I got to see one of my idols speak on Friday and it was better than I could have ever expected.
I know what you are thinking: who is this celebrity, and where did (s)he speak? Was it football phenom Tim Tebow, recent divorcee Kim Kardashian, or maybe that guy from Hell’s Kitchen?
Nope. It was Gary Vaynerchuk – the internet wine guy. And let me be clear about this: Gary Vaynerchuk knows what he’s doing. Every speech, every blog post, every video, every sale he makes is aimed at helping build fans or keep previous ones around. And by fans, I mean customers.
Gary is an entrepreneur, an author, a Twitter celeb and a businessman who cares about every customer he serves. And that’s a rarity in this day and age. I spoke with him before he came to town. Here’s my story on him.
The New Jersey biz wiz started with just a video camera and an opinion, and grew his genius into an empire. And his message is that everyone can become a millionaire using free social media and software tools on the internet. Really.
His talk at Morningside College as part of the Siouxland Social Media Conference was hilarious, but incredibly poignant.
If you’ve never seen him speak, I can sum it up: Mix Steve Jobs’ marketing savvy, Richard Pryor’s profanity, Oprah’s attention to people, then add a dash of CEO and a bit of your best friend, and voila – that’s Gary’s speech.
He’s funny, forward-thinking and has an incredible understanding of his audience.
Here’s the gist on what he said:
– We are in the golden age of sharing our personal opinions. Soon companies will begin courting us based on our Facebook “Likes” and Twitter mentions.
– We are moving from a “push” marketing and sales era to a “pull” era. Traditional marketing channels (television, radio and outdoor advertising) are fading fast.
– Privacy is dead, or in Gary’s words: “Nobody gives a fuck about privacy.” Don’t believe it? Then why is everyone sharing updates and photos of everything he or she does? Puking, half-nude or irreverent – it’s all out there.
– Context is the future buzzword for marketing pros. Why? Because we are embarking on a new era where who you know will determine what products you are exposed to, and ultimately choose to use.n
His speech wowed many and likely helped convert a new legion of fans just discovering his genius. For me, it was a great opportunity to see a modern-day visionary share his message. And laugh a little bit in the process.