John, Mickey and I talk about the Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Things we learned:

  • Gary Vee and Stephen Covey are weirdly similar.
  • Marketing and customer service are inextricably linked.
  • Social media, and business in general, are evolving from quick-fix to long-term relationships.

Altogether, a surprisingly worthwhile book.  See the video, listen to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

– Okay, so, welcome to this week’s episode. Today is our book club discussion of The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk. So, I’m Paula Williams.

– I’m John Williams.

– And I’m Mickey Gamonal.

– And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is?

– To help everybody out there in the aviation world sell more products and services.

– Absolutely. Great, so, um, first impressions of the book. What did you guys think?

– I liked it quite a bit, actually. Um, I thought it resonated pretty well with me as a small business owner and consumer. Um, I really like the idea, the general idea of the book just basically saying that businesses can have like a positive impact by being better businesses. You know, it’s very focused on doing what you like to do and you can make a profit doing that.

– [Paula] Right, exactly. John, what did you think?

– Well I think that he hit an old topic but did well at it, and that is customer service. Because these days, customer service is lacking in every industry from aviation airliners down to buying donuts.

– [Paula]Right?

– And he dug deep into it and really explained what he means by customer service.

– Yeah. I think it was almost half customer service and half marketing, rather than a marketing book which it’s kind of marketed as. It turned out to be almost more of a customer service book than a marketing book but I was actually really pleased with this ’cause I had read also Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It about a year ago and it was just all Gary V, yelling, motivation and that kinda thing. And this one I think was much more helpful and much more toned down and much more sane than Crush It for sure.

– Well, he gives you ideas and specific suggestions on how to do things.

– [Paula] Exactly, right.

– And it doesn’t matter who you are.

– [Paula] Right.

– Company wise.

– [Paula] Right, exactly.

– Newspaper carrier on up.

– Yeah, absolutely. So, some people may not know who Gary Vaynerchuk is.

– [Mickey] Yeah!

– Go into that because I think it’s really important to know where he’s coming from, because that’s almost as important as what he says.

– Right, so he’s kind of a, he’s kind of a younger guy and he’s kind of a entrepreneurial badass and everything like that. He’s got a lot of acclaim among like the young entrepreneurs and, and that sort of thing. He started out looking at his dad’s liquor store and he founded the Wine Library, and he started using that kind of as his first baby business and he put a lot of effort into it, as you’ll see in the next slides, but he put all that work into it and now he has a very strong presence on social media that he continues to work at. So he’s very big on why social media is something that every business needs to be invested in.

– Exactly, exactly. And he was not an overnight success. I mean he seems like an overnight success, but uh, was certainly not, right?

– Right, yeah. No, and like as you can see here, from 2007 to 2011 he’s working 4-8 hours every single day and he’ll be more than happy to tell you this. He goes on and on and on about how you need to hustle hard, you need to crush it. You know, he’s basically just yelling at people to go to work, all day long, like that’s what he says to all aspiring entrepreneurs.

– [John] Well, and that’s how this country grew up was everybody workin’ forever.

– [Paula] Right?

– Yeah. No, and I think it’s something, like, we live in such a relaxed society nowadays that it’s really easy to get caught up in binge-watching shows,  or just kinda lounging around. You can even get sucked into like healthy things like hiking or the gym.

But these things are designed to keep us, their whole business model is to keep us coming back and keep repeat customers, return customers, that sort of thing. So it’s difficult, as an individual, to, go out and do something because there’s so many things that are targeted at just keeping us kinda sedentary, or at least comfortable.

– Exactly. I think he goes into, I heard a couple of his, ah, rants on like the immigrant mindset and how you are um. His family came from Poland I think, he says some really powerful things about you think you have it hard, because you come from a city or  maybe you don’t have a degree or whatever the situation is.

Try being a Jew, from Poland, during the war. You know? And ah, talks about his family and how badass they are, and uses a lot of really colorful language to explain all this, but I think that’s really cool. Right so just to kind of show you where he is now, versus where he started, this is his YouTube channel and he’s got similar ah, stats on other media, and I know some people are um, listening to this rather than watching it, so um, if that’s you, he’s got a daily ad revenue of 77 to 641 dollars and that’s just his personal channel.

