Trade Marketing Insights

The Perfect Product Presentation To Sell In To Retailers

Posted by Phil Wright on 02-Aug-2018 09:23:00
Phil Wright
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Why Read?

This article will cover:
  • How to structure your product presentation so it appeals to your prospective retailers
  • What information to include in your product presentation
  • Slick design tips to ensure your presentation looks engaging and professional

Within trade marketing, your product presentation is one of the most crucial moments in the path to getting your product ranged.
You need to create a product presentation that’s going to excite your prospective retailers and secure sell-in.
Consider this:
The retailers may have seen five other presentations that day.
And they may have been viewing product presentations for the past five days.
They’re going to have potentially seen a lot of similar stuff.
They’re going to be tired and maybe even cranky.
It’s your job to wake them up — to snap them out of it by showing them something different.
To lift them off their chairs in fierce anticipation, invigorated by your incisive wit and lush visual presentation.
Here’s the kicker:
Tell them a story.
Stories are easier to recall than facts and figures because they activate up to seven areas of the brain
We’ve created presentations for companies such as LG, PYREX and Lombard.

product presentation LG

In this article, I’ve compiled our expertise to show you how to structure your product presentation so it tells an effective story.
I’ll also reveal how to complement your story with professional looking visuals.
So, grab a coffee and read on.
It’s story time.

Download 'The Perfect Product Presentation' checklist to ensure you don't miss any of the important elements needed to sell-in to retailers.

Creating A Perfect Product Presentation Structure

Captivating your buyers with an engaging story is crucial. In a moment, I’m going to share all the elements you’ll need. 
But before we go on, there’s something I need to say:
PowerPoint is not your presentation. Your presentation is what you say, how you say it, what you show and how it’s communicated with your audience.
PowerPoint is a tool to help visually represent your presentation. You might decide to use Apple’s Keynote or Prezi, or some other presentation software...or forgo technology altogether and present Don Draper (Mad Men) style, using large-format boards and an easel.
The point is, I’ve seen too many people get hung up on their PowerPoint, and not give enough attention to their actual presentation.
If you’ve been following this series you will have already read our blogs on developing an irresistible product offering and how to communicate your product offering to increase your chances of sell-in.

What we’re going to look at here is how to take all that information and turn an ordinary product presentation into an extraordinary sell-in presentation.
OK, so back to the elements you’ll need to include in your compelling presentation:

Character / Hero

You need a protagonist.
Essentially, it must be one simple character that your potential buyers can relate to in some way.
People are interesting, and we can relate to them. What’s more, emotion sells.
This is the perfect chance to present your buyer persona, you perfect buyer type.
In your product pitch, paint a picture of your buyer persona to create an emotional connection with the retailer. What are their goals, dreams and aspirations? What are the biggest issues they face?

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What demographic are they? Do they have a high income and like designer suits and slick, minimalist design like this buyer persona we created for LG…

PP Pure
Or are they more sugar and spice and all things nice, like this persona…
PP Cookie2 Fresh


Now present the problem. 
What are your buyer persona’s pain points? What issues are they trying to solve?
This is an important step — remember, we’re on a quest to become master storytellers. Including this step will set up the pay-off later in your presentation.
In their seminal book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath call this technique ‘the knowledge gap’. 
You expose your audience to something they didn’t know: “Our research has shown that 80 percent of our teenage target audience find shoelaces an inconvenience when they’re in a hurry.”
Who knew this was actually a customer pain point? But enter Hickies, ‘the sneaker hack you didn’t know you needed’. 
You can present the problem through beautifully designed graphs and infographics.

If you want to keep it simple, blend simple text and images that convey their issues…
product presentation
 …or even create a video like the one we created for LG, below.
It’s also important to present your market research to the retailer. Why are their customers going to want this product more than your competitors' products?
“If two products have the same features, the one that appeals to an emotional need will be chosen.”
~ Nancy Duarte, Resonate

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Set The Scene And Create Contrast

Now it’s time to set the scene. We're painting a picture, so our retailer understands the foundations your product is built on.
What are the market conditions?
What competition is there?
Are there any overarching philosophies, a red thread, that you want to run throughout your presentation?
Your job as a trade marketing master is to create and resolve tension. Highlight the wider challenges within your industry.
Introduce Your Products  A Picture Paints A Thousand Words
Next, we introduce the product.
Start with a hero image or a product video that will wow your audience.
Make sure you’re showing off your product in its best light.
Use professional product photographs or good quality, photo realistic 3D renders.
You want your product to look desirable. Don’t settle for mundane images. 
If your product has a dynamic shape, emphasise it, or if it is built from premium materials with interesting textures, get some beautiful close-up shots that sell the sizzle of your product.
It’s also important to bring your product to life.
You want to paint a picture of what it will look like in its packaging, or on POS material.
Take for example our work with LG Mobile Europe, helping to sell their smartphones into major retailers.
We created designs to illustrate what the packaging could look like, branded for both T-Mobile and Orange, highlighting a consumer gift with a purchase offer.

