Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Powerpoint Presentations vs. Hand On Demo

Earlier today John posted on entry entitled "Presentations". Reading reminded of the marketing activities of Caterpillar. Several years ago, okay many, I was one of several people to represent my company on a 1 week tour of the Caterpillar facilities in Illinois. I was one of about 300 people in attendance, visiting their various factories, listening to presentations, round table discussions, etc. Caterpillar hosted this event twice a year and between them and the franchisees paid the full expense of all attendees. We were catered to very well. The mix if people were existing Cat owners and potential owners. All of these years later, I still remember the trip and access that we had to engineers and designers.
From the marketing perspective, that is exactly the impact that I would want to make to customers – long lasting first class impressions. When, I think of construction equipment CAT is at the top of the list (TOMA exercise). Did the trip (marketing tool) bias me? No. I already like many of their products from firsthand experience. Did it reinforce my belief in the product quality or loyalty? Yes. For the largest construction equipment the market is limited and one needs to retain the customers. I also see similarities in the aircraft industry.
A Hands On viewing or demo of a product versus a PowerPoint only presentation is priceless or at least worth it’s weight in gold.