Demonstration success: what to measure, and how to present it

Demonstration success

If you’re not keeping score, how do you know if you’re winning?

Demonstrations aren’t a competition, of course, but performance still matters. You still need to know exactly how your efforts are paying off in real terms. What good are your demos doing for your business – and how do you share your results with the people who need to know them?

What demo results to present

When it comes to data presentation, less is more. To keep your presentation suitably lean, start by thinking about the metrics you’re tracking and presenting.

The metrics you choose should be controllable, i.e. things you can do something about. The weather may well affect your demo performance and results, but you can’t stop it raining and keeping potential visitors and customers indoors.

In general, you should also track a mixture of ‘lead’ and ‘lag’ metrics. Lag metrics measure things that happen because of marketing activity. In our case, this could mean sales generated on the day of your demo. Lead metrics, on the other hand, track the level of marketing activity that happens to influence this outcome. In our case, this will include your demo budget.

Why measure both lead and lag metrics? Because lag metrics track what’s happened, and lead metrics track what’s happening. It’s only possible to directly influence lead metrics, by making adjustments to your marketing activity. These adjustments will, in turn, indirectly affect your lag metric.

Once you’ve decided what to measure, it’s time to think about what success looks like. Whatever goals you’ve set for a demonstration need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. You can set SMART targets even if you don’t know exactly how many people will show up on a given day.

For example, you might be looking for a 20% sales uplift during a two-week warehouse demonstration campaign. That’s a specific, measurable improvement in business, it’s attainable and realistic because you’re not expecting anything wild like double profits overnight, and it’s timely because it has a cut-off point – you won’t end up looking at sales figures in six months’ time, wondering if the demo had anything to do with them.


How to present demo results

Whether it’s a classic round-table meeting, an email report, a living document in a shared drive or a monitoring app like Cyfe, you need some way of delivering the results of your campaign to the team members who need to know them.

  • Meetings are traditional and great for summing up at key points in a campaign – but there’s a fine art to presenting data in a way that doesn’t send your colleagues to sleep. Meetings are especially vulnerable to this because they’re often in the way of something else – your team want to be working, not talking about working.
  • Email reports are another classic for the time-poor business; send out the results and let people read at their convenience. The biggest risk? Being sure that people have read the reports and taken them in. Of these four methods, email is the easiest to forget.
  • Living documents – basically, a computer file on a Google Drive, OneDrive, or some other shared storage space, which your people can access when they need to input or check data. Living documents keep everyone singing from the same proverbial hymn sheet, but it can be a little too easy for someone to move, delete or otherwise misplace key data.
  • Monitoring apps work well if you’re tracking everything about a campaign – or even an entire business. As long as demo staff use and update the app at their end, you’ll have up-to-the-minute insights on how your demos are performing, and that data will be accessible to anyone in the business who has the app installed.

Real-time, automatic updates are the ideal to which marketing aspires, but that’s the ideal, the nice-to-have. The must-have is making it easy for people to input and access the data. But no matter what tool you use to gather and share data, you also need to use it in the right way.

Open with an overview. Your business has run a demo but not everyone will have been involved to the same degree, so bring everyone up to speed – what was on show, and where, and how? If you have photos or video footage, bring that out: it’s better to present clear visual evidence than a verbal explanation to help the viewer comprehend the analysis.

Visualise your data clearly, and present one clear takeaway at a time. A simple, accurately scaled, clearly labelled graph will convey a message more clearly than one with 3D bars in four colours with cute-but-complex graphics everywhere.

Present trends, not scores. When you’re reporting on a campaign’s success, you want to show how footfall, engagement and sales changed throughout its duration, which means you need to plot and show these metrics over time. This will give you a consistent point of comparison, making it much easier for you to look from metric to metric for points of correlation – and those provable points are what you need to put across.


Most importantly: tell people what they need to know. If they want more data, they’ll ask: if they’re overwhelmed because you presented too much, they’ll shut down. Sum up the key points and leave the details until you’re asked about them.

It’s easy to get lost in the fog of details that make up your campaign data – and if you’re lost, you can’t hope to guide other people. Finding your way is a matter of choosing the right things to measure and the right way to present them.

Your data metrics need to be things you can actually control and measure, set to a timescale that helps you find and describe trends. You present them by focusing on the same things – what you did to set and control the trends, and what changed when you did it.

Keep the means and methods simple, and you can spend more time on what matters – demonstrating, monitoring, and making changes to make better demos.


If you’ve found this useful, check out our other insights, here.