Saturday, August 8, 2009

What's Your Twitpitch?

Could you describe your company in 140 characters? This is the equivalent of a text message or a Tweet.

Stowe Boyd, the guy who coined the term, "social media" works with start-up companies as a consultant. He's in the enviable position that his mere name to a company as an advisor makes any drop out lacking a product, but with an idea for one, credible enough to attract serious money. Accordingly, every half-wit with a half-baked idea seeks his blessing.

For the Web 2.0 conference, Boyd announced he would be scheduling meetings with start-ups, which created a problem. "I am getting an ungodly amount of email from PR folks," blogged Boyd, "and it's extremely random: some have attachments, some have big, stupid, old fashioned press releases copied in their entirety. Gah."

So Boyd announced that he would only respond to the 140 character messages allowed by Twitter. People who wanted to meet with him had to communicate by Twitter to keep the request succinct. And Boyd would only allow one accompanying Twitter message about the business, which he called a "twitpitch."

BusinessWeek picked up on the term and we're likely to have a new entry into the popular culture business lexicon. The twitpitch is the compressed elevator speech, just 140 characters, roughly 20 words in length. It has advantages. Here's what BusinessWeek had to say...

Boyd's experiment offers a lesson for small companies that want the attention of potential investors, clients, and press: Get to the point. And it applies in almost any business setting, not just on Twitter. It's no secret that less is more in the age of information overload, no matter how you're trying to reach people. That's why Boyd also calls it the escalator pitch. "It's something you can say in 10 seconds while he's going up the escalator and you're going down the escalator," he says.

BusinessWeek noted that Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, approached a venture capital firm as students lacking money, experience, and proven results. What the pair had was passion and a vision, which they boiled down into eight succinct words anyone could immediately grasp. They said Google would "access to the world's information in one click."

To me, the twitpitch is somewhere between a unique selling proposition and an elevator pitch. It answers the question, "Why should I do business with you?"

The answer is because my company... [FILL IN THE REST]

Complete the sentence using 140 characters or less. I'm going to work on a twitpitch for the Service Roundtable. Why don't you work on one for your company? Send them to me by posting on the Comanche Marketing blog, direct messaging me via Twitter @ComancheMktg, sending me a message on Facebook, or emailing me at the Service Roundtable. If I get enough, I'll post them in the future.

(c) 2009 Matt Michel

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