Tag Archives: audience

The NEW Video…

Source: B2B Content Marketing Report: 2013 Survey Results, LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community

Source: B2B Content Marketing Report: 2013 Survey Results, LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community

Video is taking over. Journalism sites like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post are now using video to tell the stories that articles used to. Following the shift from print to interactive media, company websites can host internal videos to inform and update their teams instead of distributing print newsletters and materials. Marketers are studying how to best generate interest through the unique visual intimacy that only video can provide. And assisting in this upsurge are the social media sites – both for internal corporate use, like Yammer, and external, like Facebook – that allow for easy video sharing. Why say it if you can just play it, right?

A recent study by LinkedIn’s largest online group, The B2B Technology Marketing Community, thinks so. In a recent survey, its 50,000 members confirmed the current demand for content production, naming video as one of the most effective mediums for consumers to receive information, and, more importantly, react.

And where there’s priority to reach your audience, there’s certainly the priority to do it right! As the survey reveals, video production is the most outsourced form of content marketing. Now, with more than 80% of B2B marketers planning to increase their content production over the next 12 months, all signs point to video as the gateway to create consumer interest.

Here at Infinitely Big we not only embrace this platform, we enhance it. Our in-house production service covers everything from internal corporate videos to broadcast commercials. Click here to discover all the ways our video services can exceed your expectations!

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Is It Time for a Refresh?

You are an expert in your field – you know the intricacies and the nuances of your product or service better than anyone. Thus, you are often asked to speak publicly about your area of specialty. And like anyone with a lot to do and little time, you have a stock PowerPoint that you have created that you use over and again. It saves time and it works pretty well. As you read this and think about that PowerPoint you have created, I would encourage you to go through it and dispose of many of those slides.

Why, you ask? Because with each day, you get better and so should your PowerPoint. Think of new and creative ways to present your key points. Brainstorm ways to make complicated topics simpler to understand. Come up with ideas on ways to better engage your audience. Think of areas that went over really well in prior presentations and maybe put more focus there and for those areas that didn’t go over so well, how about a new strategy or eliminating the level of depth in that section.

Of course, you will also want to add slides that pertain to relevant industry news, updated research, and your own headlines – new business, new people, new products, etc. The point is, as you evolve, so should your PowerPoint presentation. While it may save time reusing your old one, it is worth the energy and effort to rebuild and revamp every couple of months. It pushes you to be better and will ultimately leave a better impression on the audience.

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Take Control of Your Audience’s Memory…

161919220Wouldn’t it be great to control what your audience remembers after your presentation is done? Rather than them going back to the office with a memory of the great coffee or the attractive blonde in the front row or even the bad joke you told, they might actually remember key points you made. Here are a few ideas on how you can help improve retention:

  1. Have a key message. Decide what your presentation is really about. Have one key message (you can have sub-messages but only one key message) and build your presentation around this.
  2. Keep it simple. Just because you only have one key message doesn’t mean you have to pack everything into this one message. Keep it simple and it will be much easier to retain.
  3. Identify the key message. Make it known what your key takeaway is. Say “this is the key takeaway” or “this is the most important point” or “this is the key message.”
  4. Repeat. Do this throughout to remind the audience of what the key message is by coming back to it. If it’s your key message, your presentation should relate to it throughout.
  5. Leave it on the screen. Keep it up on the screen while you are talking so the audience sees it visually. This will help them remember. You may even try associating a picture with your message if one is relevant.

This form of mind-control is perfectly legal in all 50 states. So give it a shot and you will see your audience is much more likely to contact you the next time they need help because they remember that you offered a solution.

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Keeping It Real…

The more true to life you can portray an issue you are presenting in your PowerPoint, the better your audience will understand, relate, and identify with it. This is your ideal goal – to get your audience to know that you understand their pain, their issue, and that you have a way to help resolve it or make it better. The impact you can add by using photos, videos, sound, or other media is extremely powerful and should not be overlooked. Here are a couple of ideas on types of media and when to use them.

