By Colm Baker, Social Media Marketing (@whabangtweets)
Finally the moment was upon us. The stage was set for the highly anticipated appearance of Gary Vaynerchuk. There was a sense of agitation from the crowd in The Mansion House. The audience of business leaders and entrepreneurs waited impatiently like giddy children would for presents on Christmas morning. I was one of them. And why such excitement surrounding the speech of a 40 year old Belarusian emigrant?
Gary Vee is no ordinary public speaker or entrepreneur. He is a certified serial business builder. Throughout his life he has built businesses into major successes from his lemonade stand franchise, to his online wine store, to his digital agency Vayner Media. He has become a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist with a particular flare for noticing where consumer attention will migrate to. Early investments in Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr showed that Vaynerchuk had his finger on the pulse of consumer attention. For some time now he has been preaching across multiple social platforms and to anybody that will listen that the attention is now well and truly on Snapchat. But on Monday the 21st March 2016, the attention of everybody in The Mansion House in Dublin, was on the man himself Gary Vaynerchuk.
GaryVee talked about Snapchat gaining consumer attention but on Monday 21st March 2016 the attention of over 600 people in the Mansion House in Dublin was firmly fixed on the exuberant entrepreneur.
1. Snapchat gives businesses under-priced attentionAfter recounting his own personal success story Gary excitedly proposed that one of the main contributing factors to his success has been an innate ability to sense where consumer attention will be and to use the tools in these spaces to sell shit, as he puts it. When he spots an opening, or a possible trend, he doesn’t wait to see how people will approach this medium, how others will react or how to do it right. He reacts ferociously quickly, works tirelessly to equip himself with the technical ability to bring his own storytelling and sales skills to these new tools, and goes all in. In 1997, after being shown email he immediately realized this could be used as a tool to sell products, in this case wine. Gary was an early adopter of AdWords and other Pay Per Click type strategies and owned the term “wine” for next to nothing at the dawn of online advertising. These strategies allowed him to build a business, Wine Library, from $3M to $60M, at a time when many experts were more than skeptical about the potential of eCommerce.
Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are two characteristics that Gary believes he has in abundance. This piercing self-awareness led Gary to the realization that he had an innate skill at perceiving where consumer attention would migrate to. In typical fashion, he went all in, and decided to put more weight behind his gut instinct and began his now illustrious career as an investor. He correctly predicted that the attention would now move to social media and hedged his bets with investments in Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Aside from the significant financial success of these investments, his biggest investment in social media was in the creation of Vayner Media, his much talked of digital marketing agency. Gary knew social media was not just a fad that he could make a quick buck off through investing in social networks but rather it would become the most important advertising platform of the future. So he positioned Vayner Media as a social sales shop that he has now built into a colossal digital agency.
Gary implored the crowd to move to
“where the attention actually is!”
and not to focus on where there is
“high potential attention”
To illustrate his point Gary stated that his attention is firmly fixed Snapchat despite having 1.2million followers on Twitter. By no means is his Twitter account redundant, but his most creative engagements are on Snapchat because that’s where consumer attention now is.
He insists that businesses are wasting money on outdoor advertising and TV adverts because nobody is paying attention to them. Gary urged the business leaders and marketers in the room not to be fooled by the vanity figures of TV advertising which still shows engaged audiences during live sports events because as soon as the commercials come on people reach for their smartphone to talk about the sports event on social media. The problem he suggests is that previously if you were watching an event on the home you had no alternative but to watch the commercials during the highly engaging sports event. Whereas now we can continue our engagement with the sports event with friends or celebrities through social media. Marketers make the mistake of thinking that peoples attention is on the TV. It’s not. The attention is on the event. And while the TV commercials show a powerful Jeep cruising through beautiful mountainous landscape the consumer’s attention is still on the event but the channel has changed. The channel has now switched to social media and businesses sequestering their budgets into expensive TV commercials are missing out. He seemed frustrated and dejected as he mused that these expert marketers can continue to console themselves with vanity viewing figures but their efforts are futile. You couldn’t help but imagine the rambunctious Vaynerchuk ranting at high level executives of multinational companies who refuse to leave traditional methods behind and go all in on social media as Gary has done. Gary painted a similar picture for the fate of outdoor advertising. He suggested that, like other channels, outdoor advertising was once effective but nobody is paying attention anymore. Why? Gary believes that the smartphone has led to the
“biggest shift in consumer behaviour in a generation”
Gary described how that even when people are driving, and fully aware of the associated risks, their heads are buried in their smartphone whenever they have a second to spare. His hypothesis was verified by the nervous chuckles emanating from the crowd suggesting that many were guilty of this offence. He proclaimed that
“the mobile phone is the most important product in the world”
Everybody has one and it is never more than arms length from them. He demanded a show of hands to see how many people sleep within an arms length of their mobile phone. Arms soared into the air, reminiscent of a Mexican wave at a soccer match. The message was simple. The attention is on mobile and social media. It is clear in GaryVee’s mind that all marketing efforts should be focused on these two mediums.
