This Company Has Figured Out How To Market A Boring Product. What’s The Secret?
Let’s face it: our companies are selling some pretty boring stuff.
My company sells database software. I have a client that sells paper and film products. My friend sells metal piping. Your company sells industrial equipment, rubberized fasteners, corrugated containers, plastic moldings. ZZZZ. Sorry, did I just fall asleep while writing this? Yeah, it’s all pretty mundane. But this boring stuff is critical to the economy.
Now I’ve done a fair amount of research, and the words “copy” and “paper” have never been used together in a pick-up line at a bar, a Kanye West song or in any of the Star Wars movies. Copy paper is not very exciting, but that hasn’t stopped Quill.com, an online office products marketplace, from trying to make their copy paper one of a kind. Quill.com launched a campaign to sell more copy paper – and they’ve successfully figured out how, using those same Star Wars movies, to take a very, very ordinary product…and make it much less ordinary.
The company is selling copy paper – each ream individually wrapped in a special, eye-catching, Star Wars design and packaged in a reusable Star Wars themed box featuring characters from Episode IV: A New Hope that can be turned into a collector’s item or poster. Why? Because it’s not boring. It’s fun. It’s eye-catching. It adds just a little spark of life to our offices, and who doesn’t love Star Wars?
But this isn’t about copy paper. It’s really about how to successfully sell an otherwise everyday product, like copy paper…or whatever basic item your company sells. Quill.com has figured out how to do it. What’s their secret? It’s connecting it to something that’s fun and relevant in today’s society.
Star Wars is fun, popular and exciting. The movies have attracted millions of fans and generated enormous amounts of attention. The marketers at Quill.com have sought to capitalize on this exposure. They could have picked another pop-culture phenomenon. Or linked their product to a celebrity, a news story, a holiday or a sporting event. It doesn’t matter. They’ve taken something fun (a Star Wars movie) and connected it to something ordinary (copy paper) on the correct assumption that every office has employees who love Star Wars and who will get a little pleasure from seeing their heroes every time they make another copy of that week’s TPS report. Given the choice, why not buy something that’s a little more fun?
“We’re excited to be bringing Star Wars to homes and offices through our quality copy paper, Paul Bessinger, Quill.com’s director of product innovation said in a press release. “Every home or office has a Star Wars enthusiast, so this is the perfect purchase to surprise your favorite fan.”
Looking for a good way to sell your everyday essential? Connect it to something popular (psst – make sure you have permission). Have fun. And do it long term as part of an ongoing strategy and not just for a few short, forgettable weeks. This way you can differentiate your ordinary product from your competitor’s equally ordinary products and build a brand. Assuming quality and pricing are superior, you won’t need Yoda to tell you which buying experience will be better for your customers.