Then he’s got VaynerMedia and a whole bunch of other things in the Wine Library and Ethos Wines I think now or some label, over a million subscribers, total. 1423 subscribers, new subscribers today. Uh, 2,067 videos total. Has not yet posted a video today, which is early in the day when I pulled this screenshot, so, but he does post really really frequently. 608 pageviews, and ah, last updated today, and how long he’s been tracking. So,  that’s some, and if you looked at any of his social media, he’s got really similar stats, and a lot of people I think that get into social media think, this is gonna happen really really quickly because the people that sell them social media um, give them the impression that this is an instant sort of a thing, and it’s really not, right?

– Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s what I’m talking about, uh, in one of the later slides is, people expect that since technology is so fast nowadays, they expect things to work out so much quicker, um,

– [Paula] Yeah.

– but that’s not necessarily always the case.

– [Paula] Right, right, exactly. And ah, Mickey, you and I have both read Stephen Covey and Gary Vaynerchuk and I was just struck because I’m listening to, listening to Stephen Covey on an audiobook because I happen to have that while I was reading Gary Vaynerchuk, and they say the same thing, right?

– Yeah. Absolutely, yeah. I mean, one says, one says his a little more loudly, in his case, got a little more attention, um, but  Stephen Covey was already an esteemed business man, before he started getting on Twitter or at least, using a public platform.

– [Paula] Right.

– Whereas Gary V, kind of used the public platform to become an esteemed business man, supposedly.

– [Paula] Yeah.

– So, he’s a little louder, for sure. I don’t know how much they would get along. Uh, I mean they do say the same thing, and they both,  try to think win-win, um,

– [Paula] Yeah.

– But I could see one getting on the other’s nerves, a little.

– [Paula] Wouldn’t it be fun to have them both over for dinner?

– Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

– I think that would be hysterical. We’ll need to set that up.

– [Mickey] Definitely.

– Right, well I used to work with Stephen Covey and  he is very, uh, was, very, he actually passed away last year, but he was very LDS, and if you’re familiar with that culture, very conservative, very, what would you say? Careful not to offend anyone for any reason. And Gary V is kinda the opposite in style, but I would say the vast majority of their material, they would agree on, so that’s kinda fun. And one of the things in the book is talking about companies that take a stand on an issue or anything along those lines.

– Yeah, I think you kind of, you gotta pick your battles. One of the coolest things is,  you, like, like I said, like he says is you can have kind of a heart, like the more heart you put into your company the better. And most people would think oh, like if I go do charity work with my company, like, that’s just like a,  a PR thing, or just something that we do to,  bring in more revenue at the end of the day. Um, but you can actually do it, I, I mean he makes the argument, that you can do it sincerely. You can go out and honest to goodness want to make a difference in whatever,  realm of society that you want, and oftentimes your consumers are going to flock to that. They’re actually going to believe in and buy into that kind of, that idea.

– [Paula] Yeah.

– The mission statement.

– Right, and he even, um, goes into some detail, which I think is great, about, um, so does Stephen Covey. But if you do this insincerely, it will backfire. Y’know, if you do this as a publicity stunt, it will do you more harm than good because people will see right through it, right?

– Mhm, yeah, no, I mean, people, we, we’re programmed from birth to figure out what people’s motivations are and what their intentions are, y’know it’s kind of, either a defense mechanism, or maybe a method of getting what you want out of the world, something like that. You know, you can, you can smell insincerity, even in large corporations.

– [Paula] Oh, yeah.

– Absolutely.

– [Paula] Now, tell me what do you think? About the, BS in here?

– Cor, corporations, Corporations are made up of people, so it’s the people that do it, one way or the other.

– [Paula] Right.

– [Mickey] True that.

– Oh, exactly. Um, one thing that I like to do, and if somebody consults with us about  should we get involved with this cause or that cause or whatever, one thing you might want to do is see if it’s something that’s in alignment with your current customers, and one way to do that is to go into the insights in your Facebook page and say, ‘what other pages do my customers like, besides my own?’ So if I happened to be a very profound anti-NRA person, which I’m not, but if I were, that would probably be something that I would want to keep to myself, because if I go to ABCI’s insights on Facebook, I can see that the first non-profit organization that our customers are likely to have an affinity for is the National Rifle Association. So, I can find a lot of things that I would agree with my customers about, so, y’know, maybe I’d wanna emphasize the veterans aspect, or the um, this is actually the American Civil,

– [John] Liberties.

