Gary Vaynerchuk's INBOUND16 Keynote

November 9, 2016 by Suma EP

The keynote by Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, will go down in INBOUND history as the most profane one ever, but, hell, no one was complaining. In fact, the thousands of people gathered at the event enjoyed every bit of @garyvee’s talk last night!

However, if you have followed any form of marketing for a while, there was not a lot of new stuff that was said by Gary. But his engaging manner of making his statements had the attendees clapping, laughing and even standing up for a pledge (about not sending spam mails, especially with a different font for Hey Gary).

He started with one of Niswey’s favorite ways of being: self awareness. Spend a lot of time figuring out who you are, what do you really like. He repeatedly encouraged the audience to do something like visiting grandparents, an old age shelter, or do anything that recalibrates your thinking so we can live a life without regrets. “We are in the golden era of communication, and you need to make the most of it”, he said.

He briefly mentioned about not being side-tracked by money and the trappings it brings. He raised the issue of us always being worried about what others think of us, which stops us from doing things that create great value.

One of the key statements of the day was, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about ‘how’ you make that money!” Think about that, people!

Another key message of the day from Gary was to take practical risk. “We are f*#**ing fancy!” He marveled at the resistance people have in moving backwards in order to create a better life.

The entire game is that of attention: how do you get it, how do you maintain it. And with the new platforms, everyone has a chance to tell their story and compete with the big names.

Gary then moved on to one of his favorite topics of being on new platforms and learning to exploit them when they are still cheap. He spoke about how he built his $3 million wine company into a $60 million business. In the late 90s, he spent money on Google Adwords, and now in hindsight, he says he should have spent more!

“If you are not pushing content on the key 5-6 social platforms today, then you’re opening yourself to vulnerability!,” he appealed passionately. And here too,he asked the attendees to take risks with new platforms that keep emerging. Of course not all will be successes, but don’t spend all your time debating why you should not be on them. A major shift is happening, he said: you can use the opportunity, or be scared of it. “It’s a binary decision!”

TV advertising sees spends of $80 billion dollars, and that is being spent on people who have no patience to see ads or switch to their mobile devices when they can’t skip them. Sooner or later there would be large scale understanding of how suboptimal this entire media advertising scene is. “That money is coming into this ecosystem!”

One of his messages that we think must be reiterated in the inbound marketing industry is this: while the industry has a lot of digital natives who can work the platforms, and optimize open rates and such, it is critical to not lose sight of branding, marketing and sales.

It’s great to be able to create a 30 second Facebook video, but you have to ensure it is consumed. “Creative is the variable for success!” But you have to balance that with math.

Gary’s key practical takeaways for the night were

  • B2B marketers must figure out how to run Facebook ads.

  • Use influencer marketing, it works and it is cheaper relatively.

To sum up:

“People see the success bit of me. But I’ve had my share of failures. Because I’m interested in being wrong! But most of all, I don’t give a f*** what you think of me! I go from real ego to real humility, and the tension between the two keeps me going!”

I enjoyed listening to Gary. A lot. But didn’t think too much of the product plug that happened during the keynote. Occupational hazard, I suppose. Let’s see what else does #INBOUND16 have in store. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the full keynote!