Marketing Strategies

Your Business Can Be Boring But Your Marketing Can't

Everyday products and services require the most creative strategies.
Your Business Can Be Boring But Your Marketing Can't
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Speaker, writer and entrepreneur
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tesla, Virgin Galactic and Oculus all have something in common: They build sexy products and the media loves to give them coverage. Most businesses are more mundane. They lack the flash and sizzle inherent in an industry such as space travel. Because these companies don't have a built-in marketing advantage, they companies have to get creative if they want the media to shower them with love.

For example, consider the self-storage industry. Could there be a more boring business? The building is shaped like a box. Inside are box-shaped rooms, each filled with boxes that customers leave there for years. Not exciting. Yet the industry hit gold when "Storage Wars" became the most popular show in A&E’s history. The series attracted millions of viewers and brought attention to an industry that pop culture previously had ignored.

Related: 5 Ways to Fall in Love With Your Business All Over Again

Not quite boring enough? Here's another: flowchart software. It’s one of those things no one thinks about until he or she needs it. That's precisely the challenge Lucid Software faced when marketing its flagship product, Lucidchart. The cloud-based platform helps users create flowcharts. It’s sophisticated technology, but unless you're an engineer, it isn't likely to raise your pulse.

“We had to find a way to change how people think about diagramming,” Lucid PR head Jackson Carpenter said. “So our marketing team decided to see if we could attach the brand to trending stories by making flowcharts for superfans and pop-culture geeks -- people like us.”

The company since has made flowcharts for topics ranging from Star Wars and fantasy football to Dungeons and Dragons. Flowcharts created in Lucidchart have been featured in The Huffington Post, Gizmodo, ScreenRant and more. The marketing campaign itself earned ecognition from the Utah Marketing Awards and produced more than 2 million views for Lucid Software in seven months. Not bad for a boring little software company from the Beehive State.

What lessons can the rest of us take from Lucid’s success?

Think bigger than your product.

If your product isn’t newsworthy on its own, don’t pitch the product. Instead, tie it to something bigger and more exciting. Lucid used movie premieres, sporting events and video-game releases to create relevant content that major outlets were sure to pick up.

Related: 10 Online Invoicing Services for Small-Business Owners

Build it for the grassroots.

At the beginning of the campaign, Lucid’s staff of active Redditors shared content on their favorite subreddits. Because they were involved with the communities they were making content for, they knew what their audience would love. When a flowchart took off on Reddit, the team knew it wouldn’t be long before the press would follow.

Related: Domino's Has a Wedding Registry, Because You Know, People Love PIzza?

Remember the end game.

Lucid’s campaign -- while lighthearted and fun -- served two very specific business purposes. First, it showed people who'd never thought about diagramming software how versatile flowcharts are as a medium for conveying complex ideas. Second, it helped drive traffic back to Lucid's website, where the company was able to register new users and capture email addresses for future marketing campaigns.

Related: 8 Great Time-Tracking Apps for Freelancers

If you think your business is boring, look at how other “boring” businesses are promoting themselves. If self-storage facilities and flowchart-software companies can make themselves interesting, you're out of excuses for not finding a hook to tell your own business' story.

Related: Entrepreneurs: You May Just Find the Next Big Idea in Existing Ones

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.