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As a marketer, you're probably familiar with this experience: A member of the sales team has an upcoming meeting and needs to put together a pitch deck. The sales rep finds a previous pitch deck and starts updating it. He or she might take out a slide or two but will certainly add in new ones.

A few other tweaks are made—a logo swapped here; names adjusted there—and the deck is done. The bulk of the deck has been used before, so it's good to go, right?

The cycle repeats itself when a different sales rep needs a pitch deck and pulls that same presentation as a starting point.

Welcome to the Frankendeck, and what can be a never-ending cycle of unattractive content that kills your audience's attention, one awful presentation at a time.

Marketers know Frankendecks well because of the headaches such decks create and the business risk they can pose. Read on to learn how to avoid scary pitch decks.

The Junk Drawer of Content

Frankendecks are often a byproduct of good intentions. An eager junior colleague might not have the design experience to know any better. A senior colleague might fear using the wrong template or may lack the time to reinvent the presentation. Pulling something that's already been used and tweaking it can seem like the best plan.

But how good is the deck that was pulled? Is it on-brand? Did Marketing approve it? Does Marketing even know the deck exists? Do the new tweaks follow design best-practices?

Presentations that start with the best of intentions can quickly become an overwhelming mess for teams.

Frankendecks are also known as "the junk drawer of content," because they result in a mishmash of fonts, formats, and information that isn't consistent or, more important, on-brand. From a marketing standpoint, such presentations miss the mark in every way possible.

So, how does a marketer avoid the Frankendeck and put an end to the cycle?

How to Spot a Frankendeck

Learning how to spot one is a good starting point. Frankendecks have a few hallmark characteristics:

  • Information overload. Presentations that include everything but the kitchen sink are likely Frankendecks. It's a struggle to even read the slides—let alone comprehend them—because they're jammed with information. The audience won't know where to focus or what the takeaway is.
  • Lengthy text blocks. Part of the information overload can be lengthy text blocks on slides that aren't reader-friendly. Wordy slides with little visual appeal are a Frankendeck staple.
  • Jumbled assets and elements. Frankendecks feature an inevitable hodgepodge of brand assets and design elements. Marketers might notice various versions of the same logo, mismatched colors, a mixture of font styles and sizes, or branded slides that don't match. Without a designer's eye or the right presentation software, teams can easily jumble assets and elements.

Understandably, Frankendecks frustrate marketers who work so hard to build and nurture brands. They lack visual appeal or cohesion, come across as unprofessional, distract audiences, and sometimes even lose audiences altogether.

Smart Technologies to the Rescue

Marketers can't control what other teams do at their companies, but they can control what information teams are able to access and which tools they can use.

To prevent the Frankendeck cycle, marketers should look beyond the traditional, stale presentation tools that dominate the market today. The presentation software market has evolved rapidly in recent years, and it now includes smart technologies that can lock down company brands and design presentations for you.

Marketers who want to ensure brand consistency across all company presentations should first look for presentation makers with smart templates. Presentation software with smart templates gives teams prebuilt, customizable slides and presentation templates that serve as design guardrails for teams.

Using smart templates, companies can create brand themes that are automatically applied to presentations. Marketers don't have to worry about the logos, fonts, or colors that teams use to build their deck because those decisions have already been made. Smart templates remove the pressure to create something from scratch and negate the tendency to pull and work from a previous Frankendeck.

The best presentation software today also employs design artificial intelligence (AI). Marketers should think of design AI as a designer-in-a-box: the one who does the heavy design lifting for the company.

Design AI applies design best-practices in real-time, allowing teams to focus on the material they need to present instead of how that material is presented. Design AI saves teams valuable time and makes it easy to turn ideas into visual, on-brand stories that uphold today's design-forward standards.

No Excuse

Marketers know that presentations are an extension of their business, but too often the teams that create and use them fail to understand that perception is reality. A Frankendeck may have the best of intentions, but it could scare away the audience. That's a foolish risk to take in today's business environment when presentation technology offers far better.

It's never been easier to present a professional, engaging company story that's on-brand. There's no excuse for Frankendecks anymore, and that should be music to any marketer's ears.

More Resources on Building a Pitch Deck

Five Tips to Take Your Marketing Presentations From Good Enough to Great

How to Move From Pitching Products to Marketing Your Point of View [B2B Backstage]

The Perfect Pitch Is Possible With Presentation Management

Continue reading "Pitch Decks: How to Avoid the Dreaded Frankendeck" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Jason Lapp

Jason Lapp is the president and chief operating officer of Beautiful.ai, a presentation software company.

LinkedIn: Jason Lapp