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The appeal of some products is obvious. It's not hard to understand the attraction of an appetizing cheeseburger, a new action movie, or a revolutionary smartphone. Other products, however, have to work harder to explain the problem that they're solving.

Moreover, some industries serve fundamental needs in society—but don't receive the kind of attention heaped on upstarts like Snapchat: Think Oracle, the second-highest earning software developer in the world; its name would likely draw a blank stare from the man in the street.

There is hope, though. Here are 11 powerful steps for marketing products that, on the face of it, might seem totally unsexy.

1. Define the problem that you're solving

Instead of telling people about the reasons that they should like your product, identify what your customers are looking for and frame your pitch around that.

When describing your product, don't lead with specs and features; instead, talk about the problem that you're solving for your customers. Think about the "Will It Blend?" YouTube series. Rather than talking about the power of the blender motor, the video demonstrates that this blender will blend absolutely anything, period. And if you have testimonials to convey trustworthiness and expertise—to talk up your "easy-to-use" product or "industry-leading" service—then all the better.

In highly competitive markets in which multiple companies have similar offerings, you may still want to list the features that you offer. But consider how your competitors present themselves, and go on to demonstrate how you offer more, whether as a premium provider or by presenting a longer list of features for less.

2. Identify your audience

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image of Rishi Medhi

Rishi Medhi heads up the marketing function at mSupply.com, India's largest B2B commerce marketplace for construction, finishes, interiors, and décor-related products and materials.

LinkedIn: Rishi Medhi