Why Gary Vaynerchuk Wants Marketers to Follow Consumer Attention, Not Platforms
Gary Vaynerchuk has his fair share of critics. If you deem his colorful language as unnecessary or find his style and message a little too in-your-face for your liking, you’re not alone. Vaynerchuk’s repeated mantra of “work hard and create value for others” might be a bit too simplistic for your tastes.
Maybe you think that words like patience, empathy, and gratitude belong in a Hallmark greeting card. But you can’t ignore his continued success with VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and his full-service advertising agency, VaynerMedia.
I recently found myself at WCIT 2019, an event described as the largest IT Congress for innovators and entrepreneurs to discuss our digital future with world leaders. I sat down with Vaynerchuk to learn more about his vision for the future of marketing and why businesses are struggling to keep up with new tech. Here are a few takeaways from that conversation.
It’s About Content, Not the Platform
We are surrounded by white noise and a barrage of content everywhere we look, and it can be challenging to understand where the value lies. But Vaynerchuk has a different perspective, explaining that we need to look beyond the platforms that we use, and instead focus on where consumer attention is directed.
Sadly, many marketers are ignoring consumer attention and preferences in order to maintain and serve content to the platforms they deem the most important. Even those who secure the engagement with their audience will often fall into the trap of complacency. After achieving successful campaigns on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, these marketers often carry on, regardless of what their audiences want, staying loyal to a platform that delivered success two years ago. But that rarely works out.
More importantly, to feed consumer attention, it’s all about the content. Enormous growth is being secured by individuals and organizations that have bought into producing content at scale. While some platforms may differ depending on the country that you live in, Vaynerchuk argues that the biggest shock is still the lack of content being produced.
According to Vaynerchuk, every business should be creating 50 pieces of content a day. That could be a Tweet, LinkedIn status, Facebook update, etc. But how? Through repurposed content.
For example, for Vaynerchuk’s purposes, a video of one of his keynote speeches can be edited down into a one-minute Instagram video, as well as transcribed and turned into multiple Facebook, LinkedIn, and blog posts. The audio from that same video also can be stripped out and used for a podcast episode, proving that it is feasible to create content at-scale.
The Importance of an Audio Content Strategy in 2020 and Beyond
Speaking of audio, how many people reading this listen to podcasts? Whether it’s on the commute to the office, staring at a spreadsheet, or exercising at the gym, an increasing number of people are enjoying audio content. As we look into the future, the presence of AI-driven voice devices in our homes will continue to increase, too, as audio and voice slowly begin to replace keyboards and touchscreens.
Why? Because we value time, speed, and convenience over everything. In his WCIT keynote, Vaynerchuk also asked the audience how many people watch videos on YouTube, but minimize the video while working and just listen. Interestingly, the vast majority of the audience held their hands in the air.
However, many marketers are investing more time and resources into video production value, instead of audio production, despite desired audience consumption being audio. Marketers need to take a closer look at what their specific audiences want; and, if it’s audio, then working on an audio strategy is essential.
Avoid the Distraction of Future Tech
Vaynerchuk also believes that many businesses have been guilty of being distracted by the shiny allure of technology, and regularly leap toward the next big thing. Why invest valuable resources into VR and AR when it’s not here yet? He argues that we have stopped paying attention to what the consumer is doing
“We have ideologies around technology. We are technologists and get excited about future technologies. But the reality is nobody is sitting at home right now inside a VR contraption for 10 hours a day,” Vaynerchuk explained.
It’s Not All About You!
When creating content, Vaynerchuk also believes that 99% of the material being produced and distributed across multiple platforms is selfish. “I want you to buy my thing. Look at my product. Look at me.” But businesses that are winning the Content Wars are bringing value to their audience. Communicating your message to your audience on the platforms that have their attention is the sweet spot you should be aiming for.
Today, Vaynerchuk explained if he wants to communicate with anyone 40 and under, Instagram will be his platform of choice. By contrast, if he wants to reach 15-year-olds, he will turn to TikTok. But where is your audience? And how do they want to consume content?
After sitting down with Vaynerchuk, I realized just how much he is misunderstood. His message is not about hustle, grind, or jumping on the next big platform. In fact, he has zero loyalty to any platform, and that includes Facebook.
Vaynerchuk is simply a man who follows our eyes and ears. As a curious individual, he’s motivated by what captures the attention of audiences all over the world. Once you know the answer to that, you can provide consumers with valuable content.
The time has come for marketers to follow attention, not platforms, and get back to creating valuable content, instead of battling analysis paralysis. Many marketers are guilty of paying attention to tech trends, rather than their audiences. So, what are you going to do differently?
Check out Neil Hughes' full interview with Gary Vaynerchuk at WCIT 2019 in the video below!