Desktop Brown Bag Lunch: Marketing in 3 Minutes or Less with an Elevator Pitch‏

Most of us have attended a "Brown Bag" or "Lunch 'n' Learn." Food is provided in your office by the presenter - or you bring your own - and you spend your lunch hour listening to them promote their product or speak to you about a topic related to your profession. Well, at this Brown Bag, you'll provide your own lunch, and spend the hour dedicated to the promotion of your company or career. Building Industry Resources will provide your with the topic, an informational article or slideshow as a guide, and an example to assist you in completing your task. After you read the information, spend the remainder of the time working on your marketing, concentrating on how you will promote YOU or your business. Want feed back? E-mail me at or at the Twitter or Facebook links to the right.

By Karen A. Davis

Recently, I attended ACE’10 (Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were workshops and exhibitors, and of course, many professionals with whom to meet and network. One of the highlights of the evening (along with the delicious brownies) was the Elevator Pitch Competition.

Elevator Pitch Competitions are quite popular now. If you Google the phrase, you’ll find pages of competitions to enter. An elevator pitch gives the listener an overview of your product, service, or business idea in, typically, 30 to 60 seconds (although, the ones I heard at ACE’10 were three minutes long). The business owner delivering the pitch may be wooing a potential client or may need financing from an investor for start-up or business building.

The elevator pitches presented at ACE’10 were given by six business people, each the CEO or COO of their respective technology, environmental or medical-based businesses. They presented their speeches on stage to a panel of four judges – all venture capitalists – and an audience of nearly 1000 people.

What would you say if you met a potential client or employer in an elevator? How would you define your business in 60 seconds if you were in front of an audience of potential investors or clients? The opportunity for you to showcase your business and qualifications to one person or millions occurs every day – at the coffee shop, the grocery store, a networking event, or through Internet social networking.

Who is your target client? Who could benefit from your services or skill as an employee? Your elevator pitch should be brief – you only have a few seconds to capture and keep the attention of your audience. What is their problem, and how will you solve it? Your solution should be unique. And, finally, request a follow-up meeting to go into more detail about your business solution.

An elevator pitch can benefit you in five ways:
1. It allows you to develop your brand, defining your business in a descriptive, concise manner.
2. It defines who you are and the services and solutions you offer to your target audience.
3. It also confirms your brand identity in your mind. When you repeat it over and over again to yourself in the mirror in the morning and throughout the day, you become more confident as a professional and service provider.
4. It forces you to set yourself apart. As you develop it, highlight how your services differ from your competition’s.
5. Your concise message is then packaged for easier word-of-mouth transmission. Those who hear your business ideas or service offerings can pass them on to others.

YOUR TASK: Develop a two to three minute elevator pitch, and then extract 30-second, 60-second, and 90-second pitches that can be used to introduce yourself to a potential client or employer.

So, here’s my two-minute-and-20-second pitch:

My name is Karen A. Davis, and my business, Building Industry Resources, will encourage and assist you and your firm to reach your full potential. We consult exclusively with building industry professionals – architects, interior designers, builders and contractors, real estate and facilities professionals, and product manufacturing representatives – offering services to build business and promote collaboration across disciplines.

As a small- to medium-sized building industry firm, you need someone dedicated to promoting and building your business, freeing up your time so you can do what you love. Our services include:

Building Intelligence by keeping you abreast of the competition, project leads, products and materials information, and news that affect your business.

Building Support by assisting with non-core business operations and providing design, technical and documentation support services, including CAD.

Building Relationships by scouting networking and partnering opportunities, developing strategic marketing plans, and utilizing traditional and web-based communications for business development and public relations.

With over 20 years experience in architecture, construction, and facilities, I am privileged to have been on the architectural teams for some very prestigious projects – including corporate facilities, sports and entertainment, healthcare and multi-family residential project types – and I provided interior design and construction documentation for the largest building project in the U.S. to date. My direct experience in the industry and as an educator and entrepreneur has given me a unique perspective to the needs of the sole proprietor and small- to medium-sized business owner. I love encouraging people to do their best and fulfill their dreams.

Is your business all that you’ve dreamed it would be? Do you have the luxury of choosing your projects? Have you formally introduced yourself to potential clients and to the world? Are you taking advantage of the nearly-free publicity available to promote your business?

Building Industry Resources can be your marketing manager, publicist, and business coach. Now, tell me about you and your company.

Post your elevator speech on the Building Industry Resources wall on Facebook.