Updated: Sep 28
On Demand Pitch competitions have a lot of benefits over Live or Virtual Pitch competitions. However as with any pitch competition, On Demand Pitch Competitions need planning to ensure their ultimate success. The below list provides some details on what needs to be considered.
Define your goals and what success looks like
This is the same step required for all pitch competitions. What is the premise and aim of the competition? Often this is based on the type of organization that you are. Is it aimed to present an opportunity to your investment group? Recruit startups for your accelerator or incubator? Promote yourself as a destination location for co-working spaces? Or is it just to create awareness of your sponsors for cross sell opportunities?
Once you define your key goals then you need to determine what success looks like. If this is the first time you are running an on demand competition, be realistic of your goals. Often these programs can take a few goes to build momentum. Write these down and make sure you track the performance of your campaign so you can identify opportunities for growth for the next competition.
Plan your schedule
While scheduling is less of an issue with on demand pitch competitions you still need to define a submission period, judging period, peoples choice voting period and an announcement date.
You could choose to run multiple rounds of judging or peoples choice voting to narrow down winners.
Also key to consider whether you want periods to overlap. If you are running a peoples choice award it is often better to start the public voting for pitches after the submission period has closed. You do not want to discourage people from entering if there are early submissions which may have already garnered a bunch of votes from the public.
Panel judging on the other hand may want to start as soon as entries begin arriving. Particularly if a large number of entrepreneur pitches are anticipated.
Define the pitch criteria and rules
It is important to define to your prospective entrants what type of businesses you are looking for. What stage do they need to be? What sector is their business focused on? Is it technology, space, manufacturing, environmental, health, etc? Also how long should the pitch be and what information do you need submitted with the pitch? Do you need the presentation in PDF as well as the pitch video?
Also be clear about how you will be scoring entries and what specifically should be included in the pitch. While the way the entrepreneur delivers the pitch is important, more important is getting entrepreneurs to position their business in the best light possible. This also positions yourself as a thought leader and educator which is important when entrepreneurs are deciding what types of organizations they want to work with.
Define how winners are selected and your prizes
You need to define how winners are selected. Is it just based on the number of public votes or judges score they receive or a combination of both? How many winners will be selected? In practice it is always better to provide a larger number of winners with smaller prizes than very few winners with larger prizes. You will always receive more pitches when entrants feel they have a greater opportunity to win.
When selecting the prize make sure it aligns to your and the entrants objectives. Reality is most entrepreneurs need money, exposure and expertise. Prizes could include:
Free co-working spaces
Entry into an accelerator program
Opportunity to meet with key investors
All of these would be valuable to entrepreneurs and it is also great to align the prize to the products that your organization provides.
Select the technology to create and manage the pitch
When selecting technology there are some key capabilities you need for an on demand competition platform:
Needs to be styled to your brand: Make sure whatever you choose can be completely styled to align with your brand so entrants, voters, judges and other interested parties do not feel like they have just moved to another application. This is not just styling but also simple things such as the url of the site. Just adding a custom banner is often not enough so make sure your tool has a simple to use but powerful designer.
Embedding widgets into your own website is also an option, however be warned that many embedded solutions leverage a technology called iFraming which does not create a great experience.
Supports a great submission process: Make sure the technology can provide a completely custom form that allows for one or more files to be uploaded with the submission. Multiple pages, save as draft when there are lots of questions, conditional forms, and more will be important.
Natively supports video: Make sure your solution supports video natively. Many tools require 3rd party solutions such as YouTube or Vimeo. While these tools are fine video hosting platforms, if you want to download the videos at the end of the competition then you will need them uploaded to the platform. Also if the entrant used one of these 3rd party video platforms for their entry and then the entrant believes they are not going to win they could remove access to the video thus compromising the integrity of the competition.
Make sure the platform supports the upload of large format videos and also uses video transcoding so videos can be smoothly viewed online without the dreaded buffering wait wheel.
Support for peoples choice: Pitch competitions are a great way to engage your broader community. So getting them involved in voting for their preferred pitch and even asking them why they liked it can also be used to gauge broader idea appeal. Make sure your solution supports this and can support anti-fraud capabilities to implement vote rules to reduce potential cheating.
Support for online judging: This feature is critical. You need to ensure that the platform supports the ability to have your critiquing judges review each pitch online and also centrally collect scores based on whatever criteria is important.
You own the data: Lastly make sure that whatever is submitted and collected by the platform can be exported and that the platform vendor does not have any rights to reuse the information for their own purposes.
ContestPad by Launchpad6 is an example solution that provides these capabilities and more. You can find out more about ContestPad here.
Promoting your pitch competition is key to reaching your target audience. If this is done correctly it will not only attract more entrepreneur submissions but also provide broader brand awareness and add a level of prestige to the competition.
Leverage existing lists where possible to promote directly via email. Social media platforms such as Linkedin which is more focused on B2B marketing is a great channel.
Also partner up with co-share working spaces and ask if they will promote amongst the tenants who are often small startups.
Promoting at universities is also a great way to get the word out as most now have entrepreneur style programs and they are often happy to help their cohort receive external recognition and opportunity.
Entrepreneur magazines and blog sites are also a great source of engagement.
Once entrepreneurs submit, get them to share on social media to get awareness out as much as possible. This is where public voting awards can really incentivise awareness. This effectively makes every entrant a promoter for your competition.
If you are interested in learning more about how ContestPad can help with On Demand Pitch competitions do not hesitate to contact us at https://launchpad6.com/contact-us or to learn more about how ContestPad can help click here.