Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pitching at Javits

Another NYC Toy Fair is upon us and thousands will soon assemble at Javits to do what they are expected to do: exhibitors-sell, buyers- buy, PR people-hype, reporters-report and inventors-PITCH. It is this latter group that scours Javits' aisles hoping a latest idea, through an oddity called "parallel development", isn't already licensed to a marketer and on display. Inventors live on originality and there is nothing more deflating than to hear a marketer judge an idea as "done before".

In our Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook, Richard Levy and I identified a glossary of over 475 bizwords that are a major part of industry jargon. For the inventor, these are the most common words they will hear in pitching product at Toy Fair.

Nondisclosure form/NDA/submission agreement: This is the agreement between company and inventor that makes it possible for both parties to share and review new concepts in confidence. It is usually weighted in favor of the company (it was drafted by their lawyers).
Product description: This is the verbiage where the inventor details the original idea and is often less read than assembly instructions.
Water or Coffee?: If time is short and there are several concepts to present, refreshments will not be dispensed by the host company. Inventors should come to the meeting refreshed.

Meeting bizwords that have positive messages:
Who has seen this? Companies love to feel that they are seeing a concept ahead of competition.
Send this to the home office so I can show it to my people? Inventors should make certain the sense of urgency to submit is maintained through the internal decision to license.

Meeting bizwords that have negative messages:
Can't get my arms around it/I don't get it: Uttered by an executive struggling to understand a submission.
Cute! (as in, That's a cute item!) Carefully, that could be the kiss of death...The saying is "cute doesn't butter the bagel".
You're kidding, right? It's downhill from there. Start pitching the next product.
We've already done that? A definite no interest. An offer to take lower royalty won't help.
And the worst bizword for the Inventor.....
Reject: Used by some companies when they do not want to pay a royalty. Used by all companies for any one of a myriad of real or imagined reasons.
So use kind jargon when around a member of the inventing community. It is likely that they dealt with considerable rejection at their last Toy Fair meeting and are now in search of a bottle of water or a cup of coffee

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