October 15 2014

How to pitch a true problem solver

When pitching your product to press, or anyone really, you want to keep in mind that consumers want to know how their own lives will be positively affected by what you have to offer. They’re not nearly as interested in the scenarios companies make up merely for marketing purposes as they are in the real life application of the product. How does it actually fix or fulfill a gap that your customers experience (i.e. a real problem)?

Avoid assuming your solution as the starting point

You may have come up with the idea for your product or service “out of the blue”, but chances are you were inspired by your own experience and observations. Know the gap you’re trying to fill or the issue you’re presenting a solution for. This is your starting point, not the other way around, and the first step towards pitching your product successfully.

One of the processes you likely went through during your company’s creation was discovering just how valuable your product or service is to the public. Whether you’re inventing something completely new or improving an existing product, you saw a need and sought to fill it!

Unfortunately, new brands are constantly having to fight against the public’s memories of bad infomercials that present a problem no one actually has and then try to convince the buyer that they can’t live without the solution. Take a moment to reflect on the many infomercials you’ve probably come across on a sleepless night; flashy advertising can’t save a product that has no real use.

In an article on StartUpYard.com titled, Making Your Pitch Real From Day One, Lloyd Waldo writes about the invention of the electric typewriter. Waldo shares that the manual typewriter wasn’t necessarily broken before the electric typewriter; people were typing letters and documents just fine. The absence of an electric typewriter was not keeping people from doing their jobs. However – and this was the million dollar “however” – there was a better way they could be doing it. He says that when IBM first pitched their electric typewriter they did not create a need, but instead “formulated a basis for it”.

Do your research

What’s in your pitch? Consider:

“…a “positioning template” first suggested by Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm, a modern day “bible” for technology marketing. See if the pitch you have at the top of your head addresses each of these points in a meaningful way:

 For (target customers)

Who (have the following problem)

Our product is a (describe the product or solution)

That provides (cite the breakthrough capability)

Unlike (reference competition),

Our product/solution (describe the key point of competitive differentiation)”

In Waldo’s opinion, IBM was able to address the Who, and For, and Unlike questions for their electric typewriter. They knew who their product was for, what its purpose was, and who it was unlike. Take time to be able to answer each of the above points about your own product. No, this isn’t a script for you to use in an elevator and definitely not a template for the first paragraph of a press release, but knowing the answers to these questions is a great place to start as you being forming the angles of your press releases.

Being able to pitch your product or service in 30 seconds or 30 minutes will be a lot easier once you can describe each of these points with confidence.

Offer your solution

The last point in the template above is the solution. You believe in your product, meaning you believe that there is a market for the solutions that you are offering. Your solution should not be your pitch’s starting point, but it should be the final one. Once you know who you are pitching to, what the problem is, and who your competitors are, then comes your solution.

According to Noah Parsons, at bPlans, discovering and being able to describe what makes you different from your competitors “ensures you are building a unique solution that customers will hopefully choose over other alternatives.”

Maybe the status quo still works; present your solution as a better alternative!

Maybe you’re comfortable pitching your product in person, but need help formatting your pitch to fit within a press release or a media release. Did you know we specialize in making press releases work for you? Check out Why News Gen? to learn more about press release distribution.