Stand and deliver
Not too long ago, Harvard Business Review published an article about how to give a killer presentation. The advice and best practices were based on lessons learned from managing TED talks – which, if you’ve ever watched them, tend to be the relatable and thought-provoking.
In a nutshell, giving a successful presentation involves finding the right mix of data and narrative, framing the story, and delivering a message effectively. When you think about it, successful marketing isn’t all that different in principle. You are presenting something to an audience for a specific reason or purpose, and your hope is to make it engaging and personal enough that you influence their perceptions, attitudes, or behaviors in some way. The audience is likely to start with some level of interest in what you’re sharing, but ultimately they are yours to win or lose.
Here’s something to think about:
“Most presentations lie somewhere on the continuum between a report and a story. A report is data-rich, exhaustive, and informative—but not very engaging. Stories help a speaker connect with an audience, but listeners often want facts and information, too. Great presenters layer story and information like a cake, and understand that different types of talks require differing ingredients.” (Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte, Inc.)
Makes a lot of sense, right? Information + narrative = interesting, relatable, and believable.
Now read it again with a few simple word substitutions:
“Most marketing lies somewhere on the continuum between a report and a story. A report is data-rich, exhaustive, and informative—but not very engaging. Stories help a speaker connect with an audience, but listeners often want facts and information, too. Great marketers layer story and information like a cake, and understand that different types of promotions require differing ingredients.”
It still rings true, yet most marketers probably haven’t thought about it that way.
Here are 3 ways you can apply this insight to your marketing efforts.
1. Focus. In their first drafts, presenters often struggle with trying to tell the audience too much. So do a lot of marketing initiatives. Like a presentation, a single ad or promotional campaign shouldn’t try to tell an entire life story in detail. Pick something you can tell a compelling story about succinctly, then zoom in on a few key informative details that are really worth talking about. Keep your messaging and design approaches clean and clear.
2. Frame. When it comes to making purchase decisions, consumers are on a journey. If you want your offer to resonate, you need to understand what their needs are, where they are in that journey, and the benefit they’re seeking (hint: it’s not just what your product provides, it’s how your product fits into their life). Then talk to them in that language. For instance, an auto loan isn’t just an auto loan – it might be a way to take care of your family, enjoy greater freedom, or achieve a personal goal. The other important aspect of framing is ensuring your approach is consistent with your overall brand identity and promise. Know who your organization is and be the very best at being you, no matter what message you’re sharing. Authenticity wins people over.
3. Deliver. Rather than simply providing information, the best presentations are those that create an experience. Similarly, the most effective marketing campaigns are the ones that make engaging the desired audience a priority. Think carefully about which tools and media channels will help you connect personally with your audience. There are many ways to deliver a message, so get creative and make it memorable for the people you want to connect with.