– No, that’s the ACLU, this is the, uh, something different.

– [John] Oh.

– I actually looked this up. ACLJ. So, it’s another organization that everybody, a lot of people from our site also really like. Ah, so that gives us an idea of things that we would agree with our customers on, and things that we can be in agreement on, and there’s so many things you can disagree on, there’s no reason to spend any energy on that, right?

– Right. Yeah, the ACLJ is the American Center for Law and Justice.

– [Paula] American Center for Law and Justice.

– That’s something that any business can say hey, we can get behind that.  We believe in law and we believe in justice. So, you don’t necessarily have to, you know, agree with every single thing that they do, but the majority of things that people like,  are winning ideas, at least at some point.

– And it’s interesting to note that the NRA, if, if people don’t like it then I suspect that they really don’t understand why it was formed.

-True. Good point. Exactly, and there’s a lot of history and a lot of things that we can agree with, even about things that seem to be flash points and uh, you know there’s so much disagreement these days that we don’t need to get into that, but there’s lots of things that you can pull the same direction on, so I think that’s-

– [Mickey] Right.

– a good way to do it.

– Yeah, no, I think that’s really good, and you gotta focus on kinda your strengths and your mutual ideas, things that you agree on.

– [Paula] Right, if you don’t agree with your customers on anything, then you’re probably in the wrong business, right?

– Right.

– Well, actually, you’re probably out of business.

– [Paula] Right, that’s true. There’s gotta be something you agree on.

– [Mickey] Right.

– Okay, so this is one of the really cool case studies that I thought was worth mentioning from the book.

– Yeah, so, Old Spice started an ad campaign at a Superbowl, where they had, oh I don’t. So basically what he, y’know, he was embodying the classical masculinity. You know, he’d ride up on a white horse, and, you know, they would, they were really like over the top, like their idea behind the ad campaign was this is gonna make people laugh. Like, because it’s gonna be completely ridiculous, he’s gonna be,  chopping down trees, by accident, and like doing all sorts of masculine things that wouldn’t really, really happen. And people responded really well. They really got a kick out of it. And so they took to Facebook and Twitter, and they commented and discussed it, and then what Old Spice did is they would respond to the response, right? So, all of these individuals who had their thoughts on their ad campaign got almost a validation for saying whatever they wanted to say, and it really brought in some really solid customers. And even in this part of the book, Gary V says that he goes out and buy, tries the Old Spice product. Just because he was out of deodorant at the time or whatever. But  so more and more people may have started trying it. Um, where they dropped the ball is eventually the ad campaign was, hit its contract, or whathaveyou. Maybe six or eight months later, and they just stopped responding to all these customers. So they had them all on the hook, but then they went back to being a big corporation and those are  just people. We don’t need to communicate with individuals. Which, naturally, is gonna leave these individuals thinking like, well, screw that, I can buy what, if they don’t care about me, why should I care about them?

– Right. Well and, it just made them look like a big dumb corporation because the time for that campaign ran out, they stopped responding, obviously the people who they had either hired or that were part of the company that they repurposed them to make them go do something else, and left their fans, we don’t care about you anymore, we’re done with that. Which is terrible! It just makes you look like okay, this was a manipulative trick. We did our manipulative trick, and now we’re done. And, it, I think it did more harm than good. But, anyway, that’s to be seen, probably in Old Spice’s stock price next year, right?

– Yeah, they did, they just failed to follow through and I suspect somebody got fired.

-Right, exactly. It would be interesting to see their numbers, y’know, when they fell off the cliff on all their social media and, and things like that but if you build relationships, it’s just like, and he uses the analogy of dating. Y’know, if you go out with somebody, um, four times and then you suddenly stop calling them. It makes it seem insincere, and um, you, y’know, you need to be-

– [John] It’s called ghosting.

– It’s called ghosting, right. They ghosted their people. That’s so rude.

