Monday, February 25, 2008

Good presentations, events, and marketing yourself...a lesson of what NOT to do!

Ok...it's not often I use this blog to rant. In fact, I would say that I try to keep this forum rather calm and professional. After attending what I believed would be a joint web marketing and internet payment processing breakfast seminar for non-profit organizations (after all, my main clientele is with non-profits and associations), I have been prompted to write something on the subject of appropriately inviting large amounts of guests out for breakfast and luncheon seminars - especially if you plan on using them to market your expertise.

Earlier this month, Deloitte & Touche and Moneris held an info-seminar for non-profits, undoubtedly with the objective of marketing their expertise in web marketing and online payment processing. While I most certainly do not fault them for using this approach (in fact I fully agree with this approach in publicity and marketing), I feel compelled to share some experiences of what NOT to do when giving a presentation, especially if you are tying the presentation to an event designed to market your services and build awareness. Regrettably, the representatives of Moneris did not follow this advice:

1. For God sakes people....if you're going to write every single note you have on your PowerPoint slides, PLEASE just spare me the presentation and mail me the notes! Most people who would be qualified to attend your sales presentation are busy people and literate. We don't need you to read out everything we can clearly see!

2. Don't speak in a monotone voice.

3. If you are going to call me and my colleagues in to present your case as to why you think your widget is the best thing since sliced bread, at least add a slice of education into the presentation. Leave me feeling that my time was well spent. Simply pitching over and over just leaves you talking over the heads of your audience.

4. Don't talk about features only. If you've spent all your time telling me what colours "doo-hicky" A come in versus "doo-hicky" B, where am I left to understand how your product or service actually fills a need I have?

5. COME PREPARED!!!! Nothing kills your brand and credibility faster if at the end of your presentation, the presenter cannot answer any of the audience's questions. While I could not bear another moment of the presentation, members of my staff reported that Moneris' sales rep constantly had to refer to a colleague for questions from the audience....hardly something to inspire confidence!

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a firm believer in using breakfasts or luncheons to show off a company's expertise and prove the credibility of your claims. However, when you don't take the trouble to present your case in a rehearsed, engaged or interesting format; you blow away any credibility or linkage that could have existed. So, if there is anything to be learned from this experience is that all the best marketing and public relations tactics in the world will backfire if care and attention to delivery and brand experience are not considered.

Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy. Make sure to contact him for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.


Phyllis said...

Well written article.

Mark Buzan said...

Thanks Phyllis. How did you come across this blog?