Today’s post is a summary and critique of The Thank You Economy by the one and only Gary Vaynerchuk.
How I Found The Book:
I’ve been pretty much obsessed with Gary V and his YouTube channel since this past summer when I was driving to work at 5:30AM suffering from a minor identity crisis. I was searching for inspirational videos online to keep my spirits up through my soul crushing day job. I will say the good thing about crises is that they force you to find answers, and if you are sick enough of going through them, you might actually change your life. After doing some research I found that he had released several books. I bit.
Gary V begins by describing how the relationship between consumers and businesses has changed over the years. Back in our grandparent’s day, almost all goods were consumed locally, and the businesses who sold you those goods were owned by people that you knew. This relationship exerted a social pressure that forced businesses of that day to go above and beyond in terms of customer service – lest word spread around town that they were not conducting business in a fair or ethical way. Widespread economic upturn after WW2 saw the growth of many businesses reach new heights. By the 1990s, big and successful companies expanded and gobbled up smaller companies, becoming so massive that a few hundred angry customers would do nothing to affect the bottom line. In essence, the consumer had lost their voice.
Fast forward to the internet age, and everything has changed. Now anybody with internet access and a free twitter account can reach millions of people with their opinions in a matter of seconds. For the first time in human history, going “viral”, was a good thing. As social media has refined its purpose, consumers have become so connected that they now have their voices back. The gist of Gary V’s main point is that despite the world moving faster and growing bigger than ever, the way we communicate with each other has returned to the time when businesses were accountable to consumers. Dismiss the power of social media at your own peril – this is the way the world is going and the train isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Vaynerchuk goes on to go over several case studies of marketing gone right in the internet age, like the Isaiah Mustafa Old Spice ads (the “I’m on a horse” guy), AJ Bombers Burgers, and other unique ways companies have been able to use excessive caring to get and keep customers.
Gary V. is adamant that the companies winning in the internet age are the ones who care the most. Smaller companies will beat larger companies over time, only if they “out care” them. This view certainly makes marketing efforts more difficult, but people are able to spot BS right away and genuinely connecting with customers is really the only way forward.
The only real shortcomings I have with this book are that there aren’t any really specific strategies or tactics presented. This criticism is nitpicking because I know he discusses actual social media tactics and strategies in his other books, but I feel like readers should know this before they pick it up. The book serves as a fantastic introduction to people who are just starting to understand how the world of business has changed as the internet has reached maturity but will not provide much value for hardcore marketers who have their finger on the pulse of latest trends and an understanding of how social media affects how businesses and consumers interact. The book is slightly dated (released in 2011) in terms of the specific examples Vaynerchuk uses as references, but the main points and overall guidance the book provides are probably even more relevant and applicable now than they were 5 years ago. Easy to read and digest, Gary keeps it real.
Who is this book for?
Anyone interested in economics, business, history, or entrepreneurship who lacks knowledge and understanding about how the internet has allowed consumers to take back power from businesses.
Gary has 2 other books that I’m very excited to read and review — look for them sometime this month. If you’re into this kind of stuff, I strongly encourage you check out and subscribe to his YouTube Channel below:
Whether you’ve read the book or not, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you thought or if you would like more information about The Thank You Economy.
Thanks for reading!