I work exclusively with Auto Industry (New franchise car dealerships, to be specific) every day, so trust me I understand interruptive advertising. If you don’t understand what I just said then evidently you’ve never shopped for a car on a dealership website. No other explanation is needed, but let’s give it a shot.

The play-by-play goes like this:

  • You land on the dealership website.
  • IMMEDIATELY you’re confronted with a takeover popup asking for personal information.
  • You read almost none of the “offer” and close the popup.
  • Seconds later a chatbox floats across your screen.
  • You sigh as you try to click on the moving box. You close it.

It’s just goofy. The irony is that all the time and resources that business put into placing those ads to increase revenue is completely wasted effort with little ROI. Nobody uses that initial popup. Nobody.

The consumer-brand relationship is experiencing rapid change — the internet is no longer a place where brands unlimited access to the consumer. The rise of mobile, ad blocking usage (increased 41% last year), millennials, and the dominance of video has changed the game more than most executives believe. How can brands provide value to consumers in 2016?

The solution is not a set of tactics, but a guiding value: Forget ads, focus on valuable experiences.

Now you’re audibly sighing. Another one of these articles? Some 24 year old “guru” wants to pretend the vagueness of the thought “focus on valuable experiences” will elicit praise for its brilliance. This isn’t that article.

This is about why I stopped interrupting customers. Here’s why you should too, based on what I’ve learned in my experience, which is: People are interested in consuming great content. Notice what’s left out of that consumption equation? Literally anything other than great content. (Yes, even your outstream video is NOT cool.)

The solution? Here’s how to stop interrupting customers: Become the content they want rather than interrupting what draws their interest.

It’s easier than ever to create great content because everyone is their own media agency. Anyone with a smartphone can record a video to share on Snapchat or live stream from Facebook or Periscope now. You can tweet, comment, share pictures and blogs as well. The point is you can do a lot on your phone, for free, right now.

But we all know that. We’ve known it for years. Why don’t we start making great content then?

It comes down to either fear of failure or just not wanting to put in the work.

  • Fear of failure is simple to handle. You need to ask yourself what you’re afraid of right now. Is it disappointing yourself? Your friends and family? Figure it out, then address it. Have a talk with your family and friends. Heck, have a talk with yourself if you need, then take action. Your most valuable asset is time, so don’t lose it.
  • Quality content requires much more work to create than a traditional ad, but not wanting to put in the work is a serious problem. If you don’t want to put in the work because you aren’t sure if it will work, then that’s easy. Use this professional consultant called Google to find statistics and real life stories of why quality content creation works. If you don’t want to commit because you simply don’t believe in the effectiveness of content creation deep down, then there’s nothing the greatest salesperson in the world can do to change your mind.

2 years ago my CEO, David Villa began a show online called Auto Dealer Live with his Sales Director, Chris Fritcher. It had a rough start. They didn’t know what they were doing at first. Neither did I when starting down a similar path this January. My colleague and I began a little show called Just a Millennial, and it’s not perfect to say the least. Even so, I’m glad that we took the step to start both because it’s created real engagement that has helped us develop relationships with amazing people.

Starting both shows were frightening experiences. Content, video or otherwise, is always more unnerving to share than traditional ads because it demands more than a click. That’s not something a lot of businesses want, if they’re honest.

Content engagement is a great way to generate sales while maintaining high customer satisfaction. You can’t claim to care about customers while failing to provide any value. Those amazing people we’ve connected with through our content have created business for us. It’s very practical. When you provide value, others don’t mind investing in you.