Gary delved even deeper revealing that while you need to focus on where the attention is the really significant successes emerge from
“finding where the under-priced attention is.”
Gary is convinced that the attention is now moving or has moved to Snapchat and he has again been one of the first movers. As the #AskGaryVee book tour continues to steam through cities across the world, his incredibly captivating, expletive filled protestations about the benefits of Snapchat has in itself led to an incredible surge in the number of social media marketers (including myself) spreading the message. He believes that Snapchat’s growth has been delayed because many of us suffer from a lack of authenticity when forming opinions. We get caught up in the noise of the internet and take the clickbait views of headlines to be the truth rather than forming our own opinions. Since it’s launch Snapchat has had many detractors and many “marketing gurus” have advised against using Snapchat for businesses, stating that you cannot sell with Snapchat. Gary rubbishes this view and talked about how Snapchat can be used to give personality to your brand and really connect with consumers. But also announced
“I think Snapchat is an incredible place to sell”
He pleaded with the packed crowd at The Mansion House in Dublin to become practitioners of Snapchat and to
“stop headline reading. Use it, do it and become it”
Not only is Snapchat where the attention currently lies but more importantly it is also where the under-priced attention is. Snapchat has engagement rates as high as 80% compared to less than 1% for Facebook. Snapchat has over 100million active daily users whereas Facebook would rather talk about active monthly users. Snapchat’s stories feed is based on chronological order, there is no newsfeed algorithm to limit your reach. It is based chronologically rather than some perceived affinity you may have for the specified content. Snapchat has not been saturated by advertising…yet! As GaryVee proclaimed
“Marketers will ruin it, the way we ruin everything.”
His message was clear. Attention outweighs metrics. Mobile and social media is where consumer attention is. Snapchat is where there is real value and under-priced attention. Snapchat is where businesses should be placing their attention.
2. Capitalize on your strengthsThe most profound aspect of the #AskGaryVee book cover is the significance Gary gives to self-awareness. As you can see below, 22 other topics are listed but only leadership and social media are afforded the same importance as self-awareness.
Self-Awareness is something Gary Vaynerchuk places a great deal of importance on. Get his book now to see why.
Gary’s followers will be aware that for some time now Gary has been dissing on what he calls “fake entrepreneurs”. Of course, this term has grabbed the attention, the headlines and it has also caused a degree of consternation within the startup and entrepreneur culture that has become ubiquitous since the success of The Social Network. As Gary jokes
“everybody in America has a friend whose kid is hoping to be the next Zuckerberg”
“anyone with some money is throwing $25k at hoping that their friend’s kid’s idea will become the next Facebook.”
Don’t get it twisted though. Gary is not ragging on entrepreneurs. He is one. However, what he is doing is trying to do is start a much bigger conversation. With the headline grabbing term “fake entrepreneurs” he is trying to switch the attention away from the get rich quick and anyone can start a business mentality to one where people assess their characteristics and play to their strengths rather than try to fit in with the popular trend of entrepreneurship. He tells the crowd
“understand who you are, be self-aware.”
Gary believes that the problem has surfaced because the internet and the smartphone
“has made it easier than ever before to become an entrepreneur.”
Holding aloft his smartphone he proclaimed that within this little device you have the same power that major corporations like CNN had only a few years ago. He reaffirms his belief that it is easier than ever for people to become entrepreneurs before pausing to pose the question are you able? Gary suggests that there is nothing wrong with being a #2, #3, #4 #5 #6 or even #67 in a company challenging the crowd to consider
“how many of these people at Facebook are millionaires?”
He mused about the loss of many great potential #2’s emerging from institutions such as MIT who now think it’s their right to own a business or create the next killer app. Gary seemed bemused at the naivety of today’s graduates stressing that very few apps, businesses or people actually make it as #1 in the tech world. With a sense of frustration he again emphasized that some people are not cut out for entrepreneurship and to stop falling into the populist norm exclaiming
“BE YOURSELF, DO YOU”
He urged the crowd to audit themselves, reassess their strengths and weaknesses, then focus all their energy on playing to their strengths and maximizing their ability in this area. Gary encouraged the crowd to stop stressing about their weaknesses, other people’s strengths, and what others are doing well and concentrate on what you can do best. Once you become honest with yourself and gain an understanding of your true strengths this is when you can add massive value to your audience. And that is what it’s all about according to Gary. Adding value. Don’t forget his mantra:
“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
Gary Vee encouraged the crowd at the Mansion House to audit themselves, find their strengths and maximize them.
