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Former Kodak CMO: Shorten Up Those Elevator Pitches

  |  August 17, 2010   |  Comments

Jeffrey Hayzlett said brands must also tap social networks to engage, educate, excite, and evangelize - and shape product development.

Former Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett said marketers must shorten their elevator pitches and ensure that consumers understand the value of their brands.

In fact, he insisted the elevator pitches should be 118 seconds or less.

Why 118 seconds? Because the average elevator ride in New York City is 110 seconds and the average person's attention span is 8 seconds, Hayzlett quipped during his keynote speech at SES San Francisco, which is part of Connected Marketing Week. "As CMOs, our elevator pitches have gotten too long," he said.

So what's Kodak's elevator pitch today? "Only Kodak creates emotional technology that makes it easier to make, manage and move images and information so people can strengthen relationships," said Hayzlett, CMO at Kodak from 2006 through May 2010.

He had no shortage of other 118-second pitches:

--"You want to build hearts and minds, not eyeballs and ears."

--"People don't take pictures. They capture memories, moments."

--"Cause tension. That's your job [in marketing]… In sports, there's the adage, 'no pain, no gain'."

Hayzlett also told war stories about the tumult that he and his team encountered as Kodak made the transition from a company that once sold traditional film to one that now sells digital cameras, printers, and video cameras.

During that transition, marketing employees who were slow to embrace change were fired. Hayzlett characterized those employees as the "slowest common denominator" who resisted change.

"We were an old school company. We were trying to be cool, but were dressing like Elmer Fudd," he said, referring to a cartoon character created more than a half-century ago.

Hayzlett, who's now promoting his book, "The Mirror Test," also encouraged brands to embrace social media to engage, educate, excite, and evangelize.

In fact, someone tweeted that Kodak should add an external microphone jack to its pocket video camera, a suggestion that was incorporated into the Kodak Zi8, the next-generation of the camera. The feature, he said, helped Kodak increase its market share.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Maria Virzi

Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at Forbes.com, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.

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