Sunday, October 29, 2006

Civil War, Coke, Tsunami, Green Tea and Global Business

At last count, had visitors from over 60 countries!! Right now, there are visitors from Japan, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and a whole host of other countries finding our website and creating their pitches for all of the world to see!! I recently came up with the silly slogan “I’d like to teach the world to pitch” which is based on the classic coca cola TV commercial jingle, “I’d like to buy the world a coke” If you are too young to remember this ad campaign, I strongly suggest you Google it, because I think you’ll get a big kick out of it.

Old Coca Cola Ad

The song and the concept probably seem pretty sappy and ultra-sweet, by today’s ultra-hip standards, just like the original, non-diet version of Coke. The idea behind the campaign is that if everyone could sit down and share a coke together and talk, there would be much less violence in the world. Who knows, maybe it’s worth a try?

We live in a global economy and the world is getting smaller and more connected. I’ve purchased DVDs via a British man on eBay. I’d say 90% of the clothes I own are not made in the United States. And the bananas I buy from the street vendor in front of my apartment building have a sticker on them that says Ecuador.

All of these examples still FEEL far away and distant, though. It’s not until you meet someone like Monaqui Porter-Young, that you feel the world really IS getting smaller!! I’d hoped to have time to do a quick interview with Monaqui at an event that I spoke at recently, here in New York City, which was hosted by the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Network or IWEN for short. It was a busy day though and I did not get a chance, so I’m just going to tell you about Monaqui and her incredible business that exports green tea from Sri Lanka to the United States and around the world.

Monaqui started her green tea business four years ago. Her tea plantation is located on a 90 acre rainforest called Paradis Farm, located in Sri Lanka, and her newest product is a green tea called SHREE NAH tea, spelled, SRINA. The most amazing thing that Monaqui shared with me is that there have been 20 years of civil war there and some of the women who work on her farm have husbands who are on opposite sides of the conflict. As the women work side by side peacefully on the farm, their husbands are out trying to kill each other!! These women say “we care about feeding our families and having a better life…let the men do the fighting…”WOW! Can you imagine?

A civil war is a big enough obstacle, however, in 2005, the business was also impacted by the tsunami. Monaqui and her team take it all in stride though. They have a vision and a mission that keeps them going against the odds. She says, “We are produing a superior commondity for the tea market while offering something magical to the people at the farm—pride and the ability to change their life using their country’s natural resources.”

And global business is responding to Monaqui’s SHREE-NA tea!! From tiny boutique spas to multi-billion dollar retail stores, everyone wants to know more about this magical Green Tea.

So maybe the new slogan should be, “I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,
I'd like to buy the world some TEA and keep it company. “

Of course I don’t know if Monaqui’s company could withstand the lawsuit from Coke, if we re-purposed their classic jingle, so I guess we better come up with a NEW song!!! I’ll start working on that now….

I’m Laura allen, co-founder of, reminding you to have a good day and create a GREAT international PITCH.

Go to

Friday, October 06, 2006

My new My Chingo player

Friday, September 15, 2006

Recent survey finds 70% of pros can't pitch

We created a survey at which we turned into a press release which you can see here on



Monday, September 11, 2006

Podcamp Presentation: Pitch Yourself in 15Seconds

Podcamp Boston was a great time! I have a lot to say about it, however, I've had a few people ask if there was a place where they could hear my presentation, so I wanted to post this right away. I know this is not the easiest way for you to hear this, so I apologize in advance and I'm looking at better alternatives.

In this presentation I share 15SecondPitches from; Chris Brogan, Adam Weiss and Bryan Person.



Thursday, September 07, 2006

Carnival of Marketing--My Love Letter from Seth Godin--sort of

I reached out to a few truly visionary marketing folks with the following request.
I wonder if you would provide a one or two sentence summary on the best marketing pitch that you've ever heard. (or pretty much anything else you'd like to give two sentences on.)

Here's Seth's response:

I love you. I miss you. I can't wait to see you tomorrow when you get home.

This is why so many people look to the wise bald man for marketing wisdom. In two sentences he reminds us that the most effective marketing is the most intensely personal. It is what is most relevant to your audience at this very moment. Who wouldn't want to get an email like this? I would! Thanks Seth!

For more Seth, go to:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Carnival of Marketing--The Art of Word of Mouth

Here's a great article from Sean Moffitt, Sean is the founder of a word of mouth marketing firm in Canada. He's written "30 Top Great Tips" on how to get word of mouth marketing work for you. It's worth checking out all of them, here are the five tips I liked the most:

#1 - Leverage the Six Key Motivations Why Humans Talk – tap into basic human instincts that control most of us, we talk: 1) to survive, 2) to connect, 3) to make sense of the world, 4) to reduce risk, 5) to benefit economically and 6) to relieve tension. Try to make your word of mouth quench one of these motivations.