3. The market is the only judge in townAnybody who has watched Gary’s interviews or keynotes will know that his most vociferous outbursts often come in response to suggestions, assumptions or questions from people forgetting that the market is the only true judge of the value of a business idea, product or service. To this effect, one of his most commonly used mantra’s is “The Market is the Market, is the Market, is the Market!”Suggesting that no matter what you think about your business idea, product or service, ultimately the only opinion that matters is that of the market. As discussed above he is often at loggerheads with top executives who do not want to abandon traditional forms of advertising such as outdoor billboards and TV commercials. Gary suggests they are making a crucial mistake by not listening to him, but more importantly, not listening to the market. As he peered into the crowd, surveying the engrossed audience, he vehemently announced
“You are no judge of your idea, the market is….You don’t get to decide if your idea is a success, the market does.”
An interesting way Gary monitors the market is by analyzing the charts of the App store. He urged the crowd to assess the charts every morning, see what’s performing well, see what’s making a move up the charts and analyze the trends. The reaction of the crowd, dumbfounded by the brilliant simplicity of this method, was to suggest one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments. With a tone of astonishment at the crowd’s naivety, Gary went on to state the reason this works is because the App store is the best store, on the best and most important device in the world.
During the Q&A session, many of the questions posed could have easily been rebuffed by the market mantra and although Gary was at a pains to emphasize this he did offer a huge amount of value to those entrepreneurs lucky enough to get his advice. A six generation whiskey distiller asked how to market their new product launch. Gary suggested they analyze the market, find out what soft drink is the bestseller at the moment and see does it mix well with that. Then you promote your product through the success of the other product. An executive from the national broadcaster, RTE, asked something to the effect of how they can overcome the downturn in TV advertising and surge of streaming services. Gary suggested that they should provide more original content to add value to the proposition. Little did Gary know that RTE had major success with their biggest investment in content for some time with crime drama Love/Hate. The market loved it, it was trending every week, you couldn’t avoid talking about the show, and the new season is highly anticipated. However, had Gary known this it probably would have drawn the response “the market is the market, is the market”. Focus on this rather than disrupting the viewer with 1 minute and 50 second long adverts before I attempt to watch a programme on the online RTE Player. Add value, listen and adapt. A young entrepreneur involved in Severe MMA, a niche website dedicated to MMA, was clearly frustrated and angry with the way larger sites were reproducing his original content to make multiple clickbait type articles. He passionately described the sacrifices he has made to provide real valuable, engaging and original content but didn’t reap the rewards because sites with much broader focus and higher engagement repurpose their content and steal the traffic. However, he did not get any sympathy or pity from Gary who responded sharply with that same mantra “the market is the market, is the market, is the market”. Gary went on to provide some advice but the message was clear to everybody in the room. Being an entrepreneur is tough, you have no divine right to be a success, the market will determine whether you are or not.
Much to the exasperation of Vaynerchuk and some of the Mansion House crowd similar questions kept arising. Although often phrased differently the same principle was at the core of his response. Respect the market’s view. To one very young entrepreneur asking how she should protect her idea so others can’t do it better Gary responded sharply that she can’t. To the shock of some of the audience he quickly added that if someone does it better they deserve to win and that’s tough luck for this young entrepreneur. The young entrepreneur possibly hoping for some affirmation or sympathy was clearly taken aback by the disheartening rebuffal she received. This was not some beacon of unfounded positivity we have become used to in The Social Network culture, this was real, practical, and genuine advice from a seasoned and genuine entrepreneur. And that my friends is why the attention is on GaryVee.
What do you think? Please feel free to share this blog if you thought it was interesting or know somebody who likes GaryVee. I would love to hear any feedback or discuss these topics further on Snapchat (whabang), Facebook, Twitter, comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your thoughts on Snapchat? How should businesses be using it?
Are too many people leaving behind potentially stellar corporate careers in the search of misguided entrepreneurial dreams? Why are you an entrepreneur?
What does the market is the market, is the market, is the market mean for you?
I definitely recommend you check out @GaryVee on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Or check him out on Facebook or Youtube.
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