Marketing has never been an exact science. The moment we get comfortable doing things a certain way, some visionary pops up and disrupts everything. Visionaries always seem to ruin complacency.
For this reason, it can be difficult to stay on top of media planning, especially if we have to start from scratch for each project. With limited budgets, it's easy to see why some marketing teams are getting stretched thin. Talented employees who have spent their lives learning to design creative content and master social media platforms are now subjected to tedious tasks like putting together a slide presentation.
Of course, not all tedious tasks are created equal. There is a certain amount of copying and pasting that will always be there no matter what we do. But for creating a presentation, we could save a lot of time and money by putting in the initial work to create a template that can be easily manipulated for future presentations, or by seeking guidance from those who have already mastered the craft.
Media planning templates are a popular way to address such an issue.
The traditional process of building a template has many benefits as well as some frustrations. Different markets have different standards, so creating a template that targets one market may not necessarily work for another. However, many forms of presentation share key elements with one another, and this is the foundation on which we begin our template.
Bahar Martonosi of Princeton University provided a presentation coincidentally named How To Give A Good Presentation. In it, we learn about the similarities of different presentation types. The types of presentations Martonosi notes are driven more towards the realm of academia, but the following provided examples show striking similarities to modern marketing presentations:
The next step is to pull out the common factors in each presentation format. The first factor is that none of these formats will ever allow us to be as detailed as we would like. If it's our project, there's a good chance we are stressed about every part of it down to the technical details, but taking the time to focus on such things diverts attention away from our key points.
The trick to understanding how little and how much information to use goes right along with the digital marketing understanding of keywords. If someone does a Google search, they aren't going to type in long sentences when a keyword or two will get them faster and likely more accurate results. In a presentation, we want to follow that same philosophy. We want our audience to lock in on the words and ideas we want them to see.
If we decide to write full, drawn-out sentences that hog up entire slides, we're adding unnecessary information that does nothing to further the goal of the presentation.
The second common factor among presentation formats is to remember that any visual aid is only a tool; it is not the presentation. We are the presentation. What we want to project in a slide is a simple idea that can be read by the audience in seconds and expounded upon by us in a minute or two. But if they can read the entire presentation on the slides, there's no reason for us even to be there.
These factors offer great insight for anyone wanting to build their own presentation templates. Because the slides are not meant to go into detail, we can simply create templates that allude to the information we know will go in the most common forms of a presentation.
As an example, let's say we have a topic that we've narrowed down to three great keywords. After a slide to introduce ourselves and provide any necessary background information, we can start to focus on our keywords to narrow in on each specific category of our pitch. Perhaps we have a slide that is meant to display a comparison to our competition. If our competition is currently bigger than us, we want our audience to remember us regarding future projections instead of current revenues. Doing so will divert them from the competitor's previous prowess and draw their eyes towards our potential.
It's true; it's not all about the words. What the audience sees around those words will have an effect on how they view the words, and ultimately how they view us as the presenters. Some visual tips we should consider for each unique presentation scenario include:
Wouldn't it be great if there was someone out there who already did the work for us?
As it turns out, there is, and letting someone else do it for a minimal cost could turn out to be a big saver of time, money, and sanity. Normally there would be some concern that the template we purchase is coming from some kid doing freelance work in his basement. But the demand for this service has grown enough over the years that some of the most brilliant leadership minds have put together media planning templates that we can use for our proposals.
Guy Kawasaki was the chief evangelist for Macintosh - and also the person who made "evangelist" a thing in marketing - from its very beginning. Since then, he has been highly influential in the marketing world as an author and venture capitalist. He has pitched, he has been pitched, and now he has used that knowledge to build a template that he believes can give marketers an entrepreneurial edge. All we have to do is fill in the blanks.
Kawasaki's three presentation rules are as simple as 1, 2, 3. Well, actually it's 10/20/30, but still the same idea:
Pitching 10 slides in 20 minutes may seem like it's not nearly enough to persuade anyone of anything, but Kawasaki's 10-slide template provides broad categories from which we can zone in on our keywords.
The final slide works on multiple levels. It provides key information that could be critical to extending the conversation, but it also leads to a natural presentation ending. We don't want to find ourselves lingering, looking like we might have something else to say but not knowing how to end it.
John Coltrane once asked Miles Davis how he should end an improvisational solo. Miles, in his iconic raspy voice, told him, "Try taking the saxophone out of your mouth."