At this stage the promotion didn't actually exist, in fact the phone hadn't even gone into production. But the retailer could picture exactly how it would look — it feels real.
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Mark Barclay, e-commerce manager at automotive retailer Autosessive, says: 
“If the buyer seems interested, a great way to seal the deal is to offer exclusive distribution for a period and a marketing rebate. If you can also demonstrate how you can support our marketing efforts, or how your products can be personalised with our branding, as buyers, we’re a lot more likely to be interested.”
trade marketing dummy campaign


Now hit the ball out of the park.
Show how your product solves the protagonist’s dilemma — how it solves their pain points and is superior to the competition.
This means explaining the product's features, but also focusing on the benefits to the consumer.
Be clear what your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is. This is where you see the pay-off to the pain points you identified in your original market research. Provide any testimonials if appropriate. Social proof can be a useful weapon in your persuasive arsenal. 

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Not convinced?
Take a look at this experiment conducted by National Geographic for its TV series, Brain Games, featuring professor Jonah Berger, author of Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behaviour.

The Numbers

If you've ever watched Dragon's Den, then you'll know you need to have a grip on your numbers.
The same is true when presenting your products to a retailer. 
The retailer will want to know about pricing.
Explain what your recommended retail price is, and what profit margins they can expect to make, on each product.
Justify your pricing and ensure it reflects your product positioning.
Try to answer the following questions within your presentation.
If your presentation doesn’t address these, then the sales team need to be ready to answer them after the presentation.
  • What profit margins can the retailer expect to make?
  • What are your sales projections? 
  • Do you have any case studies to prove your ROS (Rate Of Sales)?
  • Are you going to offer large-order discount incentives to the retailer?
  • Who are your competitors and what are their weaknesses?
  • Do you hold patents for your product?
  • Minimum order requirements?
  • How do you ship?
  • When will the product be available to ship?

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A good presentation should have three simple stages, so it's optimised to stick in the mind of your audience:
1) Tell them what you're going to tell them.
2) Tell them.
3) Tell them what you've just told them.
Now it's time for stage three.

Recap over your main points so they are fresh in the mind of the retailer, like the slide below.

product presentation trade marketing

Call To Action

What are the next steps? 
Do you want to invite them into another area to try the product out?
A strong call to action gives the retailer a clearly defined path to purchase.

Perfect Product Presentation Design

So you know how to structure your presentation, but you also need to make your presentation look incredible.
I’ve already told you your PowerPoint isn’t your presentation — what we’re going to describe here is how we can use PowerPoint (or the presentation software of your choice) to help illustrate and reinforce the messages within your presentation.
Read on to find out how to design your product presentation so it makes your product look like a stunningly attractive proposition.
Follow this formula with tips from our expert design team and you’ll have a presentation that looks professional, on-brand and gives you the best chance of making the sale.

Keep It Simple

We’ve literally seen hundreds of different product sales presentations. 
If I were to give you just one piece of presentation design advice, it would be: 
Ensure consistency across all of your slides and don’t cram too much information onto each slide.
OK, so that’s two pieces of advice, but you get the picture!
Create a presentation template that looks consistent and is on-brand, and where possible stick to it.
A presentation that looks consistent — consistent placing of slide titles, font sizes, and placing of slide furniture (logos etc.) — will ensure that your audience can focus on what you’re saying, and not get distracted by what else is going on, on-screen.

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Here is some invaluable slide arrangement advice from Nancy Duarte’s book Slide:ology. Duarte Design was the force behind the presentation for Al Gore on global warming  which subsequently inspired his film, An Inconvenient Truth, and many TED Talk presentations.
Contrast: The audience can identify the main point quickly.
Flow: The audience knows the order in which to process the information.
Hierarchy: The audience sees the relationship between elements.
Unity: The audience senses that the information belongs together.
Proximity: The audience perceives meaning from the location of elements.
Whitespace: The audience has visual breathing room. 

No Naughty Texting

Too much text on a screen and your audience will read ahead. They’ll literally stop listening to you and read the rest of the five points on the slide while you’re still explaining your first point.
When using text, say it with a sentence. Don’t overload your retailers with multiple messages. Can you understand the main message in three seconds?

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And please, please, please…
…avoid death by PowerPoint. It’s the bullets that will kill you!

product presentation trade marketing
Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently revealed Google's employees are being trained to present in a bolder, fresher style — less text heavy and more visual.

