What do you think happens when a client says he wants a “corporate” presentation ? Eyeballs pop, cash registers begin to ring and dozens of multimedia firms move in for the kill.
Welcome to the melting pot of hardsell, soft resistance and budgets that could hit the roof.
Sometimes, all a client needs is a simple, hard-working PowerPoint presentation; what he ends up with is a blockbuster that needs heavy-duty hardware and a mini-theatre with surround sound to view it in. In most cases the client digs his own soft earth, because he doesn’t know what he wants, he doesn’t know what he needs and he may not have the budgets for what he is embarking on.
So the entire pitch becomes an exercise in primary education; you need to explain options, you need to illustrate technology and you need to explain the different levels of a price ladder. This is where the client discovers fears that he probably never had before… like the fear of heights.
A primer for clients.
Things do get tough on the client’s side of the table. Tough, because you’ve got
to be accountable on money spent and answerable on every decision that you make. Most importantly, you’ve got to carry the can, if the project exceeds your budgets and falls short of expectations.
But what can clients do to make life easier ?
* Create an internal support system that provides information, offers assistance and is actually responsible for approvals as the job evolves.
* Make logical decisions on the level of technology that you seek. If you only need a first-rung PowerPoint presentation, don’t go up that ladder.
* Make a sincere attempt to work on objectives, a reasonable time plan and a realistic budget.
* Get all briefs approved by senior executives of the company. A good client brief that goes through its paces is an excellent starting point.
* Encourage the multi-media / design team to help you with the decision making process. Especially to match communication needs with compatible levels of technology
* Get the design team to map out a detailed response plan, with clearly outlined deliverables – concepts, scripts, production plans, post production, playback formats and milestones in terms of schedules.
A primer for design teams.
* Imagine what it could be like to be on the client’s side of the table. Understand the internal pressures of getting an ROI on project investments.
* Work closely with the client to understand marketing plans, communication objectives, project timeframes and cost parameters.
* Explain the intricacies of taxes that are added on to the final cost. In India
for instance, this can be a fairly hefty add-on.
* Help the client understand the technology platforms available, without a hard-sell on high tag options.
* Make sure the entire package includes a hands-on training / orientation session. Include a document that works like a help file.
* Build in a 12-month free support offer. In addition to being a useful value-add, clients will need to make revisions in content and visual support.
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