Monday, June 25, 2007

Designer Margaret Patterson: Producing Pitch Books Without Losing Your Mind, Part Two

Production Tips

Delegating Responsibility

Delegate pitch book production to one employee. A pinch hitter can help out, but only if your key production person is out sick. This saves time and helps maintain effective results even within tight deadlines.

File Management

An organized library of electronic files is a great beginning. It is also a valuable tool for controlling time sheets and preserving good vibes. A few basic steps:

1. Name your files so clearly that everyone knows what they are.

2. Use suffixes at the end of every document title (.doc=Word, .qxd=Quark, .idd=InDesign, .ppt=PowerPoint, etc.)

3. Organize files in electronic folders labeled by usage: fact sheets; drilling down to folders for each product; drilling down to a folder for each version you currently use, etc. Keep documents and relevant import files together in folders. This speeds up printing and minimizes hectic last minute production jitters.

4. Create archived image libraries for logos, charts and photos.

5. Always obtain a complete “menu” of files from consultants who create them… unformatted and formatted files for many uses.

6. Contract to own every file created by consultants you hire. Here’s what you need:

Compressed files… Multiplatform

JPEG files are for viewing continuous tone images on monitor. Photos and logos with blended or fading colors are good examples. GIF formatting can retain sharp images that have no blended or fading colors, ergo, having only solid colors and lines. Both formats contain just enough pixels to be clear on the monitor when saved at 72 DPI (dots per inch). Using these small files minimizes web site screen refresh time. JPEG and GIF color specs cannot be altered in the document into which they have been imported. What you import (place) is what you get.

Do not open and resave a JPEG and GIF file over and over again. Ever time you resave a compressed file it compresses again until, eventually, it is no longer sharp on screen.

Noncompressed Files

Tiff files are multiplatform, retain any color usage you can create and can often even accept new color assignments after being placed in your document. For good printing quality save them at 144 to 200 DPI, depending on the printing device you are using. Save them at much greater DPI if the output will be large like a poster.

EPS files are platform specific. Having higher resolution than JPEGs or GIFs they print well, but are too data-heavy for use on the web.

When in doubt give unformatted PhotoShop files (suffixed .psd) to your web master or graphics designer. These files can be used to create generate formats and DPI settings as needed.

No Fault “Insurance”

Formatting and/or printing problems can occur as documents are passed from workstation to workstation. I always enjoy working closely with in-house marketing and production people. We share ideas that help marketing tools print and link to sites with ease. Good ideas:

1. Give yourself and your consultant enough turnaround time to handle proofreading, editing and production.

2. Keep a cool head in emergencies. Solve production problems by retracing steps.

Input and questions are welcome. Your thoughts may show up in future articles, so let me know if I can quote you.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any way to avoid the issue of your pitchbook having been created in one version of PowerPoint and the user's version is older so the formatting (and sometimes, colors) are altered?

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should companies have a different look or identity in pitchbook format
from what they have in other promotional materials?

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the user is a prospect or business associate in a different firm I recommend saving your PowerPoint pitchbook in the PDF format. Do that by printing the document as a PDF. The fonts, colors and all import files will appear as you intended, and, the document cannot be edited.

Tip: Make the PDF smaller by opening it through Acrobat and resaving it with the same name to the same folder.

To solve in-house problems all workstations using PowerPoint should have the same version of the application and can acess all font and import files that were used.

PowerPoint documents being passed from PCs to Macs are another can of worms. All editing should be done at the same workstation.

Make things easy for the employee responsible for editing (the "editor"). Data provided by various executives is reviewed by the Director of Marketing, then all edits are implimented by the editor. When versions are created by different executives your messaging gets off track and formatting issues can be painful.

Preserve the integrity of your firm's identity throughout all marketing and PR materials. I refer to how the logo is used, overall design and the text... the three components of "content".

Margaret

10:33 AM  
Blogger SusanW said...

HERE'S MORE FROM MARGARET

QUESTIONS Answers


Approval Committee. It would be helpful if you could specify the functional representatives. Who chairs the committee? Marketing typically has the lead but my experience is that sales is often neglected.

Field experience with consultants and prospects is critical. A firm's Director of Marketing chairs the approval committee. It is essential that sales executives be consulted for input throughout the process.?


When do you get Compliance involved?

When the first complete text draft is accepted by the approval committee. They are consulted again if further edits are made.

Expertise Gets New Business. Do you advocate an "A" Team of presenters in a team driven process? A well rehearsed team that enjoys working together wins business.

Not sure what you mean by "A" Team. I highly recommend presentation coaching for individual and/or team presentations whenever the budget allows it. However, I believe that individual presenting styles shouldn't be "shaped" into slick pitches. Prospects appreciate meeting and conversing with real people, rather than being hit by machine-like information. I am not a presentation coach myself.

Some pitching coaches dislike presentation books so much that they advise against using them. Oh so wrong! A well developed pitch book helps your meeting go smoothly and gives valuable information to leave behind.

Who should control pre-final rehearsals? Should they be mandatory for Investment Professionals?

A firm's Director of Marketing manages the entire presentation coaching process implementing advice from the coach. One cannot make rehearsals mandatory, but can urge how much better presentations results will be if investment executives have coaching.


Customize.
Prospective clients love to see their names early in a presentation. Do you advocate a page that summarizes why a client should do business with the firm


Always.

The same page at the conclusion creates a re-cap opportunity.

Repetition can be deadly. I conclude presentations with an expertise section.

This brings up a good point. Assistance with content development, design and production are inseparable. By providing all three services I enable in-house marketing groups to meet deadlines with great results. Using templates and design system guidelines I provide they can take over the process very easily.

Handouts.
Loose pages should be avoided. Do you recommend an Appendix in the back of the book to "store" or "have available" material that amplifies a topic/page?


I create many, many strategy fact sheets, company profiles, research papers and market commentaries every year. They are always loose, making them handy at conferences, lunch meetings, etc. The appendix you mention is not a bad idea, but firms will do a lot of editing as that page will change constantly.


Shelf Life. When should the previous quarter's updated information [performance/AUM etc.] be available? What does the Consultant Community expect today

Last I checked, NASD recommends two weeks for mutual fund performance number reporting.

My institutional clients vary a bit on these points. Generally they have performance numbers for reporting within 10 days of the end of a quarter. Their asset numbers are usually reported to the public within about 2 to 2.5 weeks. Consultants may only have the asset numbers after they have been reported to the public.

Consultants want information as soon as possible.


Margaret Patterson Company
Corporate Identity & Communications Graphics for Financial Services Firms

12:08 PM  

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