If you’re trying to set up a marketing campaign for something that’s viewed as dated, you’re essentially starting at a disadvantage. The idea that something is old-fashioned typically carries a negative connotation, and an inherent negative perception of a product or service can be a killer. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Particularly in the age of digital marketing, companies find all sorts of ways to get around this problem. Here, we’ll look at three strategies in particular, along with a few examples of these strategies in action.
1. Try Content Marketing
Toward the end of 2018, Forbes did a write-up of content marketing trends to watch for 2019, and included the simple yet prescient phrase, “content marketing is becoming marketing.” This doesn’t mean that all other forms of modern marketing are being done away with by any stretch of the imagination, but it does convey that more and more successful brands are placing a greater emphasis on this sort of effort. The idea is simply that any and all brands - whether selling products, pitching services, offering online subscriptions, or assuming any other model - should be generating content that consumers can engage with. It creates two-way conversations, makes a web platform easier and more natural to reference, and makes the whole brand appear more active and approachable. We won’t point to a specific example in this case, but the advantage is essentially that at even a dated product can be surrounded by fresh content. In other words, what you’re saying doesn’t have to be as old as what you’re selling.
2. Attach The Product To Something More Modern
This won’t work in every business. Sometimes, a dated product or service is simply the whole ballgame, so to speak. If possible though, attaching an old-fashioned product to something related, but fresher, can help to boost the former. One of the best examples currently on the internet actually comes from the gaming industry, which has somewhat miraculously made digital bingo popular. Most of us hear “bingo” and think of old board games in grandparents’ houses, or semi-depressing lounges in casinos or on cruise ships. However, by recommending bingo sites alongside thoroughly established, full-scale digital casinos, leading UK game providers have turned a dated concept into something new, and almost edgy. Promoting online bingo on its own might once have looked like a tall order. But adding it to other, less old-fashioned games essentially gave it a fresh chance.
3. Embrace The Vintage Vibe
Arguably the best feat you can accomplish when marketing a “dated” product is to turn that old-fashioned label into vintage. On some level they more or less mean the same thing, but for the fact that the former sounds dull and boring while the latter sounds desirable and exclusive. Perhaps the best instance of a company pulling this off in the last few years comes from The Art Of Shaving, a popular shaving product brand. That a company like this emerged right at the dawn of the budget subscription razor era and expected to compete is borderline brash. Throw in that the company sells straight razors, brushes, and “grooming accessories” and it certainly gives off an old-fashioned vibe. If you look through the “our story” section of this company’s website though, you see a determined effort to turn old-fashioned into vintage: There are black-and-white image, cool graphics of old-timely shave shops, and straight razors and lathers alongside the phrase “the perfect shave.” The site makes you feel as if a better era of shaving has come roaring back and invited you along for the ride - which is ridiculous, but highly effective.
There are more strategies than these for dealing with a dated product. But hopefully these three have conveyed that this is not an impossible task so much as just a challenge that requires a bit of creativity.