Boring products create boring marketing? Not with these four tips!

How to market an unsexy product or service – 4 tips


Marketing a brand or product without direct sex appeal, or which seems boring to some people, can be very challenging. From my own experience, with clients in sectors as security, accountancy and the paint industry, I come across these challenges on a daily basis. How can you create relevant marketing, even if you don’t have a poster product? These four tips should help you get started!


  1. Provide solutions

It’s often been pointed out in the world of content marketing and I will repeat it here again. Regardless how great your product is, customers aren’t interested in features and specifications anymore. Especially when it concerns technical products this can be a challenge. It’s easy to overwhelm with a list of specifications. But that doesn’t impress your client. He needs a solution to his problem. Therefore, emphasize why your product exists and for which problem it offers a solution. And if your product is made out of high quality components as well, it’s a bonus. Of course this doesn’t apply in all cases. However, make sure that the solutions are made clear primarily before going into more details and other (technical) information.

  1. Start with a story

I once read: The difference between a boring business and an exciting one is a good story. Do you think your product or service could be perceived as boring? Then first ask people within your own company or your current clients in which ways your product has contributed. You will be surprised about the number of people who have something to tell about this. Often, what you may find boring or irrelevant can be very interesting and relevant for your clients. Be sure to stay open-minded when you collect these stories. Write them down, so you have examples of solutions to which your product has contributed. This way you will prevent your marketing content from becoming boring. Then you can publish them on your website, in a blog or article. Tip: also search for online communities, such as forums, where people within your industry gather. There you will find a lot of inspiration for stories to base your marketing on! If there isn’t a community available yet, reserve a part of your website for it! Or start a Facebook page and invite your clients to be part of it. But be careful: always put your client first in the story, let him or her be the hero, not your company or product! Only then your create stories that fascinate.

  1. Be authentic

Or be yourself. Whatever you want to call it, it’s much stronger to show a little bit of ‘you’ in your marketing. Many companies like to pretend to be much bigger than they are. Too often I visit websites of independents who write in the plural-form, or companies who pretend that their product is revolutionary, whereas in reality it’s nothing new. How great that might be for your own vision, authenticity always works better for the client. By embracing who you are and by being proud of what you make, you can really distinguish yourself. Also in marketing. If you are a small player on the market, this might even be a nice change for your client. Personal contact with a director or owner of an organization feels much better than talking to someone from a call center. And as an accountant you can make things easier and more interesting for your clients by presenting figures in a creative way. And don’t be too serious. A little humor in your marketing always works.

  1. Do something completely unexpected

If you find yourself on that market with the big boys, it will be difficult to compete with their marketing. It is unlikely that you will have the same marketing budget. And even if you could shout your products from the rooftops just as loud as they can, they will just shout a little louder and you will fade to the background. For this reason, go and search for unexpected ways of communication that will suit your budget. For example, organize a brainstorm session and write down all the antonyms of your product or service. Is your product characterized as demanding, complicated and serious? Write down what possible relaxing, simple and entertaining ways could be to describe or market your product. Perhaps this way you will find the next brilliant guerilla marketing campaign, or maybe your product will go viral because you were able to create something out-of-the-box!


Do you have examples of great marketing of boring products? Share some in the comments! Would you like to improve the marketing of your product? Send me a message and we’ll discover whether my approach suits you.



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Fries get cold (why do customers choose you?)

Recently, I was standing in the local snack corner, waiting for my order. There are two snack corners in our village, about 200 meters away from each other, along the same road. One is a new modern looking shop that claims to “fry healthy” and where friendly, and always smiling, ladies serve fries and sell ice cream to the customers. The other place is much simpler, owned by a middle-aged couple, with a small takeaway area. I found myself standing in the second one.

I chose the second place on purpose. Not because their food is better (for me fries are fries, I’m not too picky when it comes to that), but because I felt a little sorry for the owners as the other place seemed to be, from my point of view, a bigger success. I ended up having a conversation with the owner while he was fixing my order, and I asked him how business was going and whether the competition nearby was bothering him. His answer surprised me.

“You know”, he said with a smile, “I’ll tell you a secret. Fries get cold.” Surprised as I was, I asked him what he meant. He continued: “Across the street from here is a supermarket. Next to the supermarket is a large parking lot. You can park your car almost in front of my door. This means you will be back in your warm car as soon as you get your order and therefore you will be home sooner. The other place has only little parking space. This means that people with bigger cars or company vans, will choose to park at the big parking lot next to the supermarket. These people will sooner enter my shop, as they need to walk less far. This way, I always have enough customers, because fries easily get cold and cold fries don’t taste good.”

I was surprised by the simplicity of his answer. He didn’t seem to worry at all about the competition. It’s not just the location that makes his place a success, the features of his product suit the location. If it would be a pharmacy or clothing store at that same spot, with a competitor at the same distance, the location wouldn’t matter as much (for those products people are more willing to park 200 meters away). But walking 200 meters through the cold, to get to your car, with an order of fries? No, thanks. This man knew very well why his customers would continue to come to him.

It may be that your company is situated at an amazing location, with strong products, attractive and friendly personnel and impressive marketing. Sounds like a success, right? Yet, there are many companies that operate like this, but still aren’t successful. Simply because they don’t understand exactly why customers would choose for them. A good company strategy, for that reason, starts by answering the question why people should choose you. If you don’t know exactly why people should choose you, the chances to become successful are much smaller.

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Customer needs – still a grey area for business owners

Last week I spoke to a business owner about his company, with which he offers training programs to those who have a hard time passing their drivers’ license theory exam. He developed a training program by himself, accompanied by a well thought (business model. His website is easy to find on Google and the price he asks for the program, including a free resit, is very reasonable. The reviews on his program are praiseful and the pass rate high. Everything seems to be a success. Still, he is struggling with his competitive market position.

Recently, another player entered the market, who offers training programs nationwide against prices far below his. “How can I cope with this?”- he asked me. “Now, customers are choosing the competitor, even though he offers a mediocre training program where the chances to pass the exam much smaller. Besides, he doesn’t even know his customers, since he is not from this region. If I lower my price, I will lose my margin, which means it won’t be as profitable for me anymore. Besides, the package that I offer is much more extensive and complete than the package and service my competitor offers.”

My advice to this business owner is simple: know your customer. By doing focused research, in order to find out what the exact needs of the customer are, it’s likely to get a clear view on what he needs to do to win back his customers. Maybe his customers don’t know how extensive the program is that he offers. On the other hand: maybe the customers don’t need such an extensive program, and by simplifying it he might be able to lower his price. And even though he is easily found on Google, it might be even better to see how he can benefit from his network. Can driving schools recommend him? Mouth-to-mouth advertising is still the best way to get new customers! Are there driving schools that would like to cooperate with him? At social media, there might be chances too in order to create more awareness.

Being flexible and to be able to change your way of thinking is what matters. Not taking the path you’re familiar with or because that’s the one everyone else is taking, but finding out what your customers need and being willing to adapt. I’m convinced that this business owner will take his shot to maximize his opportunities. And if possible, I will coach him while doing so.

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