How many times have you encountered the phrase “a better mousetrap”? You may have used it yourself, or been told to go and build one. As entrepreneurs we’re always looking for that next golden product, the next big thing; basically a better mousetrap.
Quite a few years ago, a very smart man realized that in many ways we have already invented most things that we’re capable of inventing, but that doesn’t mean to say these inventions are perfect, far from it in fact, her realised that there were and are fortunes to be made not in developing new never before seen products but in taking an existing product or concept and perfecting it.
I am of course referring to Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace) and the iPhone. Mobile phones and indeed smartphones had existed for years before the iPhone stormed the world in 2007. In its first iteration, it was far from perfect when compared to some of the other smartphones on the market at the time. But what Steve Job achieved was perfect packaging, perfect marketing. He looked at the most popular features on smartphones at the time and took those features and tweaked them, made them easier to use for the masses, packaged it all up in an easy to use interface and premium hardware (and materials) and created a product that everyone wanted.
When we talk about smartphones now, you can truly say that Apple created a better mousetrap conceptually, but it wasn’t and isn’t perfect, it still has issues even today over ten years later. But it still has the marketing and luxury feel that keep us going back for the new versions time and time again.
Samsung have achieved something similar with their Galaxy range but while in some markets those products sell better, they are certainly now as well marketed as their Apple rivals.
In our world as online marketeers we’re always looking at for the next big hit, we often forget that if we’ve been running for a while, we could have a vast back catalog of past products, that might have a new lease of life if given “the better mousetrap” treatment. Could your latest product be a lynch-pin to drive interest to your back-catalog? Do you have old products that still have a lot of worth and life left in them and actually just need a fresh coat of paint to make them useful and pertinent in the marketplace once more?
It’s not always about having the newest product or pushing the boundaries and doing something that no one has done before, sometimes the way to get noticed is to simply perfect an existing product that hadn’t quite reached its stride yet.