Marketing a product is all about making other people believe in its value, but that can be hard to do when you do not value the product yourself. Some products can be difficult to market due to their controversial or simply lacklustre nature, but that presents a rather big problem for marketers who do not get to choose the products they must sell. So what do you do when you have a product that is difficult to sell, but you must sell it anyway?
Here is a quick five-step guide to shifting products that are not marketing campaign-friendly, and how even the most problematic of products can still be a hit if you spin it correctly.
1. Identify The Problem That Your Product Solves
Every product solves a problem: food solves hunger, computer games solve boredom and blankets solve the cold. Before anything else, you need to identify what problem your product solves, and then go out there and find the people who have that problem. That is the crux of marketing, summed up in a sentence. Your product does not exist just to exist: it is there is help people with one or more of their various needs. Demonstrating to people how the product will solve their problem and meet those needs, and meet them better than any rival product, is how you will make a sale.
2. Acknowledge The Challenge and Identify What Makes the Product Hard to Market
Selling items that are unhealthy, controversial or else difficult to market is always going to be a hard task, so the first startlingly-obvious-and-yet-often-missed step is to simply acknowledge the challenge. For example, coming up with a branding campaign for an alcoholic beverage is often very difficult because many countries have rules on the promotion of alcohol or even ban its promotion completely. But once you have outlined all the problems that a product may have, you can start looking for a way around them. Your marketing campaign team must look at a product from all angles and note every single advantage and disadvantage, and find ways to highlight the former while neutralising the latter.
3. Neutralise Your Product and Confront The Elephant in the Room
Everything and everyone can look good in the right light, and how you position your product will define its popularity. Depending on how you want to tackle the problem, you have two options: downplay the downsides of your product, or tackle the problems face on. A good example of the latter is surprisingly in the feminine hygiene marketing. Advertising for tampons has always been tricky because menstruation isn’t the most glossy and exciting of topics, but women still obviously have need for them and must choose between the several options on the market. US brand Kotex decided to embrace the topic and started a advertising campaign labeled ‘Break the Cycle’, encouraging women not be ashamed of tampons and even photographed women carrying clear bags with their tampons in, carrying the tagline ‘If I had something to hide, I’d carry a safe’. The campaign was a success and best of all it was a success because it confronted the difficulties of marketing the product head on, in a clever and dare I say brave way.
4. Fight Misinformation and Get Back to a Level Playing Field
Perhaps one of the biggest problems a product can face is unfair prejudice and misinformation, as you have an uphill battle in that you need to correct people’s prejudices as well as winning them over to your product in particular. For example, there are restrictions on the marketing of e-cigarettes in some countries in spite of the fact that the majority of research supports that they are a healthier alternative to smoking ordinary cigarettes and a good way for smokers to begin to quit. Advertising is such a case therefore needs to use said research to fight misinformation, and then move on to positioning their particular brand of the product as the best of those on the market.
5. Be The Best
If your product is not going to ‘wow’ anybody by virtue of its nature, then the task of ‘wowing’ falls to the marketing campaign. If your product is difficult to sell the virtues of (or simply lacklustre), then an average marketing campaign will not make the cut. You need to ensure that your marketing campaign is clever, pointed and aimed at the right market. Whether you are chasing an online or print campaign, you need to make sure it is simply top notch.