Pitching 101 - KM&A

Ah yes, pitching: the art of selling an idea. Pitching is a fundamental piece of the marketing puzzle and a basic element of agency life. Whether we’re proposing strategies to clients, presenting new ideas to internal leadership or posing client work to media, pitching is a key part of our strategy and expertise here at KM&A. Read on to get the lowdown on becoming a pitching pro!

Pitching at a Glance

There are a variety of pitches out there—cold calls, emails, social media, etc.—but we’re going to focus on the three pitches that are used the most: the media pitch, the elevator pitch and a pitch deck.

Media Pitch (noun): an attempt to get a journalist, editor or media outlet interested in your news so they decide to cover it (Prowly).

Media pitches are most often used to pitch agency/client work or news. This type of pitch can increase public awareness of a brand and/or showcase an announcement or recent success. These are often done through e-mail. Most marketing and public relations agencies have media lists for each client which contain an index of the contact information for journalists and/or editors that write about the client’s specific industry.

Elevator Pitch (noun): A 30-second memorable description of what you do and/or what you sell. The goal is to earn a second conversation, not to convince the person you’re talking to they should hire you or buy your solution (Hubspot).

Elevator pitches are short, sweet and to the point. They work best in conversations with strangers (think networking events) when asked what you or your company does. For example, a KM&A employee’s elevator pitch would go something like this: “KM&A is an innovative, strategic marketing agency that focuses in creative, communications and events. We’ve worked with national, regional and local brands—including national clients like Barilla and Delta Faucet Company—with a focus on making innovative marketing strategies that create breakthrough results and grow our clients’ bottom line.”

Pitch Deck (noun): A presentation that agencies or marketing professionals put together to propose a campaign, strategy or idea. 

can range in length, topic and amount of detail. However, it’s important to keep them simple and concise so that your audience can stay engaged with it. Looking for tips on keeping presentation decks interesting and effective? You’re in luck because we wrote a blog about that as well (click here). 

So Now What?

Now that you have an idea of various types of pitches, you can start working on the pitch itself. We’ve compiled a list of techniques to keep in mind when crafting the perfect pitch.

1. An Attention-Grabbing Introduction

The introduction is the part of your pitch that can make or break it. It’s crucial to have an attention-grabbing intro to pull in the audience you’re pitching to. Writing an email pitch to a journalist? Include a zesty subject line to make them click on it. Elevator pitching to a CEO? Don’t start with the average, “hi, my name is …” Instead, hit them with a quippy remark or a compliment about their company (who doesn’t love a compliment?). 

According to Hubspot, starting a pitch can be the hardest part (we agree!) but there are various ways to do it in an interesting way—personal anecdotes, statistics or even a question that relates to the problem you’re trying to solve. Having the ability to captivate your target audience is a fundamental part of being a successful marketer, so creating an intriguing pitch is just part of the job, right? Right!

2. Solid Research

As mentioned in our Which Marketing Role are You Working This Week? blog, research is vital to a marketing strategy or campaign. The same goes for pitches. 

Here’s a scenario—let’s say you’re pitching a client’s restaurant opening to a journalist. There are a few areas of research to consider here.

  1. Who is this journalist? Do they frequently write about food or new restaurants in the area?
  2. What are the details of this restaurant opening? Do you have the facts straight?
  3. Do you have an interesting angle for this story? Any meaningful statistics or information that may push the journalist to write this article?  

The same goes for pitch decks—include statistics or industry news that supports your pitch. Having a complete understanding of what you’re suggesting (as well as the facts and statistics to back it up) will allow you to pitch more effectively—and can make you more confident! 

3. A Creative Call to Action

So, you finished presenting your deck, giving your elevator speech or typing out your email. Now what? Well, what exactly are you trying to get this person to do? Hire you? Write an article about your client? Implement your campaign? This is where your call to action comes in.

The goal is to create a frictionless transition into a conversation or reply. Ask yourself what you want your audience to do and offer them something that will sustain their interest. Ask that CEO if they would like to grab coffee sometime. After pitching a deck, request a meeting to further discuss your idea or strategy. Establish an action for your audience to complete and then confidently call them to it.

Now it’s time to put yourself out there! Remember to practice your pitch, stay confident and do your research—you’ll be a pitching pro in no time! And don’t forget, if you get stuck along the way, KM&A is here to help.

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