"Since stories are best told with pictures, bullet points and text-heavy slides are increasingly avoided at Google," said Pichai, presenting at the 2017 Developers Conference.

In his presentation, Pichai's slides remained uncluttered with a large amount of white space.

The logic is that the brain isn't very good at doing two things at once and we're much better at remembering images.



In his book TED Talks, Chris Anderson states, "Those classic PowerPoint slide decks with a headline followed by multiple bullet points of long phrases are the surest single way to lose an audience's attention altogether.... When we see speakers come to TED with slide decks like this, we pour them a drink, go and sit with them at a computer monitor, and gently ask their permission to delete, delete, delete."

It should also go without saying, but make sure your text is legible. Ensure that your text is a contrasting colour to the background.
For example, don’t use white text over a light-coloured background. Or, if you have to, put a shadow or a semi-transparent dark box behind it, so it stands out. 
Similarly, ensure the text is large enough to be seen by your audience.
A correctly set up PowerPoint template will also ensure font consistency — always using the same font, size and placing for headings and body text and a consistent palette of colours will ensure your presentation looks considered and professional.
Here’s food for thought:
Do you need to include text on your slide? Would a powerful image convey your message better?
If you do this, just make sure your sales team are properly briefed so they can communicate your messaging effectively.

Know Your Audience

A presentation isn’t a presentation without an audience, so keep your audience at the front of your mind at all times.
Think about the context of your presentation. Are you presenting to a couple of people or a whole auditorium? 
Your presentation slides should be tailored accordingly. 
Remember there are also three different types of learners:
  • Auditory learners learn through hearing information.
  • Visual learners learn through imagery and seeing the information.
  • Tactile kinaesthetic learners learn through movement and interaction.
In reality, most people are a mix of these three types. 
Cover all bases by using different methods to get your message across.

Be Visual

In the words of Olivia Newton-John, “Let’s get physical.”
My point?
Don’t be afraid to get things moving. Use physical visual aids to help bring your presentation to life.
Have you seen Bill Gates’ TED talk on how his foundation is looking to eradicate malaria? He literally set loose thousands of mosquitoes into the auditorium [5.07].
Now that’s a powerful visual image. Do you think the audience will remember that presentation? You bet!
Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee setting a swarm of mosquitoes onto the retailer will increase your chances of getting your product ranged.
But you get the picture. 
Level up by involving your audience in the presentation. Can you make your presentation interactive?
Remember the old Chinese proverb:
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.
Think about what you can do to involve your audience.
Ok, so I think it’s time to get something else off my chest.
When it comes to presentations, perhaps one of my biggest bugbears is people not taking time over their choice of images.
PowerPoint is a visual medium, and great images can make your presentation.
For example, you’ve decided you want to illustrate your promotional competition with a prize to include a trip to Paris. 
Too often I see people going onto a stock photo site (or worse still, Google), typing in ‘Paris’ and choosing the very first image that comes up. 
Think about what you’re trying to convey.
Sure, it needs to scream ‘Paris!’ but it also needs to look exciting, dynamic and enticing — like somewhere you’d love to visit. 
Perhaps it could include a young couple having fun while visiting the Eiffel Tower, representing the competition winners.
Or a shot of them romantically taking a selfie outside the Louvre.
And why Paris? Does this location have something to do with your brand? Is the destination going to strengthen your brand story? 

product presentation

Bottom line:

Visuals must play a key role in your presentation.

Reduce The Complexity

Complex slides can appear daunting.
Introducing the various elements onto your slide with an animation can help your audience understand what's going on and how each element relates to each other.

Make Data Digestible

Conveying data in a simple, engaging format can be a challenge.
Overload your audience with too much of it and they’ll soon switch off.
You must bring your data to life with graphs and charts: they are much easier to digest than masses upon masses of numbers. Sex up your stats with infographics and energise your info with icons. People’s retention of data increases when they can ‘see the numbers’. 

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Back It Up

Think about what linking other elements to your presentation.
Do you have any hand-outs?
You could include a take-away version of your presentation that’s been prepared specifically to be understood without you needing to be there to present it. 
This is a great idea if the decision maker isn’t in the room. Don’t leave any explanations of your presentation to someone else, make sure that they have all the facts to hand. 
If possible, provide your audience with product samples too.
To maximise impact; do you have the opportunity to dress the room?
You could use pull-ups or props to quickly 'take over' the space. This can help to make your presentations more memorable. 
Remember, if you’re using pull-ups then keep them simple with only one key message.

Next Steps

If you want all the essential information on how to get your product ranged, download The Ultimate Guide To Trade Marketing.
It features:
  • How to create the perfect product proposition to secure sell-in.
  • Clever tactics to generate a buzz around your product.
  • Elite marketing strategies to increase product sales in retail stores.

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Topics: product presentation, sell in presentation

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