#5 - Launch a Meme – a meme is an idea designed to spread; create a “bandwagon effect” for your word of mouth by attaching your own meme to it through catchphrases, lingo, metaphors, jingles…etc. so that not only does it convince others but encourages them to pass your message onto others.

#11 - Create the Best Soundbytes – most human’s capacity to only recall 7 things at one time, above that number and we either have to commit it to memory or more likely toss it out for other stuff to wade in. Take the most relevant points from your own experience and our Word of Mouth Handbook and make your key word of mouth points in 5 bytes or less.

#16 - Be Inspired – genuine authenticity and passion greases the conveyor belt of word of mouth; true word of mouth advocacy can’t be faked (nor should it be), but honest enthusiasm is magnetic and powerful and infects others with a feeling of excitement and energy, use is to make your word of mouth sing.

#18 - Make the First 30 Seconds Count – most people make impressions lightning fast –provide the “why I should I care benefit” in the first ½ minute of your conversation to avoid the “why didn’t you tell me earlier, I would have paid more attention” response.

I'd love to hear how you are using word of mouth marketing to increase traffic to your blog and or build your business. Read the entire article here:
The Art of the Word of Mouth Conversation

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Carnival of Marketing--Maybe the word Marketing is Part of the Problem?

I asked several people to send me their thoughts on marketing, specifically for this Carnival. I wanted to get the freshest content available. Our first article is from Chris Brogan, who is a very busy man. He runs: and among others.

Chris writes about how he and a partner conceived of a two-day event, planned it, convinced dozens of small businesses and individuals to sponsor it, and drove more than 200 people to register, all without a lick of marketing experience.

Chris says that the word "market" is part of the problem, that perhaps "connector" is a better title to hold than "marketer," and that the true magic lies in a company or client's ability to build participation into their product, service, or brand.


I am not a marketer. I am an unmarketer. I am not a salesman. I am an unsalesman. Somehow, with the help of others (most notably Chris Penn who runs, I was able to convince scores of people to give us money (almost $8,000 in increments of $100 or $200), convince hundreds of people to book a weekend with me, and convince an entire technology-centered community to talk about what I’m doing.

I’m one of the founders of PodCamp, a free unconference built around creating downloadable audio and video to distribute on the internet via RSS feed. But enough geektalk, because podcasting is a rotten term. I’m in the business of creating conversations through digital media. Podcasting is hot enough to have convinced Nielsen Analytics to create a report about the economics of podcasting. (Don’t feel like reading? Here’s a podcast about it).>Nielsen podcast

I’m passionate about the new media space because I’ve seen it in action. I’ve seen bloggers bring down political candidates. I’ve personally listened to podcasts that gave me the advantage of topical knowledge over a vendor, who hadn’t heard his own CTO’s statements about their products before coming to sit across a table from me. And I’ve seen the value of the ME in new media by watching coverage recorded from the perspective of the common man.
This is not a Market

Hear a multi-million dollar 15SecondPitch

Click the pink play button to hear an example of a pitch that I helped an indie-filmmaker create to secure millions in funding for her film, with an A list actress as the star.

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I'm hosting Carnival of Marketing--starts--tonight

I'll be hosting Carnival of Marketing which will start at 7pm tonight. Please send me your articles for consideration by 5pm EST tonight! The Carnival of Marketing was Noah Kagin's idea. His blog is He's had some incredible people host so far, including a great one last week by . Send your articles to: laura at

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm going to PodCamp! Are you?

podcamp Boston

Monday, August 21, 2006

Brevity Counts

Jim and I have had a few mantras since starting 15SecondPitch in 2002. One of our favorites is: BREVITY COUNTS. Proof of that comes today as Jim got his Letter to the Editor published in The New York Times.
What's wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Power of the 15SecondPitch--Part 1

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Small Biz Survival: Blogging: How to position yourself as an expert

Small Biz Survival: Blogging: How to position yourself as an expert by Becky McCray
Becky writes a great blog about Small Biz Survival. I particulary like this post about positioning yourself as an expert. That's something I spend a lot of time talking about with my clients. Most of them are not comfortable with the title of "expert" however, most of them have enough knowledge, even if it is in just one area, to be able to pull it off. Great post and great website! I'll be adding a podcast about pitching to their site soon.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Karen Salmansohn features

