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Why Presentation Skills Are Important in Marketing

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What does it take to be a successful marketer?

Turns out we don’t have to guess because someone’s already done the research. Fractl used IBM’s Watson Personality Insights API from 2019 to pick out the key traits and characteristics of 20 of the world’s most prominent marketing leaders (I even made the list!).

According to the study, the No. 1 trait shared by marketing leaders is adventurousness, followed by high energy levels, assertiveness, and intelligence.

presentation skills compared to other skills

One interesting thing about this is that you’d also find a lot of those traits in people with exceptional presentation skills.

To put yourself out there and present to a room full of people, you need to be at least a little adventurous. If you’re not a high-energy person, you’ll find it hard to keep people engaged. If you’re not assertive, you’ll struggle to communicate your points effectively. The list goes on.

That’s not a coincidence. To make it as a marketer, excellent presentation skills are pretty much nonnegotiable.

3 Reasons Presentation Skills Are Important in Marketing

In a way, marketing is one big presentation. When we write a blog post or appear on a podcast, we’re presenting. When we research our audience, we’re trying to understand better what they want to see and learn from our presentations.

In other words, strong presentation skills underlie pretty much every aspect of marketing. If you can deliver an incredible presentation, you can:

1. Having Good Presentation Skills Drive Trust in Your Brand

What makes people trust brands? According to a global survey from PR and marketing consultancy Edelman, it boils down to three key factors:

  1. Product experience: The most important factor, 87 percent of respondents cited their experience with a product as a reason to trust a brand.
  2. Customer experience: 56 percent of consumers said their own experiences with a brand play an important part in building trust.
  3. Societal impact: 38 percent of consumers believe a brand’s impact on society is an important factor in assessing its trustworthiness.

However, an even more crucial point underpins all of this. Without strong presentation skills, potential customers aren’t going to know about any of those things!

If you don’t tout the quality of your product, or highlight your superb reviews and testimonials, or demonstrate your commitment to making the world a better place, how will anyone know whether they can trust you?

2. Presentation Skills Help Create Brand Awareness

Ever wondered why personal social media accounts get better engagement than brand accounts? Because it’s easier to sell a person than a brand.

That’s why speaking at conferences, networking meetups, and other events can be such a useful tool for building brand awareness. It puts a human face on your brand, which instantly makes you more recognizable, relatable, and memorable. That’s why for many of us, when we hear the words Apple, Microsoft, or Tesla, we immediately think of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk.

3. Use Your Presentation Skills to Drive Sales

Your presentation skills can be one of the biggest weapons in your armory when it comes to selling your product.

According to a study from Chief Marketer, live events are the second-biggest source of B2B leads, and also generate the second-highest ROI of any sales channel.

presentation skills - top sources of leads and ROI

Granted, not all those respondents would have been guest speakers at those events, but to generate leads, they would have absolutely been speaking to prospects at their display stands, during networking sessions, and even while queuing to buy a hot dog or coffee. Their one-on-one presentation skills were crucial to breaking the ice with those leads.

How to Develop Your Marketing Presentation Skills

By this point, you hopefully agree with me that presentation skills are essential for modern marketers. Now, let’s take a look at how to hone those skills to meet your marketing objectives.

1. Set Goals for Developing Your Presentation Skills

If I told you to write me a blog right now, you’d likely find it pretty tough. After all, I’ve not given you any information. You don’t have a theme, or a title, or even an audience. In short, there’s no way of knowing what I’m looking for, so you can’t gauge what success looks like.

Alternatively, if I told you to write a blog about this year’s biggest trends in SEO, aimed at marketing leaders for SaaS startups, you’d have a much clearer idea of how to proceed.

The same thing is true for developing your presentation skills. Start by defining exactly what you want to achieve, such as:

  • becoming a better (or first-time) conference speaker
  • delivering more impactful training sessions
  • speaking more persuasively to leads
  • engaging potential prospects at the top of the sales funnel
  • honing your pitch presentations

Also, give yourself a deadline. Rather than generally building up your presentation skills, commit to improving your public speaking in time for a specific conference or networking event. Sign up as a speaker early; that way, you’re completely accountable for following through with your plans.

2. Research Your Audience

As well as simply “doing more of it,” there’s another extremely effective way to help you feel more confident about speaking in front of an audience: Do your research.

When you think about it, imposter syndrome is another big reason people shy away from public speaking. We worry we’ll be exposed as frauds and charlatans who don’t know what we’re talking about.

Thoroughly researching your audience will help guard against that feeling. When you know exactly who you’re talking to, it becomes much simpler to build an effective presentation.

If I’m speaking to a room of NASA engineers, I’m not going to tell them how to build a better rocket. I can’t tell them anything they don’t already know (and most of what I say would likely be wildly inaccurate).

However, I almost certainly know more about marketing than them. Maybe I’d tell them how, by sharing snippets of their work through their personal social profiles, they can build awareness and interest in what they do, which in turn, might persuade politicians that increased federal funding for NASA would be a real vote-winner. With that increased funding, they can go away and build better rockets.

