The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk

The Thank You Economy was a fun and insightful read – thanks to the anecdotal and charismatic style of writing. I only wish this book was around 4 years ago when we were trying to make convincing arguments for Social Media.

If you are in a rush here’s the verdict up front: If you are convinced that businesses should be investing in Social Media marketing, this book will reinforce your convictions. If you or anyone else in your company are not, pick this book up.

I will try and keep the summary short, for details refer to the detailed mind map. The summary mind map is linked below and you can get quite a good grasp of the concepts covered in the book from it.

The Thank You Economy - Summary Mind Map

 

What is the Thank You Economy?

Vaynerchuk explains that the Thank You Economy is a paradigm shift in the way brands are consumed. This shift is a result of a cultural change in consumer behaviour enabled by the emergence of web technologies that facilitate consumer to consumer interactions. These changes effectively reversed the onus of brand communication from businesses to consumers. The concept of the Thank You Economy rests on these changes; where businesses have to steer communications in an environment shaped by consumers.

Objectives

Vaynerchuk sets out to achieve 4 goals in this book:

  • Create the building blocks necessary to create a powerful company culture
  • Identify how to recreate the perfect experience for developing traditional and social media strategies.
  • Explain how to use good intent to set everything in motion
  • Delivering superior experience to customers without investing a lot of money, just a lot of heart

Vaynerchuck does touch on all four points, but at the end of this book, there is still much to be desired insofar as concrete and applicable tools are concerned.

How to win in The Thank You Economy
If you skip to the end of the book, you get the bread and butter in a nice two page summary:

  • Care
  • Don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar (change)
  • Take the first mover advantage
  • Instil a culture of caring
  • Behind every B2B is a C
  • Speak your customers’ language
  • Allow your customer to shape your brand, but not its direction
  • Build a sense of community around your brand
  • Play media ping pong
  • Direct marketing initiatives toward the emotional centre and the creative extremes
  • Approach social media initiatives with good intent, aiming for quality not quantity
  • Use shock and awe to blow your customers minds and get them talking
  • Use pull tactics that remind consumers why they should care about your brand
  • If you’re small, play like you’re big, if you’re big play like you’re small.
  • Create a sense of community around your business or your brand
  • Don’t be afraid to crawl before run – long term strategy, complemented by authentic tactics.

After reading these points, the first thought that came to mind was: “No shit, Sherlock!” – but that comes with an extreme bias … I am already convinced of social media’s prominence, and well read on the topic of marketing and customer experiences. Unfortunately, this is still news to some people!

Classic Mistakes
This section I liked in particular, which is why I am separating it out. It is more important to know what not to do than what to do – it is better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing in my opinion, especially with a sensitive matter such as your company’s brand.

  • Using tactics instead (or without) of strategy
  • Using social media exclusively to put out fires
  • using social media to brag
  • Using social as a press release platform
  • Exclusively republishing other people’s materials – not creating original material of your own
  • Using it exclusively to push products
  • Expecting immediate results

Now I know if you’re in marketing, you’re shouting at the top of your lungs “YES! YES! YES!!” like a Herbal Essences commercialthis stuff is real!

Critique
Read this with a knowledge that I have an extreme bias – I am already well aware and convinced of the effect social media will have on the way businesses of all sizes and types work.

Half way through reading the Thank You Economy I realised that it was not going to add any value to what we already know about social media. I was looking for tools and take aways, and this book delivers none. What it does deliver however, are some priceless anecdotes – well organised and critically analysed in a section of their own.

Another positive point for the Thank You Economy is that it reinforces beliefs with incidents and cases – and like Gary says in the first section of this book; customer experiences are incidental “honest moments” where businesses show their true colours.

I would take this book, and do as Gary Vaynerchuk recommends: put it on your CEO’s desk with a sticky note that says “Social Media: You’re doing it wrong. Read.”

Get a copy of The Thank You Economy here.

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