How to Create an Effective Software Demo: Dawn Powerwash Commercial

By Adam Wells - October 31, 2020

Fundamentals of Creating a Great Software Demo

This all started the minute when Adam Wells, GST's CEO, watched to a Dawn Powerwash commercial. He was inspired by how quickly and easily this 30-second advertisement was able to sell him on a product. It went methodical in a step-by-step process of establishing value without unnecessary puffery. Impressive - especially since our team has listened to hundreds of demos of much longer length. This software demonstration gets the point across in 30 seconds!

Let's take a closer look at why this software demo works well! You can watch the video below, or continue reading for helpful information on creating an effective software demo.



A Closer Look at Dawn's 30-Second Product Commercial

Between GST & GSV, we see 100's of company pitches with as many software demos year in and year out. Don't get me wrong-we love seeing these, but more often than not the demos plod along in the minutiae of the tech for far too long without getting to the brass tacks, the essential differentiating features and distinct value prop of the software solution. One weekend within the last couple of months I was watching TV and about fell off the couch when this very simple commercial popped up. What caught me was how focused this 30 second commercial was as getting to the point in several areas. I immediately thought of all the demos that we've seen in contrast that didn't come close to touching on these fundamental points.

...I give you Dawn Powerwash Dish Spray.

In this blog, we'll walk through the fundamental steps of creating an effective product demo using the Storybrand methodology. 


Identify Your Target Audience

The first thing Dawn did well in the product demo was to effectively identify the company's target audience. This commercial does a great job being really specific on who it is speaking to; it's not just people who cook at home, it's explicit in wanting to target people who clean up as they go, not the home cook who piles it all in the sink for a day or so.

Why is this important? Any given solution cannot be everything to everyone or expect to deliver the same value to just anyone. Value is inherently matched to pain points-the guy who stacks dishes in the sink for days on end will not see value in this particular 'clean as you go solution.'


Tease the Pain Point the Product Demo Solves

The second fundamental step of an effective software demo is to identify the pain point you're solving for: the key words here are 'takes time.' What is the cost of the pain point? In this case it is a pain to clean as you go because you have to scrub a bunch, detracting from your cooking; but you can't help yourself because you're [the target audience] someone who is compelled to clean as you cook

Why is this important? It's really important to lay out the pain point that your solution addresses as early in your pitch/demo as you can. Your goal is to build attention & trust with your audience. So far you're making sure you're talking to a specific group and also making sure that the pain point you're solving for resonates with that group. If it doesn't resonate, continuing with the demo may fall flat and your audience will leave unimpressed.


Establish Your Brand's Promise

It's crucial you ask yourself the question, "What is our company's claim?" Dawn's brand promise is that the company's Powerwash Dish Spray is the Faster Easier Way to Clean as You Go...what's not to like?

This is important because you want your audience to know how they will be better off by using your solution. Why, this time broadly, is your solution better than the alternatives. Depending on your particular solution, you could be the solution that is Stronger, Lighter, Easier, Less Risky, More inclusive, Faster, Better Interoperability, More Friendly, etc.


Define Success for Your Ideal Customer

The next key component of a successful software demo is being able to quantify the return on investment, or ROI. This is so important, can't hammer this home enough. Very few of the demos we have seen touch on this much less clearly communicate it in terms of either time or money saved, etc. through the use of the solution. In this case, Dawn's solution for those who cook as they go, but who are frustrated by how long scrubbing takes and want a faster easier way to clean as you go, can actually get it done 5x faster! This is significant time savings.

Why Important: Again so important-without a quantified ROI, what do you want your target audience to be anchored to when you share the cost of your solution to them. You want them to consider the expense of the solution as an investment in the value that they'll receive. Our recommendation is that at a minimum, don't do another demo without noting this particular element explicitly and repeatedly.


Focus On Your Solution's Value

How to use: Did you catch that we're already knee-deep in the demo and we haven't yet touched on how to use the solution; this is intentional. Value, Value, Value...hammer this home in the demo from the minute it starts and only later get into how to actually use the solution. In Dawn's case, their instructions are simple: just spray, wipe & rinse...sounds amazing. Also notice that they focus on the simplest workflow that will allow their target audience to see the tangible benefit of the solution; they don't go into how the label is designed or talk about the unique spray mechanism, or get distracted into a rabbit hole story that takes their audience's eye off the ball.

Why Important: Here is the point in the presentation that you may be crossing your arms and thinking 'yeah, but my solution is incredibly complex and delivers so much value that I cannot even start to describe it in 30 seconds.' My short answer is, I dare you. One of the tenants of software solutions is that they 'abstract complexity' (as Frederick Brooks has said). More specifically, your solution may be incredibly complex, but jump to the part of the software that is the money shot, the kill shot; don't camp out in user management tables and login workflows or alert reviews...start in the middle of things, In Medias Res, with the action, and then compel your audience engage and ask 'how did you get there?' Once you've done this, you will have made an impression.


Make Your Message Personal: Consider Product Application

Let's take a closer look at how the solution works for you: On tough messes, the dish spray cuts through grease on contact w/o water or scrubbing. Again, value...not only does this help you clean faster, but it also cleans for you faster.

Why Important: For any software solution, there is an application layer and a business logic layer. The application layer is the primary interface for your target audience to use your solution. The business logic layer is a primary component in how the solution works for your target audience, how it abstracts complexity in a number of different ways: reducing spreadsheets, connecting to other systems, gathering data, making calculations, visually representing complex structured data, etc.


An Effective Software Demo Must Demonstrate Your Company's Value

Finally, before you end your demo, make sure to repeat your product's value. What did I say? Hammer the value home to the extent that when you reveal the price or the possibly burdensome implementation timeline, your target audience breezes past it without any objection; they want the brand promise to apply to them!

Repeated value prop helps to reinforce and re-anchor your target audience on what they will achieve with your solution. Inevitably your demo will be longer than 30 seconds, so repeatedly referencing your value prop will be needed. You may think you're repeating yourself too much, but you're not! As soon as you think this, do it a couple more times, then that should be sufficient. 

If you'd like additional help, partner with GST. 





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