Gary Vaynerchuk knows social media. With 8.3 million Instagram followers and 2.8 million Youtube subscribers, his content garners millions of views from budding entrepreneurs.
The fast-talking New-Yorker is the CEO of VaynerX, a communications company that works with some of the world’s biggest brands. “Gary Vee”, as he’s known to his fans, is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and marketing whiz. In a recent CNN interview, Gary shares his thoughts on social media and the advertising industry.
Gary’s views on advertising can be summed up in a seemingly simple idea. He hedges his success on being “blindly consumer-centric”, explaining:
“All I do is pay attention to what people are doing. Nothing else.”
He’s laser-focused on what consumers are doing right now. According to Gary, successful advertisers are religious about modern technology. Advertisers need to pay attention to where people are paying attention, or they will quickly fall behind.
A day trader of communication
Gary describes himself as a “day trader of communication”. He focuses on platforms that are valuable today, rather than judging their past or future performance. Gary emphasizes: “striking a platform while it’s hot matters way more than if that platform actually exists in a decade”. He believes this is where traditional advertising agencies are falling behind.
Traditional agencies focus on the wrong things. For example, short-term margins and working within the B2B world. They focus on themselves and not the consumer. Gary believes more companies need to adopt a consumer-centric approach. After all, the consumer is the most important part of advertising.
Advertisers should meet consumers on platforms they’re already on – that’s where their message will be most effective. But this doesn’t always happen. According to Gary, this idea doesn’t line up with where advertising dollars are spent.
Pick your platform
Gary divides his attention into “overpriced” and “underpriced” platforms. His examples of overpriced platforms include television, print, and radio. Underpriced platforms include Facebook, Instagram stories, and LinkedIn.
Utilizing underpriced platforms means more reach for an advertising budget. Smart advertisers take advantage of underpriced media, reaching more eyes for less money.
But it’s not just about the platform: the message is just as important. Advertising copy must be contextual to the platform. Gary points out, you can’t just “[take] a commercial and [put] it on YouTube” – it won’t be as effective.
Meet the customer where they are
Gary’s ideas on online marketing success sound simple: meet the consumer where they are, with good content. But this is where Gary thinks traditional advertisers are failing. Many companies consistently fall behind how consumers are behaving.
Gary has a reputation for being a bit of a disrupter. He’s energetic, dishing out marketing advice and life advice in equal measure. His criticisms of traditional advertising ruffles some feathers in the industry.
When asked about a big advertising executive calling him “wrong, wrong, wrong about media”, Gary responds: “That’s the most exciting statement I could get from someone who’s an executive in the ad world… VaynerMedia is the fastest-growing independent agency in the history of the industry. I’m winning.”