I work in the advertising business, specifically the buying of advertising on websites. I’ve been sitting in on a lot of presentations lately and I’ve found that the advertising world is very different in Television compared to Online. I’ve been involved with a ton of meetings and presentations from reps for various websites and they’re all a little different, but they all get to the point pretty quickly. Television is an entirely different animal though. I don’t know if it’s just because they’ve been doing the same thing for all these years or what, but there’s just so much wasted time there. Every other presentation has to be accompanied by lunch, like the vendor is paying for our attention while they show us a long drawn out slideshow filled with info on their upcoming programs and ideas. BOR-RING!

syfyCase in point, I sat in on the upfront presentation from SyFy a few weeks ago. While their PowerPoint presentation was rather impressive and filled with a lot of information, I forgot about most of it the moment I walked out of the conference room. The online stuff (the info that was actually important to me) was among the lost info because it was glazed over so quickly and it was treated like the red-headed step-child of the TV presentation. Oh yeah, we have websites or whatever and I guess you can buy advertising on them or not. Hey, remember when we had Battlestar Galactica? I do remember that, sir. But what have you done for me lately? Oh, thanks for the webcam though (Seriously, I’ve already got one of these, so if you want a webcam, let me know.)

I think that tradition seems to play a big part in this and that’s unfortunate. The world has updated so much with technology and everything else that stuff like this just feels like fat that needs to be trimmed. I don’t have the time to sit through an hour long presentation where you show me a bunch of slides and clips from your new shows while you showboat in front of the crowd. But it seems that that’s the way it’s always been done in TV so that’s the way it has to be done now.

The online space is just so different in regards to these presentations. These guys get right to the point. No putzing around. This can be an annoyance too. I can’t tell you how many presentations started with the rep opening up a notebook with a pen in hand asking what clients I’m working on. Yeah, I’m not going to sit here and rattle off a bunch of names for you with business I might never even consider you for. Just start talking and we’ll see if we find a good fit somewhere. Until then close that little notebook and let’s get going.

Do you know what my most memorable presentations consisted of? Conversation. That was it. I’ve had a few presentations where the rep didn’t even turn on their laptop! No need to talk me through the deck highlighting your stuff. Just talk to me. Find out what my needs are and what issues I face when dealing with various clients. What do my clients want? What do we want as a buying agent? What can make our lives easier? These are questions that should be asked in presentations, not stuff like “What did you think of this trailer we put together of a bunch of crap that you’re probably not going to watch because you’re online all the time?” That’s the best leave-behind that you can give me. A flash drive with your presentation on it is nice, but to be honest 10 minutes after you leave, your presentation is deleted and I’m using the drive to store my own personal files. Yes, it has your logo on it, but I won’t remember your presentation when I use the flash drive to hold mp3s. Also, don’t even bother printing out your slides and giving them to me as a handout. You know what happens to those? They get put into the pile with the rest of the handouts and sit there gathering dust. The best way to get me to actually hold on to your deck is to email it to me. I’m a digital person and I work in the digital department. Send that to me digitally and I’ll store it as such. Then if I need it, it’s available at a moment’s notice. I don’t have to dig out the flash drive or shuffle through a stack of papers.

Just sayin’. These things could be a lot less painless for everyone involved. I’m sure some of these reps giving these upfront presentations get in the car to drive home and just hate themselves. Perk up and talk about what’s relevant.

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