Part 4: Elevator Pitch-Worthy learnings from Shark Tank

     

Welcome to part one of our blog series on product marketing for product managers. We know the pain that product managers feel when they have to fill the shoes of a product marketer – that’s why this series has been designed to provide an outline of product marketing that product managers can confidently and easily follow while still fulfilling their own roles. If you’d like to see more, simply take a look at our product marketing section. And if you’d like to keep receiving our hints, tips and tricks, then subscribe to our blog!

Ever heard of Shark Tank? It’s a reality show that allows aspiring entrepreneurs to present their business proposal and their product or service to a group of ‘Shark’ investors in the hopes of receiving a cash investment in their company. The reason why this might be useful to product managers is because it gives you a very real example of how to sell your product, and how to sell it well. Each pitch is a lesson on what to do and what not to do, and can even help you to effectively perform the role of a product manager while engaging in product marketing at the same time.

No, you don’t have to say it. We know just how different B2B and B2C marking are, and how high-tech B2B marketing is a completely different ball game. But let’s remember that the fundamentals apply to all types of product marketing. Yes, high-tech B2B products are harder to market due to their complex nature, and can be even harder to explain. But the task is nowhere near an impossible one.

To demonstrate this, let’s take a look at Scrub Daddy – widely regarded as one of the best pitches to be shown on Shark Tank. It’s a product that went on to become internationally recognized, and one that you can even find in your local grocery store as well. Scrub Daddy’s Aaron Krause did a fantastic job of selling his product to the Sharks in under 2 minutes, and if you watch the video, you’ll be able to see him efficiently define the values of his product, and communicate them in a variety of ways. In fact, his presentation was so exceptional that the Sharks actually fought over him and he had not one, but three irresistible deals to choose from.

Getting your messaging right

Before appearing on Shark Tank, Aaron Krause had given live demonstrations at no less than five local grocery stores. He had had the chance to conduct target market research and interview his audience to assess the viability of Scrub Daddy.

It’s here that you can take a lesson from Krause, in conducting your own user research and interviews in order to understand your target market’s wants and needs. When doing so, it would also be helpful to monitor their language, and to notice how they relate to and engage with the product. Take note of these cues, and you will eventually begin to discern a pattern of repeated words and phrases. You already know that you need to speak to your customers to understand their needs and create solutions – now try doing so with their own words and phrases. There is no more powerful tool than being able to communicate with your customers in a language that they understand, and use themselves.

Just as giving live demonstrations helped Krause to refine his Scrub Daddy pitch, so too will speaking to your customers and regularly ‘pitching’ to them help with your own product marketing.

No bullshit, 100% honesty

Watch the video and you’ll see that Krause starts by giving a tutorial of his product. He explains the concept of a texture that changes when water temperature is adjusted, and puts a 10kg weight on top by way of demonstration. He then goes on to illustrate the strength of the product with a variety of different tests. His pitch is straightforward, and effectively highlights the advantages of Scrub Daddy over its other competitors in the marketplace.

Obviously if you’re a product manager at Pratt and Whitney, lugging around a 12-foot turbine is impossible. Instead you’ll need to demonstrate how your turbine works through a display of pictures, prototypes or videos. For example, you might want to show a wind tunnel test that proves how the turbine is able to face the toughest conditions and still pass its strength testing. Videos are one of the most persuasive methods of demonstrating what your product does and why it’s better than other products in the market. (Not convinced? Here’s proof.)

We’ve also explored how to leverage video content as a product marketing tacticsomething that could be useful if you’re considering using video content in your product marketing campaigns going forward.

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[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/the-18-best-shark-tank-pitches-ever-2015-9?r=US&IR=T#simple-sugars-season-4-13
http://fortune.com/2017/09/12/successful-shark-tank-products/

 

About The Author

Background in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and Product Management. My professional roles have ranged from a design engineer, product development engineer and product manager where I primarily worked on commercial products to make it market ready. I am constantly curious and intrigued by technological advancements in all areas and the impact it has in the world and our lives. It’s a good era for me to be in!