My Marketing Thing

Some people call it an Elevator Pitch

Elevator pitch cartoon

As an Australian, I like to call it ‘lift description’. But that’s just me. The rest of Australia is following America and calling it an ‘Elevator Pitch’.

A lift description…I mean Elevator Pitch…involves imagining that you are in a lift…or elevator. Someone else is in that tiny cabled room with you and they ask “What is it that you do for a living?”.

Of course this never happens in real life.

No stranger in a lift is going to turn around and ask you what you do for living. If they do, they would be considered certifiable freaks. We both know that no one sane could be that friendly and interested in another person.

So you have to imagine that a mutual good friend or colleague has just introduced the two of you, ending with the words “You should ask this dude what he/she does for a living”. The mutual friend then disappears down a corridor. Meanwhile the lift doors open and the two of you get in.



Okay, an Elevator Pitch is a short description that outlines your business to someone else. You have approximately 15 seconds to talk through that description in order to get your message across in an engaging manner. Sound fun?


What’s with the elevator?

It’s a handy scenario – but you could be anywhere.  The idea is to grab the interest of the other person quickly before they wander off.


Four elements to the elevator pitch

Let’s imagine that you are a Chinese medicine practitioner who runs his own clinic in a suburb called ‘Springfield’. It’s a special clinic, with spacious rooms, antique furniture and gentle music playing in the background.

Your clients often describe the clinic a ‘sanctuary’. It’s a place to relax and heal – away from the hustle and bustle (and away from big buildings with elevators in them, carrying nosey people who want to know what you do for a living).

Here are the four key elements of your pitch:

1. A key emotive word relating to your business
Example: ‘sanctuary’

2. The practical element(s) of your business service
     Example: ‘Chinese medicine clinic’, ‘Springfield’

3. What makes your business special
     Refer to post: What makes you so special, eh?
Example: “What makes us a little different is that we combine
massage and acupuncture with exercise, nutrition and lifestyle advice”.

4. What is the benefit generally experienced?
     Example: Great results and “Our clients come out feeling that
everything is better”


Lift description example:

“Our client often call (business name) Springfield’s health sanctuary.

We’re a little different from many other Chinese Medicine clinics because we are truly holistic. We combine acupuncture with massage and herbal supplements. We also take the time to give diet, exercise and lifestyle advice.

This combination and the level of care creates great health results – and the client leaves feeling better about everything.”

Style tips for your lift entrapment experience:

  • Make it sound natural, conversational
    Avoid sounding like you have written it out
    and rehearsed it a thousand times
    (even though that’s exactly what you’ve done).
  • Avoid jargon
    Use words that your pitchee is likely to understand.
    (Do you know what I mean by ‘pitchee’?)
  • Make solid points
    No time for waffle words here. Make ‘em count.
    Note: well-chosen emotive words aren’t waffle words.
  • Be benefits-driven
    I’ve already said this, but it doesn’t hurt to say it twice.
    Ensure that you talk about how clients benefit from what you do.

Option: call to action

Say, after your spiel, the other person looks genuinely interested. Give them a reason to get to know you better. No, I don’t mean hitting the alarm button in the elevator to play for more time. Instead – thinking of the Chinese Medicine practitioner example – you could say:

“We give free initial 20 minute consultations to talk about what’s going on with your health and how we could help. If you you know anyone who might be interested, here’s my card…”


Getting it right 

Try out your pitch on a variety of unsuspecting, one-degree-of-separation people – preferably those who are your target market (i.e. people you see as your ideal clients or customers). Remember, you are not limited to those travelling in elevators. You can pitch away while standing in queues, BBQs, at cocktail parties and – most obviously – business networking functions.


Milking it

Your Elevator Pitch will be useful for your social marketing profile (if you are that way inclined) and general branding promotion. Branding continuity is not just having your logo appearing on everything. It is also to do with ‘core message’ continuity.

Your lift description (okay, Elevator Pitch) is damned handy for working out your core message and sending it out into the world. So don’t be afraid to milk that baby.


This post was written by Megan Hills.  Megan is a writer, cartoonist and marketing consultant who hates being hurried but acknowledges sometimes it’s just the way the cookie crumbles…I mean the way the ‘biscuit’ crumbles. Find out more about Megan

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  1. Thanks Megan, we all find ourselves in that situation from time to time, and they can be great opportunities lost. Your take has made me think about my future responses.

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