Marketing Presentations: What are the Skills Needed for Maximizing Success Rates?
by Arina Smith Marketing 30 September 2021
Marketing presentations and marketing campaigns are two interrelated but separate concepts, although you will find several posts on the internet that use the two terms interchangeably. A sound knowledge base is essential here, so let’s start off the list with a clear definition that properly conveys what marketing presentations are and how they differ from marketing campaigns or strategies.
What is a Marketing Presentation?
A marketing presentation is an audio-visual demonstration of proposed marketing strategies and ideas. It’s the initial pitch that a marketing team uses to explain the potential of their ideas to the client, or in the case of in-house marketers, their company’s executive decision-makers.
Marketing Presentations Have a Different Target Audience
Unlike how a marketing campaign is catered to its target audience, a marketing presentation caters to the client. When a marketer makes a presentation to a potential client, its entire design is planned in a way so as to impress that client, rather than the client’s target audience. That part comes later, and only if their marketing pitch is successful.
The marketing presentation will be focused on making the client understand how the proposed plans, ideas, and strategies have the potential for generating high ROI. Important questions that any marketing presentation should be designed to answer in detail are as follows:
- Who is the target audience for this particular ad campaign?
- Which core ideas will be used to catch the target audience’s attention?
- Why will the proposed ideas appeal to their (client’s) customers?
- How will those ideas be turned into effective marketing strategies?
- What kind of actionable customer insights can the client hope to get from the campaign?
- What is the estimated budget for this proposed campaign?
- What kind of ROI can the client expect by investing in this marketing campaign?
Despite marketing presentations and campaigns being two different concepts, they are of course interconnected as the former acts as a natural precursor for the latter. Unless a marketer manages to impress the client or the company executives, they won’t be selected/greenlit for starting work on the campaign. Therefore, the success of a marketing presentation is the minimum requirement for getting started on business for marketers.
Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences between these two distinct concepts of marketing, it is time to take a brief look at some of the key skills that are considered necessary for successful marketers today.
Proficiency with Infographics
Marketing presentations are always heavily dependent on the use of infographics, therefore, proficiency with it is a basic requirement for being successful as a marketer in any sector. Take a look at this post on the Emerson College Blog, titled, Infographic: Who Is the Modern Marketer and What Do They Do? You will notice that they have cleverly used a simple infographic in the post itself to quickly and visually explain exactly who the modern marketer is, what is expected of them, what skills they need, why the work they do matters so much, potential career prospects, and several other related topics.
Similarly, a successful marketing presentation must have suitable infographic representations incorporated in it, so that they serve to:
- Deliver information in a more visually attractive manner, which is retained for a much longer period of time
- Rid the presentation of boredom that naturally comes with too many numbers and letters on the screen
- Deliver necessary information and message by simplifying the complex parts into easily comprehensible infographic figures
- Catch the attention of the audience in between slides and keep them engaged throughout the presentation
- Provide visual directions to the audience, so that they are able to follow the presentation in its entirety
- Provide more emphasis to the whole pitch via visual cues and progressive logic (for example color coding a set of inter-related steps)
The portrayal of Confidence is a Soft Skill
Confidence is difficult to muster up when you are tense inside, and that’s quite natural. However, every professional marketer looks and exudes a sense of confidence about him/her while giving a presentation. Does that mean they are never tense? That would be an impossible conclusion to draw of course, as even the most seasoned marketer will at times feel the tension of delivering a presentation in front of an important crowd. However, the difference is in how they handle that tension and how it never shows during the presentation.
As you can probably guess, the real soft skill here is to portray that sense of confidence about you during the delivery, rather than learning how to magically feel confident each and every time. Experienced marketers who have delivered similar presentations plenty of times before will naturally be more confident than someone who is new at it, but even marketers with little experience behind them can at least appear confident in their delivery if they have had the right training. In case you have an upcoming presentation, just go through the following tips which are centered around developing this particular soft skill.
- Gain true confidence by practicing a few mock sessions with your team ahead of the big presentation.
- Do not attempt to follow a script word-for-word, since it’s a marketing presentation, not an audition!
- Follow the general direction of your presentation without fussing too much over the missed details.
- Do not try to review your own words as you speak them out, as that will divert your attention, leading to even more mistakes.
- When you do end up reviewing your sentences every now and then, do not chide yourself mentally for each little mistake or stammer while delivering.
- Take cues from the presentation screen/board itself; you created it, so it should instantly remind you about the forgotten bits.
- Keep presentations short when you are new, and never make them too long even if you are a pro; people have short attention spans.
