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The Thank You Economy
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149 of 183 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2011
Business books are always looking for that great, new angle. Gary Vaynerchuk's The Thank You Economy is no exception. His keen insight: the Internet economy - especially social media - makes saying Thank You more important than ever. Amazing customer service is his war cry for businesses everywhere, and Vaynerchuk warns us all to adapt (rapidly) to the tsunami of social media that is changing business today.

Duh.

Since I teach Social Media Marketing (Google Jason McDonald to find me), I always look forward to these books, because every once in a while there is an amazing gem, such as Seth Godin's, Unleashing the Ideavirus - a book that knocks me off my socks, makes me pause, and is the the first time I every thought a thought: that an idea could be a virus, how cool is that?

The Thank You Economy disappoints. Especially in the details, it disappoints.

In The Thank You Economy We are teased, threatened, cajoled, implored, reminded, asked, coddled, hassled, tipped off, and otherwise pounded with the message that social media marketing IS a revolution and we (as businesspeople) had better get prepared. But beyond that? Not enough details! Not enough meat! Not enough concrete do's and don't's.

For instance, the idea that customer service is critical in today's Internet age is hugely important. Some customers - we might call them CUSTOMERS FROM HELL - can make life miserable (and they have) for major brands like KFC, Taco Bell, United Airlines, and others. Should you (or can you), provide amazing customer service to your own customer from hell? What happens when one customer from hell alerts the other customers from hell that those who kvetch the loudest will get amazing perks?

* Vaynerchuk doesn't really explain this, sadly.

So he raises the point that we should have amazing customer service, but doesn't help us in the thickets or weeds. Which customers? All of them? That's not realistic. Some of them? Which ones? When, where, and why?

The Social Media Revolution is certainly coming, but it isn't feasible to do everything for everyone at no cost. That's the starting point for a good book, but in the case of the Thank You Economy, it's really the ending point. Give great customer service. Be amazing. Treat every customer like they were No. 1. Lots of platitudes here, little details. Sigh.

Yelp vs. Zagat

Yelp! Oh my God do I love Yelp. No more terrible BBQ in Texas! No more terrible B&B's in Half Moon Bay! Yelp and stranger marketing have changed - forever - how we shop. Yelp's genius was allowing everyone to post reviews, easily, and to encourage Yelpers to Yelp and businesses to get Yelped.

In the best part of the book, Vaynerchuk has an amazing compare / contrast of Yelp (Free) vs. Zagat (paid), pgs. 38-41. Rip out this part of the book! Paste this part of the book above your desk. It's the amazing, power of FREE vs. PAID, and the hypercharging that FREE gets on the Internet.

This one case study is worth the book, not for its originality but for its CLARITY. Vaynerchuk's touches on other examples (Barnes and Nobles / Borders / Amazon) but drops them. Oh, my goodness, the devil is in those details, and had the book had strong case studies, the Thank You Economy would have been an amazing read.

The customer from hell is another huge social media phenomenon. We get the example (pg. 22) of Giorgio Galante, who took AT&T to task, got tangled with their lawyers, and had an amazing social media ride of it. But not enough. These two anecdotes are incredibly intriguing, but instead we have pages (and pages and pages and pages and pages) of platitudes...

Corporate America is rewarded for hookups and one-night stands, and that's how much respect most corporations show toward their customers. Don't hate the player; hate the game. (pg. 210).

Oh my God. This could be pasted on a "Successtory" poster and put on top of the urinal in my bathroom. That's how amazingly insightful that is. Sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh, sigh... I want the details! I want concepts! Death to Successtories!
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68 of 83 people found the following review helpful
I am a big fan of Gary Vee. Crush It was an eye opening game changer, his vlogs are great, I pay attention to what he does. His contribution to the world in Crush It that "caring = competitive" advantage is both insightful and well demonstrated by Gary Vee practicing what he preaches.

I pre-ordered The Thank You Economy months ago, noticed it auto-download on my kindle last night, start it last night and finished it by noon this morning.

That being said, I was a little disappointed in The Thank You Economy - even though I agree with everything said in it. Perhaps I just had the wrong expectations and I'm not the intended audience.

It is a book focused on WHY companies big and small should be in Social Media. The premise is you, the reader, are a social media skeptic or the higher ups in your company are skeptics.

If this is your situation, it's an appropriate book. Gary Vee lays out his argument (which I agree with incidentally). There are lots of interesting case studies, his perspective is ALWAYS interesting, and the strength of the argument is probably a "B" level argument at best.