  • Use illustrations or video to clarify. If your product is complicated, an illustration or video lets you simplify the way it looks. Also, illustrations and videos allow you to show a zoomed-in view or a view normally not seen, such as a product interior.
  • Motion, sound, and music. Just because PowerPoint has this feature doesn’t mean you need to use it. Use sparingly and only when deemed appropriate. Adding animation, sound effects, or music will make your presentation come alive, but it also lessens the seriousness of what you are presenting. Animation can be valuable when offering a product demonstration, but using when not needed will detract rather than add from the overall presentation.
  • Keep charts and graphs simple. Charts and graphs that are used to support a point should be simple and instantly understood. Audiences will be confused by overly complex visuals.
  • Photos have tremendous impact. A picture is worth a thousand words. This holds true in a PowerPoint. Finding a relatable image to put into your presentation can create an significant impression. It will leave your audience with an image resonating in their head when they go back to the office. Make it very relatable to a key point and they will not forget what you had to say.

As you can see, there is plenty of room for creativity in your presentations. Using illustrations and photos or graphs and animations can be very powerful. But beware… overuse these tools and they will detract from your presentation, making it lose gravity and impact.

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Excel and PowerPoint Don’t Mix…

SpreadsheetVery often presentations will include financials or other figures. And, of course, the presenter believes that the best way to present this data is by cramming as much as he can into a gigantic Excel spreadsheet and then copying and pasting that 6,250-cell spreadsheet onto one small PowerPoint slide. Impressive, right? Think again, presenter… this has zero impact. And, it will even distract from your presentation because people will lose focus as they won’t be able to see what you are referring to and follow along.

Spreadsheets are used for analyzing, not for communicating. They are fantastic for quickly figuring out totals or averages or for doing hundreds or even thousands of calculations instantly on rows and rows of data. They are not, however, great for presenting. Simply put, they contain way too much information. My advice is to simplify: do you really need to present all of the data? Or just the results?

By focusing on the results in some sort of summary fashion like a table, the audience can see the numbers big and clear. You can explain how you arrived at each number if you see fit. You can walk them through it step by step but you don’t need to show the entire process. Use colors, percentages, underlining, boldface, and other effects to highlight key figures or show comparisons or differences within the results. With a summary table you have a powerful, focused image that you can now play around with and be creative.

In the end, the audience will remain more focused and in tune with your presentation and you will be able to get your point across more succinctly and effectively.

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Top 10 Mobile Facts

166153695I came across an insert in my recent issue of Advertising Age that was all about mobile marketing facts and figures. The information contained is eye-opening for anyone trying to reach consumers, especially as “online audiences started shifting away from PCs faster than anyone expected,” according to Michael Learmonth, AdAge’s digital editor.

Here are the top 10 facts:

  1. Google’s Android platform runs on 52.4% of U.S. smartphones, while Apple’s iOS runs on 39.2% (meaning these two service nearly 92% of subscribers)
  2. Facebook is the #2 app on iOS and #4 app on Android
  3. The number of U.S. tablet users is expected to grow from 93.9 million in 2012 to 178 million by 2017 – an increase of almost 90%
  4. Worldwide, 58.1% of the population used a mobile phone in 2012, and that number is expected to reach 69% by 2017
  5. Worldwide, 15.7% of the population used a smartphone in 2012, and that number is expected to reach 34% by 2017
  6. Among U.S. smartphone users, 50.9% used a video app in the last 30 days, while 32.1% used one in the last seven days (YouTube is the most-used video app)
  7. U.S. mobile ad spending is projected to reach almost $28 billion by 2017
  8. The top five social networks in the U.S. are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, and LinkedIn
  9. Google’s share of worldwide net mobile ad revenue in 2012 was 52.36%, while Facebook came in at 5.35%
  10. Adults spend an average of 141 minutes a day using mobile devices

Source: Crain Communication Inc., “Mobile Fact Pack: A Guide to Mobile Marketing,” Advertising Age, Aug. 19, 2013.

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You Can’t Read This…

Large AudienceHow many times have you been listening to a presentation and the presenter gets to an extremely dense slide and says, “I know you can’t read this in the back, so I will read it to you…” Aaaggggghhhh (that’s my frustration coming through). I don’t know about you, but I sit there and think to myself, if you know I can’t read it, why didn’t you use a bigger font?

While we may think that jamming as much text as possible on a slide is the way to go, that’s not necessarily the case. Use big fonts, fewer words, and emphasize what is essential on the slides. Then discuss each bullet or topic. Use your words as the presentation, not the written words on the PowerPoint slide. Ten-point font is going to be too small… try 24-point or 32-point and keep your bullets short.

Remember, the goal is audience clarity and retention, not stuffing your slides full of words for you to read.

