Infomercials and Presentations

The other day after days of struggling through an illness I finally gave in and stayed in bed most of the day. I usually go years without instances like these, in fact I did not miss a day in high school due to illness. As the years have passed and now I have my own children, who seemingly have brought every conceivable germ home from school known to man this year, I could go no more. Fortunately or unfortunately my marketing mind doesn’t sleep or succumb to illness, please don’t tell the kids they will work up one for that also. Boy or boy daytime television is jamb packed with marketing everything from insurance, wheel chairs to walk in bath tubs. Pretty well defined target audience I would say.

The part that we can learn from as marketers is the “how” not so much the “what” in the experience. Number one is the audience, they are in fact preaching to the masses of daytime television, retired or semi-retired Americans. Notice the use of power words over and over again in 30 seconds or even 2 minute commercials. The use of the words: free, no additional cost, easy, simple just one call, etc. These are just a few but boy do they create the urgency to buy. Even the use of symbolism, you can often see the American flag waving in the background, an eagle flying by, even the color schemes tend toward the ole’ red, white and blue.

Now let’s look at this from a whole marketing campaign. These companies did not start with television spots, they started quite likely with the telephone and if you notice the give a number to call not a web site to this generation. So I wonder after testing probably 20 – 30 phone scripts both opening and closing and settling on the ones that worked, I’ll bet almost 90% of those scripts are in those infomercials. Point is folks it all starts with a strong foundation and once you have that you can go wherever you want to advertise. But even after that and the success and the television ad campaign you still are directing the people to use the phone. The phone is where it all starts and ends in the marketing business.

Let’s look at the presentation part of the infomercial. If we were doing a phone presentation we would be looking at, at least 20 minutes of presentation time. With these ads we see a precise condensed version with two items always present on the screen. You guessed it the name and number to call. You see the company name and there number for the entire length of the infomercial, whether that is 30 seconds or two minutes. Additionally, there is little to no fluff, they get right to the product within ten seconds, then spend about 30% of the remaining time telling you about the product and finally pile on the testimonials.

It’s truly an art to watch and learn from these marketing giants. The great part is that as we hone our craft we can continue to grow and if we so desire in a few years be the next generation of infomercials or in time most likely something even more eye catching. Hope to see you there.

Present Statistics In Context

“I didn’t have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had only 1600 pairs.” Imelda Marcos

Everything’s relative. A million dollars sounds like a lot of money to someone who
makes an average salary, but it’s a drop in the bucket to a Warren Buffett or a Bill
Gates. Running a hundred metres in a few seconds seems like a miracle to ordinary
mortals, but a track and field athlete will work hard to shave even more off that
time.

Yet presenters often quote statistics without benchmarks, so the audience doesn’t
know how to evaluate them. Is $10,000 a lot of money? Well it is for a bicycle. It’s
not much for a house, unless that house is in a small village in a third world
country, where it might be exorbitant. If you quote numbers this way, you will lose
the audience while they try to decide whether $125,000 is good, bad or indifferent
in this context. Your statistics lose their power.

In a presentation skills workshop for a group of lawyers, one participant was
practicing his delivery of an address to the jury in an upcoming trial. He was asking
for damages in the amount of $750,000, and hoped the jury would consider it
reasonable. It’s quite a large sum, and most ordinary folks think of that kind of cash
as a lottery win. He needed to put it in context for them.

He might, for example, ask the jury to suppose they were thirty-five years old and
earning a salary of $40,000 a year. By the time they reached the age of sixty-five,
allowing for reasonable increases, they could expect to have earned a certain
amount. (He would do the arithmetic and insert the actual sum.) That amount would
be what is called their “expected lifetime income”. However, if they were involved in
an accident and suddenly unable to work any more, that amount now represents
their “forfeited lifetime income”. That is what happened to this claimant, and the
amount he would have lost was $750,000. So in fact, counsel was asking no more
than the amount the man would have earned, had he not met with this unfortunate
accident.

Don’t you think the jury is more likely to agree when given this background
explanation?

Here are three ways to put figures in context for your audience.

1. Compare them to something to which they can personally relate, as in the
courtroom example.

2. Compare them to a similar situation. If a new manufacturing process takes fifteen
minutes, mention that the old one took two hours, so we save 1-3/4 hours.

For
even more effect, tell them how much time this will save in an average shift or on a
certain number of product units. Go further and translate that time into money and
the statistic will now be a strong argument for change.

3. Create vivid word pictures to illustrate size: That’s the equivalent of five football
fields. That’s enough to fill ten Olympic-size swimming pools. If laid end-to-end
they would stretch from New York to L.A. and back again.

Statistics can be great persuaders, but only when the audience has the means to
evaluate them.

Tips For Writing An Introduction For A Business Presentation

How To Write A Business Plan Introduction

In a business plan you want to use as much good researched information as you can get. That information is divided into 7-8 sections (depending on the type of business you are starting). No particular beginning order for these sections is necessary. It is important that they are organized into this order with a fluid presentation once you are finished.

1 – Executive summary

2 – Company Description

3 – Product or Service Description

4 – Market Analysis

5 – Strategy and Management Structure and Budgets and Implementation

6 – If you have an e-commerce business plan then include your web plan summary

7 – Your Management Team

8 – Projected and researched financials – Don’t go for pie in the sky profits. You are talking to professionals and they will spot the insincerity and lack of research you used to create the financials if you do.

Even though you are excited about your new business venture and could go on about it for pages – Do not do that. If you can use 100 words to describe what you wrote out in 800, then use 100 words instead. If you need to let someone else re-write your business plan introduction, then you are well advised to do that. At this point in your venture your words are the only power and tools you have. Use them wisely or risk not being taken seriously (and not being funded).

Let’s begin -

- Be Brief

- Be Clear

- Use power words, not fluff to fill in spaces.

- Use descriptive words not “More,” “Very,” or any rendition of them -

For example: “We offer “more” Quality widgets than our competitors.”

Revised: “According to researched comparisons, Watkins Services offers a larger variety of cost-effective, superior widgets than our main competition.”

- Solve a problem for your customer by creating a product that helps them with that problem, capitalize on a vision (a dream) or feed a ‘want.’ Use this information in your introduction.

- Explain how your business will conduct (implement) its mission statement.

- Be aware of what you need for this business plan and try to stay away from statements like, “This business will retire with me.” Five year proposals tend to give you more credibility than stating that,.. “this is the business that you will be in for the rest of your life,” types of suggestions.

Introductory Paragraph Examples:

1 – Watkins Consulting will be a consulting company specializing in marketing of high-technology services in world-wide markets. The company offers high-tech customers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for business development, market development, and channel development.

2 – Watkins Consulting (MC) is a start-up consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of businesses to complete their full range business cycle. Our core staff of experienced professionals uses a team approach to most consulting projects. MC offers a balanced hands-on service compared to its competitors.

Do not be discouraged if you are turned down. Sometimes the real power and influence in is your re-write. So, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

- This is your day on the Oprah show and you have exactly one minute to catch everyone’s attention. This is your one chance to shine! Make sure you are tinsel bright and sparkling electric with your introduction!

And one last thing — Imagine your success!