Keep It Simple to Win: Apple Beats Microsoft on Presentations Alone

steve jobs iphone 4 words Your Content Marketing Must Make It Easy for Your Customers to Understand How You Benefit Them

You may not love Apple or Steve Jobs or their groundbreaking series of  iPhones first launched in 2007 Conversely, you may love much of what Microsoft has brought us in terms of operating systems and office productivity applications.

But, it’s hard not to love the way Steve Jobs keeps it simple and compelling as he introduced the iPhone 4 at their Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2010.  And, it’s hard to find much to love about Steve Ballmer’s own recent presentation on their upcoming smartphone strategy.

So, when you present information, I recommend emulating the Jobs’ simple and graphical approach: Few words and powerful images.

He begins his introduction of the iPhone 4 by saying that it has more than 100 new features but that "I get to cover eight of them with you." He says it simply and colloquially. He doesn’t use gobbledygook speech, as Steve Ballmer does below. Behind Steve initially is the giant word "iPhone" which then segues into his first point, "the first one: all new design."

iphone4 design slide

To reinforce each of his points, the screen behind him shows huge images of the iPhone and of its specific features.

Basically, you have a very smart guy explaining in a non-highfalutin way why we would be crazy not to buy the new iPhone 4.

Microsoft: Complicated Visuals and Convoluted Explanations, Oh My!

Contrast that with some slides that were part of Microsoft’s recent analyst’s conference.  There is a awful lot going on with both his slides and his explanations

This is the Windows Phone 7 Slide

steve balmer windows phone 7 slide


Here is Steve explaining some Microsoft strategy elements:

Part of what we’ll be doing is driving kind of integrated set of thinking, branding. We’ll be really aggressively marketing Windows Phone. Both Windows PCs in all form factors and Windows Phones will get pretty aggressive marketing support, if you will.


If you think I’m all way off base, you can watch Steve Ballmer’s analyst presentation.

Admittedly, he did have to address a complex set of product  issues. Nonetheless, he could have used more, but simpler slides so that viewers would walk away with a clear understanding of the core elements of Microsoft smartphone strategy. For example, in the Windows Phone 7 slide above, it has no headline and no clear focus. I have no idea what to take away from this slide. Imagine how much explanation would be required to clarify what this slide actually meant.

By contrast , I’ll bet that most viewers of the iPhone 4 presentation will remember specific visuals and most of the eight new features on which Steve Jobs focused.

The key to content marketing–and presentation–success is to keep it simple, make it visual, and focus on the most important and memorable points that will be beneficial to your customers.

On the other hand, to paraphrase an old aphorism about advertising that may well apply to Microsoft , " If you can’t create a compelling presentation for your product, you have a product problem, not a presentation problem.”

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