The ELEVATOR PITCH
So, you think you have an offering with some fantastic FEATURES, that will BENEFIT quite a few groups of Target USERS, but you are afraid to chat it up. Maybe someone will rip off your idea and make a successful company before you do. Or maybe someone already built something similar to your idea, and they didn’t market it, but they will now that you mentioned you were developing something to sell…
OK. Let’s get it on with some truth. STEALTH mode for an emerging business is NOT effective for several reasons:
1. As the CEO of your idea (and potential startup), your #1 job is to SELL IT, to everyone and anyone who will listen to your ELEVATOR PITCH. I’m not saying give away the algorithms to your software, or your grandma’s recipe that makes your cupcakes taste so good, but talking about your offering, even in the broadest of senses will:
a. Get others excited in it, hopefully create some buzz, even before your offering is built. Half of the enjoyment of eating a dessert is anticipating how good it will taste. Before someone buys you product or service, they have to become aware it exists. Your job, as CEO, is to make them aware of your great new offering, BEFORE it’s produced, so when you launch, people are already salivating for it.
b. Talking about your IDEA will help YOU define it better. The PRODUCTIZATION process is all about getting intimate with your IDEA— identifying it’s FEATURES, BENEFITS, and the PEOPLE who will find value in your offering. Walking this process teaches you about what you think you have, and helps you refine the actual IDEA into a sellable offering.
c. Get input from potential users to make your idea BETTER! Marketing and ad agencies often run ‘product development research’ sessions, in which they show a prototype, or a presentation in slides or video of a new product they are considering releasing. In chatting your idea up to whoever will listen, you are effectively doing the same thing. The more people you chat up your idea to, the more feedback you’ll get. Some will love it. Others will think it sucks, serves no purpose. And though negative feedback will be hurtful, you can use it as a learning opportunity to add FEATURES to your product or service that will benefit those who rejected your initial offering.
Still thinking someone will rip off your idea if you chat it up before it’s produced? The second reason why STEALTH mode is bad marketing:
2. If your idea does NOT have a strong enough DIFFERENTIATOR that is hard to copy within first SIX MONTHS from launch, your current idea is NOT worth developing. But don’t worry. No problem. ITERATE your initial IDEA— make it harder to copy!
How do you make a product or service that’s hard to copy?
● If you’re actualizing a SaaS (Software as a Service) product, it should have high tech— sophisticated algorithms behind the UI, that offer unique functionality, and big data analytics, for Personalized Targeting.
● If you are hoping to produce consumer goods, like a bakery, a new draft beer, or maybe a fashion line, these are similar to selling ‘art,’ in that each has its own ‘flavor,’ so they are inherently unique to themselves.
● Selling Air/Media/Entertainment must be TIGHTLY TARGETED. An Entertainment Vlog becomes>> How is should have ended, rewriting endings to major films: http://www.howitshouldhaveended.com/blog/. Like consumer goods, you are basically creating ‘art,’ or something with your very personal signature when you create a media site.
In the above three examples, the DIFFERENTIATOR will last long enough after launch to gain market share because each is unique to itself.
Are you shy? Get lost for words when asked about yourself? Think you suck at public speaking?
We create an ELEVATOR PITCH to give us the WORDS to chat up our idea confidently, while concisely sharing the best bits, the most unique FEATURES and greatest BENEFITS about our offering FIRST.
Think of a PITCH as an actor’s script, one you study to memorize the information the PITCH contains. As CEO of your idea, it is your job to communicate quickly, and concisely, but also to excite potential customers and employees about the offering you are developing.
Utilize an ELEVATOR PITCH to SHARE YOUR IDEA/Potential OFFERING at business engagements, large gatherings from weddings to networking events— when anyone asks what you’re working on (and even people who don’t ask, find a way to slip it into the dialog whenever possible).
Still feel apprehensive about chatting up the idea you’re PRODUCTIZING because someone will rip it off?
Don’t be. Everyone has ideas, or hears about them daily. Most people won’t take the time, or invest the energy to actualize them. IDEAS have no intrinsic value. Only when we turn them into something real, like a product or service, or even a political or religious message, do they take on a function, a purpose, a use, something for people to interact with, believe in, ACT upon.
PRODUCTIZATION is the marketing process of actualizing IDEAS into real products and services. And whether a message, a physical product, or a software service or platform, constructing an ELEVATOR PITCH is an essential part of the PRODUCTIZATION process to help us more effectively SELL our offering.
An ELEVATOR PITCH defined is a “brief (5-30 seconds) persuasive speech to spark interest in you, your offering, and/or your company.”
Some best practices to creating an engaging PITCH:
● Describe your offerings FEATURES and BENEFITS in ONE (1) to THREE (3) short, simple sentences. You are trying to excite the broadest audience, even yourself. Keep your word choices simple and empower every stakeholder to potential customer with awareness of what your great offering provides.
● Make sure to choose words that focus on how your offering solves a need, or gives value to a specific group of people, even if it’s to have more fun!
● Be sure to clear, concise, and very specific about the best thing about your offering. We’ll get on to doing just that—finding your Value Proposition, or greatest DIFFERENTIATOR in the next video.
● ELEVATOR PITCHES are refined, and rewritten throughout the life cycle of a product, and they should always be based on the BEST, and most unique FEATURES, BENEFITS and Solutions your offering provides.
We’ll review a typical ELEVATOR PITCH template to help you put the right words in the most effective order to motivate response from your audience, but first we must examine how to recognized and then choose the right words.
