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Why life’s a pitch for market researchers too!

Obama's one-word pitch selling himself to voters was 'Forward'. What's yours?

'Selling' not as dirty as we've been led to believe

In his latest book To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink says we should all have a one-word pitch, as well as multiple pitches. And he gives a convincing argument why.

This part of his most recent publication resonated with me, both on professional and personal levels. We are all constantly pitching our ideas to someone, be it work colleagues, clients, our children…

In this sense we are all in sales roles, and market researchers are not exempt. Pink’s main theme is that we are all selling, and selling is not a dirty word or something for the extroverts. It's all about broadening your repertoire of pitches for an age of limited attention spans, technology, and buyers that are more knowledgeable and sophisticated than in the past. 

Every communication with others is an opportunity to pitch ourselves, our brand and our point of view - hence the need for multiple pitches.

Have a backup to your elevator pitch

Why life’s a pitch for market researchers too!

Daniel Pink suggests there are six pitches which are successors to the elevator pitch. He describes each one in this YouTube video, and I’ve listed them here:
- The Pixar Pitch (more on that below)
- The Twitter Pitch
- The subject line pitch
- The rhyming pitch (tapping in unconsciously)
- The question pitch
- The one-word pitch. 

Once upon a time...

I was particularly interested in the Pixar Pitch, named after Pixar Animation studios (think Nemo and Toy Story). As an ex-qualitative researcher, I used to enjoy using story-telling and visualization, so this is a great tool that could be used in a myriad of research as well as selling situations. Looking back it would have been useful when I was developing new coffee brands!

By using a Pixar story artist’s six-sentence recipe for clever storytelling, Pink deftly offers an overview of how this type of pitch can be used.

The sentence leaders in italics below are the outline of the storytelling structure, and Pink urges the reader to follow suit and consider creating their own Pixar Pitch:

Once upon a time only some people were in sales.
Every day they sold stuff, we did stuff, and everyone was happy.
One day everything changed: all of us ended up in sales - and sales changed from a world of 'caveat emptor' (buyer beware) to 'caveat venditor' (seller beware).
Because of that we had to learn the new ABCs - attunement, buoyancy, and clarity. (the previous ABCs being 'always be closing').
Because of that we had to learn some new skills - to pitch, to improvise, and to serve.
Until finally we realized that selling isn't some grim accommodation to a brutal marketplace culture. It's part of who we are - and therefore something we can do better by being more human.’

Communication tools for the taking

Pink offers a range of tools to improve how we communicate with others, while also enjoying the experience. These build on ideas in his earlier books - Drive and A Whole New Mind – where purpose, empathy and emotions are recurring themes. All take a social science perspective on what we do now, and I found them a useful ‘potpourri’ to choose approaches that captured my interest. ‘Mirroring’ didn’t sound like my thing, but it was amusing to read about!

As a market researcher, the book has impacted me by reminding me to look beyond the common perceptions of selling, brands, and human nature generally. 

Overall, the book is full of powerful and heart-warming examples of traditional and non-traditional selling situations that engage the reader. In parts it reads as easily as a magazine. Spoil yourself, and let me know which memory lane it takes you down.

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