That was the question that sparked my interest today, as I read my Inc.com Today’s Small Business Newsletter. It was a post by venture capital blogger Mark Peter Davis who claimed that the all-important elevator pitch, relied upon by business start ups seeking investment bankers’ money, is kaput. Here’s a link to his post.
I am not in the VC funding business. I work with entrepreneurs and well-established business people who want to get their messages placed succinctly online and in the media. Before I write any copy, make one phone call or send one email about my clients, I work with them to polish their key messages, and yes, that includes helping them with an elevator pitch. So I had a strong opinion today when I left this comment on Davis’ blog post:
Mark, as someone who spends a lot of time helping clients improve their messaging, I disagree that the elevator pitch is dead. My guess is it’s still alive in the VC industry too. No matter what business you’re in, a business person needs a strong pitch that captures folks’ attention and that’s what an elevator pitch does. It’s also a conversation starter and a way to get a dialogue going by teasing someone to ask further questions.
Also, if you work with the media — bloggers and/or reporters/editors who write for traditional newspapers, magazines, tv or radio — you’ll always need an elevator pitch. The media especially (and the social media crowd as a whole, in my opinion) need that one strong sentence that captures the essence of what you do, how you serve your customers and why it’s important in the first place. In fact, I believe anyone looking for a job should also have an elevator pitch that summarizes their strengths and skills. The elevator pitch should answer questions and get a conversation going.
Something else to consider — this is the era of short attention spans. We’re all multi-tasking as we communicate, so crafting an attention-grabbing elevator pitch about your business or yourself is one of the best ways to get remembered.
What do you think? Do you use an elevator pitch in your daily working life? What would your business be without one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.