It's an argument driven by a few key ideas and lots of anecdotes. But the reason I give the argument a "B" is its not an air-tight argument. In my work life I deal exclusive with the higher ups alluded to in the book. I know how they think. And I think higher up folks would find the book interesting, a little thought provoking, but probably not enough to dramatically change minds.

I think he could of made a much more airtight argument even without resorting to a dry, numbers driven, academic argument.

As for me, I don't need to be convinced of using various forms of social media. I am already using it very successfully. I was looking for something new for me to DO. In other words, I was hoping The Thank You Economy would be more of an action-oriented book providing more recommendations as what to DO for someone who is already doing what was described in Crush It.

In many respects, the Thank You Economy book should have been published BEFORE Crush It. Most people want to know WHY they should do something, before they bother asking HOW to do it. Thank You Economy = Why, Crush It = How.

Depending on where you are at in terms of your social media enthusiasm (mine is pragmatically for social media in specific circumstances), one book will be MUCH more appropriate to you than the other.
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74 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2011
Ideas & Innovation, Mullen, Social Influence - MULLEN
Thank you for writing the Thank You Economy.
Author, Social Media Pioneer, Gary Vaynerchuk

As REM once said: "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine." If anyone reading this hasn't realized that everything has changed, maybe Gary Vaynerchuk's new book The Thank You Economy will help smack some sense into you. At the very least, it will make the new world a bit less scary for you or your boss or your boss's boss. I think people will find that Gary V. is a wonderfully unlikely spokesperson and an incredibly steady voice of reason in a seemingly endless world of chaos. He intuitively gets it and can articulate and translate social media very well.

Here's my take on the brand spanking new Thank You Economy, the latest from the author of the New York Times best-seller Crush It!, famous internet wine marketer, social media godfather, and overall feisty personality.

The book opens by drawing some amazing parallels to the days when every store owner needed to endear himself to his small community, be an intrinsic part of it, and keep the community happy. If a customer was unhappy, word of mouth would spread and it would cause great problems. Then we became busier, more fragmented, less personal and our individual voices stopped mattering as much to businesses. Essentially they could get away with not caring.

But, with the introduction of SM, we are back in a community where each individual's voice matters a lot and the business owner needs to authentically care and should want to communicate with the individual for a lifetime of ROI. That really simply sums up the incredible and undeniable role of SM today. While we have seen other authors point out the differences between pre- and post-industrial revolution society and how it relates to brands roles in our lives, Gary has put a lot of smart thinking into what this means for social media and drawn out useful conclusions for us. The book gives great easy-to-digest examples of some social media successes and failures we can all learn from. There is also content in here that won't sit easily with the ad community, but it's a viewpoint that needs to be heard. In fact, he makes a great case for why advertising and marketing need to continue to be more relevant and more entertaining then ever, why they naturally go hand in hand with SM if used properly by the right people. It also gives nice context to social media's role in relation to advertising and marketing. All stuff that should be smacking advertising and marketing people in the head, if it hasn't already. The book also underscores the need for absolute authenticity in SM and how to get there with your company.

Gary's book should be required reading for anyone working, thinking or thinking about thinking or working in social media. Or anyone who works at a company that is thinking about using social (which should literally be every company in the world). The Thank You Economy has been written in a way that people who are very new to social and people who have been working in it for some time will get a lot out of it. Agencies and clients need to get their hands on it and distribute it liberally. It should be used by agencies to get clients (and there are still some) who don't yet know the invaluable value of SM to get off the fence. And it should be used as a tool by clients to get senior management who may not yet see the undeniable value of SM to be a lot less scared about it. It debunks the anti-social media myths and paths of resistance in very compelling and motivating ways.

Like I said, thank you for writing this book Gary, it's a much needed smack upside the head for marketers and I think you just made all of our jobs a whole lot easier. Nice work.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
I'm a fan of Gary -- I like him, I like his passion, I like his success, I like his voice... and both TYE and CrustIt are GREAT books... IF you don't already have a business or brand, or you're just starting out. If you have a business/brand and are even marginally successful, you've already figured most of the information on your own. (It's sink or swim market).

I'm thrilled both books exist for newcomers -- god knows I'd have preferred to read it in a book than learn on my own with trial and error -- and in a way, it was nice to be assured that I was "right" that what I was going was "the right thing" and "best." Both books made me feel really good about how I conduct my business, even if I didn't learn anything "new."

