Do Something With Your Marketing: Better Demos

Do Something With Your Marketing: Better Demos


Christopher Penn: In this week’s do something with your marketing, I want us to think about demos differently. I was recently watching up product demonstration and somebody had a product and they were trying to demo this thing live. And we’re fumbling through the features. And what ended up happening was it was a really unconvincing demo because they were trying to do this thing and trying to make this thing work. And while they were doing so what was happening was they were, they were so flustered. They were trying to fill the space fill the time with words, while they were doing the product demo, and they started sayings. I’m like, really inappropriate things for a business context of business being a professional context because they simply were struggling to make the thing work and, you know, pushing buttons and switches and knobs and stuff like that. It went really badly. And watching this. You knew the person generally knew the product that they were demoing. They generally knew the questions that the customer was going to ask. But that experience of having the product not do as opposed to the old things popping off here and there while they were doing the demo, really through them, really flustered them. And so we ended up with a fairly unconvincing demo, and potentially, you know, a lost deal. So how do we deal with this? How do we prevent this from happening to us? Think about product demos, service, demos, tours, whatever you want to call the thing. Like cooking shows. If you watch a cooking show, you know that there’s no way that the turkey that, you know, takes four and a half hours to cook is done in 21 minutes without commercials right of course. There’s prep in advance. Of course, individual stages are prepared separately of course the final product is cooked well in advance so that when you know the last three minutes of the show or on the celebrity chef comes out and brings out the turkey everyone oohs and ahhs, like yeah, we all know that was staged and we’re okay with that being staged because we want to see the result we want to see what we get out of the deal. You know, we follow this recipe, do we get a delicious turkey or a whatever the food product is, I’m saying turkey because it was just an American Thanksgiving here. But what they do is, instead of trying to do the demonstration live, most cooking shows break down the process into a series of measurable steps. And there are these milestones along the way, like following the turkey. I’m going to keep using the turkey example following the turkey preparing the turkey basting the turkey and then presenting the thing. And instead of trying to show the process from beginning to end, in real time, they just show little bits here and there until each milestone and they present each of the milestones along the way. And so you end up with a very good compact, half hour of TV or 20 minutes on YouTube, whatever the places that you you watch your recipes. And it looks great. And it convinces you. Yeah, I could do that. Or Yeah, that’s the thing. That’s the way to do that thing. We want our product and service demos to be exactly the same. So instead of thinking about how can we do this thing live, how can we walk through how easy it is? Take the highlights, take the highlights, prepare, show the stages of cooking, and then show the final product. I did this recently. I was doing a product demonstration for IBM Watson Studio. And I know the ins and outs of Watson Studio I know where it’s not under do well in a demo. I know there are certain algorithms that you don’t dare run in real time, because you don’t know what Watson’s going to do. You sometimes they’ll, they’ll say, Okay, I built you the classification algorithm and 26 seconds. Awesome. Looks great. Other times, like, Hey, I running this classification algorithm, an estimated time is one hour, 41 minutes. Well, that doesn’t look so good, right. So in the demo, I cleaned the day I did the entire process beforehand, and then essentially left browser tabs open because it’s a web based service, browser tabs open in each of the milestones. And then during the demo, I tinkered a little bit here and there. But I showed each stage of the cooking until we got to the final product. And by the time we were done, people like Oh, I get it, got it. I can see what this thing does. Now, when you go to actual implementation, yes, we will walk through live here’s how to do the thing, but when did a stupid demo trying to show the your product or service fill certain need. Think of it like a cooking show, prepare for it like a cooking show, bake the whole thing in advance, and then show off the milestones you will have much better demos that way. You will be less flustered. You’ll be then much less likely to say things that you shouldn’t say or fill space with random banter that just confuses or distracts people be as rehearsed as an Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsay or any of these folks in what you do in your demos so that you deliver the experience that people are expecting, and you answer their questions. So that’s this week’s do something with your marketing, change your demos to cooking shows, and see how it works for you. As always, please leave your comments in the comments box below. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter. I’ll talk to you soon. 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One comment

  1. Hi Chris, you're describing what I think is becoming the most cliche problem of tech-led products/teams, where the founders just aren't great at getting to the aha moment and explaining their value prop, instead they show you their product, if you get what I mean.

    Something I realized, specifically when it comes to Ecommerce tech, is that the problem is prevalent, even when the tool itself can be quite valuable to users. I have a bit of experience in the space… so I actually decided to review tech products myself… Literally I do demos for a living. Yeah.

    I like the format you're describing, I do some of it, but I don't think I've still quite mastered how to showcase tech tools, even after 40+ demos. But I do script it and focus on what I believe is the aha moment, hopefully faster than most can do it.

    Thanks for the tips! I will see you at the next conference, I'm sure.

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