Here’s what I Learned Marketing a Product that People are too Embarrassed to Talk About

I've been in the marketing world for a long time. I've seen some trends come and go, but one thing that always seems to be present: people are embarrassed to talk about controversial products.


It can be tough to market something when most of your buyers don't want anyone else to know they're buying it. So I'm passing on what I've learned over the years to help you successfully market an embarrassing product.


Use Personal Experiences and Storytelling

Stories are a universal way to connect with your audience. Humans love stories. So when you talk about something your audience can relate to (even if it's embarrassing or makes them cringe), they'll start feeling emotions that the story evokes.


But there's sometimes an issue with personal storytelling...


What about when you have no personal stories to tell? The answer is simple: tell someone else's story instead. Perhaps you can use a client story and change names. Or make up a story but make sure it's realistic and relatable.


When you write your story, remember that not everyone will like or understand it. And that's ok – you're sharing it to attract those who do.


Telling stories creates a sense of support and encouragement as your reader's experiences are validated by what you share.


Don't Use Statistics or Traditional Pitch Methods

Traditional marketing can be impersonal and make your audience feel like one of many being sold to. It's essential to go beyond basic pitches and avoid restrictive methods such as scare tactics. Statistics turn off your customers before they’ve even heard what you're selling.


Pitching can be challenging, but it is worth the effort to create a meaningful connection with your audience. Think of individual pain points that make others in your target market feel uncomfortable or stressed out. By emphasizing these needs, people will see themselves in what you have to offer because they share those same struggles.


Think outside the box. Remember, to be successful, there has to be an emotional investment from business and customers. By showing empathy and giving potential customers something valuable within your marketing, they'll walk away feeling like you cared about them and their issues.


Humor can Help Break the Ice

Humor is a great marketing tool for embarrassing products. It not only makes people laugh but can also break down any awkward moments that may come up in conversation due to the product.


You can use humor in various ways, including funny memes, videos, and comedy within your personal stories.


One point that's worth remembering, though:


Humor is subjective. It helps to know who your target audience is. And it's always advisable to stay well clear of humor that centers around religion or race.


Have a Strong Brand Personality

In a world where brands compete for consumer attention, it's crucial to stand out from the crowd. But how do you differentiate yourself without changing your product or service? One way is by having an identifiable brand personality that reflects who you are and what matters most to you.


Larger-than-life topics need brands with larger-than-life personalities. Create a bold character based on your brand values, voice, and style. Then, match it to the audience you are trying to resonate with. This helps to build emotional connections and a memorable brand experience.


Don't be afraid to let your own personality traits feature in your brand personality. It helps you come across as authentic.


Be the Brand that Starts the Conversation

Be the brand that's not afraid to go there. Be bold enough to bring the controversial topics into conversation (typically taboo territory). Show your expertise and knowledge on a particular subject while also opening up discussion opportunities with potential customers who may be too shy otherwise.


Be daring enough to knock down social barriers and bring 'awkward' topics out of the shadows with informative, educational, and valuable content pieces.


Your customers may not want to start the conversation when talking about embarrassing topics - so let your brand be the conversation starter. Show your ideal audience that there's no shame in discussing these issues. You have expertise in these types of conversations.


By being the daring one, you'll be an inspiration.


And...Don't Let it Get to You

When you're a brand dealing with embarrassing and controversial topics, you're always going to get the haters. It's the same with all brands. Some people love you. Others despise you.


You may end up having some of your content and marketing strategies banned. Use this as a positive - it'll encourage you to think more creatively next time. And always have a backup plan in case a social media account gets shut down.


Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. If people don't like you, so be it. They're not your people. It may be that your values contradict their beliefs. Or perhaps they're just too afraid to step away from the crowd.


Whatever their issue with you, don’t give up. For every person who dislikes you there are others who want to have conversations with you. Stick at it and believe in yourself.