While the elevator speech was first promoted as a tool for an entrepreneur to pitch his idea to a venture capitalist or other investor, I have found the elevator speech to be of great value as a positioning statement. This is a laser focused, concise, no frills statement of your target market, offering, benefits, competitors and unique sales proposition (USP). Nothing will be of more value in presenting your marketing message.
We talked about the importance of your positioning statement, or “elevator speech”, in an effective communication plan (7 Keys to Nurturing Your Sales Lead List-A Communication Plan). Your elevator speech is a brief statement that sums up your whole branding or marketing message and can be told to someone in the amount of time it takes to go from one floor to the next in an elevator ride.
I believe I was first introduced to this concept by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm. Here is a template that I have used for the last twenty years for a concise positioning statement:
For [target market] that need [statement of need].
[product/service] is a [product/service category] that [statement of key benefit].
Unlike [primary competitive alternative] Product/service [statement of primary differentiation].
Your job is to fill in the bolded elements.
Here is an example:
“For professional chefs in the Cleveland area that need souse chefs on a temporary basis, TempChefs is a temporary placement agency that lets you relax knowing qualified help is on the way. Unlike other placement agencies, TempChefs is operated and run locally by experienced five star chefs that understand your business.”
1) Target Market – Define your target market for the service or product your are offering. Your marketing plan should go into more detail on the demographics.
2) Statement of Need – Why does your target market need your service or product? Knowing their need helps you to define the problem your offering solves. It also helps you to identify with your prospect’s pain. Remember this is from their perspective, not yours.
3) Product/Service – What is the product or service you are offering. I know it sounds silly, but often people aren’t clear about what it is they are actually offering to satisfy the need of their prospect.
4) Product/Service Category – What is the category by which your product or service will be classified. Remember people have to find your product. If I am searching for “potato peelers” and your product is so revolutionary that you blast the skin off potatoes and don’t categorize your product as a “potato peeler”, chances are I’ll never find your product. Until you educate people and your product category becomes mainstream, you’re going to need to identify the category in which your prospects will be looking for your product or service.
5) Statement of Key Benefit – State the key benefit that your product or service offers your target market, based on their statement of need. Remember to identify a benefit, not a feature. The hard part is this is ONE (key) benefit. While you probably offer more than one benefit, you are identifying the key benefit so that your message distinctly, promotes the primary benefit and your message is not diluted.
6) Primary Competitive Alternative – What is your primary competitive alternative? Sometimes it may be something other than your competitors, i.e. if I own a movie theater, not only am I competing with other movie theaters, but I am competing with DVD rentals, on-demand television, etc. Remember to just list the primary competitor.
7) Statement of Primary Differentiation – What is your primary differentiation from your competitors? This is your unique selling proposition (USP). What do you provide that no one else provides? Again, this can only be ONE (the primary) differentiator. You probably offer more than one, but you want your message to focus on the primary differentiator. If you start to promote a number of items, your differentiator will most likely be lost in the noise.
When formulating your positioning statement or “elevator speech” remember that the idea is to develop a statement that is focused and clear. There should be no question in your audience’s mind about who you are, what you are offering and why they should buy from you.
From your positioning statement you will develop your branding and marketing messages and campaigns.
If you take the time to complete your positioning statement, you will find it to be the most valuable component of your marketing and communication plan.