MARINA DEL REY, CALIF. \u2013 Less than half of the audience here at ThinkLA\u2019s Social Media breakfast raised their hands when they were asked if they find marketing useful in their personal lives.\nThat\u2019s not exactly a ringing endorsement from the hundreds of marketers, advertisers and other media professionals who filled this seaside banquet hall.\nWhat many here know and fewer will readily admit is that most marketing is junk. That truth persists with little regard for differences in medium, format, audience or data.\nAs the old and oft-repeated saying goes: half of all the effort and money spent on advertising is wasted, they just don\u2019t know which half.\nSocial media doesn\u2019t change that scenario so much as it amplifies what out-of-control junk marketing looks like. Any marketing that fails to provide value to a consumer is junk and there\u2019s a lot of it making the rounds on social media.\n\u201cThe reality is most of us don\u2019t listen because the message doesn\u2019t pertain to us,\u201d says Kim Celestre, senior analyst at Forrester. \u201cThe fact is, your audience is getting impatient with the marketing you\u2019re putting out there.\u201d\nAffluent, always-connected consumers may be some of the most valuable targets for marketers, but they\u2019re also especially good at ignoring advertising, she adds.\nCelestre encourages brands to embrace "utility marketing" \u2013 marketing that their customers can use. \u201cYou need to demonstrate your brand promise and not just talk about it,\u201d she says.\n[Related: 5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Campaigns ]\nSocial data can inform utility marketing strategies, but brands must also be sure to look beyond standalone programs, she says. Building a community that promotes utility requires detail and attention to every potential social medium.\nAs a quick takeaway, Celestre provides five ways brands can offer utility marketing:\n\nBecome a trusted agent and establish the brand as an intermediary between itself and other related brands.\nSolve a customer\u2019s problem and consider how your brand can help solve adjacent, but still relevant needs they may have.\nGet out of the way by helping your customer skip steps during their research and purchase consideration process.\nAutomate mundane tasks and determine how your brand can provide immediate value.\nFulfill a need that the customer doesn\u2019t even know they have.\n\nOf course social media isn\u2019t just for brands, not in the traditional sense at least.\nOn the publishing side, Mashable\u2019s CMO Stacy Martinet is tasked with commanding every social media platform under the sun, in our pockets, on our wrists or online. \u201cSocial media is at the heart of all that we do,\u201d she says.\nMashable has amassed 18 million followers across all of its social channels, which helps explain why she says we\u2019re all in a \u201ccontinual cycle of marketing\u201d now.\n[Related: Facebook Vows to Destroy Click Bait and the Results Could Be Shocking ]\n\u201cWe only plan for the first mile because we don\u2019t know what the second mile\u2019s going to be,\u201d she says. \u201cYou just know you\u2019ve got to be prepared and you have to change the course\u2026 We have to be nimble and we have to be ready to fail often.\u201d\nThe goal and the platform are the most important components of any successful marketing campaign, she says. Understanding that what works on Snapchat is going to be something completely than what works on LinkedIn may sound obvious, but it\u2019s crucial to keep in mind as plans are implemented.\nMartinet leaves the audience, more awake and lively at this point, with four ways to find a groove and purpose in a rapidly evolving social media landscape: Think about what will get them thinking. Be picky when picking platforms. Focus on useful data, not big data. And finally, believe her when she says the future is visual storytelling.