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Crafting the Elevator Pitch

All students are required to present a sixty-second elevator pitch on their class projects. The elevator pitch takes its name from the amount of time that you might get to talk to an important person on an elevator. The elevator pitch conveys the essence of your project or brand in a carefully-crafted 60 seconds (150-175 words).

Here are some key considerations for crafting an elevator pitch, as outlined in Gamestorming by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo:

  1. Who is the target customer?
  2. What is the customer need?
  3. What is the product name?
  4. What is its market category?
  5. What is its key benefit?
  6. Who or what is the competition?
  7. What is the product's unique differentiator?

I think that everyone has two key things to think about in crafting their pitch for this class.

Who is the audience for your pitch? Several students have projects that seem not to fit the format. This is an opportunity for you to exercise your imagination. Imagine that your project is further along, that you are about to ask for another round of funding, or that you are pitching your project in a competitive situation where there are similar proposals and only one proposal will be adopted. Perhaps you are trying to hand your project off to a design team or to a community developer, and there are competing proposals. A good first step in writing your pitch is to imagine exactly to whom you are speaking and what the call to action will be. You can explain this in advance to the class (this will not count against your sixty seconds).

Call to action. An effective pitch always closes with a call to action. You are asking judges to declare you the winner, or the audience to vote for your pitch, or the planning board to adopt your design or fund your project, or the venture capitalists to throw another few million dollars your way. If you have picked your fantasy audience correctly, the call to action should be obvious.

Examples. There are some great pitches on our video wall. See how these guys do it!