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Posted by Sarah Brown on 04 Nov '13

Marketing - is your mousetrap good enough?

Many times people are criticised for believing that if you build a better mousetrap people will come, when that is just not true. But the reverse is also not true ie you do need a product or service that works and adds benefits or all your marketing will be wasted

In the last week we have been working with several firms where there has been a lack of clarity about who to sell to and how they can make the product they sell different. Sometimes it is just a matter of changing the words or understanding the benefits rather than talking about the features - selling the freedom from mice, ruined food, mess and the pattering of tiny feet rather than a mousetrap, but often it is also having a product which adds something. If the mousetrap isn't any better than my current one I can get the same benefits from the one I own/the brand I trust.

To create a better mousetrap you need to understand what might make it better - would it be good if it could catch multiple mice maybe for people with an infestation or people who are away for long periods? Growing from that idea if you are away for a long time would it be good if the bait could be automated maybe in a hopper that drops down? But would this make it too expensive, how much are people willing to pay for a mousetrap? You need a product that is cost effective as well as having benefits. And is the market big enough? Could you sell enough to make the research and development worthwhile? Could it be made more worthwhile if you could make a larger one for rats?

The starting point is often psychology, in the case of mice I'm not sure I want to pick up a dead mouse but do I want a live stressed one and where would I release it? Think about how your customers think, what they feel while they use/experience your product or service. What can you learn from popular media much of which involves observing people? If you can find a way to reduce your customers hassle or add to their enjoyment you have potentially got a winning idea - it doesn't have to be profound. What Amazon does is sell books and lots of other things and make it simple for you to buy one click!!!

So before you conclude your marketing isn't working think about what you are selling and to whom and check that the problem isn't more fundamental - you need a better mousetrap to win the marketing battle