Marketing So Good, You’ll Pay For It

When you know enough about who I am, what my real time needs are, and where I am physically, marketing can become customized enough to finally migrate itself from an unwanted intruder, to an actual (gasp) service you appreciate. Maybe even (double gasp) pay for.

Imagine this….

Your Brita water filter ran out last week and you’ve been meaning to pick up a new one, but you’ve been so busy you weren’t able or kept forgetting. Now imagine walking home from work today and your smartwatch alerted you that the exact filter you needed was in stock at the approaching corner store. That’s not ‘advertising’, it’s a service. But to get it, you have to allow advertisers to access your data.

Can you say unblock me (please). That’s the way to tackle ad blocking – with honey rather than vinegar. Pull rather than push, or worse pushy.

Some people are worth going to extraordinary lengths to please.

Influencers just like regular people will promote your brand for you, but they require delivery of extraordinary experiences. Like the widely publicized Morton Steak engagement in 2011 where entrepreneur/blogger/author/super-influencer Peter Shankman tweeted to his 100K Twitter followers before boarding a flight to Newark: “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at the Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thank. : )” While Shankman notes that he was not at all serious, Mortons saw the tweet and fulfilled his wish delivering  a porterhouse steak dinner as he exited the plane.

“Sell something, and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.”
— Jay Baer

What’s at stake?

How many times has a website served you an ad for a product that you had zero intention of purchasing? In fact, sometimes I’m insulted that the algorithm choose me of all people to target the way a woman might be insulted when a man clearly out of her league hits on her…..’as if.' Poor targeting creates distrust where the user is conditioned to immediately exit out of ads, regardless of its content.


The recent insurgence of users installing ad blockers is a testament to this frustration. Some estimates place potential losses in revenue in the billions while others believe that this trend won’t continue. I believe if mainstream users become even more tech savvy and online ads continue to be intrusive, adland has much more to lose.

I believe the future is about creating partnerships with consumers, helping them to leverage their data and sales history. I’ve bought a Range Rover for my last 4 cars – I’m ok with competitors knowing that and bidding against each other when my current lease runs out. My friend Brandan Eich, much to the chagrin of the ad industry, created Do Not Track during his tenure at Mozilla.

I think he’d be thrilled if consumers would not only skip Do Not Track, but would say “double track me!” if they knew transparently that the information they gave up would be used to their own benefit. That’s the partnership I believe is coming. 



Jon Bond is Chief TOMORRO\\\IST at TOMORRO\\\, a value accelerator using marketing and strategic business development to help take clients from start up to IPO or exit. Let's stay in touch.