‘Unfun’ Products and Effective Influencer Marketing: It’s All About the Delivery

Opinion: Campaign messaging must be much more than a sales pitch

Inherent glamour isn’t a requirement for success in the social marketing space didesign021/iStock

It’s easy to see how certain products lend themselves naturally to influencer marketing. They’re visually rich. Or fun to have. Or fashionable. (Or all three.) And they’re also immediately perceived as contributing to an aspirational lifestyle. But what about “unfun” products that also make life better but don’t have the same organic visual appeal or don’t automatically qualify as chic?

Should these brands steer clear of social media marketing simply because the prospect of successfully advertising via these platforms isn’t as obvious? The answer is most decidedly, “No.”

Yes, it’s tougher to see the full extent of the engagement opportunities that exist for products that don’t have the innate promotional presence of the cosmetics, couture and culinary consumables that seem to dominate influencer marketing. However, inherent glamour isn’t a requirement for success in the social marketing space. It’s all about the influencer’s delivery.

Marketing that can benefit any brand

The ability of influencers to shape a story so that message truly matches with product is an advantage that brands (regardless of their “fun rating”) can leverage to engage and activate targeted audiences. Influencer marketing represents a unique opportunity for advertisers to instruct, inspire and even intrigue potential buyers regarding their products and the benefits those products deliver.

To be successful, campaign messaging must be much more than a sales pitch—tone must synch with topic, and the delivery must resonate as “real.” Influencer marketing that executes on all three can change a brand’s sale trajectory.

Effective delivery can negate ‘sponsored’

Disclosing sponsored social media posts is a must when it comes to transparent advertising and marketing. Although the “sponsored” label can send an unfavorable signal to some audiences, it does not necessarily mean that people won’t trust the content. According to a study by Time, two in three consumers trust branded content more than traditional advertising.

Still, thoughtful influencer delivery on the other side of that designation can eliminate any sense of an impending hard sell and move readers to take a deeper dive. Therefore, brands should be working with influencers who demonstrate a genuine affinity for their products so that the issue of compensation isn’t one. It’s critical that influencers be able to create a natural link between a brand and their followers and be able to sustain it.

If an influencer has a following based on their support of an environmentally aware, low-carbon lifestyle and begins promoting a king-cab pickup truck, their followers will surely question their motive—and then sponsorship becomes a real issue.

Effective delivery can drive engagement

Today’s audiences can sense when a relationship or message is ingenuine. While it’s possible for an influencer to fake a following, it is much more difficult for an influencer to fake followers’ engagement with them. The influencers who demonstrate higher, more consistent engagement are the ones who have created loyal followings around similar interests. If the message of the influencer is authentic, the potential to generate engagement is much higher.

Effective delivery can build relationships

Relationships are everything when it comes to activating and retaining shoppers. Talk down to your audience, lecture them or bore them and you’ve lost them as customers—likely forever. By using quality influencers who know how to intelligently reach their targeted audiences, brands can create connections between products and people that will last and help generate sales, regardless of “fun factor.”

Not every brand is a fit for every marketing channel. But any brand, in any category, can employ influencer marketing to engage shoppers and grow their business.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of influencer marketing from some highly capable influencers (posting on behalf of some not-so-fun products) that showcase the effective and thoughtful delivery that these, and other, successful influencers use to generate engagement and drive sales.

Nicole and the DivaCup

In this post, Nicole at the cult of she explores the not-ever-fun-to-talk-about topic of how women can make their lives easier during their period.

This influencer comfortably and convincingly explores a variety of homeopathic management techniques and still devotes full time and measure to the sponsor’s product, the DivaCup.

Although the product is new to some and a question mark for many, Nicole’s informed and empathetic delivery gives immediate gravitas to her claims regarding the DivaCup’s efficacy and mitigates any issues that might derive from the fact that the post is sponsored.

But it is her absolute candor that exemplifies the authenticity that is the key to impactful influencer marketing. Voicing the kind of uber-honesty you’re not going to hear during a commercial break on Dancing With the Stars, this influencer simultaneously acknowledges user uncertainty, assuages it and encourages product trial. That’s the power of purposeful influencer delivery.

Chastity and Pennzoil

It’s likely safe to assume that many shoppers wish they knew more and could do more when it comes to do-it-yourself projects like maintaining their cars. And while traditional advertising in the automotive parts category is all about getting consumers off the couch and into action, it’s a well-delivered influencer post like those from Chastity at A Cowboy’s Life that has greater potential to motivate audiences and get them moving—first into the store and then under the hood.

What some consider simple automotive maintenance can be intimidating to many, and the need for easily executed measures often results in an unnecessary trip to the mechanic. However, with properly delivered guidance and instruction, even the most hesitant tool-handler can be convinced to purchase the necessary parts and get their hands dirty.

Eschewing the “get ‘er done” tonality that permeates most messaging in this vertical, Chastity keeps her delivery simple and straightforward. In doing so, she makes it possible for Pennzoil and Walmart to engage an audience that’s typically more comfortable in the dealership’s waiting room.

By making her blog, and the driveway, a “safe space” for those who are new to automotive maintenance, this influencer empowers her readers to keep their cars running smoothly and safely—with the help of the sponsors.

It’s an example of shopper-activating engagement—generated by online encouragement—that results exclusively from thoughtful influencer delivery.

Maria and Poo~Pourri Before-You-Go

In her post on for mommy’s dragons titled “4 Ways to Go From Dreamer to Doer,” Maria promotes self-help book The Woo of Poo, along with Poo~Pourri Before-You-Go toilet spray. Her effacing and entertaining discussion about wanting to do and achieve more is unquestionably sincere, and the credibility she creates for herself—and the products—is immediate.

This post exemplifies the content-rich, relationship-building “conversations” that can only be executed through authentic influencer marketing. By appropriately mixing product promotion with positive messaging, this influencer delivers her readers inspiring insight alongside purchase information in perfect, shopper-activating proportion. Good luck doing that in a 30-second spot—especially when you’re talking “poo.”

These influencers accurately and creatively matched tone to topic to not only engender authenticity, but also retain readers while delivering convincing messages. By strategically leveraging the creative expression central to successful social media marketing, these influencers engaged their audiences at a depth not possible through traditional media. With the right delivery from the right influencer, anything is possible.

Holly Pavlika is senior vice president of marketing and content at intelligent commerce provider Inmar.