As stated in a previous post, culture impacts everything we do, and giving a presentation is no exception. People from different cultures have varying expectations and preferences for both HOW a presentation is given and WHAT is presented.
In this post, I’m going to discuss a second cultural preference that impacts the WHAT. It has to do with the degree to which members of a culture need or like to be sold a product or service (think “hard sell”) or not. This cultural difference is referred to as Product Focus vs. Market Focus.
Let’s start with Product Focus. Some cultures believe that if a product is of sufficient quality, little selling has to be done. It’s the “build it, and they will come” mentality. A product succeeds or fails based on its perceived usefulness, quality, or beauty. In these cultures, it is believed that people will intuitively see the product’s value based on the merits of its features.
Product-Focused cultures include Germany, Italy, and Mexico.
Other cultures believe that products and ideas don’t sell themselves. These cultures believe that a product must be sold to succeed. A great deal of effort and money must be invested in presenting both the features and benefits, explicitly and compellingly. In these cultures, audiences expect the “hard sell.” They want to know what the product or service will do for them. Without this information, they will not understand that the product or service is worth considering.
Market-Focused Cultures include the United States, India, and Russia.
Some tips for presenting to both types of cultures.
When making a presentation to a Product-Focused audience:
When presenting to Market-Focused cultures:
You can imagine how different a presentation would look and sound for a Product or Market-Focused audience. Knowing this cultural difference can help you correctly structure and deliver your presentation to make the right impression.