Monday, May 09, 2011

Review of "The Thank You Economy" by Gary Vaynerchuk

In my reading, Gary Vaynerchuk's latest book stands on the shoulders of Seth Godin's classic "Free Prize Inside." Both works emphasize the need to dazzle customers and prospective customers with "shock and awe" of outstanding customer service and unexpected attentiveness. "The Thank You Economy," writing in the age of Tweeter and Foursquare, places great emphasis on the optimal use of social media in a synergistic dance with more traditional media.

Early in the book, the author emphasizes that through the creative us of "high touch" social media, we are returning to traditional values: "I believe that we are living through the early days of a dramatic cultural shift that is bringing us back full circle, and that the world we live and work in now operates in a way that is surprisingly similar to the one our great-grandparents knew. Social media has transformed our world into one great big small town, dominated, as all vibrant towns used to be, by the strength of relationships, the currency of caring, and the power of word of mouth. In order to succeed now and in the future, it's going to be imperative that we remember that worked in the past." (Page 11)

In light of the recent spotlight focused on the work of Navy SEALs and their success in Pakistan, I found the following quotation to be poignantly timely: "A small company might be able to win the war relying on social media alone, but a larger company should think of social media as the Navy SEAL unit of its armed forces. Small, targeted, and hugely effective when deployed, it doesn't go out to win the war on its own, but without it, the troops are at a huge disadvantage." (Page 80)

There is some wonderful local Boston flavor in Vaynerchuk's discussion of best practices in customer service (pages 95-99). He highlights a wonderful response to a customer complaint on the part of John Pepper, CEO of Boston-based Boloco. The response is personal, sincere and clearly heart-felt. I have experienced the same level of consistent customer service in several of Boloco's Boston and Cambridge location, so that level of caring is clearly part of the culture and DNA of the popular burrito company.

This book is a quick read, and is full of very specific examples of best practices for each of the principles that the author espouses. To Vaynerchuk, I say simply: "Thank you."



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