We craft the ELEVATOR PITCH after the first four PRODUCTIZATION Lists are populated to give us the words and phrases to chat up our offerings.
In this example of my factitious PHP Advocates app, I construct my PITCH by transposing or outright lifting the text from my FEATURES and BENEFITS lists 1A and B. An ELEVATOR PITCH should ‘speak’ the language of your Target MARKETS, which is why we begin to develop our PITCH after projecting Target MARKETS and USERS.
The words I choose to PITCH with, are predicated on WHO my projected USERS and TARGETS are, which I already have a basic framework for from List 2A and B. I have a wide range of projected customers for my application, so I want my PITCH language to be simple, clear, universal, and make my software’s function quickly understood. My actual ad campaigns to potential USERS, and marketing efforts— like pitching to VC for money, I will likely use a wide variety of language to create more tightly targeted, personalized messaging. I would NOT use the phrase, “Killer App,” in marketing to the elderly.
Remember, this ELEVATOR PITCH is your FIRST DRAFT. At this point, you are just trying to come up with an interesting and concise way to communicate WHAT your offering IS, what it DOES, and WHO is likely to benefit from using it.
For this first PITCH draft, simply pull words and phrases from your PRODUCTIZATION lists, and string them together in a coherent fashion. Create ONE sentence that gives an overall framework of the purpose and function of your offering. You’ll add to this one sentence PITCH with your offering’s greatest DIFFERENTIATORS in the following video.
“PHP Advocates is a SaaS, Peer to peer app that connects you with your own personal advocate, LIVE online, or at your side in minutes.”
This is my first draft of the ELEVATOR PITCH I’ll refine again and again throughout the life cycle of my offering. Most of the words and phrases come directly from my PRODUCTIZATION lists. This refined sentence did not happen in the first scripting. This one sentence PITCH was scripted many times, with many more words. Getting to this one, compact, clear, concise and specific sentence about my software’s function and utility took many ITERATIONS. Writing, or in a pitches case, scripting, requires editing and reediting to get to know your offering intimately, to effectively sell it to others.
Still uncertain how to construct your ELEVATOR PITCH?
There are many “PITCH script templates” available online, most all of them requiring you have a thorough understanding of the offering you are producing and marketing.
In creating YOUR PITCH, follow these steps IN ORDER to confidently, and concisely deliver the message of your upcoming (or produced) offering, and effectively engage your audience to ask questions, or further the discussion another time.
Say you’re at a [common interest] Meetup, or any networking opportunity, even those you create in your workout class, or singles events, or your kid’s soccer games. Let’s assume you are telling a story to a stranger who knows nothing about you, or anything about what you’re creating.
If you already know each other, skip to step two.
Start your script at the beginning of your story first. Stick to the basics. Keep it quick. Introduce yourself— your name, and organization, and title if you have one.
At the gym, or soccer game, find a way to casually slip in what you are considering developing. Talking about what you are working on in business networking environments is expected, so after introductions, share with passion what you are in the process of creating.
Regardless of who you are talking to, in-person, or online, TELL, DON’T SELL your offering, or yourself. Share your story about HOW you came up with your IDEA. Clearly, when you originally thought of your potential product or service, you had a need for it, or a notion someone could find it useful.
What need, or use does your offering serve? What makes it unique, something that you could not get anywhere else (that you know of)? What is the BEST BIT about your offering?
The answer to this question is generally known as your offering’s HOOK. Also known as a Unique Value Proposition (UVP), or greatest DIFFERENTIATOR, we’ll review the method of identifying your offering’s HOOK in the next video.
For the HOOK to have validity— show it’s a lasting offering of value, not a fleeting eccentricity, we need PROOF. Beyond the HOOK, we add additional benefits and solutions unique to our offering that will likely serve our target markets.
It is important to note that original ideas for products and services often change radically, sometimes having virtually no representation to the original idea, by production and subsequent launch. Having many useful features, benefits and solutions for a wide variety of Target Customers/USERS will make it easier to ITERATE your offering over time.
Chatting up WHO is on your team, may or may not be relevant to WHO you’re speak with. If a contributing member has a high profile, as in Bill Gates (ex-CEO of Microsoft) is one of the investors in your startup, well, then it might be worth mentioning— casually, of course, but share your excitement as well.
A Call to Action (CTA) is mandatory in every ELEVATOR PITCH, as in every marketing effort. Remember, marketing is SELLING, getting people to buy our product or service, or into our messaging. To motivate people to do what we want, we must tell them what we want them to do. Make sure to close your PITCH with a CTA that will further the dialog, or spark enough interest from your audience to find out more about your offering.
PITCH script templates are useful to begin your ELEVATOR PITCH. However, do not rely on them to create a coherent, engaging PITCH by simply plugging in words and phrases from your PRODUCTIZATION lists into the template’s rigid format.
Script. Rewrite. Edit. Revise. And continue to revise over time…is the process required of creating, and continually delivering a brilliant ELEVATOR PITCH throughout the life cycle of your offering.
Initial PITCH drafts, like the one required at this juncture, are meant as a guide to keep all stakeholders on the path to achieving the pitches’ specified outcome. This working pitch for PHP Advocates specifies our software will be a peer-to-peer network of advocates that can help users online or in-person in minutes. The more we chat up this outcome, get people excited about our upcoming product or service, and keep everyone working on developing and marketing our offering on the same train, the more likely we will achieve startup success.