The recurring question everyone is asked at a large industry event, like the Web 2.0 Summit, is “what do you do” or another variation, “what does your company do?” Your answer tells a lot about the focus and marketability of your company.
Most people answer this with a long, rambling description, often requiring a few follow up questions to clarify things for their interrogator. Alarm bells should ring if this is your typical response.
The smart and focused companies provide concise, easy to understand explanations. Think about how Apple always describes their killer products: iPod = 1000 songs in your pocket, iPhone = the web in your hand etc.
I met a lot of very smart start-up founders at Web 2.0 Summit and it was clear that the good ones could, without fail, explain their idea or business in a handful of words. They had their elevator pitch down pat as a result of being put through the ringer by VC’s in a very competitive market.
We all need to be able to explain what we do in a similar fashion to this.
I found myself refining my explanation every time I’m asked…and I would have answered that question about 40 times a day at the conference. It’s been an interesting case in test-marketing. My clunky, long-winded answers might cause eyes to glaze over, while my sharper, more eloquent responses tend to create genuine interest.
Think long and hard about your best answer to “what to you do”. When you get it right and receive genuine interest at industry events, you might finally have a sales pitch that you can use in your marketing too.