Unlike most marketing tools, a CPD (and yes, CPD IS a marketing tool) provides a forum for active, face-to-face engagement with your specifying target audience.
CPDs therefore – the presentation and the occasion – are golden opportunities and must be designed to give your audience the best possible impression of you: and for you, the best possible chance of engaging and informing them.
CPDs are largely ‘marketing-neutral’. The 3 or 4 screens you’re permitted to blow your own branded trumpet are – sad to say – probably the bits that your audience is least interested in. But ‘unbranded’, non-promotional content can still create a powerful and lasting impression on your audience. And that impression is associated with your company, and with the products, systems and solutions you are explaining in your presentation.
For this to happen, you need to be communicating effective, insightful and relevant information in as captivating a visual way as possible. The quality of information, the quality of the visuals and of the personal delivery, are the marketing.
So, how do you get those three things: quality information, powerful, engaging visuals and good delivery? Well, you come to us at CDP, of course, but we would say that. So here’s a bit more explanation as to what we think (and why you should read this blog post and come to us).
They are all interdependent and interlinked, but let’s go through one by one.
The raw materials for this, obviously, come from you, the product manufacturers, but a good CPD is all about structuring the information to create a compelling narrative to cover the subject matter and to help both audience and presenter.
This means getting the order of information logical and right, breaking it down into easily assimilable chunks, and making each narrative element as streamlined, insightful and audience-relevant as possible. Back up as much as you can with nuggets of unique market experience and explanation… without becoming long-winded, of course.
The information content is also where ‘silent’ or ‘implied’ marketing can come in.
Whilst you can’t say ‘Brand X achieves the highest levels of insulation’, or Company X ‘provides a full and bespoke fixing specification service’, you can say ‘the highest U-values can only be achieved in this construction with this type of insulation’ (yours) or ‘the highest quality solution-providers will offer specifiers and fully bespoke fixing service’ (you). The implication always is that your brand and your company uniquely offer those qualities.
This is where you truly engage your audience. Interesting, dynamic, fluid, even surprising visual content keeps the audience focused and interested, and makes the information you’re delivering more understandable and memorable.
Every CPD is different, but there are some basic and simple rules: get bullets and text off the screen; use animations and movie clips where you can, especially to illustrate more complex subjects; use good quality images at a decent size; keep everything visually simple and consistent, but elegant. If warranted, a bit of playfulness can be injected too. This might be the use of slightly surreal or left-field imagery, or a touch of humour in the script (above). Always exercise caution and restraint in this area, though.
Very few people are ‘natural’ CPD (or any type of presentation) deliverers. But if the structure and visuals are right, and especially, if the content is well structured and relevant, it will give most presenters the confidence to do well.
It is important to get the script right, too. We firmly believe in having as little text on screen as possible, so what comes off screen will often have to be included in the script. But if well written, it’s surprising how much can be covered in how few words.
The tone should generally be professional and informative, but informal, fluent and relaxed. It sounds obvious, but the script should be talking about what’s on screen and should be distilled into the salient points – not allowed to degenerate into some rambling monologue on a flange or para 6b of BS EN 196745, or whatever.
The culmination and crux of all this is, funnily enough, the ‘Thanks, Any Questions?’ screen. This is where you find out if your content has been good enough to get through. If people start asking questions, then it probably has.
If someone starts their question with ‘We’ve got a live project and I was wondering….’, then you’re home and dry.
Real specifiers stimulated into asking questions about actual projects – in our opinion – are what CPDs are all about.