Gary Vaynerchuk’s Talk @ The Water Poet – London

Yesterday evening, I attended the Gary Vaynerchuk Crush It event organised by Sprouter, at The Water Poet pub in London. Overall, Gary was on top form and shared some interesting insights with the audience.

My rough notes from the talk follow below. But I recommend that you watch the complete talk to gain all of Gary’s insights.

Consumer Expectation

– Free Shipping was once considered the greatest thing that ever happened when consumers bought online. However, 10 years later, no one cares! It has become a standard and we are used to it.

– Imagine checking into a New York based hotel and discovering that they only had dial-up internet?  You’d want to punch the concierge in the face, and pick up the phone to call home and tell someone about your bad experience. However, we have only been used to a better dial-up experience for only a few years. Our expectation of a better Internet connection in hotels has grown.

– One of the big trends to emerge in 2010 is going to be "Consumer Expectation."
Consumers will expect brands to respond to them, when consumers leave comments on a company’s Facebook wall, or when consumers send tweets to the company. They will expect a response.  Customer Service and actually "caring" will filter out contenders and bullshit artists.

– If customer service is not the backbone of the business the you are looking to build, you are going to be in trouble.

– When Amazon bought Zappos, Jeff Bezos recognised that Zappos was a threat to them and had no choice but to buy Zappos.

– Zappos will make an interesting case study for many people. It was the only company in the retail world that was a threat to Amazon. Amazon doesn’t consider companies such as Walmart, Target and Tesco as real competitors to their business.

– Zappos was a threat to Amazon, because they were beating Amazon on "DNA and culture."  Buying shoes from Zappos were not inexpensive, Amazon beat Zappos on price here. However, they ‘cared’ more about the customer.

– When you called Zappos, they trained their staff to stay on the phone with you as long as needed (to get the sale). They rewarded staff for being on the phone with you for an hour! If a dog barked in the background, and you (the person in call centre) were authentically into dogs, you were to talk about that. If you ordered a large number of shoes that didn’t fit, you could return them for free.

– All the dumb things that our grandparents did, has been lost in history. Everything you do, will be documented forever. You grand kids will know all the silly and ridiculous things that you have done. You have to pay attention to this! In the book, Gary talks about "legacy being greater than currency.”  Think life in the long term, everything is being documented forever.

– Today’s fundamental shift, is that the gatekeepers have lost their keys. The fact that anyone who is connected to the Internet gets a chance to show the world their "stuff" is a game changer. If your “stuff” is good, you can breed word of mouth.

– Today’s social web, breeds word of mouth on steroids.

– The movie Bruno flipped Hollywood on its head. Bruno opened in the States to one of the biggest openings of all time. The next day, it was one of the biggest drop off’s in cinema history. Why? Because nearly everybody who saw the film, walked out and started Facebooking, Twittering and texting that the movie was no good.  In 24 hours the word of mouth for that movie collapsed, and people didn’t go to see it.  In Hollywood, the norm used to be 3 weeks before traditional word of mouth travelled. Due to Bruno’s failure. About 75 movies got shelved this summer because of it. 

Gary makes some very interesting points about Amazon’s purchase of Zappos.  As a bonus, watch the video below which explains the corporate rationale for Amazon’s purchase in July 2009.  Also, the video does a good job to explain how Amazon’s culture compares with that of Zappos.


Author: Jas

Jas Dhaliwal is a highly experienced International Social Media Strategist. Currently working as AVG Technologies, Director of Communities and Online Engagement, he specialises in building and engaging with social communities across the web. Born and bred in London, he is passionate about technology and social anthropology. Prior to AVG, Jas launched the social media program for Microsoft’s MVP Award program. Jas holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and has an MBA from Brunel University in London, England. You can follow Jas as @Jas on Twitter or on Google+

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