Pitch it to me!

The art of “the pitch” has gone from a 60-minute opportunity to 3-minute opportunity for startups. While many accelerators, like 500 Startups and TechStars, include fast pitch and media training in their programs, some startups don’t have mentors to help perfect their pitches. Enter the agency pitch experts.

Agencies have been taught to say more with less and get to the value proposition within five seconds, or else risk losing their audiences. Agencies do this for myriad scenarios: AOR accounts, strategic roadmaps, tactical plans, and/or singular social tactics….just to give context to the range of things we pitch at any given time. So, the idea of pairing agencies + startups together makes perfect sense to me, given my background in strategy at agencies for 12+yrs.

The art of pitching is one that does not come easily.
Tenured agency folks are well-honed pitch ponies. We are. It’s the truth. 50%+ of our time is spent pitching ideas to clients, existing ones and new. We have been taught to Get. To. The. Point.


  • + Say how it solves a problem
  • + Say what it is
  • + Say what it does
  • + Say how/why it’s applicable for the brand you’re pitching to (most important)
  • + The less buzz words you use in this approach, the better off you’ll be

Considering most people (clients/investors, etc) allocate one minute to understanding your core idea before they float off into the world of “wait— what did she just say?” and stop listening to the remainder of your pitch because they’re still trying to figure out what you just said— the art of perfecting your pitch is of great importance for every startup to master.

It doesn’t surprise me that KITE has engineered a great session for SMW, titled A Visit from the Startup Pitch Doctors<, where they secured a few impressive agency executives (ie: the pitch doctors) to listen to, and evaluate three startup’s pitches. It’s a brilliant pairing. The Pitch Doctors:

  • + Gemma Craven, Exec Director, Head of Social Customer Engagement at OgilvyOne WorldWide, @gemsie
  • + David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, @dberkowitz
  • + Jason Newport, SVP, Head of Mobile Strategy, Aegis Media

The Startups

In prep for the session, each pitch doctor is paired up with a startup to evaluate and give feedback on its pitch. The startups proceed to improve their presentations, based on that input, and will present 3-minute pitches during the session.

It will surely lead to a vibrant conversation and Q&A about the process and lessons learned after the pitches, moderated by Tarah Feinberg, CMO of KITE (@TarahFO). This type of collaboration is a real-world version of KITE’s platform, which fosters innovation within brands and agencies by helping them to discover, evaluate and partner with startups that align with their strategies.

A must attend-event for anyone in business development or at an agency or startup — secure your pitch perfecting spot here, and if you have a Campus Pass, join our 7×7 Mentor Session: Industry Leaders Share Career Advice on Getting Ahead.

Jess Seilheimer runs a consultancy called Cretegic– your insight-driven partner for a digital world. We accelerate strategic planning into actionable ideas & marketing for brands and startups. She is also the Strategy & Marketing lead for a startup Birdi. Prior, she was the SVP of Digital Innovation and Strategic Planning at Havas.