Story-telling and Demos: The Hero

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As I’ve remarked previously, story-telling can be an extremely effective method to communicate key ideas – and stories can be particularly “sticky” with respect to audience memory and retention. An additional story-telling concept is the use of a hero – someone (or something) that the audience can identify with. Traditional stories (e.g., sagas) typically have a hero that encounters and overcomes trials and adversity before achieving success.

For demos, heroes can take a number of forms:

– Customer (an individual): the customer can be portrayed as the hero (very effective!), with the payoff being the timely and on-budget completion of a project, accolades from colleagues or a promotion. In my own experiences, it was gratifying to see customers I’d worked with over a period of years move from staff members to middle managers to senior and C-level management.

– Team (a customer team or group): The logical corollary to an individual, a team can be presented as the hero in a story.

– Product: your software can be the hero, similarly, enabling a customer to achieve their objectives in spite of (apparently) overwhelming challenges.

– SaaS: Interestingly, the “cloud” can be positioned and perceived as a hero – “when our own servers went down, we were still able to complete the project thanks to the ability to access the vendor’s software from the cloud…”. I’ve heard a number of examples where the cloud is the hero, in addition to the one above: access to key information via collaboration tools or capabilities, disaster recovery (“and we were able to get back up and running just in time for the opening…”).

Any other hero types or ideas to suggest?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.

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