– Seriously. Yeah, people get ghosted enough without corporations ghosting them as well.

– [John] That’s right.

– Right, exactly. And here’s another um, case study that I thought was really cool. Hank Hemming, the lawyer who tweets, right?

– [Mickey] Mhm.

– Yeah, um. So, I guess he was in Southern California, and he was finding that all of the companies that had the venture capital that Southern California is so famous for had more lawyers and accountants and consultants than they could shake a stick at, but until they got their funding, nobody would give them the time of day. So he made a point to offer some free advice and he had caveats all over it and you can see that if you’re a lawyer of course you’re going to put caveats all over everything and you’re going to be really careful what you say. Uh, but it’s always been this tradition that lawyers are serious, and they would be the furthest people from using social media that you would even imagine, right?

– Yep. Well and the thing about, the thing about social media is everything you say sticks, right?

– [Paula] Yeah. So it’s going to be there for years and years and years, and times change so,  really really fast, so whatever is totally appropriate to say now maybe next week is not, y’know. I mean everything is, is, can, is so mutable now.

– [Paula] Right.

– So, a lawyer, their job is to do things to the letter of the law, probably doesn’t want a manuscript of every little thing that he said, and that’s exactly what Twitter is made for, is it,  it’s a platform for you to yell obscenities or something else, and if you do that, you can totally mess yourself up, so-

– [Paula] Yeah.

– Be the reason that  having a lawyer who tweets is, kind of a contradiction.

– Right. But I think what he did that was really smart is that he’d kinda do just the relationship sort of stuff on Twitter and then he would take them off to his site where he had all these disclaimers and by clicking this site you agree that I am not giving you legal advice, bla bla bla. So, he had some really good gating going on on his social media where he would just say, “Let’s see if we can help you with that, “I can give you a consultation.” Y’know. So he would reach out to people who had problems, but he wouldn’t give them advice on Twitter, so I think he did a nice job of fencing that off?

– [Mickey] Yeah.

– Yeah. John I know you’ve got some concerns about social media.

-Well, that is sort of a segue into what I want to talk about, but um and I am of the opinion that to get any ROI out of it, is a lot of work. You can get negative ROI out of it very instantaneously, very easily.

– [Paula] Without even being on it.

– Without, exactly.

– [Paula]Other people are on it talking about you, right?

– Well, not even that, but the company that you’ve been with for ten years lowers the price for new customers and doesn’t give you that as well,

– [Paula] Mm.

– That tends to make you wanna go, “Wait a minute, I guess they don’t care about me anymore.”

– [Paula] Yeah.

– And start looking around.

– Right. Exactly. Cool, okay, so uh, these are the ten reasons that smart people don’t use social media, and I thought we’d each take one of them and talk about it. So, John, why don’t you keep goin’ where you’re goin’?

– Well, his, his contention is that you get to a certain point where you have people out there talking about products and actually being quote “customer service” because they give their experiences on how you would use this product. “If you had this problem with it, do this.”

– [Paula] Mhm?

– Well, that’s fine, but there’s no guarantee.

– [Paula] Mhm.

– That that’s going to happen. And, whereas, if people are complaining, there’s pretty much a guarantee they’re gonna use it for that.

– [Paula]Right.

– So it’s very easy to go negative on ROI, and very difficult to get a positive. And then, even if you get positive ROIs, highly suspect these days because a lot of the larger companies have had fake reviews

– [Paula] Mhm, yeah.

– On Facebook or, and who knows? I don’t know, they. People that don’t like the product will give a fake review or people that like a different product will give a fake review or whatever. And so you don’t really know when you look at reviews. You have to sort of, it all goes back to your intelligence. You have to look at a lot of reviews and merge it together in your brain to figure out whether you think it’s good or not.

– Right. I remember reading a thing, I think it was in the Wall Street Journal, that said that people under the age of 40 have a much more developed sense of BS. Or have a better BS detector than a lot of the rest of us, and I think it’s just because they’ve been exposed to social media for a lot longer, a bigger percentage of their life, right?

– With respect to social media, I only use LinkedIn.

– [Paula] Yeah.

