This week I did a presentation to ATDC's CapVenture class of 2010 on "honing your elevator pitch." You can take a look at the deck on Slideshare. The presentation covers three things.
The first is that you need to explain what you are doing to someone in three words. The typical reaction to this statement is that doing so is impossible because of the technical complexity of the offering. I don't buy that story. Find your three words.
The second was the creation of a simple one liner and adding a second line to create a positioning statement. The process that I follow is a combination of what Geoffery Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" and Chris Coleman's "The Green Banana Papers" (which I highly recommend for technical founders with little knowledge of marketing).
Finally I went through the elevator pitch. We all need to change the name. People don't talk in elevators. The construction of your elevator pitch needs to be between 75 and 120 words in seven or eight sentences. When you give the pitch as a speech it should last between 30 – 60 seconds. I would lean toward the low end on all these parameters. The most important thing that no one tells anyone is that an elevator pitch is not really a pitch. It is typically a conversation that takes place in a sit down meeting over coffee or lunch.
So one of the interesting things about having a startup on the side is that you can use it as a living case study. I used Socialytics as an example for all of the above.
Social media analytics.
Socialytics provides social media analytics to marketers so they can measure and improve social media marketing effectiveness.
Social networking has become the number one activity on the Internet – ahead of email. As a result, social media is a fast growing marketing channel forecasted to reach $27 billion in five years. Very similar to online marketing in 1998, social media marketing is on the verge of a huge shift. Fans and followers are equivalent to the eyeballs of yesteryear. The vast majority of web marketing spend has moved to advertising vehicles that enable companies to measure return on investment. I believe the same thing is going to happen with social media. Socialytics is building the ability to measure and improve social media marketing effectiveness. Every marketer will require a product like ours.
The presentation and pitch were highly inspired by a must read article by Steve Blank.
I actually pitched Socialytics as part of the presentation. I have to tell you something. I give a lot of presentations and have no stage fear, but it was terrifying to get up in bunch of a bunch of people and pitch your idea. And this was after pitching to family, friends, and advisors over the course of the past four months.
But it went well. While the pitch is far from perfect it seems to resonate.