In the proceeding paragraphs, you aren’t going to find any companies completely shaking up the world of pencil eraser sales, or any who’ve managed to capture the world’s attention with cow manure fertilizer or car wax.

Zendesk’s “Space Crap” commercial – photo credit: YouTube

What you will find is 3 companies who’ve managed to capture a large marketshare, in otherwise dull industries, by using emotional marketing and/or compelling facts and figures, to capture the market’s attention.

1. Auto Insurance

Case study: GEICO

This company tops the list because they’re the (unofficial) king of branding when it comes to boring industries.

GEICO has set a standard with their television commercials that are never likely to be replicated in this very boring industry. It doesn’t even matter if you’re looking for insurance when you watch these commercials; most everyone in North America identifies auto insurance with the little talking green “GEICO Gecko” that’s featured in their commercials.

When the time comes that you need their service and you’re thinking “hmmm, what car insurance company should I go with?” GEICO will likely be at the top of your list.

The loveable, deadpan lizard made this company a household name, but they didn’t stop there. Instead of just riding on the popularity of Gecko, they innovated even further by integrating other storylines into their TV spots. You’ll find Tarzan arguing with Jane and a passerby monkey about directions in the jungle – even a cheapskate alligator offering to pay for a restaurant check (if he could only reach across the table to grab it with his short alligator arms!)

Takeaway:

Find a way to put emotion into marketing your boring industry company. GEICO uses cute characters and laughter to ingrain themselves in consumer’s memories.

2. Customer Service

Case study: Zendesk

While being a customer service agent is anything but boring at the best of times, it’s still a rather boring industry to sell services in. Zendesk has found a way to make the topic exciting on their marketing channels, particularly the social media. They have several series of videos posted on YouTube (which are also shared on other social media video platforms) that take the dullness out of customer service videos.

Most of these types of service outsourcers show potential customers the typical service scenario; where the customer and the agent are both smiling and bubbly, pretending that each is a gift to each other. When in reality, people are rarely happy when they have to deal with customer service.

Zendesk shows funny, quirky videos about fictional service scenarios, including Zendesk employees helping to rid the world of the supernatural and other kitschy, hilarious premises.

Takeaway:

Like the GEICO marketing, this company ingrains themselves in the minds of potential customers by making them NOT think about the boring nature of the industry and instead make them laugh, cry – whatever – while displaying their name throughout to create brand recognition.

3. Email Marketing

Case study: MailChimp

MailChimp set this industry on fire in 2013 by releasing a simple, yet effective brand story on their website, then distributed it to all their followers. Though the numbers have changed since then, the first thing you read on their About page is indeed quite compelling if you’re a potential user:

“Mailchimp is an all-in-one Marketing Platform for small business. We empower millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with our smart marketing technology, award-winning support, and inspiring content.”

The message might sound pretty standard, however, we all must keep in mind that this is a company who offers their services in a rather bland industry. They’ve used numbers, success stories, to make their offer more exciting. MailChimp used to be known as the go-to provider for free services. Now with their simple, yet clever pitch, they’ve managed to move up the paid ranks.

Takeaway:

Facts sell. Use what you got! Mailchimp’s advertising isn’t as fun and exciting as the first two, but they’ve managed to capture over 10 million users in a highly competitive vertical – with their list of customers growing by the day.

It’s Only Boring if You Let it be….

If you’re working in a boring industry, take a page from the books of the service providers listed above and think outside the box. Create funny characters, share insights about your customer numbers or other milestones you’ve achieved (or helped customers achieve).

Just because your product or service is boring and unappealing, doesn’t mean your marketing has to be too!