Brevity is the soul of demos
As a product marketer, I’m very impressed with Google’s Super Bowl ad, the Parisian Love demo.
First, given all the special effects in other Super Bowl ads, the Google ad was quite spare and effective — literally, a 30 second recording of someone’s desktop, minimally edited. Spare and effective, just like Google’s website, and brand.
Second and more important: I think of all the demos I’ve given, and which I’ve sat through. None of them have ever lasted 30 seconds. And yet not has been quite so effective. It shows the power of telling a good story in your demo.
As product marketers, we need to get better at telling stories. We spend too much time showing off features, too much time talking about the buttons and fields, and not enough time telling a good story of how our software actually can be used. We need to string together a compelling set of use cases into a seamless narrative.
Shakespeare wrote, “brevity is the soul of wit“. It’s also the soul of an effective demo.
If our software can’t be used to create a compelling narrative in two minutes, then we need to work with our engineering team so they make the changes required. We need to help them understand what’s missing. Is it a feature that will make the audience say “wow”? A less impressive feature that somehow fills a gap in the narrative? A fast-to-use, search-oriented UI? Fast-responding functionality? Bigger, faster servers? Richer demo data?
Whatever the requirements end up being, you can call this thought process Demo-Driven Development. And we, the software industry, could use more of it. We need to keep that target narrative in the collective mind of our team, and not let up — or launch prematurely — until it’s achieved. The Parisian Love demo might have been created in mere days, but the underlying product took twelve years to build. Building something that provides a compelling 30 second demo takes a long time.