A writer such as Dan Brown is effective for people (and there are many of them) who want lots of action and aren't too bothered by characterisation or style. I like to get involved with characters, so I'm not keen on his work, but I can't deny that it's effective.
I think we can best produce effective writing by knowing what effect we're looking for. I know that sounds like stating the obvious, but not many people think about it when they start to write. Now, it's not helpful to be too self consciously striving for effects when you're writing, certainly not for the first draft.
But as part of the editing process you probably ought to spend at least a little time on thinking who your audience is going to be, what effect you want to have on them, and how you can achieve or heighten those effects. So, in my genre, while I hope people enjoy reading the plots and I hope they like the added layers of history, art knowledge or location that I usually put in, I know that most will be reading for the central relationship and how it develops. I need to make this relationship as effective as possible for the reader.
If I were writing historicals, I'd be focussing in on the period detail. If I were writing crime, I'd focus on the violence/repercussions of violence. If I were writing a detective story, I'd focus on the mystery element, and so on.
Having focussed in on my area, I'm looking for ways to heighten the reader response. For me that means putting believable obstacles in the way of my central relationship, and working through the characters' emotional responses in some detail. That would be quite out of place in a crime novel.
And finally, part of being effective is realising that you can't be everything to everyone. There are cross-over novels, but there are many, many more which are aimed at a single audience. Be as effective as possible within your kind of writing and you won't go far wrong.