Basic Physical Marketing Materials

There are a lot of marketing materials that you can use, but here are are some basics that will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

  • Flyers - 8.5 x 11 - These are a must. See below for more information.

  • Rack Cards - ⅓ of a page. As the name suggests, these fit into a rack. They’re also about the size of a bookmark. If you can afford it, these are great to hand out during events and parades.

  • Pencils  - You can order these with your corps’s name, a tagline, and website address. They are cheap and a great way to get your name into people’s hands. They are about $20 or less for 144.

  • Lawn signs - See below for more information.

  • Buttons - If your corps doesn’t have a button machine, see if you can borrow one. You can also order buttons online or through a local shop. It is roughly  $140 for 500 if you order online.

  • Business cards - You can get these for around $10 for 500. Have some made for your director, business manager, and membership person. Hand them out liberally. Put them in the pockets of your members and tell them to hand them out at events. This cost pays off in terms of new members and gigs.



Flyers are your basic physical recruiting material and they need to be done well. Look to your families for someone who can design your flyer. We also have people in the greater fife and drum community who are graphic artists.  There are often reasonably-priced local artists who will design a flyer.

If you can, a parent or local artist is the best way to go for a flyer. However, if you don’t have someone who can design for you, you can use a company like Vistaprint. They have templates that are easy to use and are reasonably attractive.

Regardless, when designing a flyer, less is more. Most of the time, flyers have too much information and too much small print. People will not read it. As you go around your town, look at flyers. What appeals to you?  An active picture or pictures of your corps marching or playing is a must because it tells a story much better than words. Then, give the basics - who, what, where, when, and now for the tricky part - why?

Why should people come to your open house or event?  Why should they join your group when there are 50 other activities out there for them to join?  What’s in it for them?  Sell your corps and know your audience.

People who like fife and drum and who are likely to attend your open house are usually attracted to these types of phrases:

  • Be a part of something unique

  • March in parades and events

  • Learn to play the fife or drum

  • No experience necessary

  • Wear historical uniforms  

  • Travel to unique (or historical) places and events - don’t say “muster” because they don’t understand this terminology

  • Meet other people just like you

  • Be a part of the group that _______________ (fill in the blank). If your corps marches in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, put that there!  If you have gone to Switzerland and plan to go back, put that in!  If you go to  Williamsburg regularly, put that in!  People want to do those things!  Sell that!


Obviously you will want to choose a phrase or two to put on your flyer. Remember, less is more. Sell your corps and know that everyone wants to be a part of something special; people want to be included.

After you have printed your flyers, hang them everywhere about 3-4 weeks before your open house or event. Here is a list of places to include, but you’ll want your own list that is tailored to your town or area: town library, neighboring libraries, public schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschooling cooperatives, gymnasiums, community centers, veterans’ centers, stores, colleges, coffee shops, youth centers, afterschool centers, YMCA, houses of worship, ice cream shops, candy stores, barber shops, salons, orthodontists, dentists, doctors, police stations, fire stations, restaurants.

Keep track of where you have placed your flyers on your Google Doc spreadsheet. Initially, this will take time. But, once you have your list, it will be easy the next time around.


Lawn Signs

Now that you are in publicity  mode, look at lawn signs as you drive around town. Which ones can you physically read?  What is appealing to you?  What fonts do you like and which ones can you read?

A good rule for lawn signs is that people need to be able to read a sign as they drive past it. Thus, less is more. Don’t put too many words on your sign. For example, if you are publicizing an open house, you might only put “Fife & Drum Open House” with the date, time, place, and JOIN!  Get your website url on the sign and then people can check out the info for themselves even if they can’t make the event itself.

The actual name of your corps can be centered across the top in a smaller font size. People may disagree, but in many cases, the name of your corps doesn’t matter unless it is a town name. Often, corps names can be long and bulky. The words “fife & drum” matter. You want to get them to your open house or event, so don’t worry about your corps name being huge on your lawn sign. Get them to your event, then worry about your name.

A graphic can be used on your sign if it doesn’t take up too much space. Use a sans serif font - no script fonts. You can’t read script fonts on lawn signs.

Place lawn signs in any location where children and parents are likely to go, such as near schools and where traffic is likely to backup. You want these signs to be seen, so place them on main roads.

If you do have lawn signs printed, try to design them so that they can be used over and over. They are a more expensive expenditure, but one that is effective.