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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Remi Group BOOK CLUB: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk


The Remi Group BOOK CLUB is back again and this time it’s with a review of Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy. Vaynerchuk is a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, and public speaker; he co-founded a wine retail store with a popular video blog at one time, as well as a social media consulting agency. Vaynerchuk has won a handful of awards, is a family man, and hopes to own the NY Jets someday.

The Thank You Economy was written as a follow-up to Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion; both books landed him on the New York Times Best Sellers list at #2.The book has 13 chapters and spans 240 pages that are broken up into five parts – Part I Welcome to the Thank You Economy, Part II How to Win, Part III The Thank You Economy in Action, Part IV Sawdust, and Part V How to Win in the Thank You Economy, the Quick Version.

I have to be honest, when I first started reading this book, it was slow and I was unimpressed. Vaynerchuk came across as a little arrogant and talked way too much about his wine business. However, as I kept reading, something clicked and I got it – I finally started to grasp the concept of the Thank You Economy. From that point on, the book was entertaining, intriguing, and brought me back to a time when companies behaved like mom and pop shops who truly cared about their customers, not just their bottom line.

The basic theme of the book is that companies, big and small, need to learn to harness the power of word of mouth and that investing in social media will help build valuable one-on-one relationships. Vaynerchuk spends a whole chapter, #3 Why Smart People Dismiss Social Media, and Why They Shouldn’t, in the book dispelling various myths businesses give for not using social media. If you need help convincing management that using social media is in the best interest of the company, then this chapter is for you.

As a customer, employee, or business owner in the Thank You Economy, it’s a win for everyone. Vaynerchuk understands how customers and employees want and need to be treated. He’s not just blowing hot air either because he’s a business owner as well and practices what he preaches. In the Thank You Economy, only the businesses with strong customer relationships and employees that are empowered to make customers feel like they matter will come out on top. In the words of Vaynerchuk, it’s innovate or die; businesses are going to have to get creative and personal in order to meet customers’ expectations. My favorite line in the book is, “work is always about giving – efficiency, entertainment, relief, free time, peace of mind, opportunity, comfort – to other people.”

Part III in the book, which encompasses five chapters, gives real-life, relevant, and relatable examples of how companies like a hotel, burger joint, and dentist are living the Thank You Economy, utilizing social media, and harnessing the power of word of mouth. He lays out in detail what the company did right and in some cases, how the company fell short and could have taken a particular marketing campaign one step further.

As I look back on my notes, there are a several bullet points that I highlighted and wanted to share them with you. Here they are in no particular order: buy a pair of shoes from Zappos and then return them just to experience their customer service; learn to play Ping-Pong between traditional marketing and social media to extend life of a marketing campaign; content is still king, but it needs to be followed up with genuine customer engagement; social media is like a marathon and meant to build long-term relationships; learn to shock and awe customers; and finally, to watch a “Will it Blend?” video on YouTube…which I did and it was highly entertaining!

Amazon reviews give The Thank You Economy 4.5 out of 5 stars and I completely agree! It’s one of the best books I have read this year and I look forward to more from Gary Vaynerchuk. Have you read the book? How many stars would you give it and why? Share your thoughts with us – we’d love to hear from you.