Marketing the Mousetrap and Not Listening to Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is regarded as one of America’s most influential philosophers.  He will not be remembered, though, as an entrepreneur.

mousetrapEmerson’s best known quote is: “A man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he builds his house in the woods the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

But, Ralph was wrong.  Better mousetraps are built every day.  And every day another inventor goes bankrupt waiting for the world to line up at his door. 

Why?  Because the world doesn’t even know the inventor has a door. 

And Kevin Costner’s “If you build it, they will come,” will leave the inventor just as disillusioned, and just as broke.   

You see, the world of commerce doesn’t turn on technology, but rather on benefits.  People don’t want quarter-inch drills, they want quarter-inch holes.  They don’t want to order on line.  They want to never stand in line.  People don’t much care about you, or your invention, until they understand how it’s going to make a difference in their lives. 

If you don’t want to end up with a warehouse full of unsold mousetraps, you have to let the people of the world know that you have a better trap, why they should buy it, and where your door is. 

That’s what marketing is.  Telling the world about your new and improved mousetrap.