However, don't not get this book just because you're running a successful business or brand! You can still pull some inspiration from these books, and maybe learn a thing or two. I made lots of notes, flagged pages, etc when I read through TYE because it spawned new ideas. It wasn't that Gary said "Do XYZ" but reading a story about some other company made an idea (sometimes totally unrelated) pop into my head -- Crush It did that for me to, so I will continue to recommend both.

Looking fwd to more books Gary!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2011
This is the second Gary V book I've read and probably the last. I liked Crush It, gave me lots of motivation. I just couldn't get into The Thank You Economy. Sure, he is right about social media and makes some good points in the book. Just seemed like this book was a bit forced, which it sort of was (he signed a 10 book deal worth many millions).

The content of this book is better suited for a magazine article plus a couple blog posts. The audience that would get the most out of it is someone that hasn't yet adopted social media for business or personal branding. In other words, if you already use Twitter, you may not enjoy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2011
When it comes to leveraging social media, Gary Vaynerchuk gets it. The internet obviously changed the game and has enabled companies to connect with their audience in ways they never could. It never ceases to amaze me how many companies are blowing this opportunity and staying stuck in the past. It isn't easy and connecting on a one-on-one level with customers obviously takes time; however, Vaynerchuk does a good job arguing that it will bring more meaning to your life and will have an enormous ROI even if it is near impossible to quantify.

My only real gripe with the book is that it is extremely repetitive. Also for better or for worse, most the examples used in this book are extremely current, so I was already familiar with a decent number of them. He complements those examples well with stories of small town entrepreneurs as well in order to demonstrate that the principles can be applied successfully by anyone.

Having read all the negative reviews written thus far, I think they're mainly written by people that also 'get it' and didn't really need Gary Vaynerchuk to preach to them about it, so they didn't really get anything out of the book. While I understand where this group is coming from, I believe they are a minority, and that most people could benefit from this book. If you already devote a period of your day everyday to connecting with people all over the internet on a sincere and personal level, then this book probably isn't going to be for you except in a self-affirming way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2011
Gary Vaynerchuk wants to convince you to step into the conversations your customers are having about your products. So go ahead. His book gives several examples of producers and politicians getting the balance right... and wrong.

It's an entertaining book, takes about an hour to read. The best section is at the end, what he calls "Sawdust" and is really the synopsis and how-to section of the book.

Get it from the library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2011
I really dig Gary, and have walked away from his talks absolutely inspired and charged up. I felt the same way reading Crush It! - ready to run out and implement his ideas and conquer the world. Furthermore, I felt I had really learned something new and had something to go out and do.

I was really looking forward to the Thank You Economy, and hoping that it would be as great and as inspiring, and ultimately it fell a little flat for me. Maybe its because a fair bit of the material is recycled from thing Gary has said in talks. Everything he says in the book is good information, and I don't disagree with any of it - but in the end I didn't feel like there was a lot I didn't already know. In a lot of ways, I feel like TYE was a prequel to CI! rather than a sequel. CI! said how to do it, and TYE said why you should be doing it. Well I'm already doing it, and am already convinced I should be doing it, so in the end TYE doesn't do a lot for me.

But in the end, I bought TYE because I love Gary and his brand, and in that way I am buying it as a Thank You! to Gary.

I heard that Gary was thinking of writing a book about forming partnerships and filling the gaps in one's skill set with other people. I would love to read that book, and hope it is the next one he writes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2013
The book is useful for entrepreneurs and small business marketing professionals interested in understanding how they can use social media to build their customer base and loyalty. Enthusiasts of Twitter and Facebook and their marketing applications will find this of interest.
The book is lacking in specifics and any methodology. As with many social media advocates, the book tends to view this channel as all-important, however in this case the author does recognize limitations such as the ability (or need) to control the message on a large scale and the importance of utilizing other, more traditional channels as well. The book provides some useful advice for entrepreneurs, however little detail as to implementing social media strategies on a large scale in a large company. It is not at all clear, for example, how both large and small companies can scale such one-on-one attention to their entire customer base, or if that is even economically rational. The argument that a business is only as good as its engagement with social media underscore's the author's natural focus on social media to the detriment of other channels or the core relationship
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2011
Get this book! Just as Gary did in "Crush It", he's written another "must read" book for every business owner or service professional (my fellow lawyers must read this book). Picked up an early edition late yesterday afternoon while my son was at soccer practice. Almost missed picking him up because I couldn't put the book down. Get it! Read it! And even more important, apply these tools, techniques, and approaches to building your business and helping others. Thank you Gary! Mitch Jackson
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