I'm so excited! We got a big write-up on Karen Salmansohn's blog and newsletter today. Here's a sneak preview:

Have you noticed? It's a busy, loud, stressed out world. It's harder than ever to stand out and be remembered.Want to know how to make a memorable impression -- even in a crowded bar or hustling-bustling conference?Laura Allen, co-founder of can teach anybody to sell themselves and their product fast and impactfully.Here is some of Laura’s magic formula...Read the rest of the article at:

About Karen:
Karen Salmansohn is a best-selling author and life coach with 27 books.People as diverse as Madonna, Jon Stewart, Marissa Tomei, Jennifer Weiner, Eminem, Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, Ricki Lake, and Graydon Carter (for starters) have read, loved, and hyped her books. Her latest book is called Ballsy

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Starbucks Effect

When you work from home, that "Third Place" takes on real meaning. So why is it that Starbuck's seems to be doing everything in their power to allienate me, a loyal two Tall Skim Cappucinos a day for five years, customer?
I knew that they were starting on a downward slide the moment that pastry case arrived. Sure, it's handy to be able to grab a bagel or scone when you are on your way to work, but have you ever stopped to TASTE that food?! BAD. Really bad. I got burned for the last time when I somehow convinced myself that a Pumpkin Muffin with Cream Cheese seemed like a good idea. Of course they had pictures of this Wonder Muffin on every flat service in the store, so they were selling me from the time I walked through the door. I've had food poisoning twice in my life and the Pumpkin Muffin takes a Third Place Honorary Mention for the havok it wreaked.

I saw a 60 Minutes interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and he spent a lot of time showing us around the Magical Lair where his workers create things like the Pomegranite Frappucinno and some Coconut Bananna thing which immediately reminded me of the Pumpkin Muffin so I was smart enough to steer clear of that. I believe he said that there are something like 150,00 different combinations of drink choices available. That's great, but is it NECESSARY? When the local barrista sees me on the corner, before I've even opened the door to the shop, he or she is already making my Tall Skim Cappucino. WHY? Because that is the drink I ALWAYS get. I'd bet that 90% of the people I see everyday at Starbuck's get the SAME drink each and every day. It's easier that way. I made my drink choice 5 years ago and for the most part, I'm stiking to it. The problem is that when the barristas are so busy trying to make that 1/2 Pomegranite 1/2 Bananna Coconut, extra ice, light whip, bubble lid, with jumbo straw SMOOTHIE it's cutting into their time and making it harder for them to give me what I came for; yummy, expensive coffee and a nice enough place to sip it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Disrupt Your Thoughts

Disruptive Thoughts is one of my favorite blogs.

Fraser Kelton is a young entrepreneur in Canada who shares his ideas on start-up strategey: innovation, commercialization and Venture Capital. I don't know much about any of these topics so it's good for me to read his blog. We even did a 15SecondPitch together awhile back that I'll have to share with you in the future. I enjoyed Fraser's blog so much that I finally decided to create my own blog. I have only ONE rule for myself though, no stories about blisters. When I first started looking at blogs I was amazed at the sheer volume, the massive amount of CONTENT. So much to say about everything. It was overwhelming. I finally hit brain overload as I sat reading about the blisters one woman got from her cowboy boots. I'll have to find a link back to that blog for you.

Zaadz--online Utopia

I've found my new online utopia and it's called
How do I love this website? Let me count that ways! The design and interface are nice and intuitive. It's fun how they let you know their members favorite books, films and teachers on their home page. And my favorite part about the site is that CEO Brian Johnson very up front about their wish to make money.
This is important because I don't want to spend my time and energy on a site that has no future and a site with no business model has NO FUTURE.
I'm testing out a concept that I am calling The Zen Pitch. The Zen Pitch, as the name implies, has to do with the idea of having an easy, compelling and AUTHENTIC way to market yourself. Selling and promoting doesn't have to be sleazy, desceptive and cold. It just sometimes turns out that way, usally when someone's bank account is running close to empty. But enough typing about my new best friend a.k.a social networking with a purpose site, go check it out yourself. And here's my LauraZenPitch profile. You'll probably need to create an account and log in to see me, but it's worth the trip.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Lunch with Jill from STARTING OVER

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE the daytime TV show "Starting Over." If you are not familiar with the one reality TV show that is actually good and HELPS women change their lives, then let me give you the two cent tour. Starting Over is a show that helps women overcome obstacles in their lives. Six women move into a house together, agree to have their lives recorded and in exchange get to work with two of THE great life coaches, Rhonda Britten and Iyanla VanZant. (And Dr. Stan too!)

