The art of marketing an ugly duckling

In the modern world, there is a lot of digital noise in social media channels and web search platforms which can be difficult to cut through. In Australia, the latest in technology gadgets as well as food and fancy restaurants are some of the services regarded as 'sexy' that are easy to market because people are lining up to buy. But what about the products that lack the shiny appeal of their sexy cousins? When you are trying to market a product that isn't immediately recognised by consumers, or backed by media hype, it can be hard to get people to stop scrolling on their phones to engage with you. Read: hard - not impossible. There are plenty of strategies you can use to turn your catwalk straggler into a Kardashian (one of the popular ones).

Use content to tell your story Every new product or service has a great story behind it, a real personality who created it and an audience who would be perfectly matched to it. Wafting these products under people's noses and hoping they fall instantly in love and follow you like Pepé Le Pew is an unreasonable expectation. Content is how you can share the stories of how your product was created, WHY it was created (there had to be a market need, right?) and the real personalities of the people behind the process. This way you can create a genuine engagement through discourse with like-minded potential customers.

Tug on the old heartstrings This is where you need to be a bit creative. Every 'boring' or 'ugly' product has a broader purpose and every potential customer has an emotional trigger that can be hit. Scientific studies have proven that the region of the brain responsible for the regulation of the happiness hormone dopamine responds more to novelty than familiarity. This part of the brain is also responsible for motivation. Get those creative juice flowing, because boring products can be responsible for remarkable things. A dull old pen? They were used to create some of the world's greatest stories ever told. The standard old mattress? The science linking sleep and health and wellbeing will get people thinking. By being creative with novel approaches, you can trigger emotional responses that come couple with motivation - AKA people buying your product.

The art of FOMO There are plenty of acronyms the cool kids are using these days, like LOL, OMG and FML (don't Google that last one at work). But the one you need to know for marketing purposes is FOMO - fear of missing out. This is based on the Protection Motivation Theory of 1975, where people are motivated to protect themselves from external threats. One of these 'threats' is missing out on a product that is scarce, with psychology demanding the brain to immediately desire a product that could be in short supply. Deliberate low production runs and language that screams that instant action is required can trigger FOMO and draw eyes on your 'ugly' product.

Use solution-based strategies Finally, remember why you decided to push this product in the first place. You would have identified a market need, based on the absence of your product or a problem that your product remedies. By using campaigns that show how your product creates a solution to these problems, you can show potential customers that it will make their life better, faster and/or easier.

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