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Creating Vision and Goals with an Elevator Pitch

There are several templates that help create a product vision. One of the most widely-used is the Elevator Pitch. The output of the Elevator Pitch is a simple sentence structure that encourages you to abstract your ideas for a product vision to its essence. It embraces the classic elevator test exercise, "Can you explain yourself clearly in a short elevator ride?"

The Elevator Pitch helps Product Owners avoid common mistakes when pitching their product and creating a product vision:

  • Using too much technical or niche, industry jargon that loses the customer
  • Trying to describe all product features, without considering what problems the customer actually wants to solve (their satisfaction gaps)
  • Focusing too much on what makes them “unique” from their competitors

While the Elevator Pitch template inserts a little bit of this information into its structure, it keeps a Product Owner and team focused on the ultimate goal - understanding how your product solves a specific problem for your customer.


Crossing the chasm

The Elevator Pitch template consists of 6 parts.

Activity Guidelines

In order to fill out the six parts of the Elevator Pitch, start by exploring or discussing questions related to your product such as:

  • Who is our current audience? Who is our customer/user? Are there different subgroups of these customers/users?
  • What outcomes and benefits do they seek? 
  • What are we willing to deliver them?
  • What does our current evidence say? What products, features, and services do they use currently to help them achieve their needs? 
  • Are the customers happy with their current experience? Are there any gaps in their satisfaction that could be pursued through our product?
  • Why is our product different from your competitors’ products?

(Tip: Communicate your answers in terms of customers/users’ outcomes and their benefits instead of the features you desire to deliver.)  

Complete the template with your answers in mind.

If completing the template as a group, you can use the following steps to use the Elevator Pitch as a spark for conversation and idea generation. We have found that the timebox for this type of activity varies from minutes to days. Use your best judgment.

  1. Split the participants into small groups. To prepare them for the template, ask them to discuss questions like the above ones provided.
  2. Have the small groups write down their ideas in the form of the Elevator Pitch template. 
  3. Each group shares their Elevator Pitch with all participants. They post them on a shared wall and can read them aloud.
  4. Allow the group as a whole to discuss the different pitches. This can be done by everyone posting sticky notes with questions and comments on the individual pitches. Allow time for each group to answer questions and discuss. You may want to allow time for the groups to refine their pitches.
  5. If you would like to converge to one single Elevator Pitch that involves the whole group, after sharing, ask them to individually vote on the aspects of the pitches that they liked best through dot voting. This will create a heat map that allows you to create a combination of several suggestions. 
  6. Alternatively, you could have the individuals vote on the one pitch, excluding their own, that they think is best.
  7. The Product Owner makes the final decision on what the elevator pitch should look like. They can choose one elevator pitch and refine it if needed, or take elements from the various different elevator pitches to create a new one. 

While the resulting pitch is unlikely a phrase that you would formulaically recite to customers, the exercise itself is helpful to explicitly think about the product to create or improve a product vision. Be sure to revisit your elevator pitch regularly to improve it.



Learning Series
The Product Vision describes the purpose of a Product. A good Product Vision expresses the value the Product should deliver and to whom that value is delivered.



Book: Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey Moore; Harper Collins Publishers




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