I built it and they didn’t come

Dear Aunty B,

I have spent almost two years working on a great new innovation that has huge potential. I am just struggling to get cut through, even though I have a great sales team. The product is right, the pricing is right… what am I doing wrong?

Gerard W,
Roseville NSW



Hi Gerard,

(…and I was hoping to get home at a decent hour). Gerard, you have fallen for the adage: “Build it and they will come.”


What a falsehood. In fact no one is sure who actually came up with the original quote: “If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, tho’ he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”


Apparently it was attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson and copied down incorrectly at a lecture by a Sarah S. B. Yule. Unfortunately she forgot to write down the bit about a marketing plan.


You need to create the compelling need – or the reason someone will buy your product – in conjunction with your target market. Now that doesn’t mean indulging in sweeping demographic generalisations.


Visualise who is going to buy your product. Think in terms of names, ages and where they live. Then plan how you will get to them. How do your potential customers make their buying decisions? Who else has customers who can be your customers?


Consider marketing options – newsletters, email alerts, cold calls, public relations, seminars, trade shows, telemarketing, internet marketing (including search engine marketing and search engine optimisation), direct mail, brochures, above-the-line advertising; and of course word of mouth.


A better quote from Emerson would be this: For every dollar spent on building the mouse trap, it takes another $7 to get people along the path to your door.


Your Aunty B.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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