Friday, February 26, 2010

You had me at....'Full Stack Systems Integration'!

Many companies spend a lot of time and effort putting together their 'elevator pitch'. The intention is to have a confident, concise response whenever anyone asks them 'what do you do?'

I have talked elsewhere at some length about why I think Elevator Pitches are wrong. Among the many common mistakes made by businesses putting together their short presentation is not putting themselves in the shoes of the person they are speaking to.

Of course, as soon as you put together a general statement for use whenever such a question is asked you will struggle to engage with individuals. A good response to any question about your business is tailored to the knowledge, expertise and relevance of the person asking. A standard response cannot achieve that.

Planned elevator pitches often come from the perspective of the business giving the pitch, rather than looking from outside. As a result they can contain a lot of jargon and assume knowledge others simply don't have.

Earlier this week one of my clients showed me the results of their Board's marketing brainstorm the evening before. They had decided to work on a single statement about what they do, their elevator pitch. After much discussion they came up with the following:

"What we do?

Full stack systems integration for the UK mid-market delivering rapid business change using advanced technology."

How would you react if you asked someone what they do at a networking event and this was their response? Interestingly, this only represents one part of their business, yet they came up with this summary of their activity as a whole. It is overloaded with jargon, with their own perspective and assumes a high level of understanding.

I have a problem with terms like 'mid-market', 'business-change' and even with 'networking'. They all assume a certain level of understanding. Yet if people aren't involved in your business they may have a different perspective on or understanding of those terms. It's so important to explain your business in simple language, so that a child can understand it, if you want others outside your business or your industry to help you.

1 comment:

  1. Rosemary Slosek11:52 am

    What does their statement mean, incidentally? Although I do know I'm running away from them very quickly.