This week I lost a big presentation design project for a large enterprise. The issue was price. I think the client is going to give it a try on their own. The project involved the design of 4 days worth of presentations of the company's bid for a major tender. It was competitive against a handful of other major global enterprises.

Here is my postmortem analysis of why it went wrong.
  • Complexity cost. Big corporates create more expensive projects, it is the agency cost of being large. Lots of meetings, lots of stakeholders, that need to be kept in the loop.
  • Not seeing the value. The client spent a lot of money on months of management consultants, traveling experts back and forth across the Atlantic to develop the solution and create thousands of pages of material. The client probably thinks that the majority of the convincing power sits in this material and that the presentation is a small effort that comes at the back of it. I think that the presentation can make or break the sales process, and it is especially valuable to have an outsider frame the story completely fresh.
  • Big corporate negotiations. Large enterprise extract favourable terms from suppliers through their sheer size. They can offer very large purchase volumes. It is one of the main rationales for the corporate mergers and acquisitions. This works for factories with lots of spare capacity that are bound to a specific ration. Less for for a one-person operation with a steady flow of business that comes in from all over the globe via the Internet.
It is interesting to see that the most powerful presentation I design are often for smaller, more agile companies. With the exception of those cases where you can work directly with very senior management in a big corporate, in those cases you can get that creative flow that delivers great work.

Ok, I have written the frustration off my chest.