How to pitch your startup to your grandma?

24 Oct 2017



For having worked on more than 200 tech innovations and startups’ Marketing concerns so far, I can tell that the hardest part of the job is to write a short description to pitch your offer clearly. Here, you will find a simple method to get out of it.





When I ask you to tell me about your offer, your first temptation is to talk about your solution for hours, like a tech evangelist. You tell me about algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Open Data, sensors, IoT, or software. On this, you are passionately talkative. And I need to stop you at some point since I am completely lost in your solution.





You simply forget to tell me which customers you address and which problem you are solving for them.


In the best case, you know the answers and just take them for granted. Please do not tell me that those who know will understand. At the description stage, we do not talk the technologist’s language. You need to be inclusive, understandable by everybody, even by your grandma. You will be able to give many technical details on your website or brochure.


If you do not know the answers, there is an issue. The reason to live of a startup is to solve a specific problem (some call it a pain) and bring a clear and innovative solution. Remember that the first mistake for a startup is to build something that nobody wants because it does not meet any need. But I am sure that you know the answers. You just do not spend enough time on them.



“I do not see enough founders really thinking about the problem that they are solving”

Brian Solis, expert in disruptive technology






To write a good description of your offer, I simply ask you 3 questions and manage to get clear answers for each. The order of the questions does not matter. The goal is to collect the right ingredients. And from experience, at the end, it works every time.


Who is it for?


·       B2B: Business segments - B2C: End users

·       Painful situation


Why use it?


·       Benefit of your solution


What is it?


·       Category

·       Key feature to meet the benefit



Who is it for? In B2C, you will talk about end users (eg. 18-24 yo). In B2B, you will talk about business segments, depending on their size or industry (eg. large organizations). But you can also precise who you target in these segments (eg. IT Developers). Now think about the situation where and when they suffer a pain. What is the need? This may already be clearly expressed or only supposed.


This will allow you to find the answer to the most important question for your prospects: Why use it? I see you coming: You might be tempted to put forward a technical advantage. This is possible only when the benefit for your customers is self-explanatory. If not, for the sake of a clear communication, you will describe directly the benefit to deliver to your customers. In both cases, this should resonate in the customers’ mind and trigger their desire to try your solution.


Third ingredient: What is it? People want to put your solution into a category quickly but talking about a tool, a system, a platform is not enough. If your solution is really innovative, precise the killing feature that proves that you can deliver the benefit. At this stage, no need to develop how it works with too many details.


Once all the ingredients are collected, be sure that your description makes sense to your customers. There is no strict way to write the description, but the theoretical models below can help you:


  • [Your solution] is a [category] aimed at [business segment/end users]. It enables them to [benefit] thanks to [feature] when they [situation].

  • [Your solutionis a [category] that [feature]. It is aimed at [business segment/end users] to enable them to [benefit] when they [situation].

  • [Your solution] is a [category] aimed at [business segment/end users] when they [situation]. Thanks to [feature], it enables them to [benefit].


3 questions to pitch your #startup: Who is it for? Why use it? What is it? - By @_ChantalGarnier Via @PStratStation


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Like a game, in order to write a good description, the basic rules are:


·       To make sentences with subject, verb and complement

·       To make it short and sharp (around 200-250 signs including spaces)

·       To use the third person, and not "I, we or you"

·       To place 1-2 keywords (not a firework of buzz words) for re-use on the Web

·       To avoid acronyms or explain them

·       To be factual and avoid superlative words

·       To cut the description in 2 sentences, if possible

·       To use your company name or brand name as the solution


To make it happen, it takes to ask someone external to propose something. Then, the CEO or Chief Marketing Officer of your startup give feedbacks. And after a couple of exchanges back and forth, we’ve eventually got it.





Let me share with you some B2B and B2C examples of descriptions that I could write, according to this methodology, for Innovation Activities and tech startups supported by EIT Digital and its EIT Digital Accelerator. EIT Digital is a leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation driving Europe’s digital transformation.



UAVIA provides a full suite of hardware and software that enables businesses to perform any real-time drone inspection and surveillance of their industrial sites. This is operated 100% remotely and with no distance limit.

