Gary Vaynerchuk is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s four locations.
This blunt-talking, F-bomb-throwing, early-mover marketing executive was one of the first to realize the power of digital marketing, having convinced his dad to transition their family liquor store online back in 1998. He also started one of the first long-form episodic video shows on YouTube in 2006, called “WineLibraryTV.”
For these reasons, Adobe invited Vaynerchuk to keynote its annual Imagine event in Las Vegas. To a rapt B2B and B2C e-commerce, marketing, and sales audience, Vaynerchuk provided some top tips to help succeed in digital.
1. Always Think About How To Get Your Audience’s Attention
Vaynerchuk shared his own entrepreneurial story of when he was just a kid and started a lemonade stand. Apparently, he “manipulated” his friends to work the lemonade stand for him while he spent hours figuring out which tree or pole was the best location for the lemonade stand.
“Thirty years later and I am doing the same thing … mapping how to get my audience’s attention,” he told attendees, suggesting they, too, need to find where their audience is and focus efforts there.
2. Make Every Penny Work Like A Dollar
In the late ’90s when Google first launched AdWords, Vaynerchuk said he bought up every wine term that existed for just five cents a click, pointing to his knack at recognizing opportunity early on. “I was right about Google AdWords, but I didn’t spend enough money on it,” he admitted. “Genuinely, I left millions on the table when I was doing direct mail, [etc.].”
His advice for marketers: “Stop wasting money.” And when you see an opportunity where you can get a good bang for your buck, jump in head first.
3. Convenience Is King
Vaynerchuk said he is “obsessed” now with voice devices, and he thinks the amount of decision-making that we will all make through these devices is going to be the next big thing companies need to be planning for.
“Everyone is talking about privacy, but I actually know you don’t give a sh*t about privacy,” he said. “It’s convenience and time-saving that people care about”—and that’s why voice is going to be big.
4. Take Advantage Of LinkedIn’s Organic Reach While It Lasts
Put a piece of content on LinkedIn right now, Vaynerchuk said, and the “organic reach will blow your mind.” It’s like Facebook circa 2011 to 2013. According to Vaynerchuk, everyone in B2B should be thinking about LinkedIn, because “you have a moment where you [can] get to scale.” Take advantage of it while it lasts, he added.
5. Tell, Not Sell
Act like a media property, not an advertiser, was Vaynerchuk’s next piece of advice for marketers. “Bring value to your target audience,” he said. That’s the only way to break through in today’s content-saturated world.
Vaynerchuk also said “99%” of people are eliminated from social success because they have selfish creative and content. His advice is to focus your content on utility or entertainment. “You have to do it for the audience, not for yourself,” he said. And remember: “Empathy for the end user is the ultimate unlock.”
6. B2B: Start A Podcast
For the B2B community, specifically, Vaynerchuk said podcasts are a great way to catch your audience’s attention. “You own the attention,” he said. “… Passive audio content will continue to compound in consumption. … If your podcast is good, you are going to make money.”
7. Learn How To Use Social Media
The biggest reason that companies fail on social is they don’t know how to fill their channels. “The ROI of a basketball for Lebron James is a billion dollars because he knows how to use it,” he said.
The same holds true for social media. Anyone who doesn’t know how to communicate on social channels today is “vulnerable,” Vaynerchuk said. He pointed out that an enormous amount of executives are making decisions on where to spend, yet they’ve never even ran an ad on social media.
8. Mobile Is The Only Thing That Matters
Vaynerchuk took his mobile device out of his pocket and held it up in front of the audience. “If you can’t communicate on the eight platforms that dominate consumption on mobile, you will fail,” he told the audience.
And, he said, chances are that all of the apps that you use most on your phone are either for entertainment or utility.
9. Don’t Just Repeat What Works
Experimentation, Vaynerchuk said, is imperative for success in business. His advice: Take 20% of marketing spend out of what’s working to try new things. He’s bullish on SMS selling.
10. Grow Your Personal Brand
Finally, there’s nothing more important than sharing your personal thoughts and your industry takes in blog form on LinkedIn, Vaynerchuk said. “It is your absolute insurance policy for your personal brand,” he said.
He also questioned why so many people now find the term “personal brand” so out of vogue. But don’t worry about the language; if we just called it “reputation,” none of us would question whether we should continue growing and improving it, he said.