Reach 2012: Five Business Lessons From Gary Vaynerchuk


Gary Vaynerchuk gave a phenomenal presentation in Calgary at Reach 2012. The following are five business lessons I took away from Gary’s presentation.


[box] “We are grossly underestimating the attention of the consumer”   Gary Vaynerchuk[/box]


1. Stop thinking about the next 24 minutes.


You may have NOW! type pressures.  You need staff now.  You need sales now.  However, when you succumb to the pressures of NOW!, you mold your corporate culture and thinking to value instant gratification, shiny objects and short term solutions.


This approach may temporarily release your immediate tention.  However the decision to focus only on now creates a groundhog day environment. Your business will perpetually live in a reactive world trying to solve the same problems over and over again.  Fixating on NOW! type pressures will never allow your company to permanently solve these problems.


Instead of approaching customer sales and marketing with immediate return metrics such as average profit / transaction, consider deferring your gratification.  Replace the immediate gratification metric with something more substantial like customer lifetime value.  Rather than thinking how much your customers are worth to you today, think about how much they are worth to you in their lifetime.  This simple change will force every company to value the relationship with your customer over the transaction.


Focusing on relationships builds brands and develops loyal customers who spread your message by word of mouth.  Focusing on transactions builds commodities and develops customers whose only loyalty is to the lowest price.




Calculate your average customer transaction.  Calculate the value of that same customer over their lifetime.  As Peter Drucker said, the purpose of business is to make AND KEEP a customer.  How much is it worth to your business to keep your customers?


2. Stop trying to close like a 19 year old dude.


Most ads and marketing strategies are based on measuring the immediate ROI.  The result are campaigns that all sound the same.  The average campaign is all about the ask.  The average consumer sees up to 5000 ads every day and nearly all of them are saying the same thing.  Buy Now, Buy Now, Buy Now.  Close, close, close.  In high school that guy earned himself a reputation.  Why would you want your business be the same?


In boxing terms, the close is like a right hook.  A boxer who only throws right hooks may land a couple but in time the opponent will learn to duck.  In this analogy, businesses are the boxer and your prospects are the opponent.  Your business may be new, you may have a new product, your service may have just launched but don’t forget that the prospects have been learning to duck their entire lives.




Rather than throw hook, hook, hook, hook, hook, hook try this.

Jab, jab, jab, jab, jab, hook.  In other words add value, add value, add value, add value, add value, close. Then repeat.



3. Speak their language.


First, let  me point out the obvious.  Facebook is not the same as Twitter. Twitter is not Google+. TV is not the same as radio. Magazines are not the same as Pinterest.  Why then would we use the same copy in the same format and blast the same message on every platform?


As marketers we have to understand that each place we interact with customers is a unique environment.  Each environment has its own language, it’s own style and it’s own design.  A Tweet with @replys, #hashtags and shortened URLs will look strange to your followers on Facebook or your Google+ circles.


If you want customers to engage with your brand on these platforms a big first step is optimizing the content for each platform.  This idea was recently been named Native Advertising.  It’s not to say that you can’t use the same idea on multiple platforms.  You just need to iterate the message to be relevant to each audience’s style of communiation.




Watch this case study to see how Jay Z used an integrated native advertising strategy to launch his book release on multiple media platforms.





4. Learn the art of storytelling


Cartier is a famous French company that has been creating and selling exquisite jewelry and watches since 1847.  Historically, their target market has been the Royal families and celebrities of the world.  As the economic growth in the diamond market shifts from America and Europe to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies, Cartier had to also shift their focus.


Rather than using powerpoint slides and statistics to illustrate the importance of this shift,  Cartier instead told a story.  Full of rich and sensual imagery this Cartier story is meant to inspire, amaze and create desire with their international customers base from both old and new target markets without using a single word.




Get your marketing department to start thinking like a journalist.  Take some time to learn about the Hero’s Journey, how to keep someones attention and how to avoid buring the lead.  Rather than putting your company in the role of the hero, think of how you can turn your customers into the hero of the story.



5. Pay attention to supply and demand


Value is created when the demand for a product or service outstrips the supply.  Conversely, when the supply of a product, information or service is in abundance it creates a commodity.  A supply of undifferentiated products with less demand than the market asks for leads to commoditization. Here’s an example, how would you pick bacon from the grocery store?




In marketing the supply of HD videos, content and information are all in abundance.  Ads that ask us to buy now are in abundance.  The number of remarkable experiences that a brand creates for their customers is in great demand AND is undersupplied.  The way to get your customer’s attention is not by putting more ads on new platforms but by creating experiences that they want to talk about.


So what is in demand? Passion is in demand.  Synthesis of information is in demand.  Empathy for customers is in demand.  A customer feeling like you put in the effort in in demand.  Listening to your customers is in demand.   Personal relationships are in demand.  Is it any co-incidence that the farmers markets and slow food movement are trending upward now?   As Gary says, we are moving back to a time of old school business when relationships based on trust were really important.  When knowing your customer and working for them customer is what made you money.



Join me in December for a #30daytest.  For 30 days, I will not share any of my own content on Twitter unless someone asks for it or unless it’s relevant to a conversation they started.  For 30 days, I will read and learn about as many people I’m following as I can.  I will respond to peoples tweets, read their articles, search for conversations about branding and marketing.



What other lessons should we know about running a successful and sustainable business?

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