Are you building a better mousetrap?

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with the oft-quoted remark in favor of innovation: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”  100 years ago, before the inundation of the information age, this was probably a pretty good recipe for success. An innovative solution or product that solved a customer’s problem would sell itself – of course back then they had problems with distribution and manufacturing, but the world was clearly a different place.

These days your better mousetrap will go undiscovered and unpurchased unless you have a viable strategy for marketing it.  3M did a study a while ago that the average consumer is bombarded with over 3000 advertising images…per day!

The world has indeed changed.

Marketing is simply defined as all of the activities taken to get someone who is interested in trading dollars for your product or service to contact you in some way. So what are the logical steps to make this happen?

  • Identify a need/want/pain among a group of people (this is your ‘market’). Without a need/want/pain, it doesn’t matter what your product is, how cool it is, what technology you’re using, it won’t sell.
  • Design your better mousetrap. A product or service (or a mix) that will address that need/want or pain.
  • Assemble the details of the Target Market. What are their defining characteristics? Are they Soccer moms in affluent households? Are they business owners looking to take their business to the next level?
  • Design and implement strategies that lead to an interaction between you and your target market.

What strategies should you implement?

Obviously that depends on your Target Market. It doesn’t make sense to create a fabulouse phone book ad if your target market never uses a phone book. Conversely the internet can be a great way to reach huge amounts of people but isn’t very effective if you’re trying to catch the attention of people walking by your store.

The reality is that you should have multiple strategies working all the time.

  • Short term strategies would include things like a referral system, direct mail advertising, and public speaking.  These are things that could directly spark a prospect interaction.
  • Long term strategies would include things like blogging, networking activities, writing articles.  These are things that over time will drive prospects to contact you.
  • Passive strategies are those things that are in the background but always working.  This includes things like your website, phone book ads and brochures.

Ideally you should have at least 1 or 2 of each type of strategy working at all times, coordinated and directed by your annual marketing plan to insure you are sending a consistent message.  Finally you should be tracking your results to figure out how effective your different strategies are and what the Return on Investment is for each strategy.  If something’s not working well, change it and try something different.

Is your better mousetrap not being found because of a lack of marketing?

Shawn Kinkade