Lens 3

Tool 11.

The Elevator Pitch

In the final phase of the creation and development of a product or service, the objective will be to see if the solution that has been reached will work when it is submitted to the user. Thanks to this phase, the company avoids investing large sums of money before knowing if the product or service will really satisfy the needs of the customers and if it will ultimately connect with their motivations.

This tool helps companies to publicize the value of the product in a few words and without falling into gender stereotypes. This is possible because the objective of the elevator pitch or sales speech is to concretely communicate the value proposition without the need to resort to identity appeal tricks to achieve it.


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Tool 11.

The Elevator Pitch

As the last phase of the process of creating and developing a product, it is not exempt from the commitment to continue helping to transform gender roles to achieve the desired equal opportunities and treatment between women and men.

The commercialization and sale of a product, normally known as the last mile, is loaded with ideas that exist in society and that companies take up as behaviors and attitudes that are considered appropriate for women and men. This causes gender stereotypes to be transferred to marketing strategies.

Since it is a strategy to expose ideas with very defined characteristics, the elevator pitch is useful to counteract the confidence gap that exists between women and men. This gap, which may be the cause of some of them stopping in search of opportunities, has its origin in gender stereotypes, since socially women are expected to be modest, patient and not raise their voices, which creates an unfavorable environment for them to express their opinions and be assertive.

An interesting data collected by HP reveals that women in this company only applied for a position when they had reached 100% of the requirements requested for the job, while men were willing to apply with 60% compliance with the requirements.

Design thinking, being a methodology that idolizes error and invites you to be part of the creation process, is ideal for building in women the idea that it is not necessary to have everything perfect to jump into doing something. Under this principle, recovering from a mistake will be easier, and that is one of the reasons why men advance professionally more, self-confidence helps them not to sabotage themselves.

On the other hand, the different situations of power experienced by men and women in the world of work, in which they are interrupted more frequently, questioned for their opinions or required to prove their competence, can be addressed with tools that help to build trust and speak from a new perspective.

The power poses (body language) added to the elevator pitch, can help build confidence in women to sell their ideas and make themselves heard from a more secure, assertive and open position to make mistakes.

Where does the elevator pitch concept come from?

The elevator pitch should last a maximum of 2 minutes, ideally 60 seconds

It was born in the United States and its name comes from the fact that it takes place in an elevator, the only place and time in which you could have access to the CEO of the company or an investor and comment on the idea of a product or service for try to convince you to buy or invest in it

Although it is true this tool was created mainly to expose the project to an interest group, such as investors or boards of directors, the intended use as part of this toolkit is to define the product’s sales message and increase confidence in the women by expressing their ideas in a selling way.

The product sales pitch should guide everyone involved in creating the promotional campaign. Here it is important to warn about the possible gender stereotypes that could get filtered in this pitch. Having clear and concise the value proposition, both of the product and of the idea that it is trying to transmit, it will be easier to communicate it to those interested or in charge of marketing and selling the product.


For this task, the innovation and development committee described in tool 1. Creation and development of products with a gender focus can be convened within this same lens

Steps for implementation

1. Get to know the audience. Notice what value judgments are being assigned to the people who will hear the sales pitch.

2. Create a speech that mentions:

      • The target person for whom the product or solution is intended.
      • The need to be satisfied.
      • The name of the product or service.
      • The category to which the product or service belongs.
      • The key benefit, the reasons for creating them.
      • The differential with respect to the competition or market alternatives.
      • How the product meets the needs of women and girls, closes gender gaps, or promotes gender equality.

3. Do not have a single sales pitch, it is good to have several pitches on the same product idea.

4. Remember to be brief, no more than 120 seconds.

      Presenting the value proposition of a product designed with a gender perspective requires that the categorization criteria of the target person and the type of message do not contain gender stereotypes. Not only as a position of the company to improve our society, but because commercially it can be counterproductive.

      A Harvard Business School study suggests that there is a threat in unintentionally categorizing people into a single identity. This even has a negative effect. People do not like to be categorized, even when they do feel part of that identity. In groups that are not marginalized or stereotyped, these appeals will not generate negative reactions, perhaps even a reason for grace. But a gratuitous categorization can backfire if the person belongs to a group usually discriminated against and if the appeal evokes a stereotype of that identity.

      To carry out a good sales pitch with a gender perspective, it will be very important not to assign a stereotype to the audience. Therefore, one should avoid assuming that just by being part of a certain social category will the person appreciate the benefits of the value proposition. 

      Using the following structure when verbalizing the solution or product proposal will be helpful.

      For (target person), who has (person’s need), (product name) is a (market category) that (a key benefit), unlike (competition), the product (differentiator) and helps / improves society / environment to the (reason why the product helps transform gender roles and inequality / reason why it positively impacts the environment)

      Tool application example

      Lani Lazzari, a recent high school graduate, used the elevator pitch to convince the Shark Tank USA jury in 2013 to invest in her natural sugar-based skincare line Simple Sugars, focused primarily on sensitive skin.

      Lani is currently the CEO of Simple Sugars and has managed to turn it into a million dollar business. During her 1 minute pitch on the show, Lani goes through the following points:

          • Product motivation: Lani had suffered from eczema since she was 11 years old and could not find a product that will work on her sensitive skin and smell good.
          • Product results: using her creams, she managed to remove her eczema and rough skin.
          • Why invest in it? The product was popular with her family and friends, has 100% natural ingredients and gently exfoliates while deeply hydrating the skin.
          • Commitment to the product: she emphasizes that she has been focused on her entrepreneurship since high school and that she is willing to do anything to get her business going.

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      This toolbox is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Contract No. AID OAA-C-17-00090. The contents of this toolkit are the sole responsibility of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.