– And, that’s personal choice. If you have a company of any size, then you need to use multiple venues. Because otherwise you’re gonna lose, but that being said, you use multiple venues, you have to work it.

– [Paula] Right. So here’s-

– You have to figure out where the demographics of your proposed customer set and then go and, wherever those people go on social media, if it’s Twitter, or Instagram or, whatever.

– [Paula] So these are some statistics that you flagged from the book, about customer service and ROI. Do you wanna talk about those?

– I’m not sure, well, I would switch to a competitor because they’re better, and, assuming that I could determine for sure that they had the reputation with the better customer service, because that’s all people sell anymore. Everything else, anybody can sell.

– [Paula] Mhm?

– There’s just nothin’ else.

– [Paula] That’s true.

– And, second point, absolutely. If you can’t get good service, it doesn’t matter about the product, the price, because, you don’t like it.

– [Mickey] Alright. Yeah, it puts a bad taste in your mouth. It doesn’t matter how helpful a product was um, if the customer service is crap, you’re not gonna be happy with the product or the whole transaction.

– Yep. Uh-

– [Paula] Right.

– And that’s one of the reasons, well, I won’t name names, but we would be willing right away as soon as there’s another internet provider out here, to change, because of lack of customer service.

– Yeah.

– [Paula] Right.

– No, I think that’s common. I think that’s out here in Vegas too,  there’s these monopolies that exist and their customer service goes downhill, because you can’t really go anywhere else.

– [John] That will bite ’em some time, but it’s gonna take a while.

– Yeah, and I think Gary V’s premise from the book is that, um, social media or at least your social media should be all about customer service. It should be about your relationship with customers because it’s the only advertising media in which people can talk back to you. Um, so, y’know, that’s where he’s making the connection between customer service and social media.

– [Mickey] Yeah, no, that’s a, that’s a really good point.

– Yeah, so he says if you get a good ROI from customer service, and this is the easiest and cheapest way to do customer service, then by all means, this is where you should be spending your time and money, right?

– And says, uh, something to the effect that traditional media lean on social media to find out what’s really going on with the world.

-Yeah, that’s true. You get much better statistics. Cool, okay, so let’s go back to the smart reasons people don’t use social media and uh, Mickey, you wanted to take number nine, right?

– Right. It takes too long to pay off. Um, and I’ve noticed this with my with my own business, with my tutoring company. Um, I would pay for the occasional ad, and then I would get this gratification that says, ‘Hey, congratulations, your ad reached X amount of people.’ Three thousand or something. And I’d be like, pretty excited about that. I would be like, “Yes, I’m reachin’ out to people, “they’re hearing about me, oh I hope I can handle “all the business I’m gonna get.” I’m just sittin’ by the cell, by my phone. Nobody’s callin’, and it’s not paying, it’s not paying off.   It didn’t come through. But, come through, come to find out, the ree, the people that I reached with those ads, a lot of them went on and liked my page, so then I can continue to publish content just funny little math videos, or quirky math memes or whathaveyou, and these people are seeing them. And as time has gone on, more and more people actually have started to call me. Right? It does take a long time. But the time is gonna pass either way. Like, honestly,  tomorrow will come in, either way. So, I don’t think time should be a necessarily a factor for investing in the future, right? You can’t be like, oh, it’s gonna take a week for me to renew my tags, I’m just not gonna do it. Like, nobody would ever do that, that’s absolutely ridiculous. So, it’s the same thing here. You’re going to, time is gonna come, and it’s gonna go. If you’re not using your time to create an online presence, whatever you’re doing with your time probably isn’t as worth it. You might as well use a little bit of extra time to create an online presence put, post a couple things, just be quirky, have fun, figure out what people want. Um, and you, you get a lot more than necessarily the pay or the customer at the end of the day. You get to figure out what they want, and like what they enjoy, which is better in the long run.

– [John] And that’s why, and Gary addresses that as well.

– Yeah.

– [Paula] Say that again John?

– [John] Gary addresses that very nicely in the book as well.

