More. More. More.

Flat Iron Building, Mid-Day, photo by B.J. Mendelson

I’ve had this theory for a while. It goes something like this: Most advertising and marketing efforts on Internet-enabled platforms is a waste of time. Most advertising and marketing efforts done offline are a waste of time too.

So, what do you do?

And so the theory goes: You focus on the basics, and the basics are not sexy. GREAT product. Good branding. Excellent customer service and experience. Good PR. Good SEO. Good Email marketing.

So, as you can imagine from that absolutely shocking list of things that work, it’s tough to get people excited about that. You’ll notice I made zero mention of content and social media, although you can make a substantial argument that content marketing is email marketing. Which … it totally is, but fuck you, because “content” is a meaningless term that is used to describe everything. I rather be specific. Good email marketing is much more clear than good content. Good SEO is much more apparent to people than good content. You get the point.

There’s a lot of stuff involving Internet-enabled devices I’m excited about as a marketer. So don’t get me wrong here. This is not an anti-technology stance I’m taking. It’s an anti-crappy advertising and marketing stance.

For example, I think augmented reality is going to be huge for retail, assuming we properly take the time to train customers and provide them with something that’s fun, saves them money, and gives them a positive experience while visiting the store. That’s the kind of thing that gets people excited. Especially the media, marketing, and advertising industries. Everyone likes the shiny new thing because everyone can profit off the shiny new thing.

But here’s the hilarious part. At least, I find it funny. Let’s say we get customers (that would be, all of you reading this) to use augmented reality when they went to their local Macy’s or Target. If the AR experience sucks, if the store itself sucks, if the product the augmented reality app suggested you buy sucks then … Well, you’re shit out of luck. That customer isn’t likely to try to use an AR app again, and you better believe they’re going to tell all their friends about their shitty experience with your expensive app and in-store rollout.

That’s why the basics matter so much. Advertising and marketing are essential. You have to do it, but it’s no different than the water you add to the plant. If the plant itself is sick, then the advertising and marketing you do around it won’t matter.

Most of you know that.

The twist though is that good marketing, and good advertising can often be hard to quantify, and that drives the MBAs, shareholders, and the stats geeks crazy. I think it’s high time we get these people out of the marketing and advertising world before it’s too late. It’s their fault we had mass corporate consolidation of media companies, crappy and creepy online advertising that tracks and annoys you, and billions wasted on dumb social media campaigns because all these things provided “quantifiable” results like page views, shares, and retweets.

The bottom line is this: Marketing and advertising, when done right, takes a long time and can be expensive. If you spend a lot of money, you can get quick results. If you don’t, you’ll need to be patient, and the people I just mentioned are not patient.

So I’m not talking to those people. I’m talking to you. You have to be patient. You also can’t do this stupid thing the people I mentioned do where they try to micro-target their audience to death. You need to go wide. The person, brand, and company with the most customers wins. Remember that. You want more, more more. You don’t want to waste your time trying to find “loyal” customers because there’s nowhere near as much of them as you think there are. You should absolutely reward the few of them that DO exist, but don’t believe for a second that, push comes to shove, they’ll push you over a cliff to get something that’s better, faster, and less expensive. That’s why you always want more customers. To replace the ones you WILL lose over time.

And you will lose them; Especially if you churn out bland shit to please the MBAs, shareholders, and stats geeks.