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What should be included in a presentation to the board of directors?

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I'm working as a management trainee and need to report advertising activities undertaken by the company.
When looking at a board presentation you should consider a couple of things before even starting your outline. You can find a whole bunch of sample scenarios online of outlines for meetings and can gather some thoughts on structure of how to present to your board.

Keep mindful everything that will be presented needs to be justified. If you can't justify the budget, you don't get it next round. Marketing has a tendency to be one of the first budgets to cut when it comes to streamlining, unless you're a large company with a lot of reserves. In this economy even the big companies are scaling back.

Here's a thought on how to structure the presentation to come:

Start with what the goals were for the last quarter or year (depending on what report this is). State clearly what was intended from the last meeting if you can get that data. Then, begin to show what initiatives were implemented either by time or by importance. Sometimes it's good to start with the bad news and work your way to the good news. This tactic has a tendency to relieve board members' fears that they "wasted" the budget.

Make sure you have all the data structured in both text and graph form so the board can choose their preferred media to look at. If there's time, make sure your PowerPoint has simple but dynamic animations to accentuate key points in the campaigns that occurred. You'll also want to include the results of each campaign and how that converted into revenue.

Board members like to know the bottom line is getting bigger, that way they can give good report to shareholders. If it's not good, then address the mitigating factors that held up the campaign's effectiveness in the marketplace and what can be done next time to increase profitable response.

Remember to take it from the shareholders' standpoint for profit, and then make sure you address the consumer of your goods or services perspective too. You have to be able to show that the marketing performed well and has bred loyalty among your customers. This shows that there's viable reason to believe that this track will continue into the future--or that a better track may be necessary.

It's important to then outline how the marketing department will address any issues and with what new campaigns can be implemented to turn things around. Remember, marketing is an art--not a full science. (I'll get shot for saying this but it is what it is.) This is also why you should also do A/B testing--to see what works, kick out what doesn't and continue with what does until you find a better media that converts more.

Always have in mind what the future will be targeting and keep your objectives for future on hand in case the board decides to ask about what's next. It's always better to have more information than you think you'll need.

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