Can you market a product you don't like?

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It's an interesting question. We are all human after all and will not inevitably like every product or service that we come across in life. So, what happens when you find yourself asked to market something you don't like? Is it possible? Well yes, it is, and I can explain why.

Core marketing principles at the heart of everything

The great thing about marketing is that once you understand the principles and structure of the discipline, you can apply these to any product or service. And the more experience you have of doing this, the more effective and proficient you will be.

All products have a target market that needs to be identified and quite possibly segmented. Purchase motivations need to be scrutinised in addition to the solution that the product or service in question solves. Not liking that product or service yourself doesn’t stop you doing this. 

I'll let you into a little secret. Years ago, I used to be the marketing manager for a company that makes Stilton cheese. Now I've never been keen on blue cheese and Stilton is no exception. I couldn't understand the excitement about bits of mould in cheese! But my indifference to Stilton cheese probably helped my marketing work, in that it caused me to question the situation more closely and truly understand what made the Stilton cheese customer tick. Had I loved the stuff myself (as many did that I worked with), I might have been less analytical and not been able to understand people that didn't like it. 

Asking the right questions

So, you might say that not liking the product or service you're marketing is a good thing! So long as you use that to your advantage. Study your customers and your target audience carefully and learn how to build a profile around them. Understand the language that you need to use to communicate with them and the expectations that they have. 

Then develop your product to deliver what they need or want, presenting it with the optimum image and character whilst communicating in a manner that appeals to this audience. This you can do, whether you are part of that audience or not. 

When ethics or morals have a part to play

There are, as with anything, exceptions to the rule. We all have beliefs, standards and indeed morals that we respect. If a product or service goes against your morals, you might find it tricky to market it. Some people might find cigarettes, guns or even unhealthy food difficult to market – we are all different and there are always going to be situations that we wish not to pursue.

But essentially, the answer is yes. You can market a product or service that you don't like. It's not bad or deceptive to do so. Undertaken professionally and using the right skills and practices, it is simply good marketing practice in action and that is all that can be expected of professionally qualified and experienced marketers.

If you'd like to talk to me about marketing for your product or service (even if it's blue cheese), please do get in touch.