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How To Demo Your Product

Monday, March 23, 2020
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Brendan Schwartz, CTO & Co-Founder, Wistia

This course wraps up with two types of product demos - one to a live group of panelists (April 6) and one pre-recorded video (due May 7). Each type requires a different way of thinking and presenting. In this session, we will discuss how to plan for these demos & create your final demo video using SoapBox


By Monday, March 23 at 10:00am, each team must post a google doc in the Assignment Master tab “March 23 - How to Demo” with two DRAFT storyboards (either actual drawings or table format is fine) and associated scripts for both your live and your video demos. Refer to examples below. Focus on the flow, the story you plan to tell in each format, and who on your team will do the presenting and/or narration. A final version of your storyboards and scripts will be due on March 27.

Live demo guidelines (4/6): This is not a company pitch for investors or a training demo. Assume you are preparing for customer demos of your product. Don't try to demo all your product's features, and don't try to explain all of your UI elements! Instead, walk through how a typical user would complete 1-2 specific tasks. Those tasks should show what some designers call a "hero path" through your product, i.e., one of the most important and/or most common use cases for your primary persona -- one that provides a differentiated solution for the unmet needs that matter most to them. You will have 20 minutes to demo and to get feedback from our guests - plan for a maximum of 10 minutes of live demo and the rest for feedback.

Final video demo guidelines (5/7): This is a walkthrough for instructors of your final product as it stands by the end of the semester. We know many of you will not have fully working software by the end of the course. If your product is not finished, plan to fill in with high fidelity wireframes, or sketches to show how a user would proceed from screen to screen. Consider the following flow:

  1. Show a slide that describes your target user and the problem you'll solve for them. 

  2. Next, show the solution: the single screen that, when the user sees it, will elicit the response, "That's just what I need!" Goal: get the audience excited about what you have to offer.

  3. Next, walk through the solution, mentioning what you are doing at each major step without providing any in-depth explanation. Goal: orient the audience to the major navigational elements of your app, so that when you explain these elements in more depth in the next step, the audience knows how each element fits into the overall context.

  4. Next, walk through the path more slowly, pointing out key UI design choices and explaining how you've provided a good user experience and a differentiated solution, compared to rival apps that address the same need.

  5. You may split the quick hero path and the slower breakdown of the product into two videos (“A” and “B” sides). This can be especially useful if there was a bigger focus on the back-end technology for your product in PM102. Side A could be a focus on the user interface, whereas Side B would be more details about what’s going on behind the scenes (e.g., ML, algorithms, etc.)

Here’s an example of a script and final demo video for Struct Club, by Amira Polack, Aakash Mehta, and Madhur Agarwal (‘18) to give you a sense of how to approach your demos. Each demo, just like each product, is unique. So have fun with it and be creative!

See more on Wistia’s site for great tips on creating product explainer videos and examples of product videos for different use-cases.


Session Prep:

Come to the session prepared with questions about how to structure your live and video demos. Three teams will also be asked to present their demo plans/storyboards for crits. These teams will be notified by Friday, March 20. We will also have time in this session to discuss your dev process so far.

Recommended Reading:

  1. Your Product Demo Sucks Because It's Focused on Your Product (a summary of his book Just F*ing Demo), First Round Review interview of Monetate's Robert Falcone

  2. How to Make a Product Demo That Stands Out, by Oscar Santolalla

  3. Product Managers and the Product Demo, by Steve Johnson

  4. Nine Things Product Managers Should Know About Supporting Sales, oldie, but goodie by Daniel Shefer

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