- Stay genial and be ready to answer questions from the audience at times; it only shows that you have managed to engage them.
- Learn and practice how to assume confident postures to present confident body language during any marketing presentation.
- Take a few long and slow breaths right before you take the stage to alleviate anxiety.
Creating Likeability is an Invaluable Presenter’s Skill
Marketing is about creating relatable content and a marketing presentation is not that different either. In fact, establishing relatability with the few people present as your audience during the presentation is going to be a much easier task than establishing the same with thousands of potential target customers whom you have ever met! Now, a crucial difference between the two is that it is your created content that establishes relatability with potential customers when you are marketing to them, but you will need to establish connections via your own interactions with the audience directly here.
Doing so can be an extremely challenging task for people who have had little to no training. There is always the risk of coming off as either too friendly for your over-eagerness in establishing a rapport with the audience or too rude in your attempt to stay humble and quiet. Striking the perfect balance between the two does require extensive training, but the following tips should help you improve, nonetheless:
- Always introduce, interact, and conclude your presentations with a smiling face.
- Invite interactions from the audience by offering them a few cues to voice their opinion about any specific part of your presentation.
- Keep a relaxed demeanor and posture throughout the presentation, so that you look approachable.
- When there is an interaction, do not interrupt them until they have finished saying what they wish to; they are clients and not students.
- Keep your presentations small to medium length at most, which allows the extra time necessary for accommodating audience interactions within the approximated timeframe.
Likeability is a far more important factor when you are pitching your marketing ideas to potential clients, as they do not need to relate to any marketing content. They are not looking to buy the product but the ideas you are trying to sell to them. Naturally, convincing people becomes a lot easier if they tend to like the marketer personally and see potential in their proposed marketing strategies professionally.
Matching Expressions: A Better Skill than Constant Smiling?
It is often taught in marketing school that the presenter must always maintain a smile on their face. This is the established norm of course, and there is no denying that people do tend to like smiling faces more than grim ones. However, there are a few evident issues with this strategy that have made modern marketers reconsider its validity in all circumstances.
First and foremost, the very action of forcibly keeping a smile on our face during an entire presentation distracts us from concentrating entirely on the subject of the presentation itself. It is true that smiling can be turned into muscle memory with time and practice, which brings us to our second issue: what if the content isn’t something that should be accompanied by a smile?
For example, if you are pitching your marketing ideas to a client who sells specialized respirators to hospitals and clinics, it would be downright rude and insensitive to smile while trying to explain how a high rate of covid infections among hospital staff in a target area can be used to market their respirators in that region. You could end up smiling almost reflexively at the wrong time, which would not leave a good impression. Finally, people who smile unfalteringly throughout a presentation may seem artificial and dishonest to their client because it just does not look or feel natural.
Due to these shortcomings of the “always smile” rule, modern marketers adopt the simple strategy of matching their expressions to the content itself. It looks and feels genuine, as well as being much easier to pull off than to hold a robotic smile throughout the presentation. You will still need to smile often and maintain a pleasant atmosphere, especially during introductions and interactions, but match your expressions to the content for a more natural delivery.
For example, when that stat about hospital staff getting infected at a higher-than-normal rate comes up, it is best to keep your expression neutral, if not grave. Also, this creates the opportunity to present your ideas as solutions with a brighter expression.
Do Not Give Up
This is not just about keeping your marketing spirits alive mind you, but an actual strategy to land a client with your marketing presentation. Human beings, by nature, tend to prefer known faces and that holds truer in business than outsiders realize. Even if you did not get the marketing contract from a client the last time, do not give up on them by any means.
Return with a new proposal when the opportunity offers itself and you will have a higher chance of landing them the next time around. Also, never let your behavior towards a potential client change just because you did not yet land a marketing gig with them. Word of mouth plays a big role, and it is ideal if people only have positive things to say about you and your presentations. It will create opportunities and rapport for the future, even if that connection does not happen just yet.
Several skills that are considered necessary for marketing in general, are also considered essential for presenters who stand at the forefront of any marketing team. However, there is something else to consider if you are not particularly comfortable with delivering client presentations.
You do not necessarily have to be proficient in client/executive/customer presentations to work in marketing. It is a very important skill to have, and you may need it later in your career to progress, but presenting is not a must-have skill for all members of the marketing team.
There are indeed people who are exceptionally good at public speaking, delivering interactive presentations, and keeping the audience engaged, but they are not the only people who work in marketing either. Whether you are the artist, the content creator, or the statistician, they are each highly important components of a smooth functioning marketing team.