One day I was watching the show and one of the women (Christina) said "I need to sell this artwork that I made. That's my assignment. But I have NO IDEA HOW to market myself. I have no idea what to say to people who come up to me." Well, I nearly JUMPED OUT of my skin. "I can help! I can help you pitch yourself, Christina!!" I shouted to the TV, but of course the TV did not answser back. I did some searches online and found some of the women who had been in the house. I did not easily find Christina, but I did, however, find my favorite S.O. roommate of all time, Jill. I loved Jill from Moment One, because she was BOLD, FUNNY and she had an ATTITUDE.

I decided to email her and just let her know how much I really appreciated everything she was willing to share on national TV. There were two episodes in particular that really stuck with me. One was where she was talking about the process of finding her father and the other is a now famous conversation/revelation/moment of truth that she had with a CUPCAKE. Oh, yes, could I ever relate to that!! My 'cupcake' is actually Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, but enough about me!

Jill and I met at an incredible Caribbean restaurant here in the city called Negril. 362 W 23RD. Really excellent food and a nice, friendly staff. I had this frozen Mango drink that was HEAVEN and a rice/tofo/veggie sweet potato mash. I won't give away all of the details of our conversation, but suffice it to say that Jill is just as you would hope. FUNNY, down to earth, warm, smart, just an all around blast! And someday she might move to NYC, which I'm very excited about!

Pursue The Passion

I had fun yesterday as Brett and Tamir from Pursue The Passion stopped to interview me. I told them about the up and down topsy-turvey life that is being an entrepreneur. Pursue the Passion is a website and a concept that Brett came up with to help his fellow college students see the different paths in life that are available to them. In other words, they don't just need to take a job and toil away in Corporate America. I like this idea. When I graduated from college, there was no internet and it was not easy to find out what was out there in terms of careers and 'life paths' if you will. You can check out their website at:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Overt Sales Pitch--sometimes it's actually FUN

There is a man in his 70s who wears a perfectly tailored pin-striped suit. He sits on a tiny stool as he peels carrots, and an assortment of other vegetables into a large plastic tub. His performance takes place in Union Square Park. A crowd surrounds him as he barks the wonders of what he is selling---a potato peeler. But this is no ordinary peeler as you will soon find out!! This one never rusts, it is sturdy and shiny. It will always be there when you need it.

The crowd is now at least 40 people. They are enraptured with this old man and his magical tool. Do any of these people actually peel their own vegetables? Hell, do they even COOK? As I look around the edges of the park, I can see no less than 7 restaraunts, cafes, coffee shops or gourmet food shops. Not to mention a Whole Foods that takes up half of the land mass of Manhattan.

Do any of these people even need a new potato peeler? Don't they have one in the silverware drawer that is just fine? Then, I realize it's not the peeler they are buying. It's the old man AND HIS STORY. Here are some photos of him on flickr:

The Old Man talks with great POWER and enthusiam for what he is selling. I can't remember all of the details, but I think he said he had to go off to some foreign land to have this particular tool made. Very exotic. That makes the peeler more remarkable too. My favorite part is when he has the person in the front row who is closest to him, TRY the peeler out for themselves. Well, one pull and you are hooked! He asks, "Well, now my dear, is that NOT the best, easiest and fastest peeler you've ever used." And everyone who tries it nods their heads, "Yes, it is!"

And now for the pitch. "Why not buy one for all of your friends? It's $5.00 for one peeler or FIVE peelers for $20. dollars." Now, when I got on the train this morning, I never thoughts I'd drop $5.00 on a peeler, but now somehow I'm pulling a $20.00 out of my wallet. I've seen the old man and his peeler and I like his pitch. As I'm leaving two gorgeous 20-something girls quickly make their way through the crowd. Are they late for brunch with more pretty people at Coffee Shop. Nope. The girls run up to the man as if they are stalking Bono before a show at The Garden. "We love you!" Girl number one says as she touches The Old Man on the shoulder. Girl number two chimes in, "Yea, we love listening to you!" He looks up, very briefly but does not stop peeling, "Yes, girls, I love you too." And without missing a beat, "Now, who will step up and take a pull on this great peeler?" They wait in line. Twenty dollar bill firmly in hand. For a chance to be a part of his story.

Friday, June 23, 2006

PitchGirl in the City

Hello, my name is Laura and my friends call me Pitch Girl. Well, okay they don't yet, but they COULD call me that. Yes, they will. I'll insisit on it.