Photo: Alex Harris
great doctor understands your medical history so he or she can give the right medication dosage when you are ill. If you’re a New York City foodie, you certainly enjoy great service at your favourite restaurants. And many people can recall a repairman simply because he always had the right suggestion for a household repair.These examples demonstrate how and why customers chose small businesses to frequent. And if you ask New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee on Twitter), he’ll tell you the instances of considering earlier experiences and how much the service provider cared, when deciding on future purchases, are blossoming.
His new book, The Thank You Economy, explains how this notion has become an online movement that rethinks business value offline.
If you were a bit overpowered by one of Gary’s intense online orations during his first book’s promotion (see Ivana Taylor’s Crush It review here), you’ll see a slightly softer speaking tone this time. It’s more like that seen on MSNBC’s Morning Joe (see a video here). I noticed it listening to him at a Barnes and Noble Tribeca book signing, which is where I picked up a copy of The Thank You Economy.
No less passionate, Vaynerchuk just has a different and very informed intensity. You will experience this tone while reading The Thank You Economy.
If you suspect social media has started a deeper revolution, read on
Vaynerchuk addresses 11 typical company hesitancies with deepening the customer connection using social media. He does not advocate specific tools, but digs into corporate concerns about return on investment, message control and consumer backlash. Check out his comment on the need for controlling the message:
“Business leaders consistently underestimate two things. First, they underestimate people’s willingness to forgive. They are afraid to put up fan pages because they think any negative comment is equal to a ’60 Minutes’ investigation showing the whole world how much they stink…. Second, they underestimate people’s [B.S.] radar.”
Vaynerchuk offers compelling support through data and large business examples. When customers complained that Ann Taylor LOFT’s new cargo pants looked good only on models, not real-sized women, Ann Taylor showed photos of its employees wearing the pants. The result? “… tons of comments from women thanking LOFT for listening ….” One customer did not like the pants, according to Vaynerchuk, but she respected how Ann Taylor LOFT handled the complaints.
Although he focuses on social media’s importance, Vaynerchuk tries to avoid rehashing other social media authors. On page 5 he claims the term social media is a “misnomer” of the new economic movement. Some points will sound similar, however, if you’ve read anything from those aforementioned authors.
But Vaynerchuk asserts that businesses are being humanized by social media, and such reimagined roles will become the essential way of doing business. Intellectual capital, accessible due to “a massive cultural shift” of Internet usage, powers why people love Q&A in Quora, read reviews on Yelp, and rely on Twitter for news about current events like the recent Egyptian unrest and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
The Thank You Economy enlightens those who don’t rely on e-commerce and are semi-pondering what their place in the current economy is. For example, Vanderchuk nails it in describing how a B2B company is influenced by the culture shift as much as an e-tailer:
“Behind every B2B transaction, there is a C. The C in a B2B exchange – usually a purchasing manager, a purchasing agent or a buyer – wants the same thing as any other consumer when making buying decisions: outstanding product and service, and the reassurance that someone is thinking about how to best meet the person’s business needs.”
Vanynerchuk provides personal insights, such as his opening recollection of his dad’s liquor store manger’s refusal of a customer’s coupon request (“I went over to the manager and said “That guy will never come back.” I was wrong about that…. He came back… to tell us he would never shop with us again.”) He details how business should consider natural engagement to gain true success:
“One thing that is daunting to many about social media is that it requires you to throw away the script. The rules of engagement force you, or the person to whom you have entrusted your brand’s voice, to improvise, and be willing to go where the consumer leads you.”
In this world, context of relationship is king, not just content.
Like a fine wine, The Thank You Economy complements your social media or mobile ideas
If you already know that social media is important, this book is not for you, but it does complement other social media books (check out the social media book list) and enhances the “why” behind many Small Business Trends tips such as Lisa Barone’s 5 Things Learned from Twitter Stalking and T.J. McCue’s 4 Ways to Make or Save Money with a Smartphone. You can also pair The Thank You Economy with books like The Mesh by Lisa Gansky (see a review here) and even The Economics of Integrity by Anna Bernasek (book review here) to discover how true connection is creating renewed value from seemingly everywhere.
Vaynerchuk walks the talk throughout this book, ending with a series of suggested book covers submitted through a contest — very thoughtful that he gives props to every contestant.
Pick up The Thank You Economy and you will win the “contest” for what matters most. As Vaynerchuk says, “If you succeed with social media, it won’t be because of the platform; it will be because you acknowledge that culture and consumer expectations can change.”
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