5 Fun Strategies for Marketing Apps in a Boring Category

Mobile App Growth

April 6, 2016

How to market a boring mobile app

Yeah, we agree with you.

Your app is not boring. We love seeing app developers create apps that entertain, help people connect with others and automate even the most mundane tasks.

That is incredibly exciting.

…but that’s just us. However, let’s face it, some app categories just aren’t sexy, to most people. In fact, the average person on the street might say that they are downright boring.

If we step outside of the app world for a minute, let’s think about other “boring” products. How would you market something like white out pens? How would you market baking soda?

You get the point.

This creates a legitimate marketing problem. How do you effectively market an app that seemingly has very limited marketing potential?

First, let’s get something straight. We believe that if you have a quality app that fulfills a genuine need, then…

[tweet_box design=”box_02″]There are no boring apps or categories, only boring marketers. [/tweet_box]

True, there are some categories that are going to be a lot easier to market than others. Games is one category that is certainly on the easier end of the spectrum. Millions of people in the world play mobile games.

But since that is the case, these “easy” categories will also be more competitive. If you can figure out how to market effectively in a “boring” category, you have a better chance of doing very well.

So in this post, we will look at five fun strategies that have worked for companies that have seemingly boring products. We hope that they get your creative juices flowing and help you create a viral app marketing campaign.

The Choose Your Own Adventure Strategy

As you know, getting people to interact with your app is a key to its success. But what you may not know is that getting people to interact with your marketing can also be a key to its success.

Here is a fun example of a marketing campaign for white out pens. Yeah, white out pens.


This is one of those products that can be considered boring. But still extremely useful…to people who still use typewriters, for example.

So how to you make them appealing? Remember, there are no boring products, only boring marketers. This video explains the marketing strategy that went viral.

Warning: Due to language, this video is NSFW. 

The short story is that they created a narrative around a hunter and a bear. Then they got viewers involved by asking what they think the hunter should do to the bear. They then proceeded to give the people what they asked for.

If you just want to see some of the results, here they are:

  • Over a 30% increase in sales
  • Over 46 million views on YouTube
  • 60,000 online articles that wrote about or featured the video (like this one)
  • Mentions from celebrities


So how can you create a narrative around your app and get people involved? As you can see, humor often helps.

The Social Taboo Strategy

We need toilet paper, but how many of us actually think about the brand we purchase? That is obviously a problem for the toilet paper companies.

So how can you stand out in a commodity business like this? Sometimes you have to step over the line a little and talk about things that people are thinking about, but wouldn’t necessarily talk about openly.

One such thing is how to find a clean public restroom. Charmin created an app that helps you find these locations.

A little taboo?


Good marketing?


The Funny Data Strategy

I’m sure that you have seen these videos already. But let’s revisit this strategy again, from an app marketing perspective.

If your app has a lot of data (that you can legally share), then that is a gold mine of potential app marketing material. But even if you don’t have any data, then you can always make your own. You are still telling the truth and it is entertaining.

Here’s what I mean…

One company that uses this strategy is Blendtec. They have become well-known, simply for testing to see if their blenders will blend things you would never put in a blender.

Blenders aren’t sexy, but seeing if you can blend a new Apple Watch…pretty exciting. It’s also a tear-jerker because he blends Siri too.


The OKCupid blog has a ton of great examples on how real data can be used as killer marketing material. Regardless if you use real data or psuedo data, like Blendtec, it can be very interesting to a lot of people.

The Inspiring Story Strategy

Just like toilet paper, it is tough to stand out in the tissue market. Even if you are Kleenex.

This video is pretty brilliant in that it tells a great story and gets you to use the product.


How could you do something similar for your app? Highlight a user or just tell a great story that is related to your app.

The Left Field Strategy

When all else fails, you can throw out all the rules and just go for the random approach. The random-er the better.

Obviously, this can be a gigantic success or a total failure. So consider carefully, when implementing this strategy. If you have a corporate image to maintain, then this probably isn’t for you.

One company that makes random work is Old Spice.

Deodorant, kinda boring.

These ads, pretty fun.



If you want some practice with these strategies, find some apps that you think are boring and sketch out some ideas on how you could promote them with the strategies above. If you can’t find any apps, this short list will get you started. We aren’t saying they are boring, but they might be a little, err…challenging, to market.

Obviously, you should have fun with this. But in all seriousness, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind.

Make sure that you are targeting the right audience. You should have a clear demographic in mind before you start the process. Otherwise, you might get a lot of attention, but not get any downloads.

Then set some goals on what you want your marketing to accomplish. Will it be downloads, paying customers or something else?

After you have those two things set, it’s time to go crazy (AKA brainstorm ideas). Write everything down and see what sticks! To get more in-app ideas for getting your app to go viral, read our post on viral loops.

If you have a great idea for a video marketing campaign that uses one of these strategies, we may be able to help you make it a reality. Drop us a line and let’s talk 🙂

What are some of your favorite marketing strategies for boring apps or products?

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