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September, 2017

The Art of the Elevator Pitch: Your Marketing Strategy in 30 Seconds

We all talk about it in marketing and advertising – the elevator pitch. How to sound efficient to brilliant in less than a minute. Think about yours. Can you coherently explain your product/service, skill set, ideal job/client. Can you explain how those things fit together in the time it takes to tie your shoes? Without getting confused or out of breath? Or worse, without sounding as if you’re reciting from cue cards?

We would argue that great elevator pitches are difficult for the same reasons but are key components of any successful marketing strategy:

 

The Time and Space Limitation

By far, the best thing about an elevator pitch, since most of us aren’t blessed with photographic memory and an infinite supply of time, is that it takes up a manageable amount of time and brain space. However, there’s efficient, and then there’s brilliant. Let’s not pretend it’s easy to be the latter. It’s actually not as much about trimming away the excess verbiage with a red pen as much as it is distilling your product/service/skill set down to its essence and envisioning it as a perfect miniature.

 

An easy visual for this are Apple products: despite an obvious difference between an iMac and an iPhone in terms of size, for all intents and purposes, the iPhone performs the same functions on a more portable scale. Think of the iPhone as the super-cool tech illustration of your elevator pitch—its brilliance lies in the reach of its function while simultaneously occupying less space. Incidentally, this is why brilliant elevator pitches tend to be challenging—in order to craft one, you need to know your product inside and out. When it comes to explaining what you’re all about in 30 seconds, start with mastery of the thing you’re pitching.

 

Keep the formula basic:

What is your product/service?

How does it meet your ideal client’s needs?

 

The Delivery

Again, think of your iPhone. It’s remarkable not only because the moving parts function perfectly in miniature, but also because they look appealing. Sleek, polished, glistening—that’s your delivery. It can’t be recited from a script in a wooden tone, it has to take the form of regular conversation. Perhaps the initial drafts of your elevator speech take place on paper, but remember that we speak differently than we write, and your pitch has to flow naturally, use 8th-grade level language, and feel like the invitation to a larger conversation. An easy formula for this is to turn it into a question.

 

For example, “You know that CPA exam that you’ve been putting off? As a global leader in professional education, we help students get through it successfully!”

 

Copy Cat

Once you hone your elevator pitch, your role at your company or agency and how it offers value, you can reuse it in everything you do. Use it in a new client meeting, panel discussions for industry shows, cocktail parties with new neighbors on your block, meeting new parents at the park for a playdate. What makes your elevator speech memorable is how you distill what you do. Distilled in a way that resonates with the audience you are speaking with and in your enthusiastic delivery. They might not remember your name, but they will remember what you do. So that’s a start!