– Oh, yeah, that’s for sure. I mean, he spent from, what, 2007 to 2011, spending four to eight hours a day building his audience. He was not looking for an immediate return, and ywhen you’re building relationships with people, and this is a Stephen Covey thing again. Slow is fast. Uh, when you’re working with people, and when you’re building relationships, because you try to do something too fast, people feel like you’re trying to pull somethin’ over on ’em. And ah, so it takes um, what did we decide, John? More than 20 contacts especially in the aviation industry, where maybe they see an ad, then they see one of your cute little videos, and then they get a post card, and then they get a newsletter and then they get a phone call,  20, 20, seriously. Um, different touches before they become a customer for some of our clients, and that’s because they’re large ticket, high involvement, high trust products and services, so.

– And it’s not just that, it’s, you’re dealing with people, and ah, how many times’d I ask you out for coffee when I first met you, before you agreed?

– [Paula]I lost count, but it was a long time.

– Yeah, no-

– [Paula] Was it worth it?

– Of course!

– [Paula] Oh, cool. Of course you would say that. Cool. No, that’s cool. Okay, so, um, and then, another-

– Yes.

– [Paula] Oh, go ahead?

– Go ahead.

– Uh, well it’s, it’s funny that you mention that 20 times, because that’s actually, I just read that part in Guerrilla Marketing as well, that it takes 20 contacts before people actually go out and buy something. They chew on it for, for so long, um.

– [Paula] Mhm?

– So, yeah, looks, stay tuned for that in the next book, for sure.

– Exactly. Right, okay, and then the last quote I’m gonna cover, in our reasons smart people don’t use social media, they feel like it only works for start-up, or lifestyle, or tech brands. Um, not true. There’ve been people who have sold private jets, um, from a Facebook post.  That’s not the only contact that they have, but it’s sometimes the thing that starts the chain. So-

– [John] Or ends it.

– Or ends the chain. Exactly. So, you don’t know whether this is the first, it’s gonna be the first contact or the 20th, but it certainly is a less expensive way to contact people than to go it, than going to see them 20 times or making 20 phone calls. So it’s a really nice addition to your mix and it is incredibly effective if you do it right, so. Um, yeah, I just. I really like this book a lot more than I thought I would. So, Gary V ah, scores one for, um, the old folks. I mean I thought it was a really good, good book, but, um. So, John, y’wanna sum up your thoughts? And then we’ll move on to next month.

– [John] I already did.

– Okay. Okay, Mickey, you wanna have any final words about this one?

– Yeah. No, I mean it, it, he, I think he was a little tamer than he is on his online stuff. Um, which is digestible. It’s something that you’re able to read. If he was as loud and obnoxious in this book as he was on a YouTube video, it would be a marathon to try to get through this book. But he makes it really easy to read, it’s a large font size, it’s a, y’know, it’s also very casual conversation. Um, it can relate to the layman, like you don’t have to have your Masters in Marketing to understand what he’s talking about.

– [Paula] Right.

– And you also don’t have to be a techie. You don’t have to know about every single social media, or  what a ethernet cord is. Like, it’s very very simple.

– [Paula] Yeah, yeah.

– [John] And you smile, I mean, just on. On life experiences, you get it. And you find yourself grinning from time to time.

– Right. Yeah, very enjoyable and also really good information. So, I give it two thumbs up.

– [Mickey] Yeah, same.

– Yeah?

– [John] Sure.

– Wow, we agree on a book! This is a first. Cool. We’ll see how we do with next month’s. This is Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing. We actually had this as part of our book club I think it was four years ago. But we figured it’s probably time to give it another read. It is a completely updated and expanded edition, so even if you were with us four years ago, um, read it again. Or at least read the new parts, right?

– Yeah.

– [Paula] Cool.

– I’ve already started up on it, and uh, it’s a little more technical, but so far so good.

– Yeah. Seems to be really good information. Though I was hoping that some of our smaller companies and start-ups especially,  if you don’t have a ton of money, and you have more time than money, um, this is a great book for you, so. I’m looking forward to discussing that, ah, next month. We’re actually a little bit behind in our recording, so it may not be a full month before we, we get to this one, and then we’ll move on to the next one which just got sent to our, um, customers a couple of weeks ago, so, get caught up. Great! Well, thanks for joining us and we’ll see you next time.

– Have a great day, see you later.

– Thanks.

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