tempted to advertise on assets (groups, forums, etc.) of other organizations similar to Agora.  This usually doesn't work very well, so proceed with caution. Many of these organizations are very sectarian, and in the best case, you will have wasted time and money, while in the worst, you may be slapped with legal threats.


If you come up with ideas that work, do share them with us so that we can add them here and allow all clubs to benefit from them.


Ensure Compliance

As the VP of Marketing, it's your responsibility to ensure the club's compliance with the Agora Branding and Communication Guidelines. This includes not only being careful about your own communications, but also those of the Club's Community Manager (if there's one) and those of members when they're engaged in out-of-club Agora-related activities such as presenting speeches or workshops externally, visiting other organizations, or leading community projects.


Media Outreach

Reaching out to local media is fundamental for increasing your club's visibility and the organization as a whole. Additionally, this activity greatly helps the work of the VP of Community Leadership and the VP of Membership:

  • It's much easier for the VPCL to pitch to external organizations the services of club members if the club has been (repeatedly) mentioned in the media.
  • It's also much easier for the VP of Membership to attract new members
Nowadays, media is much more than "traditional media". Media includes individual freelance journalists, blogging/vlogging celebrities, influencers, etc.

How to reach out

  • Build a list of media contacts, have a clear view of their interests, what kind of audience and engagement they have, etc.
  • Cultivate relationships with media professionals before you need them.
  • Provide value. Don't think only about what you need from those professionals, but also how you can help them by providing things their audiences might be interested in.
  • All the principles of Ethos, Pathos, Logos apply to communications with the media, but in this case, the one that has to prove their credibility, authenticity, etc., is the club itself.
  • As a corollary of the above, make sure you proofread anything that you send. There are so many free online tools that do a great job at spell and grammar checking that nowadays, it's an inexcusable sloppiness to send something with any of those types of mistakes.
  • Don't spam everyone with the same PR or message. Tailor your message to the needs of each outlet.
  • Be persistent but not obnoxious. Don't give up if you don't get any result from your first attempt.


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Page last modified on Tuesday September 7, 2021 08:31:18 CEST by agora.