Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds...

The other morning I was carrying on as usual, reading Twitter on my iPhone while walking down the street and trying not to run into any street signs (I'm an early riser, so no real risk of encountering other humans on the sidewalk at that hour...) A headline caught my eye: "How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds" -- here is the link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2012/07/17/how-to-pitch-anything-in-15-seconds/ and below is the YouTube video.

As I said on my own Twitter feed, this short video (4:35) was exactly what the doctor ordered. Although I have surely read about something similar before, I was struck by the simplicity of Carmine Gallo's "message map" approach.

The most pressing "sales" challenge in my day job is business intelligence, and more specifically a project to replace our aging reporting platform with Oracle BI. My struggle has been to explain the program quickly to various stakeholders from across my organization in a way that excites them rather than glazes their eyes. In part, this is the problem of IT people trying do marketing... and it also reflects a disconnect between priorities; the reasons end users want a modern platform may not be the same as the reasons IT wants it.

Within about an hour of watching the video, I drafted a new slide. I thought it was pretty good. Certainly better than any other one-pager we have assembled. The tool's call for brevity -- <140 characters for the tagline, 3 reinforcing points, 3-5 sub-reinforcements -- is wise, but tricky. At first I thought about the old writers' joke "why use one word when X can do?" But that can get dangerous if it leads you to using consulting words and jargon: synergy, robust, ad hoc, real-time, integrated, seamless. Not that there is anything wrong with those words... But they are hollow.

I have a lot more work to do before this message map is ready for prime time... Nevertheless, I'll share the first draft:

Tagline: "[BI Program Name] will simplify and expand your capability to answer important questions"
  • Self-Service for Everyone
  • Adapting with the Business
  • Robust, But Friendly

Like I said, it needs another round or two (or ten) of revisions. But what do you think?

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