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Lead with your Money Shot

Thursday, September 29, 2016

One of the things we increasingly learn as we test destination video through DMOvizion is the power of the “money shot.” That image that inexorably draws the consumer into the message like no other.

And, in so many cases, it is reserved for the close of the ad, video or presentation.

I blame the training we received in middle and high school; the direction that we received from our teachers to build our homework reports on a linear path from premise to proof to conclusion. Yep…saving the “money shot” for the end.

Recently back from Birmingham and the STS Fall Forum, I witnessed this educational fail in the best PR Panel I’ve ever seen. Most such panels feature editors and writers suggesting how they like to be pitched. However, in this session, representatives from four traditional and online media sources played Simon Cowell as eight DMO pros pitched a storyline, hoping for a thumbs up from the panel.

It was one of those epiphanies that should have been so obvious…but it took a Reality Show format to drive it home for me. Pitch after pitch followed the high school report format…and most left the panel “non-plussed,” as we used to say.

But one pitch stood out starkly for me. It was the presentation from a PR pro from Macon who was pitching that her destination was the Home of Soul, possessing a rich heritage of rock, blues and R&B royalty. While so many pitches that day offered broad generalities for the media’s consideration, she got to specifics. It’s just that she placed them in the middle of the pitch. Just like a high school report.

As she clicked through all the insanely cool opportunities for a story, my mind instantly raced to how that pitch would have killed. Instead of suggesting a litany of sites celebrating Macon’s rich musical heritage, I would have started like this:

“Would you like to walk through the home in which the Allman Brothers wrote and rehearsed “Eat a Peach,” and have lunch at the diner where they hung out? I can get you into those sites…as well as the haunts of Jason Aldean, Otis Redding and Wet Willie.” As Dorothy said in Jerry Maguire, “you had me at hello.”

The light went off for me at that moment…and not just that our PR pitches could be better. At roughly the same time, I had watched an online video of a DMO CEO present their budget request to a City Council using the same high school report format. Who we are, why we do what we do, how many awards we have won for our work…etc.

When that first slide should have been like a Steve Jobs presentation: $90 million in non-resident local taxes generated! Big, bold and in their face. We generate more tax revenue to your bottom line that any other contractor in which you invest, bar none. Would you like to see how?

It reminded me of a great story from former Juneau CVB CEO Lorene Palmer. The Bureau had been told they would have ten minutes to make their presentation upon which Council would vote an increase (or not). She had her (high school report style) PowerPoint deck ready to go…when the Council President unilaterally announced that all presentations would be no more than 3 minutes.

With no way to edit the Powerpoint deck at that point, Lorene simply used her time to show the Council the three new TV ads they were preparing to run. The Council was enthralled, as they had never seen the Bureau’s TV ads. And, the DMO received one of the largest single year budget increases ever…thanks to going with what’s really most important, instead of racing through a set of slides that don’t really matter.

Attention spans have never been shorter. In whatever arena your message plays, lead with the “money shot” to capture and hold your target. Like the filter used by editors at USA Today: “Who Cares and Why Now?”

And, that’s not the build up. It’s the “money shot.”

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