Advertising as Failure – an interesting perspective from Jeff Jarvis
Jeff Jarvis has a provocative post from May 2009 titled Advertising as failure. The essence of Jarvis’ message is this:
- The ideal relationship of a company to its customer is direct, with no middleman
- Where you don’t have that good relationship, then you have to advertise to tell people something
- Therefore, in a very importance sense, Advertising is failure
A really simple insight, but for some reason it hit me like a ton of bricks. But it really speaks to my experience. The products or services that I really love, that I really value, don’t have to advertise to me. In a Google world, I find them and the communities that form around them.
In the following video, starting at around 15:10, Jarvis delivers a really powerful message on Advertising and Marketing:
Here’s a series of rapid-fire messages from Jarvis’ talk gets right to the heart of the matter:
- If you think about advertising in one way, Advertising is failure
- If the ideal is that you have a direct relationship and connection with your customer …
- The ideal is that you have a product that’s so great that they (your customers) tell the world about it, they sell it for you …
- The ideal is that they help each other and support each other in this product …
- The ideal is that they trust you and know that you have a human voice and can talk to you …
- The ideal is a direct relationship with this customer …
- If all this is the ideal, then why would you advertise?
- Because if the ideal is to be Google and hardly spend money at all and have a great product that people pass around, then advertising is failure.
That is just brilliant.
Now, as a caveat, Jarvis does say there are valid reason for advertising, for example: (i) nobody knows about my product, it’s brand new, (ii) I’ve had a problem and I fixed it and I’ve got to tell them, (iii) I have a new price and they should know that …
However, Jarvis concludes on the topic of Advertising:
Whatever it is you need to tell them, fine. But it is a fall from grace. Grace is they love me, they move my product, they talk about my product, they support my product, I made the product I wanted because I listened to them and I hear them because I have a relationship, then Advertising is failure.
A couple more recent related posts from Jarvis: