New York Times best-selling author, speaker, marketer and motivator Gary Vaynerchuk was in town tonight at what I called a mini-Inman Connect — a digital/tech/social marketing/get with it communications conference at the Lakewood Theater Wednesday evening. Gary is so cool and what I love best about him is that I cannot describe him easily in a few lines. He built a family liquor store into a national $$$ industry leader. When I first met him three years ago in New York City over a glass of wine, he told me to ditch print, forget television, and just stay glued to the internet. He has revolutionized the way people interact with their communities and figured out how to sell products off that. That’s why he’s included in BusinessWeek’s list of the Top 20 People Every Entrepreneur Should Follow. Gary is about entrepreneurship, using social media, emerging technologies, the new frontiers of customer service made possible by the internet, and in-bound marketing. The marketing world is changing very quickly, says Gary, and we are at the same point now where we were in 1923 with radio, in 1995 with Amazon.com. How is it changing? The old “outbound” methods of reaching consumers (where a marketer pushes his message out far and wide hoping that it resonates with that needle in the haystack) are getting less and less effective. Your average human today is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day, and is figuring out more and more creative ways to block them out. (Who answers their home phone anymore, who Tivos, who opens the mail over the recycle bin, who deletes three-quarters of their email?) Plus outbound marketing is costly, is scatter-shooting. Gary is all about the new ways and “in-bound”.
The cultural shifts we are living through right now are a substantial reality of the marketplace and the role technology plays in our lives. For example: refrigerators that compute how much food we need so we don’t over-buy. Phones that are programmed to what we want in life to the extent that when we use them to purchase stuff — which we will, very soon — they will block certain purchases if we’ve “programmed” the phone to our desired lifestyle. For example, we program in that we are no longer smoking so the phone will refuse to purchase cigarettes. We program that we are dieting, we go to buy a Heart Attack burger — the phone says “we’re not authorizing this purchase, fat ass!”
This could work for real estate, too. We could pre-program our phones — hell, our mortgage broker could do this — with our monthly PITI housing budget — principle, interest, taxes and insurance. Swipe our phone across the QR code on the for-sale sign to find out if we should even bother walking in the Feng Sui red door.
Maybe the phone could shock us if the house is out of our budget! If we overspend!
Point: old marketing methods are going bye bye, and fast. Gary said a lot, and I will bring you highlights as I devour his new book, The Thank You Economy, but consider this: companies monitoring millions of tweets are now rewarding happy customers who say positive things about a product. Forget the SuperBowl ads and fancy-ass print ads, says Gary, do you really know how many eyeballs they reach? Companies should hire people to read tweets, blog, interact with customers. Try this innovative idea — say thank you!
Anyhow, as usual, Maribeth Peters, my Inman (& Sting) buddy, was the only realtor at the event. But I was only there because Bud Bush at Dave Perry Miller alerted me to the event, but could not make it. So in effect, there were two Realtors. And the place was so jam-packed with corporate and professional marketers, I almost got claustrophobic.
But it was worth every deep breath.