In today’s fast-paced marketing environment, presentation management strategies typically fall into one of three categories:
- Presentation Guru
- Spray and Pray
- Lone Wolf
To effectively differentiate your company from the competition, it is incumbent upon marketing professionals to resist these trends, as they are more aptly described as “non-strategies.” Let’s take a look at the most common scenarios, and how enacting a company-wide presentation management strategy can help marketers sidestep some of the major pitfalls.
1st non-strategy: The Presentation Guru.
This is the “go-to” person in your organization who knows where all the good slides are, and knows how to make ugly slides beautiful. In some companies, this is an actual position, with responsibilities centered around presentation support. More often than not, however, this is a default person who’s just really good with presentations. In this scenario, everyone looks to the Presentation Guru when they are in a bind, usually right before a crucial meeting. The inherent problem with this “non-strategy” is risk; if the Presentation Guru is unavailable, your team can be left to give a less-than-optimal presentation.
2nd non-strategy: Spray and Pray.
“Spray and pray” marketing is the process in which someone creates a “Master” deck and blasts it out via email, posts it on a SharePoint site or puts it in a common drive folder where all the best collateral is stored. The two key drawbacks to this “non-strategy” are that individuals within your organization often have tremendous difficulty finding the actual presentation, and those receiving the information are frequently not within the targeted audience. A “spray and pray” approach to marketing can leave employees spending time digging through old emails and files, only to scramble to create a new deck that may or may not be brand or message-compliant.
3rd non-strategy: Lone Wolf.
In the “Lone Wolf” scenario, each salesperson is responsible for creating their own presentations for their meetings. They write and design some of their own slides and “pray through the spray” on the network. Yet oftentimes, they still find themselves asking the Presentation Guru to help them reduce time they spend in PowerPoint – which is time better spent talking with prospects. One benefit of the Lone Wolf however, is that they are closest to the customer. They know first-hand what sells and what doesn’t, and they know how to reposition and reframe the products or services to meet their customer’s needs. The enterprise is well-served by knowing on-demand what the Lone Wolf is learning in the field, and enacting a presentation management strategy helps organizations capture and act on these insights.
All of these approaches waste time and money, can dilute or damage your brand message, and carry tremendous risk of using information that is either not current or just plain wrong. Furthermore, there is no way to ensure that your customer is experiencing the proper brand and message for your company. There are no controls, no methodology and no real way to track what is resonating with customers in meetings. For a great example of a company that has mastered the branded experience, let’s look at Apple.
Apple has made it standard practice to communicate their brand across every viable form of media. The look, feel and language of their campaigns reflect the design of their products. Then, when you walk into an Apple store, you experience the same brand. You are immersed. Apple is not branding for branding’s sake. They are branding to increase sales, so each customer spends more money in their store. Apple understands that consistent branding is good for sales – from mass media all the way to the salesperson. This is common best practice for Business-to-Consumer engagements, and Business-to-Business strategies can also benefit from enterprise branding at the customer level.
Give Presentations the Respect They Deserve
Today, companies focus their resources on planning, executing and measuring, then adjusting and re-executing for all aspects of marketing, including advertising, PR, digital, social, event, and channel. Companies allocate big proportions of their marketing budgets to ensure that a consistent brand message is presented across all media. However, the one crucial marketing element that is excluded from this process is the actual presentation. Too often, presentations are created for a specific meeting, then forgotten until the next meeting, at which point you revert to one of the above “non-strategies.” This results in an unnecessary waste of time, money and resources, and most importantly, a missed opportunity. Every time a representative from your company talks with a potential client, that client should experience your brand.
For the B2B enterprise, the sales presentation is the point-of-sale for your product or service. It’s just like being in the Apple store – your client should not just learn the facts about your product or service, they should experience it.
Enacting an enterprise presentation management strategy ensures that everyone in your organization can provide, promote and communicate your company’s brand experience – the visuals, emotion, language, and personality of your company – as well as the facts and figures customers need to purchase your product or service.
Presentations have a direct effect on your bottom-line, which directly impacts the success or failure of your company. This is why presentations should be treated as enterprise communications, and deserve the same planning and resources typically given to more recognized and traditional forms of marketing.
You can learn more about how companies optimize their sales content management and extend their brand in our Royal Caribbean International Case Study.