All the Noise


All the Noise

My friend and entrepreneur Brian Cauble had a very interesting tweet recently.  He commented that it was not all the advertising he minded, it was all the noise.  If the ad was of value to him, he’d pay attention.

First, I agree completely.  Second, it amazes me how many people think their message is of value ONLY because they see the value, not because they have considered the true value to the target audience.

This not only applies to advertising, it applies to all of our communication.  Just because you share a message does not make it of value.  And making your message louder or more frequent does not make it a better message.

For example, I regularly get mail from banks wanting my business.  For the most part, the features, brochures and letter all look about the same.  They are “nice” and clearly they spent alot of money to contact me.  What this unrequested mail does not tell me is this, “What is so much better about this bank that I would make the effort (and cost) to change banks?”

Not once has a great reason to CHANGE banks ever been presented.  Not once.  So why would I care?  Well, I don’t.  This stuff is vanity crap to make them feel good about themselves and so marketing can show they did something.  Of course, I did something too… I tossed it in the garbage.  

Granted, if on the odd, rare chance I had become very dissatisfied with my current bank and was considering a change, this information might be of value.  But in 20+ years of business, that has never happened. So the odds of them finding me on the right day is not likely.  What a waste of their money and my time!

Bad messages are an obstacleto consideration as a trusted advisor.  The trusted advisor’s messages are heard.  But if you have built a reputation of messages (including advertisements) that are just a waste of time or not of value to me, why will I spend time listening to you again?

The difference between your message being of value or just being noise is the true value as perceived (right or wrong) but the audience.  Will your message (or ad) be of enough value for me to listen and act?  Why?  How do you know?  Do you find out what your audience wants or does not want?

If that seems like too much effort, it suggests you are too focused on yourself and not your audience.  That lack of respect is a message that audiences find easy to hear.   And your message is just noise.


Glenn S. Phillips is the author of Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. His website,, will lead you to more information about effective communication training, risk assessments and genuinely helpful tips. You can email Glenn directly

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About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.