Thursday, August 7, 2014

Uses (and Cautions) of Recorded Demos

Recorded demos offer some wonderful opportunities for delivering content – but need to be used with careful regards to your objectives and customer situations.  Here are a few quick guidelines to contemplate:

-        Excellent application. 
-        Recorded demos can provide guided instructions on learning software:  “Here’s how to….”  This is a terrific use for recorded demos, since the use scenarios tend to be reasonably consistent – they should focus on the high-probability tasks that users need to accomplish.
-        The astute trainer realizes that many elements of Great Demo! methodology apply directly in recorded demos for training:  The use of Illustrations to show the end result, the “Do It” pathway to show fastest route to completing the task, and typical “Peeling Back the Layers” pathways to explore answers to questions that users will likely ask.

-         Excellent for education and introducing new products and categories. 
-        Very useful for moving “Latent Pain to Pain”, to let customers know what is possible.  These demos need to be crisp and focused – and/or organized into consumable “chapters”.  A 1-hour “end-to-end” or “day-in-the-life” video isn’t likely to yield good results.
-        Again, many elements of Great Demo! methodology apply:  Focus on high-probability use cases; apply Great Demo! methodology using Informal Success Stories (in Situation Slide format, for example), Illustrations and “Do It” pathways.  I’d suggest not going deeper – one of your objectives is to generate enough interest with the customer to ask for and enable a Discovery conversation between the customer and a sales team as a probable next step.

-        Potentially good for Vision Generation, use carefully.
-        Use targeted, high-probability use cases; apply Great Demo! methodology similarly to the marketing demos.  You want to make sure that the customer simply has an “appetizer” and gets hungry to contemplate a larger meal – not fill them up (or worse, present the customer with capabilities and solutions that don’t match the customer’s perceived needs)!  Your objective typically should be a Discovery conversation as the next step.

-        Same as Sales, above, plus can be a reasonable back-up if live environments are not available (and recorded demos rarely crash).
-        Make sure, however that recorded demos are used for Vision Generation.  Recordings are not particularly compelling for achieving Technical Proof…

Some additional thoughts regarding recorded demos in general:

-        Great for consistent messaging.
-        Highly leveraged (produce once, use many).
-        Can enable new hires to engage while they are still learning the offerings.
-        Great for education of customers (and vendor personnel, as well).

-          Cannot have a conversation with the customer; delivery is one-sided.
-          Can be hard to keep up-to-date as products evolve.
-          Requires well-defined, high probability use cases.
-        There is a tendency for many vendors (particularly marketing groups) to put waaaaaay too much into them…!

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