Over the years I’ve been asked by clients, sales partners, and C-suite execs to create marketing campaigns for “turds”. A laundry detergent that had made its cleaning performance worse to save money on formulation. A long-distance phone calling plan that cost the customer more. Countless events and webinars that had low-to-no value for registrants.
We also see turd-polishing again and again when below-average products, ideas, and work get shined up with high production values, celebrities, and expensive sheen. Or fast talk and fancy language.
But marketing cannot polish turds. No amount of “new & improved”, empty claims, or shiny gloss can polish up a below-average product, a weak idea, a shill-y offer. It’s time to stop blaming marketing when these efforts fail – they were failures before they even started.
Instead, always start with the consumer and what they want. Consumers, more than ever, demand honesty and transparency. And they ignore what’s worth ignoring – and will share their poor user experiences faster than good ones.
So, if you’ve got a turd on your hands, the best thing to do is to flush it down and start working on something better.

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