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Animation or Live Action… What Kind of Video Should I Use?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a significant shift toward using video to connect with an audience. From YouTube and vimeo, to news sites and now even Instagram, video offers users rich and engaging content.

But what kind of video is best?

Video CameraAnimation, which starts with independent pictures / objects and pieces them together (think movies created from still pictures or illustrations and cartoons), provides an easy way to describe complex stories, ideas, and information. With animation, you can do just about anything. It performs very well for tech companies and internet services, and it’s a great method of demonstrating something abstract or conceptual. Animation makes it very easy to brand your video. By using similar colors, styles, and themes, your video can easily fit in seamlessly with your website and advertising and marketing collateral. And if your product or service is continuously developing, it’s simpler to make an update to an animated video than it is to a live one.

However, it’s harder to elicit emotion with animated videos. They are much less realistic and it is harder to gain the audience’s trust. Production can be time-consuming.

Live-action video, which uses filmed footage (anything from a C-level executive in front of a green screen to aerial shots taken from a helicopter), is a great alternative to animation and is certainly more appealing to an audience.

“There is a very economical way to produce executive messaging depending on the length of the message (usually one to three minutes) utilizing minimal graphics and the client’s location,” according to Bob Nastasi, Infinitely Big’s executive producer.

Viewers tend to feel more of a connection to the message. Live action is a good way to demonstrate a concrete product or service. When offered the choice, most people prefer to see a product or service in action. Live action is also a great tool for connecting with your audience, especially if you run a personal business, like a consulting firm or an eatery. People like seeing other people. It gives them an emotional connection, which can be influential and effective when telling your tale. Actual people and real life, as opposed to make-believe characters, help in developing trust with the audience.

But with live-action filming it can take days to get the right take; the equipment (and sometimes the talent) can be pricey; and editing can be a headache – especially if you want to alter the script or the setting, because then you’ll have to reshoot.

With both options, cost is always a consideration.

“In my world, true animation almost always is more expensive than live video depending on the content and degree of difficulty,” Nastasi said. “Animation actually can be costly – but let’s match apples to apples. What type of animation are we estimating? Is it 2D or 3D? What type of creative are we pitching? How many talent voices are needed? What about music and sound design? What is the total running time of the animated program? All these elements factor into the total cost, and how easy or difficult updating the program can be.”

“I can say with confidence that live action video can be produced for competitive rates and even for less than animation,” he added.

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Focus on the Message…

Whatever you’re saying is important and you certainly want it to be treated that way.

We get requests all the time for presentations to be done in the latest and greatest software program. But what it really boils down to is not how your message gets out, but what the message is in and of itself. Your focus should be on effective communication.

Of course you want your delivery to be engaging, but if you’re putting all of your energy into developing a cool-looking Prezi instead of working on the message, your audience will walk away thinking, “That was a cool presentation. What was that meeting about again?” And that’s every presenter’s worst nightmare.

So before you decide your presentation has to have amazing animation, cool colors, and tantalizing images, think about what it is you’re trying to say and focus on making it audience-worthy.

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Make Your Definitions More Interesting…

One of the more fundamental yet boring slides in a PowerPoint is the definitions slide. This may actually, in a really painful case, represent multiple slides. Here are some pointers for making the definition process fun and engaging for the audience.

Typically, you will see a slide that says “Definitions” in bold and underlined across the top. Then, listed underneath in microscopic font will be key terms and their respective meanings. Instead of using this method — which, by the way, is certain to bore your audience into a coma before you really even get started — try the following:

Let’s use the term “mammal” as an example. Across the top of the slide, state “What are mammals?” Open it up to the audience and find out what they believe the definition of a mammal is. This engages the audience, will certainly get some laughs, allows you to clear up any misconceptions, and gives you an idea of what you are dealing with in terms of your audience.

While getting audience input, add your own commentary. Correct what they are saying and add detail. Praise those who are accurate and reiterate what they have said to drill it home.

Next, on that same slide, use graphics to show examples of mammals. Introduce them one by one, focusing on the characteristics that make them mammals. Show pictures of humans, monkeys, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). This makes the concept real and relatable for the audience. And, again, keep things interesting and interactive.

Finally, end with the definition you want the audience to remember. It may be a simplified version of a standard definition, but it should be accurate and usable by the audience. This strategy will allow you to put your best foot forward with intriguing definitions that are memorable and meaningful to the audience.

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