What crazy things will people come up with! An “elevator pitch”? What is that, a sound that comes out of a moving elevator? Well, no, not really; but the concept does have to do something with elevators. Sort of. It’s about the time you spend in one going from one floor to the other. And where does “pitch” come in all this? Pitch, like in baseball? No, but the thing it refers to is just as energetic as a pitch. Let’s take a look.
An elevator pitch is a short, but very powerful message one conveys to the other. Its main focus is to introduce a company, project, idea, or a plan. The introduction has to be succinct and interesting, so as to keep the other person’s attention, compelling them to start a deeper conversation or leave their contact info for a future meeting. Hence the use of the word “elevator” and “pitch” – the whole thing shouldn’t last more than 30 seconds to 1 minute, like an elevator ride, and should be straight to the point and direct, like a pitch.
With an elevator pitch, the most important thing you have to keep in mind is the message you want to convey and the target audience. Traditional elevator pitches don’t differ that much one form the other – they are like short speeches. The only thing the speaker needs to decide is that, depending on the occasion, whether the pitch will be formal or informal.
Some stand by the idea that the elevator pitch in the above mentioned form is obsolete, that the 21stcentury requires even more impact than a short speech. Daniel H. Pink, for example, thinks that the elevator pitch has evolved into six different pitches: the pixar pitch, the subject line pitch, the rhyming pitch, the question pitch, the twitter pitch and the one-word pitch.
But all of the above are more or less plain, textual elevator pitches, or elevator pitches that require a live audience. As we live in the 21st century, where the World Wide Web is blooming, these forms of pitches, although useful, will not reach out to as many as one would like.
So, what would the ideal elevator pitch in the 21st century be?
It has to be something that uses the full potential of communication of our present day society. For starters, it has to be on the Internet.
Using bright colored, interesting and well-made textual ads is good. They draw attention and don’t take much time to digest. However, they may not leave such a strong impression on the reader. It’s just text.
Posting sound files similar to radio commercials may be just as ineffective. It’s really hard to draw someone’s attention with just plain sound – it has to be super dynamic, otherwise people are likely to treat it as background noise.
Most probably, the best elevator pitches of the 21st century are the combination of the two above, resulting in video ads and explainer videos. Both of them incorporate state of the art audio-video technology. They are pleasant to view as well as entertaining and stimulating.
Video ads may be more frequently used, as they are mostly quite short on the World Wide Web and can be watched in one breath. They give quick info about their topic, and the viewer, if intrigued, will look deeper into the whole subject.
Explainer videos give more detail about their topic, and, if made correctly, are a great way of drawing anyone’s attention to what you want to put forward. The message will really stick, especially if the ratio of entertainment and information are correctly balanced.
It is up to you what you want to use as an elevator pitch. Although video ads and explainer videos sound like the best possible option, you should most definitely do some research and carefully consider your target audience before choosing the medium of your pitch. Some may not have the luxury of spending time on watching videos, and prefer a quick scan of text ads on a homepage.
If you have any best practices to share about pitching, feel free to leave a comment below.
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