This post is part of a 95 post series discussing the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto as they relate to business in 2009. Read more about the series in the introduction post. And check out the rest of the series!
Thesis #16: Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.
As we’ve established, the language of “pitch”, which includes sales, marketing, campaigns, verticals, leveraging, and more…is ineffective.
When it works, it only works when you cast a net so massive that you are working the power of numbers. If you pitch to hundreds of thousands, even millions of individuals, of course you’re going to have some rate of conversion. But that’s a ton of wasted energy. And in terms of voice, and language, is a great way to the business equivelent of laryngitis.
Why is the language of “pitch” ineffective at anything other than alienating your audience? Think about it this way. While some of us are better at it than others, we all have some innate “lie detection” built in to our communications arsenal. First line of defense? Irregular speach patterns, followed by messaging designed to obscure intent.
Now let’s examine the physiology of “the pitch”. By definition, a pitch is meant to succinctly explain
a) what you are pitching b) why it is valuable c) who you are, related to that element of value
Notice anything missing?
The ideal pitch explains how perfect your product or service is for the person being pitched to.
Unfortunately for the “pitcher”, that’s when our innate lie detection kicks in. For me, it’s the “too good to be true” meter that usually goes off the charts.
That’s usually when I turn my back. I don’t know about you, but the things that set off my lie detector send me the other way.
As soon as I hear a pitch, I assume that I’m in the middle of a bait and switch.
“Here, stay for the weekend in this beautiful ski resort. It’s free. All you need to do is sit through a 2 hour presentation about our time share offerings”.
Right. I saw that episode of South Park and I’m not buying it.
Which is why the companies that use the voice of “pitch” in all of their communications are finding that they look up from their pitch script to realize that they are talking to an empty room.
“Where did everyone go?” the pitching marketer asks.
They’re online, and they’re talking to each other.