Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds Pt. 2

Within the first part of this blog post, we discussed what a message map was and why it is so important. And, here is the three step process to creating your own map!

Build a message map in 3-steps. A message map is the visual display of your idea on one page. It is a powerful tool that should be a part of your communication arsenal. Building a message map can help you pitch anything (a product, service, company, or idea) in as little as 15 seconds. Here is the three-step process to using a message map to build a winning pitch. For this exercise you will need a notepad, word document, PowerPoint slide, or whiteboard.

Step One. Create a Twitter-friendly headline.
The headline is the one, single overarching message that you want your customers to know about the product. Ask yourself, ‘What is the single most important thing I want my listener to know about my [product, service, brand, idea].’ Draw a circle at the top of the message and insert the headline. Make sure your headline fits in a Twitter post – no more than 140 characters. If you cannot explain your product or idea in 140 characters or less, go back to the drawing board.

Step Two. Support the headline with three key benefits. As I discussed in a previous article, the human mind can only process about three pieces of information in short-term memory. Specifically outline the three or, at most, four benefits of your product. Draw three arrows from the headline to each of the key supporting messages.

Step Three. Reinforce the three benefits with stories, statistics, and examples. Add bullet points to each of the three supporting messages. You don’t have to write out the entire story. Instead write a few words that will prompt you to deliver the story. Remember, the entire message map must fit on one page.

You can create a message map for any product or a brand. Lets use the example of soap. If you can sell soap, you can pitch anything. Lush is a global chain of stores that sells soaps and cosmetics. It has about 100 locations around the world. They literally stock hundreds of items. Although the brand takes the unusual step of sending new products to each of its employees, it wouldn’t be feasible, nor necessary, to create a message map about each product.

Here is how I would create a message map for Lush store employees.

Twitter-friendly headline: Lush makes handmade soaps and cosmetics.

3 supporting messages. All Lush products are:

  1. FRESH
  2. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
  3. SUPPORT ETHICAL CAMPAIGNS

The 15-second pitch would sound like this:

Welcome to Lush. We make handmade soaps and cosmetics. Everything in the store is fresh, environmentally friendly, and part of our profits support ethical campaigns.

Now for the supporting points.

Under Fresh, Lush might include the fact that all the products made from natural ingredients and that they are handmade daily and shipped the next day.

Under Environmentally Friendly, a Lush sales associate might say that products are made from ingredients not tested on animals, mostly unpackaged, and contain little or no preservatives.

Under Ethical Campaigns, Lush might highlight some of the environmental causes championed by the brand.

Here is an example of what a message map looks like.

A message map can be used in several ways. You can make copies and hand it to all your employees who talk to customers. You can use it to outline a longer presentation to customers, investors, or stakeholders. You can, and should, use the same language in all of your marketing and advertising material.

I cannot emphasize enough how well this works. And I’ve seen it work for extremely complicated products and concepts. In fact, the more complex your idea, the more important it is to create a message map. You need to pitch your story simply, clearly, and concisely. The message map is your winning ticket.”

Watch Gallo explain the message map here!

(HT: Forbes)