I had the pleasure of seeing Gary speak this week at an event produced by my favorite networking group, LinkedOC (thank you to the amazing Bryan Elliott for producing another stellar evening!). I've read Gary's best-seller Crush It and I've seen his online rants, but seeing him in person was so much better than I ever expected. Some people are just more vivid in the flesh, so if Gary comes to your city to promote his new book The Thank You Economy, I highly recommend you go see him!
For those who aren't familiar with Gary, in short he's a business dynamo. A lifelong entrepreneur who has marketing in his DNA, Gary grew the family business from $4 million to $60 million because he's just one of those kind of guys. You know, the kind who like to make the impossible possible (learn more about Gary HERE).
Whether you know of Gary or not, he makes you think of things in a new way. Here are some of my favorite takeaways from his LinkedOC appearance that you might find useful as you grow your business or ponder your marketing techniques:
People draw lines in the sand that they swear they'll never cross, but they do
Remember way back when you first got on the internet and a website wanted your credit card number? How about when grocery stores wanted your address and phone number to sign up for a loyalty card? Initially, many of us swore we'd never give up that kind of private information to a stranger, but now all of us do.
The internet is word of mouth on steroids
Think of the things you write on your Facebook wall or some of the things you tweet. Would you ever pick up the phone to call someone and say, "Mmmm.Pinkberry yogurt is soooo yummy!"? Me thinks the answer is no. Word of mouth (powered by the web) is more effective than any overpriced Super Bowl ad. That's just fact.
The future is all about gamification
Are you slow to embrace geo location tools such as Foursquare and Gowalla? These platforms also have gaming features that can provide discounts to users. Gary predicts that there may come a time when your state or local government utilizes these sites to encourage patronage of government run attractions. Check in at five places such as the local museum, state park or dam, or other such location and get a $1,000 credit on your taxes! What an interesting way to stimulate the economy and support your city or state, eh?
Just because someone's right out of college, doesn't mean they know squat about social media
Businesses tend to think if they hire a 21-year-old straight out of school that they're the best candidate to run the company's Facebook or Twitter page. Heck, that generation knows social media, right? No! As Gary says, that fresh-faced graduate has only been scouring his Facebook feed looking for girls in bikinis. He/she doesn't know how to convert those fans or followers into actual customers. You have to know something about business to do that. Crazy revelation, huh?
Planning for today is great. Prepping for tomorrow is better. But, being able to look five or ten years down the road and know what's coming is what separates the average from the extraordinary. Gary is one of those folks who can look at the facts and see something you and I don't: the future.
If you have the opportunity to see him on his book tour, it's worth the price of admission. Tell him Amber sent you. I think he'll appreciate the good old-fashioned word of mouth referral...