Report from Inbound 2012: Gary Vaynerchuck Keynote

Why do marketers love social media? Let’s be honest. They love social media because that’s where the people are. That was one of the key messages of Gary Vaynerchuck’s keynote address at Inbound 2012, the HubSpot user conference which attracted 2,800 marketers to the Hyne’s Convention Center in Boston, August 27-30, 2012.

And did you know Facebook is set to surpass 1 billion users this month? Every day more than half of them login to Facebook to check in with their friends, spending an average of 20 minutes or more each day. After looking at Facebook, they will go on to another social network, like YouTube. Every year we hear about how people are spending less time watching television and reading newspapers, and more time with digital media and mobile devices.

So the trend is clear: digital media is where the majority of people are spending their time. But best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuck brought it down to the brass tacks: “The only reason I love social media is because it sells sh**.” Don’t confuse Gary’s passion for altruism, he warns.

Warning: This 1-min video is for mature audiences. It contains coarse language that may not be appropriate for your workplace. Gary’s use of strong language underscores his passion and intense feelings for this topic, and is presented here as it happened live from the stage at Inbound 2012:

Gary Vaynerchuk at Inbound 2012 from Laura Kinoshita on Vimeo.

Go to where the cash is going

So Gary says that whether your business is selling to other businesses (B2B) or selling to consumers (B2C), make no mistake: customers and their cash are moving online. The move to mobile is happening much faster than it did for desktop Internet. It will take just 3 more years for the mobile Internet to be as pervasive in our society as desktop Internet is now.

Remember in the mid-1990’s when companies used to argue about whether a website was necessary? Do you think that argument happens how?  Today the only argument that takes place is “how much” to spend on the website, and businesses are not spending enough.

Pay Attention to Where Customers Are Going

I agree with Gary when he says marketers will have less than 36 months to capture their customers attention in mobile media. By 2014 the mobile space will be so overrun with ads that your budget won’t be able to compete. Faster networks and LTE wireless are going to enable more rich media and video ads, and big brands like Proctor and Gamble, Coca-Cola and McDonalds are going to bid up budgets in the space. The time to exploit this opportunity is now.

Because let’s not forget the short attention span of online consumers. When marketers come in, people will leave. Facebook may have peaked with their IPO. Watch as Facebook monetizes their user base for the benefit of shareholders.

For you, that means it’s never too early to start looking for the “next big thing.” The next opportunity for innovation is going to be in customer service. Building great, honest, authentic, personalized experiences based on what your customers have told you and their transaction history with you. Companies like and HubSpot are building the tools that will combine the best of marketing automation software so that your customer service team will be better equiped to deliver outstanding service. Look at Nimble for a taste of what’s to come.

For now, get ready. Mobile isn’t a fad. Digitally connected experiences aren’t going away. It’s a shift in culture that will only move forward – very quickly.

Gary’s core message was this: Go to where your customers are, and learn how to play properly within the eco-system.


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3 thoughts on “Report from Inbound 2012: Gary Vaynerchuck Keynote

  1. Thank you for the writeup and video clip Laura! Gary does like his f-bombs. :-)

    This really stood out for me:
    “Because let’s not forget the short attention span of online consumers. When marketers come in, people will leave.”

    There are two points there. One, yes we are all getting shorter in attention span, marketers included!

    And two, one of these days marketers will figure out how to be cool and a welcomed member of the community, and that is the single most important thing to be done to stop the human exodus once the marketers arrive. As more marketers learn that social is not about direct selling out of the gate, and more about creating experiences and solving problems and building relationships, people will want to hang out at their place, where ever it is!

    1. I think there will always be 20% of the bell curve who “get it” and 20% who don’t. The rest will be somewhere in between. Sometimes, marketers don’t know what they don’t know. Or cultural differences interfere. We are an eclectic bunch, us humans, and what we think is “best,” but I do agree that by necessity marketers will have to adapt to be more akamai towards the audiences we serve. I’ve noticed better story telling in TV advertisements these days, and that points to some evidence this will happen more online.

      1. I have to say, while I agree that there is a bell curve in any industry, one of the reasons marketers have a challenge with social media is two fold. One: marketers have never quite learned how to listen. Two: marketers have been trained to speak in “corporate speak.” Social media works best when the company talks WITH its community (which is different than an “audience”) the way community members communicate with one another. Talking WITH and communicating involves listening and it involves discarding the mumbo jumbo.

        As someone who has done marketing all my life (including selling cookies at the age of 7), I’ve often had to remind myself to “Stop sounding like a marketer and start sounding like a human.” That’s my personal litmus test.

        I absolutely welcome further discussion on these points. =) And THANK YOU Laura for the engaging and interesting post!

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