Keeping PowerPoint in Perspective

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A recent New York Times article — We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint — is the latest in a (seemingly) never-ending series of articles deriding the tool. This is a good opportunity to move from the “cool” perspective of bashing PowerPoint, to consider it’s significant possibilities — even for content professionals.
Army PowerPoint Slide
For over twelve years we have recommended a different perspective. Rather than view PowerPoint as a bullet-oriented presentation tool — it’s initial purpose — we suggest viewing it as a business graphic development, and even general communication tool.

Training organizations have long embraced PowerPoint as a foundation for e-learning. Where would marketing webinars be without PowerPoint?

As a production tool for general business people, nothing beats it and that’s why it’s so pervasive.

But what of more “professional” users?

A Tool for the Content Marketing Professional

Consider the following marketing and sales content requirements facing most business content creators:

Powerpoint 2010

  • Relevance — tailor content so it is relevant to viewer’s roles, interests, etc.
  • Faster development times — produce and deploy content quickly
  • Multi-purpose — create content that can be used for multiple purposes — training, marketing, briefings and selling
  • Modularity — create content as modules that can be mixed-and-matched for different versions of end products
  • Multimedia — move beyond static text to rich media documents and multimedia
  • Maintenance — maintain content to extend shelf life and accuracy
  • Lower content costs, improve return-on-content — accomplish the above objectives while driving production costs lower

Years ago, a marketing agency performed an analysis on the use of PowerPoint at HP. One of the (not so) startling findings from discussions with the sales organization was: “if we built PowerPoint the right way, we would never need brochures.”

I believe this is even more true today.

For non-website content, companies must adopt a new approach to creating content. We’ve called this thinking and creating like a publisher.

PowerPoint is a true multi-media content creation tool. Over the last few versions, functionality has matured significantly. It enables professionals to quickly build highly modular content which facilitates dynamic content assembly. Front line business communicators can easily tailor and personalize finished content so it is relevant for intended audiences.

What other software tool provides a universal standard with usable functionality for “mere mortals” to work with text, images, graphics, animation, audio and video in a single application that costs virtually nothing?