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Don’t Wing it!

Sunday,Sep 29,2013

5 years ago, I watched a guest walk on-air to represent his product, bio-degradable trash bags.  He was the inventor of the product and knew everything that could be known about it, but he had not planned out his presentation and was obviously counting on his knowledge alone for his product’s success.  He had sunk every dime his family had into coming up with the inventory for the presentations. He had flown in from Montana, was paying for his stay with his own funds and was scheduled for 3 airings on national retail television. When he went on air, he stumbled through his product’s features. He did not have an air of confidence about him and his presentation seemed to flounder about without any real direction.  He just gave a list of things his product could do and did not have any strong initial statement to grab his viewer’s attention. His presentation was cut from 10 minutes to 6 and he walked off air feeling defeated.  He was projected to sell hundreds and hundreds of trash bags.  He sold less than 50.  The remainder of his airings were cancelled due to poor performance and he flew home, his inventory being returned back to him. The nature of television retail is unforgiving.  In my experience, I have less than a minute after I am introduced on-air to emotionally engage my viewer and give them a solid reason to keep watching.  A product must show its viability within 1 or 2 airings or it will get the ax.  The nature of internet video is even more unforgiving. According to research by Visible Measures, 20% of viewers will click away from an online marketing video in 10 seconds or fewer. We judge other people harshest of all.  According to Forbes, we have seven precious seconds to create a first impression on someone we are speaking to!  Imagine, within seven seconds your viewer will decide if they like you and trust you or not! So why would you ever present a product, pick your presenter or create a product demonstration video without a well planned and rehearsed strategy?  Don’t waste those first few seconds!  They are too valuable to flounder! Captain Jack Sparrow had a compass.  Dora the Explorer has a map.  Iron man has…well, a super computer with undoubtedly the most sophisticated GPS ever conceived.  The point is that we all know instinctively, if you want to get from point A to B for the first time, you must plan your route.  You need some directions or a road map.  In the world of television and video, you want to get from “Hello, I’m John,” to “Thanks for buying!”  How are you going to get your viewers from A to B?  First, you need to know who your viewer is.  What do they do with their days?  How do they think?  How do you think when you dig into your experiences and stand in your viewer’s shoes? Then, you need a solid storyboard…a map to lead yourself and your crew through the mess of possibilities and to that goal where the viewer clicks “Buy!”

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