Live from DMA 2011: Biz Stone, Gary Vaynerchuk and Larry Kimmel Talk Meaningful Marketing

“I believe in social media because it sells shit.”

That’s what an exasperated Gary Vaynerchuk dropped in the Monday keynote of DMA 2011 to the crowded grand ballroom of the Boston Convention Center.

The bestselling author of “Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion,” “The Thank You Economy,” and founder of WineLibrary.com and VaynerMedia had been describing what it was like trying to explain the ROI of social media to his more traditional, ROI-focused CFO. He talked about how he had tried to tell the CFO that you can’t measure the ROI of many marketing channels, and she didn’t accept that. He finally asked, “What’s the ROI of your mother?” Because, Vaynerchuk said, “the way my mother parented and raised me had led to all of my ROI, but you can’t quantify it.”

To most marketers, and probably all CFOs, that’s still not really an acceptable answer. But Vaynerchuk believes in social media because he’s seen it move product and make money for his companies. In large part, that’s because it helps him listen to his customers and react to them in real-time.

Kimmel’s Time
Listening and marketing in real-time was the theme of the keynote. DMA CEO Larry Kimmel started off by talking about the ability marketers have today to create special experiences because the data available now means you can know who your customers are, what your customers are doing and where they’re doing it right now, in real-time.

If your company can harness that data in milliseconds, which is also technologically within marketers’ grasp, you can do special things. He showed a picture of a skier flying off a jump and said, “I look at that photo and think, seconds before that skier takes off, you could sell him health insurance. Seconds later, you have no chance, or no desire.”

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.
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