March 1, 2011
News & Opinion: The Thank You Economy
It seems nearly everyone is involved in social media in some way or another, but are they using it to it's full potential? This potential is what Gary V has experienced first-hand, and offers his advice, and research, into how he used it to turn his business around. After reading, I sent Gary some questions about the book, and how his perspective on the subject changed since his first book. Here's our chat:
The Thank You Economy takes your previous book, Crush It to a higher level of clarity - data, case studies, experience, etc. How did your understanding of this topic develop?
My understanding of the target audience developed moreso than I think I developed. I'm a super emotional EQ, "feeling the vibrations of the earth moving" kind of guy. I think I pounded my chest a bit in Crush It, plus Crush It was a very personal book. It was more like "Hey! Pay attention to what's going on in the world since this could be good for you." Thank You Economy is much more driven towards the business part of you on the entrepreneur level and then, obviously, its geared towards small business and large business. Clearly, going after the Fortune 5000 crowd created a scenario where I needed to speak their language a little bit more so that's why I dug a little deeper.
Like your father once asked, "how far do you go?" Many companies might be hesitant about transparency and "over-caring." How can they begin the process?
I think it's always baby steps. You've got to start the process. It's like working out. Right now, I'm currently out of shape. I could probably do 27 pushups and I'd be struggling after that. If I did it every day, I'd probably be at 100 in two weeks and 500 after 6 months. I think the same thing happens here. Any company of any size, from 2 person companies up to companies the size of Google, if they are not creating small forces, ninja units, side agencies, little teams on the side to start playing, learning, and understanding what's happening on the social web, they are making a grave mistake. This is a mistake that will financially impact them more and more every day that goes by. I just can't wrap my head around being a company in 2011 and not having a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
What if your company is active online, but not much seems to be happening based on that activity?
Then you're doing something wrong. If you're a business, there are things happening online. You're either doing it poorly and that doesn't create a scenario for you to succeed or you're just not putting in enough effort and half-assing it just for the sake of saying you're doing it.
If you're in a position to be engaged with your clients in person, what's the advantage of connecting with them online?
Honestly, I'm not obsessed with the platform, I'm obsessed with the end result. If you can speak to your clients face-to-face or on the phone every day, I'm thrilled with that. I just believe that the human being is changing and our attention spans are waning. We're more interested in texting than picking up the actual phone. If you look at the consumer, it's changing. It's kind of like saying if you have all of the bananas in the world and your customers are monkeys, why do you need to feed them different food? You don't. The problem is the monkeys turning into a rhino. If you don't have the proper food for that, you're going to lose. That's one of my favorite analogies of all time.
Once companies are on board, how can they be sure that their communication quantity equals quality?
I think people are going to look at metrics. There are companies like Sprinklr out there that track metrics and engagement. I think companies are definitely going to look at those types of thing. That's mainly for bigger companies and I think the entrepreneurs will "feel the vibrations in the ground" that's why you're an entrepreneur. For me, I feel it in my gut if I'm being a bit too aggressive in promotion or not enough. Something I'm very obsessed with that's covered in Thank You Economy, and I think is super important, is "intent". I'm completely passionate about intent. As long as your intent is proper and coming from the right place, you can do a lot and/or a little.
Anyone interested in (or a disbeliever of) using social media to drive business should read this book. Between the personal experience, and the data and case studies, it's a compelling read about a media platform that's changing the world we live and work in. You may be missing out on big things by missing this one.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.