Let’s face it, the value of a taxonomy isn’t inherently obvious to everyone. Some people have to be convinced that a taxonomy can help them do their job better, faster, and smarter. Not only for their department but for the entire organization! If you are responsible for organizing information in your company but find it’s tough to get support from stakeholders and key decision-makers, no worries. A good elevator pitch will get them thinking.
Taxonomy, and the other building blocks that make up an Information Architecture, are very technical concepts and can be difficult to explain in layman’s terms - not to mention in 30 seconds or less. But the process of thinking through what you want to say, and to whom, helps you get to the heart of what a taxonomy does and how it benefits the organization.
Let’s go through the process of creating an elevator pitch.
Identify your audience. As with any presentation, you want to start by identifying your audience. Because you might be pitching to different audience types, you may need to script 2 or 3 different elevator pitches. For example, a pitch to someone in IT can focus on the more technical benefits of a taxonomy, and a pitch to a Senior VP might focus on the financial benefits of a taxonomy.
A little about you. You are not your title. Really think about how you help the company reach its goals and focus on that for creating your one or two sentence bio.
Know your goal. What message do you want to convey? A message simply explaining what a taxonomy is will be very different from a message describing how a taxonomy will benefit the company. The first one might be right for someone who owns content, to motivate them to work with you. The second could be effective for a C-level individual who could provide you with funding.
Summarize the benefits. You can think of the benefits in at least four ways:
Search Enhancement – The primary benefit that drives the value that your co-workers or your customers can get from your company’s content. If your customers can’t find it, they can’t buy it
Content Reuse – Getting the most value from your expensive assets
Business Intelligence – Fostering the holistic approach to your data-driven organization to make content consistent and organized so it can be analyzed more effectively.
Process Orchestration – Automating processes, optimizing content, and integrating platforms.
You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information, so focus your pitch on one benefit that you want to highlight. One that matches your company’s goals is a perfect place to start.
Throw in a question. You don’t want to appear to be lecturing, so throw in question to your audience to get them engaged. But, keep the question simple, maybe just a yes or no answer, so you don’t get derailed too far from your message. Something like, “Do you ever have trouble finding information?”
Hone the message. Time your speech to figure out which parts need to be condensed and where you need additional information. Run the speech by others to get their feedback on areas that need more attention. When you have your speech down to 20-30 seconds while still getting your intended point made, you are ready to go live.
Here’s an example of an elevator pitch describing how foundational work in can support business intelligence:
“Hi, I’m Carla Pealer, and I help people work smarter. As you probably know, our company produces a lot of data and information every year that tells an important story of how our products are working for us, and I’m committed to using that data to drive our company’s decision-making. Do you feel like you are getting only a partial picture of how our products are being used or why they aren’t selling? Well, I can organize your data and content so you get a holistic view of the problem – not just what is happening but why it is happening. If that sounds interesting to you, then let’s talk about this further.”
Your turn! What is your elevator pitch for taxonomy? This is really a fun exercise, and you just never know when, or with whom, you’ll need this quick pitch for your cause.