Thursday, September 16, 2010
Gary Vaynerchuk at TEXCHANGE in Austin
I have attended almost every TEXCHANGE meeting in Austin over the last nine years. Yes, I have missed a few, but I was part of the founding board, served as president of the chapter, and have continued on the advisory board of this great group that has made a big impact on Austin's Tech Community. Thus, I can say with authority that this week's meeting featuring best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk was among THE BEST nights in the history of the organization.
Gary is nationally recognized as a passionate speaker and a person who does not just pontificate about entrepreneurship, social media, and success, .... he lives it!
Over 170 Austin area entrepreneurs and other professionals filled the AT&T Center to listen to Gary share his observations about the continued growth of social media and the effects on marketing.
Gary's background speaks for itself, as he grew his family's liquor store from $4 million to $60 million via his early recognition of how the internet was going to change how we all lived and shopped. He believes the changes are still coming, and is shocked when he consults with companies who have still not realized that the world is undergoing the biggest culture shift ever. Meanwhile more dollars are available, and many companies are not taking the action to win more customers via social online interactions. The realities of the new age are being underestimated and he is driven to help businesses find their way.
However, with all the changes in the interconnected online world, there is a push backward toward old fashioned small town values. Gary stated that our grandparents are better suited to win in the future than many of the younger generations because they understand these basic premises of the personal touch and caring about the customer. (Gary is obsessed with the concept of "Giving a Fuck", as those who really care will win in the long run!!!).
Information is being generated at unprecedented speed and there is a lot more "noise" out there.... thus marketing is about to get really hard. Those who think they can keep marketing the same way are in for a rough road. Google TV will displace the estimated numbers of Neilsen Ratings, and thus show exact numbers of eyeballs viewing any given show (which might not be as many viewers as many people think!). Additionally, when people watch television or read newspapers they now do it with their hands on laptops, cell phones, and other distractions that keep them from viewing the mass media with the attention they did just 10 years ago.
Gary's next book (due out in March 2011) is called "The Thank You Economy" and will focus on his mantra that Brands that out-care their competitors will win in the long run: Manners, birthday wishes, thank you notes, and responding to customers online (think Twitter) comments directly (not ignoring them) are what will have the biggest impact. He challenged the audience that if someone at their table in the dinning room began randomly discussing their company they would join the conversation.... then why in the hell do they NOT do this online? To executives who say "My clients are not there... or don't care" about social media, he says..."NOT YET!".
Vaynerchuk thinks everyone should be layering social media into their marketing plans, TODAY. Even if they are not ready to abandon their traditional marketing, advertising, PR, etc... they need to be moving with social media and not ignoring the coming waves.
Ten years ago if you were talking to your friend about Bud Light while watching TV at home and your doorbell rang with a Budweiser rep on the porch you would have freaked out. Yet today if you Tweet about your Bud Light you expect the company to respond (if necessary or appropriate). Companies must be monitoring the chatter online (and responding) or they are making a huge mistake. ***Take note, if your competitors are listening they might be discovering ways to respond to customer online discussions and win the business.
It is necessary to create a dialogue and build a true relationship in this new world. People are being re-trained in society to expect this type of interaction. As the younger generations have adopted Facebook (and other technology platforms), they have pulled their parents and grandparents in at adoption rates never before seen. The reason the "over-sixty-crowd" is the fastest growing segment on Facebook is this is they way they keep up and communicate with their grand kids.
Those small town values are what make you stand out. He used the example of a "Baker's Dozen" -- pointing out of how the baker in a small town cared about his customers,.... enough to toss in an extra donut. Yet he questioned if we went to Whole Foods and picked up 13 donuts, would they only charge us for 12??? (The answer was "NO").
I have spent the better part of a decade watching and learning from speakers. Long before I became a professional speaker, I studied how some experts can impact an audience and inspire the soul of those who are listening to their presentation (while others fall flat). I observe every reaction from the audience and judge their connection to the speaker. Often it is polite, but not engaged. Gary had them from "hello". He is a pro!
He took Q&A from the audience for over 20 minutes, making extra sure that his answers satisfied the desires of those asking the questions. Then stayed and talked to everyone who wanted one-on-one time for nearly 90 minutes. He was genuinely interested in all he encountered and his passion for people and helping others find their own path to success was evident in the attention he gave to each individual.
The night was a "TOUCHDOWN". (I would have said "HOME RUN", but Gary Vaynerchuk would one day like to own the New York Jets!).
Have A Great Day.