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Positioning Statement and Elevator Pitch: Do Yours Work Together?


When it comes to marketing yourself and your business, it can be difficult to know exactly how to present what you do compellingly to potential customers.


Oh! The pressure! You have 30 seconds. Wow me.


You have 3 seconds on your website before someone bounces. Make some magic happen!


It’s enough to make the strongest sales person cringe with self-doubt.


Most of us never quite feel like we’ve got it right. Somebody else who does something similar to us sounds identical, or what’s worse, they sound better than we do! We fumble, stumble and sound stiff, nervous, or boring.


At least, that’s the usual parade of elevator pitches in local networking groups.


And website home pages are often even worse.


Most of those networking and website pitch Meisters and Mistresses have not created a brand positioning statement for themselves to complement their pitch. And it shows.


Understanding the difference between a positioning statement and an elevator pitch is key to developing a successful marketing strategy. When done well, the positioning statement supports and enhances the pitch, while the pitch supports and enhances the positioning.


It’s time to clear up what sets a positioning statement and an elevator pitch apart from each other and how each is vital to effectively market yourself and your business.


What is an Elevator Pitch?


Think you have yours down? Well, be aware that there are many versions of what makes a great elevator pitch. Some have four steps, others have nine. Essentially, whichever path you take, an elevator pitch tells people what you do. (Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but that is the essence of it.)


Here are the essential steps (without all the fancy variations some of you might have been taught) to a strong elevator pitch:


  • Step 1: Your name, product name and category.

  • Step 2: The problem you are attempting to solve.

  • Step 3: Your proposed solution.

  • Step 4: The key benefit of your solution.

  • BONUS STEP 5: A call to action


You have a lot of creative license within these steps, so don’t feel boxed in. Just make sure you include each of them for optimal impact.


The framework looks something like this in its most basic form:


I help [ideal customer] [solve this common problem] through a combination of [product/service solution], [product/service solution], and [product service solution]. Not only do we [differentiator #1], but we also [differentiator #2], so you can [benefit]. Over [X customers] have [achieved goal] with my [help], and you can too. Check out our website for a [checklist, whitepaper, etc.] to see how you can too.


Here’s a finessed version with solid niching for a particular ideal customer:

Hi, I’m Angela with Cinch Systems. If you’re like most of our customers your SaaS platform is awesome.
Too awesome, in fact, for new users to see its awesomeness right away.
Built for awesome SaaS platforms, Cinch is a user onboarding platform that helps users discover just how awesome it is.
And unlike other solutions, Cinch also uses engagement analytics to predict churns and send customized prompts to prevent it.
Don’t let the learning curve turn into a churning curve. Try it out now.

Now it’s your turn.


What is a Positioning Statement?


So, now that you’ve played around with your pitch, it’s time to look at your position. Much like the elevator pitch, the top line explanation of a positioning statement is that it tells people why they should do business with you. Elevator pitch tells what, and positioning tells why.


Key Differences

The four basic elements of the brand positioning statement are Defining the ideal customer who has this problem, then sharing how your business provides this solution, which is different from the market landscape, so you have this advantage, and you sum up by providing this reason to believe.


Subtly different, the five basic elements of the elevator pitch are your name and business category, the problem you are attempting to solve, your proposed solution, the key benefit of your solution, and a call to action.


A high profile brand positioning statement belongs to Tesla:


For customers who want climate-aware automobiles (ideal customer), Tesla (brand) is a hybrid automobile company (category) that offers a guilt-free trip every time (point of difference) so customers can make an impact on the world (key benefit) because Tesla has shown extreme innovation and willingness to make a difference (reason to believe).

Why You Need Both Positioning and a Pitch

Let's face it, most businesses are lacking both an effective positioning statement and an elevator pitch. Improving either one is a plus. However, if you can develop both, you make finding and closing new business exponentially easier, since together they set you apart.


The pitch works to grow awareness in networking conversations and partner discussions. The brand positioning serves multiple audiences, including those visiting your website as well as potential hires, and those who are considering a purchase.


The items which stresses so many businesses out is how to set themselves apart in a fiercely competitive marketplace and when they see so many competitors who seem to have more to invest in branding and marketing. Instead, consider the two things your brand has that no other possibly could: your core values and your brand personality. Your core values show up, like innovative does in Tesla’s positioning statement. My worksheet can help you hone in on those. Your brand personality is a combination of the five universal personalities, and again, looking at Tesla, it is a combination of Sincerity and Excitement. Take the brand personality quiz, and see if you agree. Find your values and personality, and your pitch and position are assuredly unique.

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