With that in mind, before you start working on your next presentation, ask yourself the following questions about your audience:

  • How old are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • What jobs do they do?
  • Who do they work for?
  • How experienced are they?
  • What are their pain points?

The idea here is to identify the “thing” you know that’s of most value to your audience. The more you can niche down, the better. If you can’t answer some of those questions, speak to the event organizers; they should be able to help.

3. Incorporate Humor and Stories

Throughout human history, storytelling has been one of our most effective tools for influencing, inspiring, and teaching one another.

Paul Smith, author of “Lead With a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire,” put it better than me when he wrote:

In any group, roughly 40 percent will be predominantly visual learners who learn best from videos, diagrams, or illustrations. Another 40 percent will be auditory, learning best through lectures and discussions. The remaining 20 percent are kinesthetic learners, who learn best by doing, experiencing, or feeling.

Storytelling has aspects that work for all three types. Visual learners appreciate the mental pictures storytelling evokes. Auditory learners focus on the words and the storyteller’s voice. Kinesthetic learners remember the emotional connections and feelings from the story.

With that in mind, another key way to improve your presentation skills is to work on your storytelling. Don’t just tell your audience how a certain tactic can get them more sales; give them specific, real-world examples that help them relate your advice to their own circumstances.

Also, don’t overlook the power of humor to engage an audience. As the British comedian John Cleese said:

If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.

I’m not suggesting you go away and write a 30-minute standup set, but if you can drop a couple one-liners here and there, it can go a long way to getting your audience on your side.

4. Practice in Front of an Audience

Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is a common complaint. One much-quoted (and very old) Gallup survey claims it’s the second-most prevalent fear in Americans, affecting 40 percent of respondents.

presentation skills - fear of public speaking

Clearly, it’s not the “speaking” element that puts us on edge. It’s the idea of doing it in front of an audience. What if we make fools of ourselves, or say the wrong thing and get booed off stage?

Painful as it might sound, in my experience, the best way to overcome this is to seek out opportunities to speak in front of an audience. This can be in your professional or personal lives. It can be as simple as saying a few words at family gatherings or giving small presentations to your team at work.

Use Your Presentation Skills: 5 Tips for an Effective Marketing Presentation

You’ve set goals for improving your presentation skills, done your research, crafted a handful of engaging anecdotes, and practiced in front of an audience. Now, it’s time to weave all those things together to create a killer marketing presentation. Bear these five tips in mind while you’re doing it:

1. Start Strong

According to one study, you’ve only got 30 seconds before your audience’s attention starts to lapse. That means you need a strong start to persuade them you’re worth listening to. Lead with your most eye-catching statistic, your best joke, or your punchiest anecdote, and keep it short. On average, we speak at up to 130 words per minute, so that only gives you a maximum of 65 words to play with.

2. Make a Good First Impression

Presentation skills aren’t just about what you say. They’re also about how people perceive you.

A study at California State University, Northridge, found students followed instructions far more accurately when those instructions were given by someone who was dressed casually rather than professionally.

Why did this happen? One interpretation from the study’s authors is that the students responded better to someone dressed similarly to them:

Perhaps the participants in our study felt that they were better able to relate to the experimenter in the casual-dress condition, thereby lowering their anxiety and increasing their ability to follow directions correctly.

In short, there’s no such thing as a right or wrong way to look or dress for a presentation. Rather, we should reflect our audience.

3. Come Prepared

Don’t kid yourself it’ll “be alright on the night.” If you don’t prepare properly, it won’t!

Figure out what works best for you by running through your presentation multiple times. Do you find it easiest to work off cue cards? Do you need visual aids? Or is it better for you to run lines until you’ve memorized your presentation word for word?

4. Ask Questions

There’s no better way to guarantee people are paying attention than to ask regular questions throughout your speech!

This isn’t about putting people on the spot. Instead, it’s about turning your presentation from a one-way narrative to a two-way conversation.

Say you’re giving advice on tackling a specific problem. Ask how many people had experienced that problem, when they first noticed it, and why they’re so keen to fix it.

5. Back Your Claims

There are very few instances in which you shouldn’t be supporting your claims with real evidence. Even if you’re giving your personal opinion on a topic, those opinions should be backed with actual data from reputable sources.

If I’m telling you that Facebook is the best platform to grow your business, you likely wouldn’t just take my word for it. You’d want to hear evidence about Facebook’s audience, the effectiveness of advertising on the platform, and how much it’ll cost.

Conclusion

No one is born with incredible presentation skills; not even Steve Jobs.

Sure, some of us are more confident than others at talking to an audience and getting our points across effectively. However, it takes work; and if honing your presentation skills is taking you away from other important work, like content marketing or SEO, our agency is here to help.

The good news is the harder you work at it, the more confident you’ll feel, and the better your presentation skills will become. It’s a virtuous circle!

What tips have you used to level up your marketing presentation skills?

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MARKETING

SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

(more…)

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.


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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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