Crédit: UAVIA


Who is it for? Businesses needing to perform inspection and surveillance of their industrial sites


Why use it? Perform real-time inspection and surveillance of industrial sites 100% remotely with no distance limit

This is a key technical advantage that each site security manager would dream of. It brings a huge customer benefit: No longer having to move from his desk to monitor sites on the other side of the world.


What is it? A full suite of hardware and software operating drones

Of course, it works: You can do it with drones. This is the killing new technology. 





Light-Flex has developed a printed active light technology incorporated in clothing. It provides enhanced visibility and safety for those who need to be seen outside at night, like bikers or runners, without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics.


Credit: Light-Flex


Who is it for? Those who need to be seen outside at night, like bikers or runners


Why use it? Be visible and safe outside at night without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics

You do not want to look like a digger working on the road while you are stylishly exercising. Not sacrificing comfort or aesthetics while being visible and safe is the customer benefit.


What is it? A printed active light technology incorporated in clothing

What a great feature! Printed active light is much more visible and much more beautiful than traditional reflective light.

 is a cloud-based digital media platform that enables advertisers to broadcast real-time targeted content on thousands of outdoor displays, by using big data collected from the audience when it connects to the screen’s free Wi-Fi hotspot.




Who is it for? Advertisers needing to broadcast content on outdoor displays


Why use it? Broadcast real-time targeted content 

Wow! This is the Holy Grail for all advertisers. This technical advantage is such a smart way to increase the efficiency and the ROI of a campaign.


What is it? A cloud-based digital media platform using big data collected from the audience when it connects to the screen’s free Wi-Fi hotspot

It sounds right like the Minority Report movie. Data on your profile is collected when you connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot to broadcast the advertisement that best suits you.





ICARO-EU is an integrated gate-to-gate Direct Air-to-Ground Communications system (DA2GC) that seamlessly connects network infrastructures of flying vehicles/platforms with the ground cellular networks to provide broadband services and cellular coverage to aircraft passengers.


Credit: Sofia Sforza / Unsplash


Who is it for? Aircraft passengers wanting to stay in touch with the ground


Why use it? Get broadband services and cellular coverage in aircrafts

Wow! Who has never been frustrated at not being able to connect with friends and family for hours in a long-haul flight? This is a customer benefit.


What is it? An integrated gate-to-gate Direct Air-to-Ground Communications system (DA2GC) that seamlessly connects network infrastructures of flying vehicles/platforms with the ground cellular networks

This is the technology that makes it possible and it is seamless.





SSiSC (Smart Safety in Smart Cities) is a system to collect data from multiple sources, correlate them, define the risk level and quickly alert security forces and/or citizens in case of crisis situations such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks.


Credit: July Brenda Gonzales Callapaza / Unsplash


Who is it for? Security forces and/or citizens needing to be alerted in case of crisis situations, such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks



Why use it? Be quickly alerted depending on the risk level

When something like this happens, shall we rely on TV with high latency? Or on Twitter with fake news? No, we all want the right news and instructions on time from official authorities. This is a customer benefit.


What is it? A system that collects data from multiple sources, correlates them and defines the risk level

This sounds trustworthy enough.



As you can see, all these descriptions are very clear even if they deal with complex technologies. They all explain what they are, for whom and which benefit they deliver in which situation.





This type of descriptions is very useful and multi-purpose, in whole or in part:


·       On your website

·       At the end of blog articles

·       On billboards or flyers at events

·       At a cocktail

·       In the Google meta description (60 signs)

·       On your Twitter bio (160 signs) or in your tweets (280 signs)

·       On your LinkedIn page (500 signs above the See More bar)

·       In the boiler plate of press releases

·       Etc.


It also helps your Chief Marketing Officer to create messages and to identify consistent topics for your audience. Your description is now the cornerstone of your Content Marketing. What is yours?

A good description of your offer is the cornerstone of your #ContentMarketing - By @_ChantalGarnier Via @PStratStation  

 Click to Tweet


PlanningStrat-Station has developed a special offer to support startups in their Content Marketing. Its approach integrates a strong brand strategy to produce consistent contents, in tone, messages and iconography, from the beginning.




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© 2017 by Pierre Bourgeois & Chantal Garnier / PlanningStrat-Station / PlanningStrat-Startups

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