I’ve been grading Entrepreneurship papers this past week (yes, I’m a TA for that too), and I’ve noticed a few things that I think directly apply to marketing. The end goal of the class (and for anyone who’s completing and moving forward with a business plan) is to present their own business plan (or that of their groups in most cases) to actual Venture Capitalists who will critique and then choose the top few. So the assignments thus far have been gearing everyone up for that moment.
What are the most important features of a business plan? Is this product/service/idea realistic, able to to make money, and doable given how the plan has described it? It’s very important that you communicate these things to possible funders so that they’re nodding their heads up and down by the end of the presentation.
Actually, by the end of the first two minutes. And that’s the other key. Past the first two or three minutes, if they aren’t convinced, it doesn’t matter what’s in the rest of your presentation. They’re done.
The same applies to marketers. If you can’t tell the consumer why they need you in the first few moments (or seconds!), they aren’t going to listen. I’ve recently gotten a few marketing emails (“from trusted partners” of various marketing listserves), and those that are effective I can open up and read everything in fewer than 10 seconds and I have no scrolling to do. Those that aren’t effective are those that explain away what they’re doing, and I never even get to the point before I close the email.
On that note, I’m going to stop because this probably applies to blogs also!