by Art Piccio . May 22nd, 2013
In reality though, any product – no matter how boring you might think it is- can be made to appeal to your customers.
It’s unlikely for any product to have a truly universal appeal. You just can’t please everyone- especially when your product isn’t something people traditionally see as exciting or sexy.
This is why it’s best if your product is developed and marketed to a specific target audience. There’s really not much point wasting your resources trying to reach everyone, especially if your market is saturated with similar products and services.
Marketing and ad copy, distribution, and even design will have to be a good fit. Some things to look into include area-specific colloquialisms (including specific dialects and in-jokes), median age, habits – every little bit that you know about your customers helps you connect with them
You can buy the same general type of connector at Radio Shack, but I was looking for something a bit more durable than what you’d expect from run-of-the mill parts. You’d be surprised at how passionate the reviews for that connector – something most people would not even care to give a second thought to throwing away. While it might be boring for most folks, it sure wasn’t for most of the people who bought it.
A fun marketing angle or hook can set you apart from other businesses who sell the same products. Take GEICO’s Cavemen ad campaign back in 2004. The Cavemen ad campaign emphasized how easy the GEICO website was to navigate, and it generated a lot of buzz for the company and even spawned a short-lived TV Series.
But were GEICO’s website and auto-insurance products that much different from its competitors? Not reallly. The differences wouldn’t be too great for the middle-of-the-road customer GEICO was aiming for, but for other customers with more specific needs plenty of other companies offer services GEICO doesn’t. But no other auto insurance company back in 2004 can even come close to GEICO in terms of name recall nor could claim anything similar to their “fun” image.
There’s not much that can be done for your product if it simply doesn’t solve any problems or do anything substantially better than something that already exists. Even the best ad men and spin doctors won’t be able to do much if you can’t show why anyone should bother to buy your product – given that by itself it isn’t terribly interesting for most people to begin with.
Your market’s needs should always be the basis for every decision you make, from product conception all the way through promotions and after-sales support. If you offer a product that doesn’t solve anything – maybe you’re looking at the wrong problems.
One classic example for a product trying to be a solution for the wrong problem is bubble wrap. Bubble wrap was invented for use as insulated 3d wallpaper. While that may seem silly, it fit right in with the retro-futuristic aesthetic of the post-war era. While sales for the intended purpose were dismal, bubble wrap gained a much longer second life as the stress-relieving packaging material we use it for today.
Any product can sell. You can think of it this way – every single product, no matter how boring to the majority, will always be interesting for at least a few – and with the right approach, you can make more people realize just how exciting your product can be.
Searchengineland.com – Really Boring Products That Rocked Social Media
Sharp, Byron; Dawes, John (2001), “What is Differentiation and How Does it Work?,” Journal of Marketing Management, 17, 739-59.
Yam, K. L., “Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology”, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6
J. Scott Armstrong and Kesten C. Greene (2007). “Competitor-oriented Objectives: The Myth of Market Share”. International Journal of Business 12 (1): 116–134. Text ” ISBN: 1083-4346
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Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.