Tech Expo Elevator Pitch – Here’s a Formula

In a Handshake 2.0 comment, Cory Donovan, Executive Director of the NCTC, writes, "The Tech Expo 2008 is what the NCTC is all about – knowing each other so we can help each other…let’s take the conversation to the next level and really understand what the capabilities and needs are of our neighbor companies."

Okay.  "Knowing each other so we can help each other" in a busy expo hall calls for a really good elevator pitch.

Having given rambling, uncertain elevator pitches myself, and having listened to them with the best of intentions–only to be unable to remember them moments later–I wondered if, like the sonnet with 14 lines, or SMITH’s six-word memoirs, a formula existed for elevator pitches.

Member company executives of business accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks are urged by director Jim Flowers to read Crossing the Chasm:  Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers, a guide to marketing in high-tech industries, by Geoffrey A. Moore, 2002.

Good news.  Moore addresses the elevator pitch directly:

"Can you explain your product in the time it takes to ride up in an elevator?  Venture capitalists use this all the time as a test of investment potential.  If you cannot pass the test, they don’t invest."

Moore adds that in the world of high-tech communication, "the unit of thought is at most a sentence or two.  Beyond that, people cannot hold it in their heads…word of mouth is fundamental to success in high-tech marketing."

At Tech Expo 2008, I can see I need the words from my mouth to answer in the affirmative William Zinsser’s question, "Is every word doing new work?"

Geoffrey Moore offers a fill-in-the-blank formula for a two-sentence elevator pitch.

  • For (target customers–beachhead segment only)
  • Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
  • Our product is a (new product category)
  • That provides (key problem-solving capability).
  • Unlike (the product alternative),
  • We have assembled (key whole product features for your specific application).

Moore provides several examples.  Here’s one:

Silicon Graphics in Hollywood

  • For post-production film engineers
  • Who are dissatisfied with the limitations of traditional film editors
  • Our workstation is a digital film editor
  • That lets you modify film images any way you choose
  • Unlike workstations from Sun, HP, or IBM,
  • We have assembled all the interfaces needed for post-production film editing.

Using Moore’s formula, I’ll write a pitch for Handshake 2.0.

I want to be part of "Knowing each other so we can help each other."

If you write a two-sentence elevator pitch using Geoffrey Moore’s formula, please send it to me at [email protected].  I’ll consider posting it.

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  1. Here’s another article that might be of value from Smart Money:

    Starting Up: The Art of the Pitch

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