My 11-year-old son is working his way through his summer reading list with great ambition – at least for a boy on vacation.
But what comes less easily to him is the summary he needs to write that distills the book into its digestible essence. How can he reduce the richness and intrigue of the 870-page Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, for example, into a few sparse paragraphs?
It’s not unlike the task marketers and other executives at times have before them, to distill the essence of their company in a one-line message or “elevator pitch.” Can you reduce your company’s fundamental value to a few sparse lines?<
My good friend Hank Stroll sent me something this week that reinforced my son’s perspective of how difficult a task it is. Hank, a frequent MProfs contributor and co-author of our newly minted ebook, A Marketer’s Guide to e-Newsletter Publishing,
shared the results of a survey in which 9,500 high-level executives were asked to match the elevator pitches of unidentified CEOs with their respective well-known companies (Dell, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and the like).
Some were easy: “To help practically anyone buy and sell practically anything.” (eBay) Or: “To be the leading direct computer-systems company, bar none.” (Dell)
Others were downright puzzling: “To be the 'preeminent building-block supplier' to the worldwide Internet economy.” (Would you believe Intel?) How about: “Deliver extremely high performance on inexpensive computers.” (Did you guess Oracle?) (Read the full survey results here.)
Good business focus starts with the basics. As Hank wrote, “The pitch is about communicating value. How can trust be earned if you can't say what you offer?”
Or, as I told my overwhelmed son, hone in on that one thing that made the book special: What was the core value or lesson you took from it? What made it unique?
Until next week,